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Anybody remember the name of this obscure turn?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Last season, I was playing around with all sorts of crazy techniques for turning (on Alpine gear) and (re)discovered an interesting one. I know I've seen the name of it mentioned a couple of times in years past, but its pretty obscure and I have forgotten what it is called.

This turn is almost the exact opposite of a telemark turn, but at least in one sense, works pretty much the same way and gives similar benefits.

In a telemark turn, you advance your outside ski, and use steering inputs so that its tip is somwhat towards the inside of the turn. Thus, the tip of the rear (inside) ski is aimed right at the front (outside) ski and is placed close to the forebody of the front ski. In this way, when both skis are up on their inside edges, the combination of the two edges almost acts like one very long continuous edge, whose sidecut you can crudely vary by adjusting the angle at which the two skis converge.

In the turn I was playing with, the roles of the skis are reversed: The inside (not the outside) ski is advanced and twisted so that the tail of the inside (front) ski now almost touches the inside edge of the outside (rear) ski. Usually, this will be somewhere in back of the binding on the outside (rear) ski. Just like in a telemark turn, when both skis are up on edge, the combination of the two edges almost acts like one long continuous edge, whose sidecut you can crudely vary by adjusting the angle at which the two skis diverge.

Put differently, in a telemark turn without much tip lead, the tails diverge much like a wedge, whereas in this turn, the tips diverge, much like a step turn with a large amount of tip lead.

I would never use this turn on good snow because of the excessive counter that it produces, the loss of tip pressure on the lead ski, and that it introduces a bit of a delay in the transitions (because of the need to switch lead).

On the other hand, I found that on cut-up, irregular, thick slop, it gives a couple of major benefits. First, just like the telemark, it gives a huge amount of fore-aft stability as you are crossing semi-frozen ruts, going from areas of sticky snow to areas of fast snow, etc..

Also, just like the telemark, this turn seems to allow one to dramatically tighten the turn radius (at a given speed) and still pretty much carve through the turn. Keeping the amount of sideslip to an absolute minimum is extremely important in this sort of heavy junk snow.

Another benefit of this type of turn in this sort of snow is that since you can really tighten the turn radius (even beyond that of modern deeply sidecut skis), you don't have to fall back on using unweighting to get your skis around if you want to keep your speed in check (on steeps or in traffic) in this sort of snow. Basically, I found that using this turn makes for relaxing, smooth, low-energy consumption type of skiing in junk snow.

A final benefit is that with this amount of tip lead, you are wound up like a spring because of the large amount of hip counter it induces. So, if you do need to unweight (say to bring your skis around very quickly on really steep terrain), the "unwinding" can be *truly* impressive .

Thoughts? Anybody remember the name? Anybody else ever fool around with this type of turn?

Tom / PM

PS - Just for the record, my experiments with this turn were done on 184 cm 10ex's in spring slop in which my skis were sinking to a depth of about 10 inches.

[ July 11, 2002, 11:48 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #2 of 8
You've got me on that one, Tom! If it has a name, I'm not aware of it. Ott is probably the best bet--if he doesn't know it, it can't be known!

I'd just like to see a picture of it! While I'm sure there are some benefits, excessive counter causes lots of problems, some of which you've alluded to. While it does allow you, as you said, to steer the inside ski, it "uses up" the internal rotation available to the outside leg, preventing any steering of the outside ski. For the same reason, it locks up the knee of the outside leg, preventing knee angulation and possibly making that leg much more vulnerable to injury.

Just some thoughts. I'd like to go out and experiment a little, and see some pictures, like I said.

Good luck with the name search! Perhaps we should call it the Physics Man Turning Style--a much better-than-average use of the acronym that results....

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Bob - that's hilarious!!!! Don't you dare start using that name!

About pix of this technique, I only play with things like this on deserted runs on moonless nights, so I don't have have any pix to share. (In fact, I hardly have any pix of me skiing at all.) Maybe next season.

Tom / PM

PS - I know I owe you a PM back, but work calls. Maybe later tonight.
post #4 of 8
That sounds a little like the old diverging parallel turn that racers sometimes used, until they figured out that it wasn't very fast. The reason we used to ski with so much counter was that you need to move all your weight forward over the outside ski to engage the tip to start carving the turn. Shape skis changed all that because the tips engage so easily with very little pressure. I'll experiment with your "new" turn next winter, but in the East we rarely sink in 10 inches.
post #5 of 8
The difference between the racer's divergence parallel turn and the Physics Man Turn ( I had to respond and use such a wonderful name!!!), is that the racer's used it to change their line upward, while the Physics Man Turn (ah, such a wonderful sound) is being used for difficult snow condition.

Thanks Physics Man for the experiment. Leave it to a true scientist!!
post #6 of 8
How about the "GoddamnitIstillcan'tskithiscrappysnow" turn.
post #7 of 8
It does almost sound like the diverging turn referred to as "cramponage" (for those of us novices at the time it was in style- "cramps and nause"). It did have a somewhat exagerated forward movement of the inside ski, while it was in a divergent position.

BB- PMTS- oh yes! This will fry SCSA's brains....

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Bob - You are absolutely correct about the various biomechanical problems that this turn can lead to. This turn is a lot like a Telemark turn in this way. FWIW, when I was playing around with this turn, I eventually settled on a more moderate amount of tip lead than you would use in a Telemark turn. On 184's, the tail of my inside ski would usually wind up maybe 6 - 10" in back of the binding on the outside ski. At least with this turn (yeah, I know it needs a short catchy name), you don't feel like you are in church genuflecting every few seconds .

BTW, when you thought of the name that you gave this turn, I have a suspicion that you remembered my comment a couple of months ago about all the little nicks I have on the tails of my skis, didn't you, you evil man (grin)?

jdowling & KeeTov - You are right, it is like a diverging racer's turn, but without any hint of a step-up to a new line.

milesb - "GoddamnitIstillcan'tskithiscrappysnow" turn - Alright. I confess. You busted me! That's exactly why I was playing around with turns like this. I could either learn to ski deep thick slop or go home, and I sure wasn't about to do the latter.

VSP - Good try & close. Thanks, but isn't "cramponage" pretty much just an older term for the diverging racer's turn that jdowling and KeeTov suggested? I have a vague memory that the word I'm looking for was also a French word/technique, but that it was specifically about skiing crappy snow.

All - "PMTS"!! Now you are all ganging up on me and starting to use it! What friends! I'll never be able to show up at a bearfest with SCSA and HH after me for trademark / copyright infringement, and the rest of you wanting me to demo this.

Tom / PM
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