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Divergent Parallel -- Old School Technique, New School Mistake

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'd like to solicit comments to the following question about eliminating a portion of what used to be called the "divergent parallel" from my modern skiing on shaped skis.

As noted in some of my earlier posts, I returned to teaching skiing and more frequent skiing after a ten-year break (law school, career building, etc.) In my past, I had very active skiing seasons and taught and skied nearly every day during winter and spring. I also raced as well.

I'm now on shaped skis (K2 Axis XRs). One issue that now disturbs my technique on newer, shaped skis is my remaining reliance on what used to be the "top" of the PSIA Centerline model, divergent parallel. In divergent parallel, the inside leg takes a small step up to create a platform on which to base your next turn. It was helpful with straight skis and aided in a smooth turn iniation. However, its unnecessary for short, shaped skis and improved sidecuts as the new "tip and roll" displaces the need to step and platform to initiate the turn.

I've done some PSIA clinics and video analysis. In general, my angulation looks nice and technique is otherwise solid except for a small stepping move between turns.

I've been practicing a few things to eliminate a remaining "mini-divergent-step" at the finishing phase/initiation phase of my turns. These are: 1) practicing "180" turns by allowing the skis to turn all the way uphill and learning to trust the ski to turn the entire way without stepping; (2) skiing with the downhill leg only until it crosses the fall line then suddenly switching to the inside leg/new downhill leg so that I do not "step" inbetween turns.

The exercises are helpful and, in time, will most likely help to eliminate the mini-divergent-step I have left in my skiing.

I'm curious if any others out there have struggled with this or had to "cast out" their now-defunct, divergent parallel technique and what types of exercises they did to accomplish this?

Thanks for any input,

Ben
post #2 of 24
Funny you should bring this up - A few hours ago, I just mentioned this issue in a message posted February 13, 2004 08:28 AM in the thread, Skiing Technique

Tom / PM
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the cross-link PhysicsMan. It is directly on-point. I'll try the suggested "telemark in alpine gear" drill (e.g. adjusting tip lead at varying degrees to test the theory for one's own self) as it sounds productive to my learning style.

If I might, I'd like to follow-up with another problem related to this. I have been working on eliminating the diverging parallel, or stepping, move in my skiing but have found that, at times, when I try to "tip and roll" instead of diverge and step that something odd happens:

1) I finish the first turn and sucessfully (from my point of view) tip and roll into the new turn at the initiation phase of the turn.

2) the skis come to be pointing just about down the fall line and I am angulated.

3) the new downhill ski is fully pressured but it doesn't move anywhere...it just continues to point down the hill. Attempts at adding small degrees of rotary movement are often thwarted because of the pressure placed on the ski due to angulation and simple pressure and weight placed on the ski.

I believe what may be causing the problem is that I may be angulating too soon and too deeply into the turn and not using small rotary technique before I full angulate...thus locking the ski straight ahead. My weight then tends to fall off of the downhill leg and back onto the inside leg.

If this makes sense, I appreciate anyone's thoughts.

Cheers,

Ben

Quote:
Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
Funny you should bring this up - A few hours ago, I just mentioned this issue in a message posted February 13, 2004 08:28 AM in the thread, Skiing Technique

Tom / PM
post #4 of 24
Benjamin, I would also suggest RR track turns to get the feeling of moving from edge to edge without any change in pressure or balance.

Regards to your skis not coming around, I would guess that they are not "hooking up" early in your turn as you think they are. There is some disagreement on this site as to this, but you may find this thread on inside leg extension useful.

I am assuming, btw, that in these cases you are trying to create as pure a carved turn as you can. If not, these suggestions will not hold the same value.

If your ski goes straight down the fall line, the implication is that it is:
</font>
  • Not decambered</font>
  • Not pressured in the sweet spot (or even forward of the sweet spot)</font>
It occurs to me that it's possible that your bindings may be mounted rearword of your balance point on the skis, which can make it very difficult (but not impossible) to complete the turn.
My last thought for now would be wondering where your weight is during your turns. You should get information on that from the thread PM mentioned.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
SSH,

Thanks for the comments. I will play around a bit with your suggested exercises. As to the matter of the bindings, I have Look TX 7.0's which can be moved in a variety of fore-aft positions ("A" through "G"). They are currently set at "C", relatively forward, but I can play with moving that forward a bit and seeing if that affects the turn at all while I am practicing the "tip and roll."

Quote:
It occurs to me that it's possible that your bindings may be mounted rearword of your balance point on the skis, which can make it very difficult (but not impossible) to complete the turn.
My last thought for now would be wondering where your weight is during your turns. You should get information on that from the thread PM mentioned.
post #6 of 24
Benjamin, to play with your bindings, you could try this: find the center of the running surface of your skis and mark them with a grease pencil or sharpie. Then, when you're out on your skis, look for a balance beam of some kind (a PVC pipe like those that are used for signage at ski areas, a bigger bamboo pole, a smooth log, etc.). Lay it across the hill where it's flat and standing on it will allow you to get both the tip and tail of your skis off the ground without being too challenged.

Now, put the center of the running surface of both skis directly over the "beam". Where do you have to stand to balance the skis? If you are not comfortably centered in your stance, it's likely that you need to move the bindings. If you do, pop out, adjust, and try again. Basically, the goal is to get your body's natural balance point aligned with the center of the running surface so that in that natural position you get the best out of your skis.

Let me know if that doesn't make sense; I can try to explain it again.

Of course, there are alignment specialists that will use in-shop equipment to help you do this, or you could just experiment at different positions and see what happens. 'Twas just a thought...
post #7 of 24
Diverging parallel was a strong outside ski move. Your "Tip and roll" efforts will work better if you're thinking about tipping the new inside foot first and most. If you are making a strong center of mass movement to the inside of the turn by pushing against your new outside ski, you may be moving too much laterally and not enough forward, so that the skis stall out by the time they reach the fall line because the pressure is mostly on the tail.
post #8 of 24
The idea that "diverging parallel" was a stepping move was wrong from the beginning. I know the examiners taught it that way, except Arcmeister, but that's not what it was.
The origional booklet that came with the first centerline tape said, "as weight is transferred to the uphill ski the downhill ski straightens and runs out. The uphill ski carves out from under the center of mass and rolls to it's insde edge"(not an exact quote but the general idea) One D Teamer described it as "seamless turns". The drill that Arcmeister used to teach this still works and I use a variation of it to teach RR track turns.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yes, thanks Kneale, you hit it right on. Specifically, your observation that "If you are making a strong center of mass movement to the inside of the turn by pushing against your new outside ski, you may be moving too much laterally and not enough forward..." was directly on point.

Thus, the solution seems to be increased fore balance and pressure on the ski and perhaps less drastic CM movement (dependent upon the terrain). Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Ben

Quote:
Originally posted by Kneale Brownson:
Diverging parallel was a strong outside ski move. Your "Tip and roll" efforts will work better if you're thinking about tipping the new inside foot first and most. If you are making a strong center of mass movement to the inside of the turn by pushing against your new outside ski, you may be moving too much laterally and not enough forward, so that the skis stall out by the time they reach the fall line because the pressure is mostly on the tail.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
While the diverging parallel may not have been thought of as a stepping move is correct in theory, I know of many who taught and learned it as a stepping move...myself included. Now I am working on ironing it out of my skiing! [img]tongue.gif[/img] Ahh, another challenge

Ben

Quote:
Originally posted by SLATZ:
The idea that "diverging parallel" was a stepping move was wrong from the beginning. I know the examiners taught it that way, except Arcmeister, but that's not what it was.
The origional booklet that came with the first centerline tape said, "as weight is transferred to the uphill ski the downhill ski straightens and runs out. The uphill ski carves out from under the center of mass and rolls to it's insde edge"(not an exact quote but the general idea) One D Teamer described it as "seamless turns". The drill that Arcmeister used to teach this still works and I use a variation of it to teach RR track turns.
post #11 of 24
I'd concentrate on new inside ski engagement, Benjamin. I'd start by working on feeling passing through having both skis flat on the slope (boot shafts perpendicular to the slope) at the instant of transition between turns and then progressing onto the new set of edges with awareness of the outside edge of the new inside ski in the snow.

You want to feel the inside edge of the new outside ski being pressured progressively more as a result of the turn causing the weight shift than because of your making an effort at the moment edges change. This is not a change in your skiing you can accomplish in an afternoon, and especially not something you can do on steep terrain. It takes a commitment to skiing routinely on terrain where you can have total patience in allowing gradual transitions between turns to occur. It's OK to go ski the steeps, but you can't work on your skiing while you're there. At least not until you've worked the changes into your system on less intimidating slopes.

For a sense of the feelings I'm talking about here, go to some mild blue or fast green terrain and make some traverses in a wedge. Truely feel that you weight the downhill ski more in a wedge traverse in order to get a wedge traverse. Then gradually equalize weight on your skis in the wedge and ALLOW them to seek the fall line with no additional turn input from you until you reach the fall line. Feel how steering off the fall line complements the turning begun from equalizing the weight and also causes the weight shift to become more dramatic. Do a bunch of these and then gradually reduce the wedge until the same sensations occur from an open stance parallel. If you flatten equally weighted parallel skis from a traverse, they will begin to turn toward downhill just like the wedged skis. The trick is to be patient. Now you'll be ready to roll off one set of edges through the flats of the skis onto the new set of edges without that push on the outside ski you're used to using.
post #12 of 24
My recollection is that the diverging parallel had its focus on the active steering of the inside foot, ie: oversteering of the inside foot. I do not remember any stepping.

PS: I am happy it went away.
post #13 of 24
Here are the "evaluation requirements" for successful diverging parallel turns from my 1987 PSIA-C alpine certification guide:

1. Outside ski holds edge and maintains weight while skiing to uphill edge of uphill ski as skis are separating.

2. Weight is skied onto the new ski.

3. Edge change occurs as weight is transferred to the new outside ski.

4. Pole is planted at the top of the up motion.

5. As the upper body moves forward and laterally, the lower body stays inside the line of the uphill ski. (which I always took to mean the new outside ski)

6. Upper body remains anticipated.

7. Skis match before the fall line.
post #14 of 24
That doesn't mention stepping, does it?
In the tape though, it's skied as a stepping motion. I wish I could find that booklet.
post #15 of 24
Sorry, double post.

[ February 14, 2004, 06:18 AM: Message edited by: SLATZ ]
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Slatz,

I never stated that it did mention stepping in theory or in official manuals. I did state that it was routinely taught in that manner. "Routinely" is simply based on my anecdotal observations in the midwest at that time.

Cheers,

Ben

Quote:
Originally posted by SLATZ:
That doesn't mention stepping, does it?
In the tape though, it's skied as a stepping motion. I wish I could find that booklet.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
As noted in the PSIA Core Concepts mantra, developing a new skill normally takes more than 300 times of practice to master it. I'm not interested in McDonald's fast-food skiing. I practice obsessively, hence my posts on this board for other tips regarding practice moves to improve my skiing.

I also realize that you don't practice outside of your comfort zone. One must take it down a notch, practice it until one is comfortable with it and until the technique is somewhat engrained, and then one may slowly take the technique and apply it to more challenging circumstances.

That said, thank you for the suggestions, I'm heading out tonight to practice away.

Thanks,

ben

Quote:
Originally posted by Kneale Brownson:
[QB] This is not a change in your skiing you can accomplish in an afternoon, and especially not something you can do on steep terrain. It takes a commitment to skiing routinely on terrain where you can have total patience in allowing gradual transitions between turns to occur. It's OK to go ski the steeps, but you can't work on your skiing while you're there. At least not until you've worked the changes into your system on less intimidating slopes.
QB]
post #18 of 24
Ben
Your observations are the same as mine. (except for Arcmeister) I understand that that was the reason PSIA decided to de-emphasise it. Vitually everyone, including the video misunderstood and did it as a step.
I didn't mean to sound harsh. I always liked the Centerline, it brought together a lot of things from my experiences with teaching racing at the time. Unfortunatly a lot of the PSIAC examiners didn't get it. Fortunatly the D Team person who came to Cascade to demo it in 87 was Ellen Post Foster(one of the authors) that was really cool.

I notice in the new Alpine Technical Manual there is a statement: "Competition is beyond ski school". Thank goodness, it only took them about 20 years to figure that one out.

[ February 16, 2004, 02:07 PM: Message edited by: SLATZ ]
post #19 of 24
Diverging Step turns sure were taught in the old days, and not just as a way to transfer to the new ski at the end of a turn, but as an actual way to produce a rapid change of direction. Straight skis produced only large radius carved turns, and when the radius needed to be reduced the diverging skating step at the end of the turn was a slick way to do an immediate 30 degree change of direction. The skate at the end of the turn often eliminated the need to steer or pivot at the beginning of the turn which in racing proved very beneficial. In fact it was one of the core techniques of Stenmark, who by my measure is the greatest ski racer of all time. If Ben was involved in racing he could have very well been taught the move in that context.

Ben, excuse my bluntness, but if the outside ski is tracking straight down the falline once it hits the apex of the arc then only two things can be going on:

1: The ski is flat on the snow. I highly doubt this is the case.

2: You've moved your center of mass too far inside causing pressure to transfer to the inside ski which causes the outside ski to disengage and track away. This is what is happening.

It's all about balance Ben. If you utilize proper angulation that keeps the forces of the turn directed at the outside ski around the entire arc of the turn then the ski will remain pressured and carve all around the entire arc. If you move your center of mass to far inside it will not and you will fall on your inside ski and be forced to finish your turn there. It's really that simple.

There are a couple common causes of your not using enough angulation and falling on the inside ski. You may be anticipating the direction change produced by the carving ski and leading with the upper body, in essence leaving the skis behind. Or it may be a fore/aft balance or rotational problem causing you to fall back and inside.

Your step may be a compensating result of the falling to the inside ski before turn completion. Or, the anticipation of doing a step may be causing you to move away from your outside ski too soon.

[ February 16, 2004, 02:58 PM: Message edited by: FastMan ]
post #20 of 24
Good post [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
Second that on Stenmark.(I rode the lift with a young girl at the Boyne Mid-Am that had never heard of him.)
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by SLATZ:
Good post [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
Second that on Stenmark.(I rode the lift with a young girl at the Boyne Mid-Am that had never heard of him.)
I hear ya Slatz. I was working on some White Pass leans (weighted release turns for you youngsters) with my J 1&11 racers earlier this season, and when I tried to explain the origin of the drill none of them had ever heard of Phil and Steve. So I explained they skied back when Stenmark was at his prime. Hadn't heard of that guy either. God I'm starting to feel old!

[ February 16, 2004, 03:24 PM: Message edited by: FastMan ]
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by FastMan:
God I'm starting to feel old!
Maybe you are old

Easy solution at hand though.... after all as the saying goes...

"You are only as old as the woman you feel" [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #23 of 24
From your description of the old stepping move to today's shaped skis, the reason you may still struggle with removing the move from your old skiing movements is that you also must own a functionally open stance. From all that you've said it sounds like your stance is still either locked or quite closed, which on today's shaped skis will interfere with your ability to get onto an early edge with both skis, so the typical move is to do a stem step or a rotary push-off move. In other words you need to add an additional movement to open your stance so that your legs and boots have room to tip laterally. That's what the first problem sounds like.

Additionally, since you said "old school", I also have some concern that you might be intiating your turns through an upper body rotary movement, which may be caused by a cirular pole swing of the arm and shoulder and a plant vs a forward pole swing from the wrist and touch, which is being directed toward the new turn and moves forward and diagonally.

Now the matter of the outside ski not coming around, which is running straight down the fall line after turn initiation no matter how much you tip it to an edge and try to force more rotary, is clearly indicative of your stance being in the back seat. If your center of mass is back and your weight is on you heels, it becomes very difficult and / or virtually impossible to get the the front of the skis to engage sufficiently to pull you through the turn you started. The outside ski running straight down the fall line is primarily caused by two things. First, your weight appears to be back. Second, it also appears that you're riding the inside ski and have place too much weight on it and the outside ski has become light, which now moves away in a "railed condition".

As it was previously stated, the lack of sufficient weight to bend the ski into a decambered position also keeps it from engaging its edges.

To correct for these movements in your skiing you will need to move your center of mass forward and over your feet for a start. You will also need to adopt a functionally open stance. From there when initiating a turn, the cm needs to be moving in a forward diagonal direction as your old outside ski tips into the direction of the new turn and becomes the new inside ski. After turn initiation you might add some mild steering as the turn develops, but don't confuse a lightly applied steering movement with a pivot type full on rotary movement, which will cause the skis to skid more as the tail of the ski can't follow the tip in its track as it will with a light sreering touch.

Good luck. whtmt & Mackenzie 911
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Fastman,

Yes, I was involved in racing on straight skis when I was in high school and did quite a bit of stepping to get out of the gate to the next turn. So, as a result of much practice doing this technique, it now haunts me.

Your posting was well-written and on-point. Option #2 (below) is what is happening. I've noticed that certain terrains favors my rather "static" angulation (I am not varying my angulation enough as the terrain dictates). So, in certain instances, the technique works better and carves the turns and on flatter runs the angulation proves to be too great and causes the CM to be too far inside, weight goes on the inside ski, and the downhill ski tracks.

I do not feel back at all in my stance but, instead, feel rather forward. I would suspect that I am too far angulated for most terrain that I'm on, causing the mystery tracking. Further, I have been told by clinicians that I need to "trust" the ski longer and let it finish the turn instead of stepping (old, bad racing habit) at the end to begin the new turn.

So, I'm practicing with doing "180 degree" turns to let the turn finish...and then some...in a carved arc. Further, I am doing outside leg skiing, lifting the inner leg, and then switching skis quickly, never letting two skis be on the ground, to avoid the step and to allow me to "tip and roll" more effectively instead of "step, tip, and roll."

I've narrowed down the range where I need to be at for the tip and roll to be effective. Now it's "simply" a matter of retraining my automatic responses engrained from racing on straight skis to accept the fact that technique has changed. Slowly, but surely, my brain will start processing the moves differently, more automatically, as I further develop this practice.

Thanks for all the great input,
Ben

Quote:
Originally posted by FastMan:
Diverging Step turns sure were taught in the old days, and not just as a way to transfer to the new ski at the end of a turn, but as an actual way to produce a rapid change of direction. Straight skis produced only large radius carved turns, and when the radius needed to be reduced the diverging skating step at the end of the turn was a slick way to do an immediate 30 degree change of direction. The skate at the end of the turn often eliminated the need to steer or pivot at the beginning of the turn which in racing proved very beneficial. In fact it was one of the core techniques of Stenmark, who by my measure is the greatest ski racer of all time. If Ben was involved in racing he could have very well been taught the move in that context.

Ben, excuse my bluntness, but if the outside ski is tracking straight down the falline once it hits the apex of the arc then only two things can be going on:

1: The ski is flat on the snow. I highly doubt this is the case.

2: You've moved your center of mass too far inside causing pressure to transfer to the inside ski which causes the outside ski to disengage and track away. This is what is happening.

It's all about balance Ben. If you utilize proper angulation that keeps the forces of the turn directed at the outside ski around the entire arc of the turn then the ski will remain pressured and carve all around the entire arc. If you move your center of mass to far inside it will not and you will fall on your inside ski and be forced to finish your turn there. It's really that simple.

There are a couple common causes of your not using enough angulation and falling on the inside ski. You may be anticipating the direction change produced by the carving ski and leading with the upper body, in essence leaving the skis behind. Or it may be a fore/aft balance or rotational problem causing you to fall back and inside.

Your step may be a compensating result of the falling to the inside ski before turn completion. Or, the anticipation of doing a step may be causing you to move away from your outside ski too soon.
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