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Pain in the "S" turns

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Seems like PSIA-E is enamored of this exercise. A couple of questions:

What is it's relevance to skills development for our students??
What does the exercise show to an examiner?
What suggestions can you make to make this exercise more understandable?
post #2 of 18
This is just my observation and opinion..... so here goes.

It has no relevence to student training, we never do them with our students.

It shows the examiner that you have a true understanding and ownership of movement pattern. We can all make short and medium radius turns down the fall line by the time we take a L2 exam, but versatility is part of the key in order to pass.

The best way I can describe "pain in the s" without drawing it is to say your doing a series of short radius turns along a medium radius track down the slope. The trick to keeping the shape of the track is to make sure the "transitons" between medium radius tracks includes a couple of fall line short turns to smooth out the transition. Just like you want your students to point there skis downhill to smooth out turn shape and get rid of those Z's.

Any L3/examiners out there please add to and make corrections. I don't want to screw this guy up.. :
post #3 of 18
Ithink the purpose is for examiners to test your movement. This is difficult for most because when making ST in medium track your movement for one turn (uphill) is not as aggressive as your turn down the hill. Most skiies will open into a small wedge as they make the turn down hill because their CM is not moving with the skis.
Jus a way to show weeknes and if you really own a skill.
post #4 of 18
Is this also called "garlands"?
post #5 of 18
Originally posted by epic:
Is this also called "garlands"?

Garlands would be another thread.
post #6 of 18
I've never heard of them. They sound like a really good exercise. I took a group into powder along side a groomed gulley the other day. In order to stay in the powder we had to do short turns along a line perpendicular to the fall line. It was a really useful skill to develop. Had we continued those turns back down the hill and then across the other way, would they have been pain in the S turns?
post #7 of 18
Almost Weems.... except it's not a traverse. The overall track would look exactly (in a perfect world)like what a medium radius turn would create. Except your doing short turns the whole way through. Like I said, I don't think there's any practical application for the excersise. I've only ever seen it done in conjunction with an exam. It feels kinda like walking and chewing gum at the same time.
post #8 of 18
Originally posted by EasternSkiBum:
It feels kinda like walking and chewing gum at the same time.
I understand the task, but my mind goes into gridlock as I try to imagine doing this. I guess I am not ready for these exams, huh?
post #9 of 18
So, during a longer turn that generally takes you to the left, you make several smaller turns in both directions? Thus you need to make each of the shorter turns to the left a little longer than each of the shorter ones to the right? And, of course, the next longer turn is to the right, and the little left turns have to be somewhat smaller than the right ones? This sounds like a fun exercise if it isn't being done in an exam. I'm going to try it out tomorrow. How long a radius is the longer path?

[ February 09, 2004, 06:11 PM: Message edited by: Kneale Brownson ]
post #10 of 18
Sounds like fun to me. Especially with a double fall line or through bumps. Iza goona go look stupid doin em too.

Kinda sounds a bit to me like doing S turns across a road with a strong crosswind in an airplane.
post #11 of 18
epic - at first I thought they meant garlands, too... but then I realized it's something different. the description of "doing short radius turns in what would be a medium radius track" helped me to understand it's not garlands.

as for practical application - it's not that was ask our students to do this drill... it's that we have the competency to teach the skills needed to complete this drill.

post #12 of 18
I'd not heard of this as an exam task per se, but I remember first learning to do something this after watching '70's stunt/exhibition Corky Fowler rolling his skis on/off edge several times during each turn, creating a snaky track in big round turns.

Coincidently I was out skiing tonight and a local race team had a big round Super-G-like course set from side to side on one of our green runs. I was on my 12m SL skis, so for fun I skied the SG line while making snaky RR-tracks on my Slaloms.

I think as a task to evaluate one's ability to release or engage regardless of the ski's relationship to the falline, it is a reasonable test of the type of adaptability that should be present at L-3. I like it's get-out-of-the-box attitude.


[ February 09, 2004, 07:42 PM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #13 of 18
You do find this S turn situation in real life skiing. All it takes is a steep cut through between trails that normally would be a traverse but is instead, loaded with bumps.
post #14 of 18
Sounds like the high traverse at Alta. Horizontal bumps.

Do this exercise using a variety of short turns from skiddy to carvey to arcy as you follow the large turn shape and throw in some terrain transitions.


[ February 10, 2004, 09:07 AM: Message edited by: Ydnar ]
post #15 of 18
Hi Everyone: I'd like to describe the "Pain in the S" turn to start.

The ideal turn is to follow the shape of a GS turn down the slope while using only short radius turns continuously along its path.

That being said, its purpose for the skier is to develop the movement skills, which will allow the skier to make turns which are similar in shape, flow, and rhythm, on an uphill side turn and a downhill side turn, while continuing on a curvilinear path across the slope, but not in a traverse, which is angular in nature.

However, it's very tricky because the uphill side turn requires a commitment from the CM to move up and over the top of the turn, kind of like a turn in the board park pipe on the up side, but without the skid or in a skier's case, without any hop up the hill. (This is what the examiner will look for.)

Next, as the skier moves toward the uphill turn he/she needs to roll from the current edge engagement of both skis as you move uphill toward the highside turn and then roll the skis toward the outside edges (those previously not engaged), at the peak of the turn, which puts the skis flat on the snow during the transition and then continue the rolling effort to the old outside edges, which causes the turn to speed up as you descend.

When the skier is moving toward the downside turn or bottom of the turn while transitioning, speed increases so the CM must be moved back across the skis sooner, so that the edge engagement occurs faster, but not harshly applied, to continue the same turn shape as the uphill side turn or a "J" turn will occur because of the rapid pressure build up at the turn bottom unless the skis are steered quickly back across with blended skills.
This is one of the difficult parts of this exercise.

Now all the while you are making these short radius turns, the side of the trail may be approaching, (here in the East at least), so typically most skiers find themselves too close the the trail's side to continue following the GS path smoothly and without making a sharp angular turn to change directions and stay on the GS path. So the trick is to make a slight direction change by moving your CM every second turn to face further toward the continuing path of the GS turn. This will allow small incremental direction changes, which will allow you to continue along the GS path.

The final trick is to start this entire exercise on a slight diagonal to the slope's fall-line, which will make the first major direction change somewhat easier, since the speed caused by the angle to the fall-line will be much less then if you were to try this down the fall-line.

I appreciate your patience with this lengthy explanation, but there is no easy way to describe in detail the nuances of this exercise. Good luck and have fun with it.

whtmt & Mackenzie 911
post #16 of 18
What is it's relevance to skills development for our students

The ability to control the ski. The ability to move into the turn and stay with the skis, the ability to turn the skis uphill with tail following tip and not just slamming them into a ski or heavey edge set to control speed.

What does the exercise show to an examiner?

This activity shows at the top the ability to move downhill and into the turn with both skis, at the bottom it shows the ability to handle pressure and direct it into the new turn. It shows how you stand on your skis, where your move from ie legs or upperbody.

What suggestions can you make to make this exercise more understandable?

I think there are already some great explanations that describe it well. The key is just make good short radius turns. It is that simple the problem is it is difficult to make good short radius turns when 1/2 the turn is going down the hill and 1/2 is going up the hill. You need to control the direction, timing and blending of skills to make clean turn entry and finish in this activity. It is a lot of fun and adds great energy to your skiing.

It is very often if not always and exam task in the east and it was also a task at National D-team tryouts. I think he can show a lot about how you move on your skis.

I also agree with weems and pierre that it does in fact also have real world application.
post #17 of 18
Pain in the S turns test the instructor's skiing movements, not the students. The transition between turns is a focal point.

The candidates that demonstrate, for example, platforming, or edge sets at the end of the turn have trouble maintaining flow; consequently, they have difficulty shaping their short radius turns and skiing in the desired path.

While it is unlikely a lv. 3 candidate would fail the day because of the task, the inability to perform the task will provide insight into the skiers movements: an area to be aware of the rest of the day.
post #18 of 18
In a word, Pain-in-the-S turns measures your versatility!

In my Level III skiing exam there were snow gun towers up the middle of a very wide slope, about 100 yards apart. We were asked to make short radius turns in a GS arc using the snow gun towers as gates. We made 5-6 turns between each tower. It was a LOT of fun.

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