or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › new ideas on carving pregressions- help please
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

new ideas on carving pregressions- help please

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
OK, Bob, Ott, Pierre, et al, please help me out here. I had a sort of realization this weekend as I was teaching the progression I described in the post "technical Question" (the hips-across-the skis stuff).

OK, here we go. For years, PSIA, USSCA, and everyone else have discussed the phases of the turn as being Initiation-Carving-Completion-[Initialtion]. However, it seems to me that with shaped skis skiers are actually skiing more arc-to-arc with an extremely quick edge transition at the cross-over/cross-under motion. In looking at tracks made by my athletes, other coaches, and myself, I see a clean, complete arc with edging all the way through, a flat spot in the track for transition (usually about the length of the ski), then another arc.

What this says to me is that the skier has engaged their edges while the skis are across the fall line and are creating their arcs with their skis in the same relationship (although opposite edges) as they were when they completed the previous turn. This being the case, I have the following questions:

1. Can you get a student/athlete to engage an arc sooner and more efficiently by de-emphasizing the 3 phases, since they will take the time to think through and perform each one?

2. What if you start talking about arc-to-arc skiing rather than the 3 phases? It seems to me that studens will delay initiation because they are trying to get their skis closere to the fall liine before eging, then they will cut the carving phase short since they are concerned about completion, so they choke in the carve, skidding the bottom as they try to set up for completion/initiation. In the case of a racer, they will get late, but in the case of a skier, they get progrssively sloppy as their errors compund.

I played with discussing arc-to-arc instead of 3 phases on some victims, uh, athletes this weekend, and I could see a distinct difference.

I'm curious for some feedback as I mull these ideas over.



post #2 of 21
AJ, if I understand you correctly, teaching students arc to arc carving is your goal.

First, you are right that there is a transition phase between carves where the skis roll from one set of edges to the other and your realizatin that the sooner the edges are engaged the sooner the skier can steer them to where he wants to go.

Second, there is no real neccesity to break down the turn into the three phases. That gets the student thinking too much about what the skis are doing.

Third, have the student concentrate on what the body, the center of mass is doing. Think of it this way: the skier has just finished a turn, the tips of the skis are in front of his body coming across. At this time the skis are on their uphill edges. As the skier allows his body to move across the skis, downhill, several things happen, and the skier need not, should not think about them, they just happen.

The skis roll over to their opposite edges WITH WEIGHT ON THEM, that is important, since the skis have dimished or non existant power to deflect/carve while weighless or nearly so.

Automatically the skiers body is now inside the new turn as the skis describe an arc around him and automatically the turn has been initiated without thinking about it and automnatically the skier, thinking about his body movement, can't let it move across the skis until they have come around thus automatically the turn has finished.

I am not trying to be glib, but if the skiers thinks about what his body needs to do, the skis will take care of themselves, providing the skier is at least at an intermediate level.

This is the cross-over move. The cross-under move can be done two ways: first it can be skied with weight on the skis, essentially letting the skis make shallow s-turns while the body moves straight down the fall line, and second, the body is still moving down the fall line but at the end of the turn when the skis are edged maximum, the skier allows the rebound of the skis to lighten the body just enough to allow a rectraction of the skis and bring them back under him to the other side.

Rebound skiing is great on steep terrain because the side to side edge set takes a fraction of the time of skiing the skis from side to side, on the other hand there is a loss of control for a longer time because there isn't any while the skis move underneath...

Or some such ....Ott

post #3 of 21

shaped skis get squirly when not on edge. I believe this contributed greatly to the changes in modern skiing technique. "Always turning" is a good way to describe modern skiing on groomers.

In a recent lesson, my instructor (Craig Orlando) and I worked on edge to edge carving. The first change he made, was getting me away from semi-rigid hands out front (somtimes called "Golf cart" style) for pole touches. Craig asked me to move my outside hand forward and to the inside a little (almost around me) during the turn, then make a pole touch as the hand reached in front of me and I was about to transition. The inside hand also moves forward a touch. My hips were moving forwad and to the side, 45 degrees off of center, to the inside. The result of these changes was a smooth body movement, where the upper body counters. I found I was able to really relax using this technique. When we went to faster turns, the countering was far less and the upper body got quiet, but the motion of the hips and legs were very similar.

The last step we worked on was using the energy of one turn to propel us into the next. Once I got the feeling, the arcs in the snow were exactly as you described.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I think you guys are on the same track as I am with the mechanics of the carved turn. My question basically boils down to the complexity presented in many clinics. The cross-over/cross-under of the skis coming under the body at the same time as the body moving down into the hill is fundamental to the modern GS turn, and I'm trying to think about a different distillation. Obviously, this has its roots in the White Pass turn, but the equipment has allowed the move to be more efficient and effective. I've been working pretty hard the last few months to recreate my own skiing so I can coach a bit better, so I'm tossing a few ideas around.

Ott, I think we're talking the same thing, so it's obviously time to go make some turns. Your description is good, I need to play with it a bit since I have been using the hips-forward-and-into-the-turn approach rather than the pulling feet back approach (the result is the same). I need to play with different descriptions.

GF, if I understand your comments about your hand position, it reminds me of many years ago when I had a coach tell me to "touch' my opposite tip with my index finger. It helped my skiing a lot, although i still ski with my index fingers extended, which makes me look like Chuck Barris. I find that at higher speeds on my longer radius skis (24m +) I do this move more to help bring me around. it reminds me of the way we were taught to 'drive' the outside hand when we were trying to fit 225s into a course. I noticed I was doing it more this season, albeit unconsciously. It seems to work great on shape skis, although it's far more subtle than on those old big sticks.
post #5 of 21
Another excersize you can try with them is tuck turns, this may be a little remedial but it will show what a little pressure will do with the shaped skis, it also stops them from steering the ski(causing it to skid in the completion phase). Also as Ott said emphasize the rolling of the edges, but you might take it one step further to have them invision rolling the ankles, another excersize is to have your students leave their poles behind and ski with their hands out, palms down, and let their hands mimic what their feet are doing. this will show them where the hard edge sets and flat spots are.

post #6 of 21
good question. Within PSIA-RM we have been using a pool of movements called "3 steps to success". You may draw similarities from the Skills Concept. The 3 steps to success are 1)Tipping of the Feet and legs, 2)Turning of the Feet and Legs, 3) Flexing and Extending movements. All three may be happening at the same time in different amounts. But I like to look for timing of dominant movements.

For World Class carved turns, I like to look at it in this way.

What is the skier's first move when transitioning from one turn to the next?

I say tipping of the feet and legs. From years of skiing with anticipation/counter this was, and sometimes is, a tough one to change. But if you have counter, you will cause your skis to release and change steering angle. i.e. your skis will rotate at the beginning of the turn to line up with your upper body rather than enter into the turn with a double arc.
So in the example above, if one turns the feet and legs first a skidded entrance to the turn will follow. Good for the Moguls, not so good for the race course.

Flexing and Extending Movements First-
If one extends at the start (Cross-over) the skis will be light at the beginning of the turn. Unless some type of tipping happens the skis won't turn.
If you use a modern "Pedaling" movement. (Outide leg extending, Inside leg flexing). You will create a tipping of the ski, and a carved turn entry. The downside to this move is that a skier runs the probable risk of moving inside the turn too fast, and getting "stuck" until the forces pull him back over the skis.

Going back to the beginning, " I prefer Tipping of the Feet, then legs".
I will be happy to give excercises in another post, if asked.
If I can get the skier to feel and articulate movements in the foot and ankle, we can enter the turn in balance making double arcs. Almost immediately the skier will begin to pedal (as mentioned above), this allows for two things, increased edge, and maintanence of balance. As the skier moves through the gravity zone a.k.a. (fall-line) the edge angle is the highest, at this point the skier may rotate femurs toward direction of intended travel. Because the edges are at the highest angle they are least likely to break free. I am sure our comrades in the eastern US would be willing to prove me wrong. But to those willing to play with the turning of the femurs, you will not believe the skis on your feet are yours. They will simply explode with power into the next turn. Flexion and Extention, and untipping can be used to manage this power.

In summary,
Tipping, flexing the inside leg (including ankle. It feels like the inside foot is underneath pelvis.), Turn femurs out of the gravity zone. Repeat until your are exhausted.

Best Regards,
from the west,
post #7 of 21
GF, I must be missing something on the pole touch arm position. If you are turning and moving the outside arm forward and somewhat inside I would think this would cause your outside shoulder to rotate in the direction of the turn and cause the tails to wash out.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thnaks, everyone, this has been great. I wish the on-hill clinics were this helpful and informative. I'm gearing up to take my LIII teaching exam this spring (failed 2x). I think the biggest issues I run into have to deal with the fairly large split between USSCA and PSIA, and the fact I have my atheletes for 6 months instead of a few hours. When your lesson plan is for the whole season you have lots of time to work on someone.

I'm trying to add a few new tools to my teaching, and this forum is great. Now if I could only learn to spell 'progression' I'll have it made...
post #9 of 21
Actually, there were 4 parts of a turn.


I don't think I'd ever teach that to a student though. But maybe a racer could work with it.

I didn't read all the responses so far due to time constraints, but I'll say that the 4 parts of the turn are always there. Possibly even when a World Cup racer is in a flush on a pair of 174s. But you don't see them. They are internal to the skier. Watch a GS race and you'll see them better.

Note: Don't complete a turn properly, and the preparation will be a moment of panic, and initiation will be a recovery move.

In answer to your questions:
1:Can you get a student/athlete to engage an arc sooner and more efficiently by de-emphasizing the 3 phases, since they will take the time to think through and perform each one?

No. You can probably get them to engage the edge sooner by Re-emphasising the phases of a turn. See "Note" above. Everything has to work properly for quick, precise turns to happen. Besides that, a good skier will not have to think his way through a turn. A good skier "owns" the moves to a point where he doesn't have to think about them.

2. What if you start talking about arc-to-arc skiing rather than the 3 phases? It seems to me that studens will delay initiation because they are trying to get their skis closere to the fall liine before eging, then they will cut the carving phase short since they are concerned about completion, so they choke in the carve, skidding the bottom as they try to set up for completion/initiation. In the case of a racer, they will get late, but in the case of a skier, they get progrssively sloppy as their errors compund.

I agree with that statement. But just telling them to go arc-to-arc, without completing the turn properly will probably set up a situation where they end the turn too soon, aim too low with too much speed, and are not able to engage the edge again until after they have passed the gate, then must skid to get set up for the next gate.

But #2 is more about tactics and picking the right line. Once you teach someone to carve properly, they will need to re-asses the way they pick a line through the gates so that they don't over turn or under turn. I can't imagine that teaching someone the phases of a turn would make them not engage the edge until they are facing down the fall line. Just the opposite in fact. If you teach someone to properly prepare and initiate, then they should be able to change edges immediately. Quicker edge-to-edge engagement happens froma more lateral move across the skis, down the hill. However, if you move too lateral, and not enough forward (in the direction the skis should go), two bad things will happen; 1) The skis will continue to move forward as you move sideways, and you will get your mass behind your feet, and 2)you will need to pivot the skis too quickly under you, to keep from falling over, resulting in a skid. Another bad result from moving too laterally can be that you move away from the new outside, turning ski too quickly, then end up with too much pressure on the inside ski, and the outside ski will run away from you, requiring evasive action to correct. All of these will destroy a good time in the gates.

-JohnH<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by JohnH (edited January 16, 2001).]</FONT>
post #10 of 21
This may be over-simplifying, but isn't arc-to-arc something that used to be taught to advanced skiers?

I thought one of the "things" about shaped skis is that they're supposed to make skiers advanced more quickly; as part of that concept, and given what I teach, I'd say that if the skiers you're teaching grasp the concept and can do it - is there any reason to go back to the more basic turns?

Or is that what you were asking in the first place? The only potential issue is simply will they still have the same set of skills at the end, and that'll be taken care of as you keep skiing with them, right?!
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

I think arc-to-arc used to be only for advanced skiers, but can't see any reason why everyone should not learn it. The shaped skis make it easier to achieve (getting a carve out of those old black-and-yellow ARCs took an act of Congress and supersonic speed, but was worth it), and the edge grip gives any skier confidence. Basically, I'm playing around with some of the phrasing and terminology as I work with different students. Most of my students are at an open or dynamic parrallel level, but there is little or edging in the turn. On the converse, many of my really young students who learned on shaped skis from the start, are able to make solid arcs in nearly every turn. Part of my time is spent coaching young racers, the rest is coaching adults who are embarrassed by their own kids (with regards to skiing. I can't help with the other stuff).

It's all just trying to find a new or different way to teach an old concept.
post #12 of 21

Since you said you were looking for feedback, but said that teaching the arc-to-arc was working, maybe the 4 phases of the turn would be more useful as a teaching technique if:

1) The student was used to it, and used to conceptualizing the turn that way, or

2) You want the student to concentrate specifically on a portion of the turn, and therefore have to explain that the turn can be split into phases.

This seems a little basic, but if students "get" the how-to-carve shaped skis without needing an explanation of these details at the lesson - you can speak sentences without knowing how to analyze them, and ski-turns are the same way in my experience.

How is it working for you, by the way? Are you able to skip the phases altogether, or are you just melding them into one how-to-use-shaped skis piece?
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Skiandsb: This sort of popped into mind last weekend when I was sketching a large S in the snow to represent a full turn (left and right), then the inside S for body mass. I was showing both how the legs are extended in the belly of the turn and short at the cross-over-cross-under, and it sort of clicked that the full arc, although it does have multiple phases, is still just a smooth direction change. I got to mulling over the way we [instructors] describe the turn and wondering if we were making it too complex. Most of what my students have been doing the last few days have been a dynamic crossing of the hips forward and down into the fall line, rather than across the skis (also described as pulling the feet back), and I was thinking about the motion with different descriptions.

I noticed that with a couple of my students, they were so into thinking about initiation-carving-completion/initiation, that they were stretching the turn shape out, and I thought that it may be becuase they are thinking about doing each part of the turn, rather than letting the arc flow smoothly and quickly. It may be little more than an excersize in semantics, but sometimes the description can make or break the drill.
post #14 of 21
>>>a dynamic crossing of the hips forward and down into the fall line, rather than across the skis<<<

AJ, actually that what cross-overs look like. At the finish of most turns the skis are anywhere from 45-80 degrees across the fall line and the body mass crosses over diagonally, forward and across,never sideways, which is actually down the fall line.

post #15 of 21

Our ski school uses a different skiing model than that used by PSIA or USSA. Our model consists of turn shaping movements, turn connecting movements and balancing movements.
This has led me to look at the turn as having two phases. The connecting phase and the shaping phase much simpler than the four parts of the PSIA model especially since three of the parts of the PSIA model (Finish, preperation and initation) are all part of the connecting phase of our model and must take place in a split second and to take the time to perform three seperate parts will often cause a hesitation between the turns.
By this I mean that what I do to finish one turn better be part of initiating the next turn or I will miss the point at which I want to start the new turn.

Just a thought,
post #16 of 21

>>This may be over-simplifying, but isn't arc-to-arc something that used to be taught to advanced skiers?<<

This is a great thread! AJ, IMHO, keep doing what your doing. I've been teaching this concept for a long time to simplify turn entry. In a larger radius turn, just move your CM into the new direction of travel, I tell them. This causes the skis to engage early in the turn. Helps to eliminate skidding early in the turn. Helps to eliminate sequential stepping and promote a rolling of the ankles which is a much smoother transition into the new turn. Extend and float, flex and absorb. What a concept!

Ott may remember back in the Cserv forum years ago that I went around and round with some in that forum about this. And this was when we were still on long straight skis. It still was the same thing though, but it took awhile for some to understand. With the new shape skis, the radius of the turn is tighter because of the shape of the skis and if they are kept on there edges. So it's easier for those who are not world cup racers or do not like to ski at fifty mph to carve a really nice turn.

This is what we are doing here at The Ski Schools of Aspen in our new Beginner's Magic program. ( Please refer to post Beginner's Magic )
With the tipping of the ankles on short skis that we are using as part of the progression in this program, the new skier is carving throughout the whole turn. The skis are engaging early in the new turn, giving the skier support on the new outside ski early. To do this, the tipping of the ankles, the skier must move the CM across the skis somewhat to complete the rolling of the ankles all the way over. This, I believe, is what AJ is talking about.

Again, this is a great topic! --------------Wigs
post #17 of 21
AJ and Lucky,

The hand movement I discussed does a few things.

It forces you to get your hips forwards and inside the turn, pressuring the inside leg a little more. We worked on full half moon traverses over-exaggerating the hip move. The hands both move at a 45 degree angle of forward, as do the hips when you move them forward and to the inside smoothly.

In order to keep doing the hip move while I was skiing normally, Craig had me think about geting the outside hand to come around and forward. In longer arcs, you look where you're going (anticipating the turn so-to-speak), so the hand makes sense there. Part of the hand movement is done because you can't rush the initiation of the turn if you do it right. It tends to slow you down slightly and helps you with your rythm. I found that the biggest impact was in helping me stay relaxed and not rush my transitions on steeper terrain.

post #18 of 21
Hi AJ,

Welcome back !

What you described about arch to arch turns is very similiar to the patterns layed down by accomplished snowbaorders. They go from carved turn to carved turn, with a very small flat spot [ usually not much longer than the board itself ] which represents the transition from one turn to the next. I find this to be of particular interest for those boarders that are moving at such a rapid pace, to acheive a complete transition into the next turn in so little time and space. I am sure many of you have noticed this while riding the lifts, if not check it out. Why ? It just seems so efficent and easy.

On my shaped skis, I have oftened found myself quickly and almost effortlessly going from one turn to the next, at such a fast and efficient [ almost effortlessly ] manner, that I do not find it necessary to do pole plants. I just let the skis, gravity, and the momentum generated by the turns, take over.

Finally, we all need to remember that one of the great influences on the evolution of powder and shaped skis, was the snowboard, because of their inherent flotation, and quickness.

PART 2: After again reading your initial post, I think we have to keep in mind that there are different ways in which we learn and are able to process information. Skiing, like many activities, is processing information and translating that into new and learned physical action.

Over the years I have had to be keenly aware of different learning alternatives, and thus different teaching approaches when working with Special Olympians.

Often I find that they do not have the attention span for long explanations, and that it is a variety of techniques, and of course lots of patience, are needed in order to acheive a result. I only become cerebral [ get into specific explanations on theory etc. ] when an athlete is having a particular problem [ Eg. the crossing of skis tips, usually a result of some apprehension resulting in being in the back seat.] However, if I cannot make a direct connection between my explanation [and that explanation had better be brief and understandable ] then I will not be successful in having the athlete learn to correct their own problem. So I tell them why they are in the back seat, and demonsrtate and/or show them what it means to be balanced and forward over their skis.

I also over exagerate my demonstration movements, and never give them more than two things to think of at a time. Frankly, if we work on one thing at a time that's even better. Their is a lot of trial and error, but they do learn, and with sufficient time can become more than just decent skiers, and racers.

As to teaching turns, I think emphsis on early turn initiation is very helpful, especially if you are on shaped skis. All this PSIA phases of the turn stuff is OK if you are learning teaching theory and why it works, but frankly, we all need to ascribe to K.I.S.S.when working with our students or athletes.

<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by wink (edited January 19, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by wink (edited January 19, 2001).]</FONT>
post #19 of 21
>>>years ago that I went around and round with some in that forum about this.<<<

Wigs, I well remember and I am frustrated that we still struggle with the same thing, how to put into words and words and words, somethig we could demonstrate and teach in a couple of minutes.

I often drop out of a discussion on technique because someone else, many times another instructor, will correct me by saying the very same thing in other words.

This tells me that even we, who should be on the same page, can't every time visualize what is being said.

As for the non-instructors in these forums who are trying to learn from what we say, I suspect that it depends on their skiing skills, some will imidiatly know what to do and others will take our words so literally that they do what we put forth, and ONLY do what we put forth and NOT all the other things that go with it, some of the things we on the teaching end often take for granted.

Now on the hill, we can see them and if they forget to shift weight when crossing over or they bend from the waist, or whatever, we can correct them but if they do it on their own after reading our posts, we just don't know and they may come back telling us it didn't work when what actually messed them up was something totally unrelated.

post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
This has been great. I'm about to head up to the hill for the weekend to play with this some more. Why don't you all come up and join me

I'll work with some of this stuff and see how it goes. I'll let you know on Monday.

post #21 of 21

Hey, hopefully we're all up the hill with you (mentally at least!) if we can manage it.

"Sometimes the description can make or break a drill" (AJ) - I'm wondering if you found that a more dynamic description (less slow explanations of various parts of the turn) made for a more dynamic skier? <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by skiandsb (edited January 19, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by skiandsb (edited January 19, 2001).]</FONT>
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › new ideas on carving pregressions- help please