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Short Radius video

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

I've uploaded a short clip of me doing short radius on a steep section of a blue run at cypress mountain. I recently passed my csia level 2 and am looking to do my level 3 next season. I know I need to speed them up but in terms of technique...where can I improve?

any suggestions much appreciated!




T-Square added video.

Edited by T-Square - 4/28/2009 at 11:23 pm GMT
post #2 of 17

Nice skiing and congrats on passing your level 2. Im not really the right person to comment on your skiing from a csia standpoint but I will give you some pointers form a european perspective.


Your rhythm is good and you keep your speed well under controll. You are also not struggling with for aft balance. Very good. However, since your turning technique builds on extention for up-unweighthing at transition you perform most of your edging very late in your turn. This causes massive skidding. More than what you would want. Think windshield wiper turns. The reason for this is that your extention move to unweight causes you to flex your legs through out the turn and particulary the lower c where you actually would want more pressure. Now your pressure peak hits as you reach your lowest flexing and start to extend. Right before transition. This way too late. It should happen at apex or shortly after. Your flexing movement through out the turn also causes you to drop your hips towards your skis. This is wrong. It squares you up and it causes your hips to rotate outwards. This causes your skis to skidd even more massively.


What I would suggest you do is to re-think your skiing a bit. Since you are linking turns its quite stupid to start every turn like it was a stand alone turn. The up-unweighting move is great for creating momentum out of a traverse. Your first turn in a sequense. Or turns that follow a traverse or just longer turns. But when you link short turns the previous turns momentum will give you the needed up-push for unweighting your turns and over riding the edges into a pivot entry/scarve/skid/brushed/feathered etc what every you want to call a non edge locked carved turn entry. In this case you just time your up move a bit. Start the up move earlier. Start it at apex and build some pressure on your skis a bit earlier than you do now. Flex at transition. This can also be called down-unweighing. Or a retraction turn. Or a cross under turn. It will make your body move smoother through the turns and you will have lot better edging controll.


Looking at your arms it looks like you have too short poles. Your pole plant is not all bad, its a nice swing but it should be more determined and precise. Now you are reacing and sometimes not even  touching the snow.


Face more down hill in such short turns. Finish your turns with counter. Start your turns with anticipation. Ski in and out of counter and anticipation. This will improve your upper and lower body separation.


Ski bumps and think of what I have said. I would not be surpriced if you did not particulary like bumps. Follow my advice and you will love bumps and you will pass your L3 with flying colors. Dissclaimer, Im not a csia instructor.

post #3 of 17



Good use of poles and good upper/lower body separation.  There is too much of an up and down movement.  The down movement toward the end of the turn, undoes any edge engagement you have.  The up movement causes the skis to engage late in the turn.


I would like to see the same range of movement, but done more effectively.  What I mean by that is getting longer and shorter, but not moving up and down.  Your extension is to early and in the wrong direction and your flexion is down to your skis, where it should be flexing your ski toward your body (retraction), so you can release the turn and then extend laterally to re-engage.


I hope this makes sense to you.



post #4 of 17

Hi skibum.sparky. Good skiing, with nice flow and rhthym. If I could take what has been said so far and create a visual outcome that would be to take the turn shape in the bottom half of your turns and visualy draw it up, creating an equal shaped top half of the turn. That would be a level III short radius turn. The $64,000 question is how to get there? You've already gotten some pretty descriptive feedback on what you are doing, so I will throw out two tasks that should help you make some changes.


First an exercise that I use sometimes to help skiers do what Ron described in his second paragraph. It si pretty simple in concept but like many exercises easier said that done. Go out early morning on a mild blue freshly groomed run and simply ski short turns keeping your head right over a seem in the groomer track. Think of nothing else. It helps to keep your head out in front, leading. You should find yourself reaching with your feet as you lengthen with your legs into the middle of the turn, and then flexing to release the turn as your feet and legs come back under your body. Remember the outcome is to keep the head traveling in straight line down the hill. Spend enough time on this that you really feel like you have achieved the desired outcome effectively. You will feel a change in the timing of your extension and flexion as well as rounder turn shape as you get the task down.


Now slowly drop the focus of the head going straight down the hill, but try very hard to hold onto the range of motion and timing of the lengthening and shortening of the legs. Be patient here, and try not to rush your turns,,,let them develop as the ski design starts to work higher in the turn for you.


The second exercise is one I like a lot, and find very usefull for developing flowfrom turn to turn and early edge engagement in the top of the turn. It's called 2-4-2 (thanks D-Team). Put simply, try to touch all 4 edges down at the same time as you move from turn to turn. 2 edges throughout the turn then briefly 4 edges through transition, and then back to two edges through the turn again. 2222222222222-4-222222222222222. If you can manage to add this into the range of motion and timing of movements you get from the first exercise you should have a nice level III short radius turn. Hopefully you still have snow to practice on.

post #5 of 17

Watch the video, and you see that you are extending in the direction that the trees are pointing.  This moves your balance point back, and you over-pressure the tails which gives those turns the look of a heel push.


Focus instead on extending in the direction that the boot-cuffs are pointing.  This will keep you more forwards, when you need to be especialy at the top of the turn.


There is more, but this is the critical aspect now.  You will find especially on the steeps that the extension direction MUST be in the direction that the boot cuffs are pointing.



post #6 of 17

Good movement evident in hips, knees and ankles, which gives you a strong base to develop from.


I see more flexing movement with the knees than you want:  this is putting COM back on your heel pieces and contributing to your tails sliding out.  COM needs to move forward:  try tightening core muscles, bringing shoulders forward, and using a little bit more flexing the hips to get forward. 


Pole plants are consistent & regular, now plant more towards the front of the ski which will also help keep everything forward.  The pole should be vertical when you're planting it.  Your poles may be a hint short, but there's a training effect that you can get using the slightly shorter pole.


I don't mind the vertical movement on that run at that level of performance.  However, BigE has a good suggestion for what you want to work towards for CSIA 3.  After you get that part nailed, you;ll work on translating the vertical movement to lateral movement.

post #7 of 17


Ron, RicB, and E, all touched on getting into the turn without moving up and back off of such a strong edge set. What your current release move produces is an inability to engage and pressure the skis earlier in your turns because you are in effect bouncing from one edge set (platform) to the next. Not a bad move to own but as you move towards the next level of certification you will need to demonstrate the ability to work the ski during the earlier phases of your turns.


The short version of my advice is that you ski with your feet too much beneath your hips and torso. At the speed you made those turns this works but as your speed increases this will not work as well as allowing your feet to reach out laterally away from your body. To do that you cannot move the hips and torso uphill (away from your edges), or even vertical (like the trees grow) to release the last turn. They would need to move forward and towards the apex of the next turn. As the body moves towards the apex of the next turn, the feet move along a rounder and wider path.The result is your body moves from inside of one turn to inside the next and the feet move back and forth out from under the body sort of like a pendulum.



Notice the simple drawing here doesn't represent a real ski turn. I purposely drew it to show the lateral range of motion possible when we allow the feet to move laterally out from underneath the body.


Sparky, if you are interested, send me a PM with your e-mail and I'll send you the PPT this came from. BTW I am working on a new presentation and would love to use your video in it. May I?  






post #8 of 17

Hey SbS,


One thing about the advice you have been given about using retraction (which is very good advice)...It probably isn't going to work for you until you develop a release move.  At least with these turns, you are using the up move to unweight your skis and then you use rotation to twist them into the fall line.  The rotation causes your skis to flatten by the time they hit the fall line which is why this hangs together for you.  So in a sense, this is a release, but it is completely passive. 


In order to effectively use retraction, you have to be able to actively tip your skis in concert with the forces pulling you into the new turn.  This means you have to be able to release your edges while your skis are perpendicular to the fall-line, bring them flat, and continue tipping into the new turn.  This can be a scary move, but it is fundamental to expert skiing.


Basic, dry land exercises can be done to enhance tipping. Just put on your boots and practice tipping from one set of edges to the other.  Notice how your upper body has to move opposite the tip to keep you in balance.  Keep that in mind when you are on your skis.  Speaking of which you can practice these movements statically on skis as well.  It helps to have a gentle slope to get the hang of releasing your uphill edges and tipping them downhill (without allowing your skis to move).  Then you can move to fans and garlands and ultimately to linking rail-road track turns.  Do this all on green terrain. 


Focus on starting your tipping movements with the inside foot.  This will do two things for you.  First it will force you to shift your balance to the outside ski (where it belongs).  Second, it will ensure that you don't end up in a stem.  If you tip your inside foot, the outside will follow reflexively, but if you lead with your outside foot, it will likely overpower the inside, causing the stem.


The other difficulty you may encounter is that you need to keep your skis tracking absolute straight through this transition. Skiers who use lots of active rotary often have trouble here. Anyway, if you can't avoid rotation here (and patience is required), at a minimum two things will happen. 


First, even the slightest rotation will mean your turn will start with a skid which means you won't be able to hold a clean edge on hard snow.  If your transition is clean, you have the choice as to whether you will choose to arc or brush.  If your transition is sloppy, you won't get that choice unless the snow is really forgiving.  Even if you intend to use active steering at some point in your turn, keep it out of the transition.  Linking arced turns on ice is the ultimate test of whether you have a clean transition.


Second, if you allow your skis to pivot significantly during transition, you deprive yourself of the ability to carve the top part of the arc.  Nice round turns give you speed control.  Failure to engage the ski early will either result in continuous acceleration, or it will force you to scrub speed with heavy edging at the bottom of the turn.  As others have pointed out, that is what is happening to you with these turns.


Edge hop drills can help with this (both static and as part of linking turns), but they are hard to do correctly.  You have to make sure you only hop with your legs.  Another good drill for this is to pick a target as your skis come across the fall line and then attempt to make the transition while still pointed at the target.  Also, just looking at your tracks will tell you if you were clean during the transition (or anywhere else). 


Anyway, hopefully this gives you some ideas to fall back on if you are having trouble executing transitions using active flexion (retraction).  Good Luck!

post #9 of 17



This is entirely different from what she is doing.  What you are suggesting is to use a completely different technique.  None of that works very well when the extension is completely out of phase with the flexion.....


post #10 of 17


Originally Posted by BigE View Post



This is entirely different from what she is doing.  What you are suggesting is to use a completely different technique.  None of that works very well when the extension is completely out of phase with the flexion.....


Hey BigE,


Yes, I would agree.  Using retraction requires a change in timing.  You have to flex to absorb the virtual bump rather than extending off the top.  JASP's drawing shows the feet diverging from the body without any vertical movement.  The best way to make that happen is to flex at transition.  The alternative would be to use active extension to project the body into the turn, but I can tell you from experience that move is hard to control and will more often than not put you directly onto your inside ski in a heavily inclined position.  IMO, the up move needs to go and her timing needs to change.  OTOH, I'm not a CSIA guy so please don't let me suggest something that isn't going to work for her level 3 cert.

post #11 of 17

We are getting tangled up in multiple meaning terminology. We are talking short turns where skis are overriding their edges. Tail tracking wider than tip. Some call that skidding and some call that brushing or steering. Main point is that the intent is not to edge lock carve turns. Important is that the turn shape is even and round. This means that after transition in the high C there is less pressure than in the lower C part of the turn. Less edge angle and pressure is needed at the top of the turn in order to make the turn shape even. That means that we can let our legs extend without any aggressive edging after transition. When we pass apex and the point in the turn where we start building up upper body counter and alredy have angulation that is still increasing we will be able to continue with the same turn shape. Only difference is that more snow is flying due to the increased pressure.


OPs problem is that she is squaring up after apex and lower her butt towards her ski tails, diagonally to vertical. Her hip rotates outwards. Shoulders are not level. Loosing outside ski pressure. Banking. Causing massive skidding. Insted, she should not square up after apex. She should lower her butt vertically towards the snow without flexing of legs. Keep her hips inside the turn. Legs extended. Point her butt uphill, not in the direction of her ski tails.

post #12 of 17



Retraction is not the only option, nor is it the most favourable option for her predicament. 


Consider for a minute that such skiing passed CSIA level 2.  This means that the movement pattern is not fundamentally wrong -- according to the CSIA she's an intermediate level skier.  So, retooling her skiing is really not an option.


What is needed is to address the aspects of her skiing that if she were to go out tomorrow, and practice, she'd see an immediate improvement, and hopefully, the improvements would be seen in other skills as well.


That's why I suggested extension out of the boot cuffs.  Is it wrong?  From a certain perspective, yes -- if it creates an "up move".  However, what I'm looking for is extension INTO the turn, in the way the bootcuffs are pointing.  So again, if you want to extend INTO the turn, the boot cuffs need to be pointing into the turn.  Extension into the turn is the outcome of tipping the skis while maintain snow contact/pressure. 


To extend into the turn, some momentum across the skis and into the new turn is necessary.  This implies that the "CM is released from it's arc" (a very CSIA concept) and is free to float into the new turn.  How?  Pressure control -- flexion at the end of the turn. At the point the skis go flat, plant the pole.


So, now we have a rudimentary turn, with flexion releasing the body which changes sides and extension out of the bootcuffs into the new turn. 


How are we going to ensure that the turn is actually short?


We want the shovels of the skis to engage very early -- we want the balance point to be over the toe pieces or further.  Well, pulling back the feet can do that--pulling back (recentering) while extending out of the bootcuff (forwards into the turn) will move the balance point.  A pivot can be used here as well, as the pivot can help move the balance point forwards towards the shovels too.


To assist the edge engagment, we forcibly tip the skis to their new edges.


The notion of tipping and pivotting combined during the transition, is something I would call "steering" or "guiding" the skis onto their edges.


So here we go, Flex, Flatten and Touch , Recenter, Tip, Pivot, Extend.


The short form for the basic parallel turn is flex, flatten, pivot, extend.  As you add tipping, you get higher in the food chain.


At least that's how I'd summarize it.


post #13 of 17






This is entirely different from what she is doing.  What you are suggesting is to use a completely different technique.  None of that works very well when the extension is completely out of phase with the flexion.....


You are right.  What we are saying (maybe a little differently), is the turns are a pretty solid LII, but some changes (maybe big changes) are needed for the CSIA LIII.  I am not CSIA, but skiing is skiing.  Another difference in LIII is the steepness of terrain where the turns will be performed.





There are fundamental movement changes needed for you to do LIII turns.  You look solid enough on your skis and athletic enough that these changes are easily in your grasp with some good coaching and quality clinic time.  Work on short turns on black terrain and think of keeping your head a even distance from the snow as you flex and extend.


Some drills that are helpful are:




On easy blue terrain, start of skating down the fall line, from there, go to a 1-2 move as you start shaping the skating moves into turns.  From there, go ta a simultaneous movement into short turns, but keep the same activity as before.

 next, take to harder blue.




Starting on easy blue, facing down the fall line, do hop to edge sets.  Start adding shape as you hop and land on edge so the skis describe the last half of a short turn.  Keeping the same movement, leave your skis on the snow as you make complete short turns.


Repeat on harder terrain.




A series of short converging step turns, starting with pointing the new outside ski (into the fall line), placing it on edge, and then matching with the inside ski (last part of the turn).  There are three items here, point is 1, place is 2, match is 3.


Progress to combining item 1 and 2 , point and place put together, then item 3, match the skis.


Progress to combining item 1 and 3, both skis on the snow.


All three of these drills are designed to give you the movement pattern needed for the turns you are looking for at that level (LIII).  I am sure there are some trainers by you that are familiar with these drills and can help you with them.





post #14 of 17

Lets look at some CSIA short turn skiing for reference. First up are the tasks in demo environment. Look at how the skier changes the the timing of the extention when he comes to short turns. Insted of extending to start a new turn at transition he extends in the belly of the turn to get rebound and momentum from previous turn. It looks like he is jumping. Pay close attention to where he keeps his hips, inside the turn. As I said earlier, timing of extention and retraction for OP needs to be reworked. It seems it is in total line with how CSIA advances through the different tasks. Short turns are all about linking turns. Speed up the turning and forget about form. Get your legs moving. Crank your knees arround. In Austria the drill for this was the midget turns. Grab your poles half the way down and ski with maximum flexion as short as you can make yourself. Make as quick turns in the fall line of a very easy slope as you can.


Here is a good video of some top level short turn CSIA skiing. The short turn stands as base for all mogul skiing that I know of. All systems have the same progression. If you struggle in the bumps its most likely because your short turn technique is not in order. If you always extend at transition you will extend at the same time you pass over a bump. This is not correct. It will send you flying for all the wrong reasons.





post #15 of 17

E knows CSIA better than we do here in the US so I believe he is who can tell Sparky best what to change. That being said I think the current release move Sparky is using needs to go away. Otherwise the Like E pointed out the extension is while the boot cuffs are still tilted up hill and the hips are still inside the turn. Extending at that point drives the hips uphill and away from the new turn. So a Rotary Push Off (RPO) move ends up being one of Sparky's better options considering how far up and back the hip are moving.

The drawing I posted certainly showed flexing through the transition but it also showed extension once the ski rolled over onto the new edges. Which is what I think E was saying. The retraction style turn in the picture wasn't meant to suggest retraction being the only option though. It is just the high end outcome of increasing lateral range of motion. Absorbing by flexing the legs and extending once the skis tip into the new turn is another very viable option. The one thing both suggested changes have in common is the RPO move isn't part of either move. So IMO, learning to release the last turn without the RPO move means replacing it with another release move. Flex to flatten the skis is a good catch phrase and is simple enough to understand. Although I feel we need to remember that the skis actually release long before they get flat to the snow. This makes the phrase a bit inaccurate but still usable in this discussion. IMO once Sparky can perform a release without the RPO the rest will fall into place pretty quick.

BTW, Sparky can I use your video as an example of a refined RPO?


post #16 of 17



First, great turns.  They show good control, nice flow, nice consistancy.  All these are good things.  You have great separation of upper and lower body.  You rotate your skis under yourself fairly quickly.  My recommendation would be to allow the skis to do the work for you.  You still allow them to move under your body, just don't "force it" as much.  Just sort of guide them around.


Allow your center of mass to move down the hill at transition.  Get that falling feeling in the pit of your stomach.  Then trust that your skis will hook up and come around.  The trust thing is what gets all of us at this stage.  They will come around.  All you need to do is guide them.  If you do this, you will find that you will start engaging your edges further and further up the hill.


I'd recommend that you lower the steepness of the hill to start trying this.  (Lower the terrain, up the task.)  Have fun and keep at it.

post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks everyone for all your feedback, has certainly given me a lot to think about. I've just been to Whistler for a week and worked on some of the things that have come up.

I was conscious of the fact that my edges are only really engaging at or even after the fall line and so I have been focussing this past week on extending laterally as opposed to vertically. Is a hard change to make! I keep forgetting to charge the new downhill ski and as a result the edge engages and tracks directly down the hill leaving me in a reverse wedge postition quite frequently! I probably have another couple of days skiing left this season so will try to make another video to see if any progress is being made.

Thanks again for all your comments.

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