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Divergence: Flaw? High end skill? Both?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

 An Examiner told me when I mentioned that I had an inside ski divergence issue that "divergence is good."  Others have reported that they see this in other Examiners.  However another Examiner when asked said it was not a desired thing.


What do you think?

post #2 of 17

Not desired, methinks. Looks bad too.

post #3 of 17

I'm gonna say flaw/not desired, but.... it's probably present to a small degree in good skiing. Just like tip lead. You could have too much of it and then it would be a thing to focus on, but like tip lead, some may be OK or even necessary.

post #4 of 17

Depends on how you ski. If you dont ski very fast and without high edge angles then it could be considered a bad thing. If you ski fast and you tip onto higher edge angles then your skis will diverge towards apex and get narrow at transition. The reason for this is that as you tip towards apex you also flex your inside leg. When you do this you automatically also widen your stance. At high edge angles like in my avtar your outside knee should be touching your inside boot. That is a lower leg measure apart. As you come out of your turn then you de-tip and your skis should be getting more narrow. Its fun to ski with your feet close together at transition and as you tip into your next turn you aggressively flex your inside leg and tilt that way. Check out Eric in this photo montage:


post #5 of 17



From the clinics that I have been involved with, divergence of the inside ski tip is not considered desirable.  It is caused by a fore/aft balance issue that causes bracing against the inside ski.  As you brace against the inside ski, the foot diverges a little for support.  The remedy is flexing your ankles more (dorsiflexion) which will both improve your fore/aft balance and the divergence issue.



post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

 Ron, for me the remedy was focusing more on my outside foot, pushing it forward and/or edging it more.  In my efforts to pressure the inside ski more, and get my hip out over it, I had basically forgotten about my outside ski.  


However the question also is about it as a High Level maneuver.  It certainly used to be, and is used by racers.  It's a sign of a good thing (pressuring the inside ski) it's basically a skating move.


I still am looking for more confirmation of the side that says, yes examiners are proponents of it these days (in some cases.) 

post #7 of 17




I still am looking for more confirmation of the side that says, yes examiners are proponents of it these days (in some cases.) 


 The diverging step turn is an out of date technique, gone with the old straight skis.  Good high end skiers have both skis parallel.  You may see pictures of racers with the inside ski diverging, but that doesn't always mean their technique is perfect in the execution of a high speed turn in a race setting.  Work on loosing the divergence.



post #8 of 17

Slalom skiers use divergence to shorten the line.

post #9 of 17

Good skiing requires good independant leg action, and with this I believe there always has to be some degree of these traits, all depending upon the general alignment of the skier as influenced by speed, the steepness of the slope and the radius of the turn. I believe the key is that traits like divergence and lead are varied in degrees by these external factors and do not detract from the skier's balance.

post #10 of 17

SMJ, if you're working on skiing for a certification, lose the diverge.  It can put you in the back seat on your next turn. 

post #11 of 17


Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post


 Ron, for me the remedy was focusing more on my outside foot, pushing it forward and/or edging it more.  In my efforts to pressure the inside ski more, and get my hip out over it, I had basically forgotten about my outside ski.  (emphasis added)




What benefit do you gain from pushing the outside foot forward relative to the inside foot, and under what circumstances is this move best used? 


I've never used it and am curious.  Ordinarily, I'd go out and try it, but the continued warm temps and r*in predicted for the next two days appear to have halted my skiing season prematurely.


BTW, in his book, John Clendenin uses a slight divergence as a diagnostic for high level skiing according to his system.  This is still there in this season's edition -- read it for more detail if you're interested.  His glory days as two-time world freestyle champion were long ago on straight skis, but he's still a heck of a skier.  He's a level 3 cert and his employees include a d-team member, so this is probably a PSIA-kosher piece of evidence for you.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

I was shown a "telemark turn" as an exercise.  The concept was to push the outside ski forward to lose some of the inside ski tip lead.  It eliminated the divergence instantly for me.  Of course I need to also push the outside hip forward or I'm opening the ankle too much.  It had the effect of increasing the pressure on that ski and making it come around more (turn more sharply.)  I guess it's the other side of pulling back the inside ski, but that focus worked for me.


Kneale, don't worry i am trying to get rid of the divergence.  However with Joe Wood telling me "divergence is good" I am still pursuing this.


I'd love to hear from Bob Barnes about this. 

post #13 of 17


A while back there was a thread about diverging skis and if you do a search I think you'll find a couple more threads concerning diverging tips as well. Bob was quite active in those threads and it certainly will give you some insight into how many opinions exist when it comes to convergence, divergence and actually keeping your ski parallel.

I can tell you from the perspective of being one of his trainers that according to him the geometry of the skis and their relationship to each other has a lot to do with this. A slight divergence occurs naturally.


As far as how this relates to a Certification test, I would say opinions vary and the examiner of record may not agree with Bob. It would surprise you how often there are philosophical differences between examiners when it comes to something like divergence. If you can be versatile enough to ski with and without divergence you would have a better chance of giving that examiner exactly they ask you for.

Edited by justanotherskipro - 4/3/2009 at 04:45 pm

Edited by justanotherskipro - 4/3/2009 at 11:18 pm
post #14 of 17

I've sometimes seen in students that a focus on releasing the edges by tipping the new inside knee into the turn can result in some divergence when this movement comes from rotating the femur at the hip joint. If the focus is changed to suppinating the foot instead of moving the knee this can correct the divergence. The knee still tips but the muscle action for initiation is different, coming from the toe extensors rather than the hip rotators. 

post #15 of 17

SMJ....seeing as how you mentioned Joe Wood,  I'll give you a little insight as to why I think you should keep the move. 


When I went to ETS tryouts many moons ago Joe was one of the Examiners at that event.  One of the things they threw at us was pulling moves out of nowhere that they wanted us to do.  Joe did a mambo that was second only to Stein's as best as I could tell.  How many of the candidates you think practiced that one ahead of time? 


Moral of story;


Don't ditch the move if you presently own it.  Learn the other moves that aren't your normal moves and work on everything on a regular basis.  That way no matter what your level 3 Examiner asks for you'll be ready. (And when you go to ETS/DCL or whatever they are calling it now,  you'll be ahead of the rest of the group)

post #16 of 17

So many skiers think in abosolutes. At some point knowing both makes you more versatile. It also allows you to learn how to get out of that position when it isn't where you want to be. As far as one being correct and one not being correct, I see too many people get hung up on one person's view at the exclusion of staying open to new ideas and techniques. Learn them all, play with them and come up with your own opinion.

post #17 of 17

Parallel track is a recent thread and here is a quote from Bob concerning parallel, converging and diverging tracks...




Yes, I think the point is made that in good skiing, "parallel" is a coincidence--and perhaps a rare coincidence at that. As a goal, it is false! As a measure of expertise, "parallel" is nearly irrelevant. I suggest that beginners and low-intermediate skiers making skidded, braking turns are likely to be more parallel, more often, than experts!

BTS--you have described well a typical scenario in high-performance carved turns, like those in the Japanese video clip. When the outside ski is tipped to a higher angle than the inside ski, and suddenly receives more intense presssure, it will for sure bend into a tighter arc than the inside ski. That does happen often in, often somewhat after, and occasionally well before, the apex in tight slalom turns. When the skier knows that, and moves the inside ski in preparation, all is well. When he "forgets," it can be a disaster, with the outside ski carving into, and even underneath or over the top of, the inside ski. Bad things happen then!

So many things influence these various outcomes: edge angle, amount of pressure, fore-aft focus of pressure, left-right pressure distribution, and muscular steering activity of both legs--and/or of the upper body.

Snow conditions, too, often play a role. One of the most hideous injury scenarios in skiing results when a modern slalom ski's tip suddenly bogs down into soft snow, causing it to bend and arc tightly into the turn, which combined with suddenly slowing down, dramatically further increases its tip pressure, in a vicious cycle chain reaction to disaster! I have three friends, very high-level expert skiers all, who have suffered severe boot-top leg fractures from this mechanism.

Yes, "parallel" is an illusiory coincidence in expert skiing! As the tracks and movements we've discussed here clearly reveal, expert skiing involves diverging skis, converging skis, and--only occasionally!--parallel skis.

Consider that even in the tracks that might appear most obviously parallel, forming concentric equidistant circles, as might be the case when carving all the way around a 360 degree arc, the skis themselves will not be parallel! As the inside ski track is tighter, the ski tips will obviously diverge. And the divergence will be greater, too, because the inside ski is typically advanced ahead of the outside ski ("tip lead"). As it is futher along the circle, it must obviously point the direction the outside ski will point later, when it gets to the same point. So it often requires diverging skis to carve even the most "parallel" tracks!

Best regards,



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