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Help me clean up my carve

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I have this real bad habit of washing out the end of my turns.  The only time I really avoid doing so with regularity is when I am going very fast, if I am going moderately fast it seems that my turns start out nice and clean but always end up with me kicking the tail out.  I hate it!!!!  It kills my times, slows me down when I am free skiing, and has gotten me in trouble when skiing choppy snow...that's why I usually just go full tilt thus avoiding the unpleasantry's of my deficiency.  

 

BWPA saw it first hand when we skied together at Hunter, and I am sure so have others that I have skied with.  I really don't have any good footage to illustrate what I am talking about, but maybe someone can discern errors that are causing this in this video of me at the start of a GS race.  Thanks.

 

post #2 of 16

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post

 

I have this real bad habit of washing out the end of my turns.  The only time I really avoid doing so with regularity is when I am going very fast, if I am going moderately fast it seems that my turns start out nice and clean but always end up with me kicking the tail out.  I hate it!!!!  It kills my times, slows me down when I am free skiing, and has gotten me in trouble when skiing choppy snow...that's why I usually just go full tilt thus avoiding the unpleasantry's of my deficiency.  

 

It is a little difficult to evaluate the video because of its brevity but the montage below might illustrate some points to consider.

Notice the large amount of tip lead before the first gate. This can delay your move to your new edges early in the turn before the fall line. It appears that you may have this same tip lead at the apex of your turn to the right which results in overloading the front of the ski from the marked flexion and tongue pressure of the outside ankle. This could be part of the problem with the tail washing out. 

You might consider an earlier shortening of the old outside leg which will move your CoM to the inside of the turn and give you greater edge angles at the apex. 

Apologies for the montage but the video was somewhat restrictive in creating a good example. 

post #3 of 16

One thing I noticed is that you seem to prematurely initiate the next turn with your upper body before finishing the previous turn.  Your skis are still midway in the previous turn while the upper body has begun to unweight and look to the next turn a bit early.  But that's just the first turn -- you seem to be doing better on the later turns (unfortunately where it's hard to see in the video).  Could just be low-speed first-turn awkwardness.  It is correct to let the skis finish the previous turn while the upper body unweights and projects into the next turn, but that all happens at the very end of the previous turn.

 

This is a total guess, but are you maintaining enough weight or leverage on the downhill ski at the point where the turns are washing out?  A slower-speed recreational skier would do it via upper body position, while a racer would also do it with speed (which increases centripetal acceleration and affects the lateral force on the ski edges).  In general, an edge that washes out is an indication that the lateral acceleration is overcoming the effect of downforce on the edges, so you need to tune that balance.

 

Another guess is that perhaps you're drawing out the turn too much (or equivalently, setting up the wrong turn shape to begin with).  Perhaps your turns are such that you are lingering in the turn too long, opening yourself up to lousy edging at the end of the turn.  It could be an issue that you want to eliminate (by changing the turn shape) rather than fixing (by focusing on edging), if you get what I mean.  So I guess the first question is -- are you sure the turn shape is correct?

post #4 of 16

Richie - I feel your pain, I used to have this exact problem so can speak from my experience correcting this for myself, as well as education and training - I'm an instructor too.

I'd have to concur with GC about the tip lead. I'd describe it a bit differently though -- the outside leg is way too far back as can be seen in the first photo of GC's excellent montage.  As GC says you are thus over-pressuring the front of the ski, or, more direct to the issue of the tail skidding, under-pressuring the back of the ski.  If the tail does not have enough weight (pressure) on it, it cannot grip the snow.  This weight-too-far-forward-on-the-outside-ski is also the typical cause of outside ski tail chatter many experience on steeper runs with hard-snow. 

 

The quick fix statement would be "move your outside foot more forward" but it is not always that simple.  For me to fix mine took that, plus moving the inside foot back by flexing more (closing) the inside ankle, but those two actions alone were not the full answer.  Often, as it was in my case, the hips may be over counter-rotated as well, and from what I can see in the photo it appears that may happening here.  So pulling the inside hip back, squaring them up more with the skis, should also bring the inside leg back and the outside leg forward, thus getting more weight/pressure on the tail of the outside ski so it can grip instead of skid.

 

Try feeling where the pressure is on the bottom of your foot and also your shins on the boot cuff towards the end of the turn - i.e. where you are approaching the gate in GC's montage.  I'd guess you feel a lot more on the balls of you foot and shin against boot cuff.  In fact there may be so much weight transferred through the shin and boot cuff that there may not be much weight on the ball of your foot.

 

See if, on your outside foot, you can get to feel the weight and/or pressure on the arch-area or even area between arch-heel.  To get it there try experimenting with blending  1) the outside foot more forward, 2) the inside foot more back, and 3) less hip counter.

 

Nice photo montage GC!

 

post #5 of 16

Richie-Rich,

 

zkurtb and others seem to have seen the same thing I do.  You are pressing into the boot tongue rather than flexing the ankle joint.  I bet that you don't feel the entire bottom of your foot as you ski (only the ball of the foot).  This over pressures the tip of the ski causing the tail to wash out.  The other item visible is how much you brace on the inside ski.  The foot is well ahead of the inside hip which throws you out of position to start the next turn.  The inside ankle must be flexed much more than outside to keep it under the hip.  The inside foot is where you should feel tongue pressure on the shin, not the outside where there should be only contact with the tongue as you flex the ankle.

 

RW


Edited by Ron White - 3/16/2009 at 12:46 am
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks GC (my first montage!) and others, great insights.   Its been a constant battle with either pressuring too much or pressuring too little...either I am way forward or way back.  In watching the video of myself I did see something awkward about that first turn but did not know what, now after reading what you guys observed I see it too....wish I could run out right now and test out what you guys are suggesting!!!

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post

 

One thing I noticed is that you seem to prematurely initiate the next turn with your upper body before finishing the previous turn.  Your skis are still midway in the previous turn while the upper body has begun to unweight and look to the next turn a bit early.  But that's just the first turn -- you seem to be doing better on the later turns (unfortunately where it's hard to see in the video).  Could just be low-speed first-turn awkwardness.  It is correct to let the skis finish the previous turn while the upper body unweights and projects into the next turn, but that all happens at the very end of the previous turn.

 

This is a total guess, but are you maintaining enough weight or leverage on the downhill ski at the point where the turns are washing out?  A slower-speed recreational skier would do it via upper body position, while a racer would also do it with speed (which increases centripetal acceleration and affects the lateral force on the ski edges).  In general, an edge that washes out is an indication that the lateral acceleration is overcoming the effect of downforce on the edges, so you need to tune that balance.

 

Another guess is that perhaps you're drawing out the turn too much (or equivalently, setting up the wrong turn shape to begin with).  Perhaps your turns are such that you are lingering in the turn too long, opening yourself up to lousy edging at the end of the turn.  It could be an issue that you want to eliminate (by changing the turn shape) rather than fixing (by focusing on edging), if you get what I mean.  So I guess the first question is -- are you sure the turn shape is correct?

I dont know.....I guess the turn shape is what is causing the problem, since when I am skiing at very high speeds doing very long turns the carving is as clean as can be.  That course was particularly tight and icy, I was on my SS Speed with a 15m radius, tuned to 1/3, in retrospect I wished i had my SL skis.  Nevertheless racing or not this problem occurs when I try to do medium sized turns at mid to mid-high speeds.

post #8 of 16

Richy, in this video the wash doesn't start at the end of the turn, it starts right in the beginning.  Look how quickly and harshly you go from flat skis to high edged in the first turn.  The result is a washed/pushed initiation.  You need to engage your skis softly and progressively as you begin your turns.  Imagine you're skiing on top of a lake with thin ice as you initiate your turn.  Work gently into the carve.  Feel the edges engage, start to arc,  then gradually tip higher and higher. 

 

My suspicion is the presence of the gates is somewhat contributing to what I see.  You're feeling pressured to make the turn quick and get over to that next gate, so you're rushing the initiation,

 

Have you seen my description of hesitation carves?  I think they'd be of great help in developing a clean initation.  Once you get the initiation clean, the rest of the carve is pretty easy. 

 

www.YourSkiCoach.com

post #9 of 16

Rich,

 

SS Speed with a 15m radius, tuned to 1/3, in retrospect I wished i had my SL skis.

 

I think you are on the right tools.  How long?

 

The Video has a bit of CSS  (Can't see sh__) but anyway....

 

What I can (barely) see is this:

1.  Skate to the #1 gate.  You are using all arms.

2.  Sitting back.  Drive the hands down the hill.

3.  Leaning in.  Think about hitting the gate with your hip.

4.  You are late on second gate.  Try a step up the hill with your uphill ski.

5.  Get on the gates.  You are a big strong guy.  Hammer those things.

 

What was the HCP for the run?

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer256 View Post

 

Rich,

 

SS Speed with a 15m radius, tuned to 1/3, in retrospect I wished i had my SL skis.

 

I think you are on the right tools.  How long?

 

The Video has a bit of CSS  (Can't see sh__) but anyway....

 

What I can (barely) see is this:

1.  Skate to the #1 gate.  You are using all arms.

2.  Sitting back.  Drive the hands down the hill.

3.  Leaning in.  Think about hitting the gate with your hip.

4.  You are late on second gate.  Try a step up the hill with your uphill ski.

5.  Get on the gates.  You are a big strong guy.  Hammer those things.

 

What was the HCP for the run?


 

They're 177cm

 

1. Yeah I cant skate...I try but just cant do it, so I just use my arms.

2. You really think I was sitting back?  I felt pretty neutral.

3. Leaning in, yeah I didn't do that at all on that run, I was sort of in defense mode, had very little sleep was not skiing anywhere near 100%.

4. Timing is off, I know, I struggle with finding the best line.

5. In NASTAR I have been known to tear the gates out, but again, I was tired that day.

 

I don't remember the HCP, but I do know that after I disappear in the distance things got ugly, the track was ice and quite steep, and my unclean carve made me ski out once, fall once, and do badly the other two runs.  Granted a lot has to do with my exhaustion, but this carving problem I have appears even when I am well rested.

post #11 of 16


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post

  

They're 177cm

 

1. Yeah I cant skate...I try but just cant do it, so I just use my arms.

2. You really think I was sitting back?  I felt pretty neutral.

3. Leaning in, yeah I didn't do that at all on that run, I was sort of in defense mode, had very little sleep was not skiing anywhere near 100%.

4. Timing is off, I know, I struggle with finding the best line.

5. In NASTAR I have been known to tear the gates out, but again, I was tired that day.

 

I don't remember the HCP, but I do know that after I disappear in the distance things got ugly, the track was ice and quite steep, and my unclean carve made me ski out once, fall once, and do badly the other two runs.  Granted a lot has to do with my exhaustion, but this carving problem I have appears even when I am well rested.

Yeah, at the start, you are waay back.  This may be because of 2).  2) may be because your boots are way too stiff and/or forward lean is off .  I'm tempted to say it's too upright, but it might be the opposite.
3) Leaning - you do it way more than you think most likely.

4) Work on technique outside the course, and tactics in the course.  You have what you have when you go to the party. Work on having more to bring.

 

( Boots + skating practice + what Rick was talking about ) - (Leaning In)  = Great Improvement

 

Also - how about some railroad track turns on flat terrain. -That's subtle ankle movement supported by body movement.  You can build up to harder terrain.  B) Don't go so fast while freeskiing - it's not doing you much good.  It's the turns that count.

 

As for you "getting on it" - I recommend a friend with a paint ball gun on the side.  You should be able to figure out some game where you get shot for __ .

post #12 of 16

RichieRich - did not read any of the previous feedback so Im going to give you my non biassed viewpoint. I dont want to question your own judgement but I think that you dont stop tail washing when you are skiing very fast. You simply dont notisse it the same way. Other possibilitie would be that your skis are so stiff and equipped with such a big radius that in order for them to work you need to go very fast. Maybe a bit of both.

 

Lets look at your video. Movements going out of the gates are quite stiff and and somewhat uncordinated. Not much leg action. As I was watching it for the first time I payed close attention to this part since I thaught that would be the only thing on video. However, you going into the first and second turns gives away that you are actually not washing your tails at the end of your turns, you are entering your turns with tails washing. Acutally what you are dooing is you are not carving the upper C of your turns. You are rushing through apex and engage your edges in the low C. You need to put your skis on edge right after the transition and keep running along the edges and let them turn and dictate you line first hand. This will take some time for you to get used to because you will have to start your turn earlier without really knowing how close or far away from the gate you will go. Put your skis on edge and if you want to tighten the turn radius you need higher edge angles. My advice would be:

- dont start your turn by skidding, lock your skis on their edges

- tip your skis on edge by flexing your inside leg

- keep your outside leg long and extended

- follow up with your hips into the turn and some upper body counter

- keep your shoulders levelled and bend sideways at the hip = angulation

- let upper body counter and angulation build up progressively through out the turn

- try to face slightly down the hill at transition

- dont ski very close to the gate, you need space for inclination

- hit the gate with your ribbcage under your arm pit and with your hips

- try to pass the gates in the fall line, dont pick a too high line

 

Just some of my thaughts.

 

tdk

post #13 of 16

Richie

 

Look at your movements from 2 seconds to 3 seconds.  Describe those movements to yourself.  It looks to me like you slide your inside foot forward and drop your hip to the inside.  Your hips also seem to be very square to the skis (hard to see from this angle), and if you do other things right plus hold a very strong counter in the turn all the way to the release you'll have better tail grip.  The strong counter is important for tail grip.  You might want to set aside gate tactics for now and concentrate on skiing fundamentals.

 

Look at Benni Raich's movements here, frame by frame.  Note how close his legs are together if he's able to hold them close on the snow.  He's starting a new turn in frame 6, smoothly edges and angulates,  his hips are turned toward the outside ski by frame 8 (countered), and the counter is held until he releases for the next turn, about frame 12.  Also note that he has very little tip lead in just about every frame.  Frames 10,11,12 show how much weight he has on his outside ski and how little on the inside ski.


Edited by SoftSnowGuy - 3/20/2009 at 12:08 am
post #14 of 16

I also notice in the above montage that the stance widens as the edge angles are created and narrows when the skis are flat.  What do you guys think about that?


Edited by mrzinwin - 3/20/2009 at 05:39 am


Edited by mrzinwin - 3/20/2009 at 05:39 am
post #15 of 16


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrzinwin View Post

 

I also notice in the above montage that the stance widens as the edge angles are created and narrows when the skis are flat.  What do you guys think about that?


Edited by mrzinwin - 3/20/2009 at 05:39 am


Edited by mrzinwin - 3/20/2009 at 05:39 am

Good question but seldome answered. It is a result of flexing your inside foot and extending your outside foot. You cannot do that and keep your skis tracking at same distance between each other. There fore your skis will track narrow at transition and wide at the gate. The wide distance between skis at apex and shortly there after as you are maximum inclined and have very high edge angles is often refered to as vertical separation. Horisontal separation would be the gap between your legs. However, the horisontal and vertical separation varies the whole time and are of no real interest to the skier. Important things are movements and allowing for the skis to track independently over the snow. Bennies ski tracks are diverging and converging.

post #16 of 16

RR,

 

I see you going fairly straight towards the gate on a flat ski, and then going too quickly onto a strong edge, which leaves you having to skid your skis around to get a direction change around the gate.

 

You want to get on your edge earlier & progressively, so the sidecut of the ski starts your direction change.  You need some speed to make this happen on a GS ski, so you really do want to work on skating for your start.  You can be losing half a second or more on those first two gates alone, relative to someone who pushes hard & skates.

 

Still room to get more to the front of the ski too -- "neutral" is "back seat" in a GS race.

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