Well, at least they got the SCORE right, Rusty--congratulations--a "9" is an admirable achievement, for sure! (And I know you scored double digits on some other maneuvers, too.) The scorecard has the name of the maneuver wrong, a detail that has been brought up, but that isn't significant enough to print a new batch of cards. Yes, LINKED hockey slips is the most descriptive name, but the only thing that resembles anything in hockey is the quick pivoting of the feet.
Good questions, KeeTov! Yes, if you start from a standstill across the hill, you have to release your edges to begin the sideslip. And your body must, of course, move downhill to remain in balance over feet that also move downhill. It's the same movement that must happen when you start walking from a standstill--your body has to move forward (or whatever direction you choose to move) first. As essential as this movement is, though, FOCUSING on it is often over-rated. It's a natural move we have learned to do since our first steps and our first experiences with movement on the planet.
Of course, as we discussed in a great thread a while back ( First, learn to MOVE!
), some people learn these basic lessons a lot better than others. I fear that the current video-game generation may have real problems! But for most people, this is just a simple, basic, ingrained balancing movement.
On the other hand, you do NOT need to move your body (center of mass) downhill just to release the edges. That can be done simply by tipping the feet, ankles, and legs. The downhill movement of the body as you release the edges is a balancing movement, not an edging movement. It is not needed to release the edges--but it is needed BECAUSE you release the edges!
I do like that you distinguished the "very first pivot"--the initial edge release that gets the sideslip started--from the rest. Typically, from a standstill, this initial edge release involves a gentle rising motion as the ankle, knee, hip, and/or spine angles in the body that keep the skis on edge relax. After that, though, as long as it remains a SLIP and the edges don't reengage, there is no need to "rise and release"--or to "move the body downhill" (relative to the feet)--for each successive pivot. I've seen a lot of misunderstanding about this point. If it was linked hockey STOPS, with each slip ending in an edge set, then there would have to be a release each time too. But if it is a continuous, linked series of SLIPS, there is no edge set, and thus no need for an edge release!
Miles--yes--it's a great test of alignment, as Robin affirmed. In fact, I think it is one of the very best ways to determine if you are at least "in the ball park" with your equipment setup. Some instructors and alignment gurus will disagree with me, but I think there is a RANGE of acceptable alignment, within which personal preference should be the final determiner of "optimal." You are within the range if you can make your skis hold in a traverse (or a standstill) simply by tensing your ankles, without needing to exaggerate knee or hip angulation, AND you can RELEASE the edges simply by RELAXING your ankles, again without needing to resort to knee or hip contortions.
Remember that there is a precise "critical edge angle" that determines whether a ski holds or slips. That angle should be within the limited range of ankle/foot mobility available. If you can hold without effort, but cannot release without contortions (typically becoming "bowlegged"), you are OVER-edged. If you can release easily, but holding involves extreme knee angles (typically showing the knock-kneed "a-frame" stance), you are UNDER-edged.
So if the lower legs must form obviously different angles (bowlegs or knock knees, as opposed to "parallel shafts") in order to keep both skis at the same edge angle, it's a good indication that an alignment adjustment may be in order. Serious alignment issues make pivot slips/hockey slips almost impossible.
Just a few of the reasons why this simple-seeming exercise remains on our exams....
Bob Barnes[ July 27, 2002, 10:18 PM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]