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PS vs HS

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Inspired by another thread, I ask : Is there a difference between pivot slips and hockey slides?
post #2 of 16
Hi Miles--it's a difference only a ski instructor could love....

Mechanically, they are the same--both involve rotating the legs and feet across the hill and maintaining a sideslip down a narrow corridor, with little or no edge engagement. There should be no "pushoff" or upper body involvement to turn the skis, and the skis should rotate close to simultaneously, beneath the pelvis (not just the torso), clearly demonstrating the "independent leg steering" mechanism that is so critical in modern skiing.

The difference is that "pivot slips" involve a continous 180 degree pivot of the skis from one sideslip to the other. Hockey Slips involve a straight run downhill, followed by a 90 degree pivot to a sideslip, then a pivot to a straight run, and a 90 degree pivot the other way to a sideslip. It's really a series of hockey stops, except the skis remain flat enough to slip, rather than braking.

Did that make sense? Pivot slips are a little more difficult because the first half of the pivot involves "unwinding" the legs and the second half involves winding them up again. Doing this smoothly and continuously, without a break at the fall line, demands highly refined rotary skills. Hockey slips are also easier to do on more kinds of terrain--if it's steeper or slicker, reduce the length of the straight run and increase the length of the slip; if it's flatter or slower, increase the straight run to gain some speed, and minimize the length of the sideslip. Pivot slips have no straight run--just sideslips linked by smooth, continuous pivoting.

Ideal terrain for either exercise is perfectly groomed (to reduce the likelihood of catching an edge and falling hard) and steep enough that you can maintain your speed in the sideslip. For pivot slips, a moderate blue pitch with untouched corduroy and an even fall line is ideal, although trying it on flatter slopes is great practice, and trying to maintain a corridor ACROSS a fall line, or with a changing fall line, really develops fore-aft balance and rotary skills.

Great exercises, both. In our PSIA-Rocky Mountain cert exams, we use hockey slips as a test for Level 2, and pivot slips for Level 3. Lots of people, examiners included, hate them. I love them!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #3 of 16
By-the-way--if I lost anyone with terms like "independent leg steering" or "fall line," or anything else, I apologize. We've discussed all these things at length at EpicSki, most of them many times over. But especially for our new members, please ask for clarification if we've lost you! Some of our discussions can get pretty technical, but I, for one, would like to make sure no one feels excluded by our frequent lapses into "skibonics." Don't hesitate to ask.....

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

[ July 26, 2002, 09:08 AM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]
post #4 of 16
Speaking of "skibonics," Miles--technically speaking, or at least, traditionally speaking, the exercise is "hockey slips," not hockey "slides." Slipping describes skis moving sideways. Sliding describes skis moving forward (or backward, I suppose) along their length. Skidding is a combination, usually referring to what happens in a turn, and carving is a turn with little or no skidding.

Not that it matters....

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #5 of 16
Ideal terrain for either exercise is perfectly groomed (to reduce the likelihood of catching an edge and falling hard)
Ouch.. just hearing it makes my hip and elbow hurt again.

I was skiing with our SSD during one of our clinics (lvl1 prep) and he decided to throw this one at us. Of course as lvl 1 candidates we weren't really expected to do this but off we went. I was going along at a pretty good clip, turned my skis sideways and went about 10-15 ft when I hit a rut running across the slope and BAM! Ouch..Of course right in front of the whole group. [img]tongue.gif[/img]

[ July 26, 2002, 09:34 AM: Message edited by: dchan ]
post #6 of 16
What's worse, Dchan, is that you usually do these maneuvers coming straight at the examiner. So if you fall, you take him/her out with you! While the examiner will probably get up laughing, and never hold it against the candidate, it's still not usually what most people want to do in an exam! One hint: never plant your pole until after you've come to a complete stop!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #7 of 16
I love'em too Bob! The better posted and greasier the better! Amazing how many people can't, won't or hate doing them. Like leapers etc. great for centering and feel.
I love watching candidates subtly "cheating" little edge sets, fore and aft leveraging, gross rotation or counter rotation, blocking "pole drags" and inperceptable stepping etc.; little sequential "hope ya didn't see thats"!
In reference to the other thread...that's why they're in the exam!!!

[ July 26, 2002, 10:15 AM: Message edited by: Robin ]
post #8 of 16
Yep, Robin--and much to their chagrin, we saw 'em, even if they didn't know they did it!

Pivot slips reveal so much about a skier's technical repertoire--SO many ways to "cheat"! This is what the candidates often fail to realize--it's not just a trick to see if you can sideslip down the hill and get your skis to turn somehow. It's a true test of HOW you do these things, and technical biases and shortcomings show up clearly!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #9 of 16

I love them (at least trying them).

Question...(maybe mentioned in an earlier thread)... to do the very first pivot, doesn't the upper body have to move downhill to release the edges? Aren't you doing the pivots perpendicular to the slope? If you are in a traverse position, you have edges.

I'm I seeing it "right"?
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Question: would they be very difficult or impossible to do if a person had alignment problems?
post #11 of 16
Yup...they are part of my on hill allignment assesment, like one ski straight runs.
post #12 of 16

I don't want to nit pick, HOWEVER, isn't it more accurate to describe the level II exercise as LINKED hockey slides?

That's what I think is neat in the exam process. In the level I......hockey stops, level II.....linked hockey slides, level III.....pivot slips. Subtle edging as the exercise gets more difficult and more independent leg useage.
post #13 of 16
My scorecard says slides! (With a nine beside it)

I couldn't resist!
post #14 of 16
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....

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

[ July 27, 2002, 10:18 PM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]
post #15 of 16
All the definitions are in Bob's Book "The Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing" which I refer to regularly when I read this forum! Good job Bob!
post #16 of 16
Thanks Bob, and yes, I was thinking along those lines.

An interesting "twist" (pun intended) to this activity was already mentioned. Doing the slips directly towards the examiner adds the pressure of the additional psychological element of "internal vs. external".

Can't wait to try this in a double fall-line!!
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