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Converging Step turns / Stem Christies

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Mark should actually post this, but he's not really interested in all the ski techno babble.

Anyway, he was looking at my Ellen Post Foster book, Skiing and the Art of Carving, and commented that he thought that The Converging Step Turn and the Stem Christie seemed to be the same thing, even though the Stem Christie is supposedly a "faux pas" nowadays.

Thoughts?<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited September 10, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited September 10, 2001).]</FONT>
post #2 of 23
Kinda opposite of "Beginners lift, Experts lighten".....heh,heh,heh
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Geez, Robin, I didn't think of that! But you're right!
post #4 of 23
I know you didn't ask me, and I will let Bob answer your question, but I LOVE converging step turns(!), particularly because of the early and immediate edge engagement with a dramatic CM movement.
Although it is still a 1-2 move, I tend to step/converge narrowly, quickly and deliberately without any movement "up". They resemble a kind of 1-2 "hanger"...lot's of fun at speed on a steep cordorouy morning.
Problem most pros have demoing is "stepping up-onto" just like diverging parallel etc. The thrill is in the leap of faith move of the CM as the step occurs and the edge engages. Same thing can happen brushing, but not as quick or immediate.
This turn has little modern application even in racing...but it is fun doinking and exploring!
post #5 of 23
Well stated Bob.

I don't think their is a "right" or "wrong" about ANY movements we can do on skis. Most have their place and time. For example: using upper body rotation to help torque your skis around is certainly a waste of energy most of the time . . . but if I'm about to hit a tree, and my instinctive reaction to that snow condition and circumstance is to stop myself by using upper body rotation, then there is no "right" or "wrong" about it! There is only a dead or alive skier.

In my books and videos I've got hundreds of examples of top racers using a "converging entry parallel" (or whatever you want to call it) to make it around a turn. Certainly you don't see them skiing with this as a standard tecnique that they always use, but the idea is they do whatever they HAVE to do to stay in their desired/needed line. Brushing or stepping a ski out is a fast and powerful way of getting a ski out into a new line/trajectory, no right or wrong about it . . . its sometimes ineffecient, but its also sometimes very useful.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Todd Murchison (edited September 10, 2001).]</FONT>
post #6 of 23
The most amazing and balanced displays of athletic ability I've ever seen have very often been skiers nearly exploding and then saving it. Personally I'm also often most exhilerated when I pull a recovery out of my **s
post #7 of 23
Would that be when you get in the back seat and time a burst of gas just right to get you centered?
post #8 of 23
by the way Todd,
is it getting cold out there yet? I'm hoping to catch up with you and take you up on that offer of some skiing in December!
post #9 of 23
I'm not good at the GAR manuever (Gas Assisted Recovery) . . . perhaps a posterior mounted spark unit activated by a pole-top pressure switch?


Yes, come on out and ski! The temperatures fluctuating right now - a week ago we got nearly down to freeze temps - hot again now, but its supposed to cool off again. Main worry is that its been so DRY, of course most of the country is in the same boat right now moisture-wise.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
HEY!!! No ruining my thread with that yucky gas talk!

Thanks for everyone's replies!
post #11 of 23
See Todd knows the secret of Bob's ability to convert "butt waggers". Though I think Bob calls it a GASM - Gas Assisted Stabilizing Maneuver. Seems to work wonders keeping the butt from broad oscillations...

Has anyone seen the new Atomic Poster of Herman Maier with a photo sequence by Ron Lemaster? Well worth getting from a rep. - Daron Rahlves (sp?)also. (I've only seen those two) Herman clearly finishes the first turn too late and then makes a large step up onto the uphill ski to get right on track for the next gate.
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Tog, would eating hydroponic beef before skiing help with the GASM?
post #13 of 23
I can see that LM was right when she said I should have posted this - but I'd get blown away by the ski technobabble. (as opposed to the computer technobabble which I can spew ad naseum.)

Since I've jellified my brain by spending the last 2 days setting up qmail, virtual apache servers, and tcpserver (and that's for a *hobby* not my "real job), I'm not even going to try to figure out Bob's diagrams and Bob, Todd, Gonzo and Tog's comments quite yet. But I'm definitely going to print and save them, and take a look when there aren't so many penguins running around inside my head.

As LM noted, I had casually asked her the question when browsing through Ellen's book. The images and descriptions of the converging step seemed amazingly like the concepts I learned long ago for the stem christie from Bob Beattie's "Learn to Ski" (circa 1967). I was basically self-taught from that book. Good at the time I guess - at least it took me from basic snowplow on bunny slopes up to functional though klutzy stem christies on blues and easy blacks.

Probably gave "Xena", my instructor at Whistler a couple of years ago, a lot things she had to correct in my skiing. No doubt that was the reason she had to tell me "stop pushing snow to the side of the trail, we have enough snow there already!"

I do get the "defensive" stem christie vs. "offensive" converging step in concept and feel, I think. Though I couldn't explain the biomechanics and vectors of it. I've found myself still occasionally in a bit of a stem (or "converging parallel?") on things that are a bit above my ability level but within my "ah hell I guess I can get down this ok" range. Things like the front face snow bowl at Bormio, White Heat (the groomed side - I'd die on the bumps) at Sunday River, deep powder, etc.

What I've noticed in those situations is that now though I'll still be in a "converging" position mid-turn, and in a "one-two" move, I do seem to be much more down the hill over my skis, and I'm not doing the "push snow to the side" thing as I'm doing it. It feels more like a "how I get down this steep section" turn rather than a "how I try NOT to get down this steep section" move.

Partially that's from my on-the-groomed deliberate attempt last season to stay close to the fall line, get my upper body downhill, do aggressive pole plants out forward, and do clean parallel, mostly carved turns. So I'm more used to the feeling of continuing downhill rather than earlier days of checking myself. Plus you have someone named Xena yell at you and you'd do what she wanted real soon too!

From a holistic, sensory perspective, does that seem like the difference between the stem christie and converging step? Similar moves (other than brush vs. step) but different intent and visualization of your movement?
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
So very true. I'm the one who can analyze skiing. He just does it, and does it well.

And his instructor "Xena" was quite stunning, and seemed to be a superb teacher!
post #15 of 23
Hey Mark! I'm going to be in Whistler next Jan/February. Who does Xena instruct with in case I need a lesson? "Oh no, not the whip! I'll finish my turns properly coach."

Seriously though, I look like being there from the middle of January until late February and then to Silver Star for a week. If anyone wants to catch up with me and my partner and another friend from Canberra, let me know. We'd be delighted to meet up with some of da Bears. Unfortunately we can't fit the Fernie meeting into our schedule.
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Her real name is Monique. When we were there, she instructed Mark's level 5 group in the Ski E'Spirit. But you can call ahead and request that she teaches your group. I did that with this other instructor, Nadine.
post #17 of 23
LM said
". I did that with this other instructor, Nadine"

You had Nadine from Ski Esprit? I had her for a week in 1997 and thought she was excellent. I was a Level 5 then, and next year will be my first time back at Whistler since then and now as a Level 8-9 can't wait to ski the stuff I could't (or wouldn't!) ski then.

Am going to be there for about 6 weeks and as I said earlier would love to catch up with folk, although I may be a bit limited as am probably going to be skiing in a 5 week, 5 days a week program.

Incidentally Bob Barnes, I bought your book recently (through Amazon unfortunately before I realised it was available through here.) I'm a bit like LisaMarie as I also devour ski books( maybe it's an older skier thing LM altho I'm a lot older than you!) and found both Lito and Harald good a while ago.

I find I can now appreciate some of the finer points of ski mechanics and technique which I couldn't before and find your book an essential reference guide and I really appreciate your comments on this forum.

Incidentally, my partner and I both ski in a Masters group each weekend and our coach is Swiss. He tells us there has a been a huge growth in Europe in the number of experienced adult skiers taking lessons on how to get the most out of shaped skis. Is this happening in the States too?
post #18 of 23
gerathlete 1
are you the same gerathlete that was with us last season? different logon?
If not, Welcome aboard. If so, welcome back.

I would say the new "shaped" ski techique is beginning to catch on.

By the way I will be in Whistler January 26-Feb 2 with a pretty large group of my friends. I'll send you more details as the time gets closer. You can reach me at dchan@epicski.com
I will also be in whistler Feb 16-23 I think. I will try to catch up with you some time during one of those weeks.
post #19 of 23
Thanks for the instructor recommendation. I'll have to check her out. The group I'm going with is interested in getting an instructor for part of the week.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Wow, Gerathlete. That IS a coincidence!

D-chan, either Nadine, or Mark's instructor, Xena {Monique} would be good choices. My experience, and that of Mark's, my stepson's and my stepdaughter's is that Whistler has some superb instructors, and some that are horrific.

You may want to post a thread about instructor recommendations in Whistler.
post #21 of 23
Dchan. Same guy. Different log in due to system rejection!.
LM. Good to hear you are going to be in Whistler at the same time.
More later guys. Right now we here in Australia are sharing your shock and disbelief over the NYC events. We have friens who have two sons, one who works in the Pentagon and the other in WTC. Waiting to hear.
Our thoughts are with you all.
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
Actually we won't be at Whistler because of the Fernie trip, but D-chan will.

Thank you for your thoughts. Living currently in Boston, but with my family back in NYC where I'm from originally, I don't think I'll be sleeping to well in the next few days.
post #23 of 23
Iruletc.: Along the same lines as Bob's comments, you really need to spend some time feeling a gradual release of the old outside ski into the new turn. This is as opposed to suddenly stepping from one ski to the other.

I'd begin with taking the time and developing the patience to feel what happens when you weight the skis equally while traversing in a gliding wedge. You'll need to do a bunch of these. It takes me about 100 turns to each side to get to relaxing into these turn entries at the start of the season and a good 10 or so on any day during the year when I think I need the reminder.

After feeling the resulting turn entry on enough easy and intermediate terrain, add a bit of steering, particularly of the new inside foot. Keep the gliding wedge really narrow while adding the steering and pretty soon there'll be no wedge.

The trick then is to take the same feelings and patience onto gradually steeper and steeper terrain.

Any time I sense that I'm hesitating to commit to the new turn off the old outside ski, I spend a couple runs on easier slopes where I make half a dozen linked turns on one foot and then on the other (left and right on the left foot, and then switch over to the same number on the right foot). If that fails to get me feeling right when I return to steeper slopes, I go through the routine I described earlier.
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