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What is a short radius turn?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
This may seem like a stupid question, but I am interested in hearing what people think they do to make a short radius turns on steep terrain. For example, I have always felt that I twist my feet harder and quicker in steep short radius turns, but intellectually I know that tends to create a flatter, less edged entry and ultimately not what I want on steep terrain. So what are we really doing in this situation???
post #2 of 17
You have to decide the purpose of your turn. To me, a short radius turn is not a speed control activity. A series of short radius turns will have you moving more rapidly at their end than at their beginning, and the terminal velocity will be determined by the steepness of the slope. If you want speed control from a short turn, you want short swing with a check of some sort.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Lets assume we want our speed to be consistent, and not extremely fast or slow.
post #4 of 17
To maintain a consistent speed on steep slopes with short turns you must have some skid and some hard edging. You will steer more actively (as you say, twist your feet) at the turn entry and edge more aggressively near the finish. If you try to roll onto your edges and then roll onto your other edges to make short turns, you won't be able to check your speed.

So what you do to ski at moderate speeds on steep slopes in short turns is edge fairly aggressively to decamber the skis and then either absorb the resulting rebound or use the support of the edges to push off, thereby lightening the skis so you can steer them toward downhill. Then you're engaging the opposite edges and edging harder and harder until you're ready to start the following turn.
post #5 of 17
Boy, kneale, your gonna think I'm after you, but I just happen to have a somewhat different feel in my short steep turns. the twist, untwist of a strong, anticipated upper body with a blocking pole plant seem to be plenty of rotary power to launch a short turn in the steeps with the new skis. The biggest problem I see when teaching this turn is to much twist of the feet to start it. With anticipation, I then focus on tipping the skis and having them weighted as they move away from the body. At this point, adding steering works if you want to create an even shorter turn, but as I say many times: tilt before you turn. The movements are so similar to a carved medium turn. The main difference is that the upper body is facing almost straight down the hill, so the extra twist in the body creates more rotational force during release. The other difference is the feeling of more of platform at the finish.
Anyway, hope this is clear.

cheers, Holiday
post #6 of 17
It sounds like this isn't flowing downhill like it should. Does it feel like turning is more like moving form speed check to speed check?
I have been thinking about this in my own skiing. Here in Ohio there is no steep terrain like 40 or 50 degree pitches. I am not the guru of the steeps but I know that projecting the center of mass downhill is most crucial to finding a steady 'terminal velocity.' I let the CM cross over my skis to start the new turn. This sets an edge in the snow. Less edge angle was mentioned. I think the equation is more like this: steeper terrain = more edge angle
If there is a larger edge angle throughout more of the turn there would even out the speed check effect. This meaning, that the speed check would encompass the entire turn and not just the end.
There is more control which lets one ski at a higher speed.
post #7 of 17
Man, could I go off on this one, but I won't too badly. Short turns need not have a check or edge set to offer speed control. All it means if your turns have one (all the time) is that your feet are staying under your torso. The turns do not have much shape above the fall-line Such turns lack roundness and need the check/edge set for speed control. A series of accelerations and decelertions is what results.

Skiing short turns in a manner (something akin to WC slalom) in which the skis remain on the snow and take a round line INTO the fall line offers many more speed control options. It offers better balancing options as well since the tail follows the tip and the skis ride over the terrain more smoothly, without so much acceleration/deceleration/deflection.

Getting your skills to the point where you can choose to ski in such a manner isn't easy, but once you are there it is so much easier on you, you'll wonder why it took so long.
post #8 of 17
I think you guys are confusing "short radius turn" with "windshield wiper turn"


PS: Roto, was editing this post before I saw yours...

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 17, 2001 02:27 PM: Message edited 2 times, by VK ]</font>
post #9 of 17
VK, as a "vindshield viper" turner from way back, allow me to differ. Those turns on steeps are deadly, as they have not much edge set at anytime.

Roto is right in that you need to lose the speed you gained during the fall line phase, at the end of the turn in order to enter the next turn at the same speed you entered the previous one.

That turn indeed needs to be brought around quickly on a fairly flat ski into the fall line with an increasing edge set during the second half of the turn and a check, hard enough to lose the speed, at the end.

Skiers who carve the whole turn during a short swing, even if it can be done in steep terrain, will carry excessive speed into the next turn. It doesn't have to be much, but it is accumulating as each turn is started with a little more speed than the previous one, usually ending in the skier either stopping or making some gross maneuver to slow down.

If the carving skier intends to lose speed by carving more uphill, it is no longer a short swing.

post #10 of 17
In steep terrain with short turns I want to maintain a constant speed with respect to the center of mass flow down the fall line. I do not want to accelerate or decelerate to any appreciable manner. I basically use the same turn that I use in moguls. I initiate my turns more towards the tips and use very strong steering of the inside ski. In short, I am leveraging the fronts of my skis heavy at the top of the turn. Once I reach the fall line I actively start retracting the inside ski while contracting the abdominal muscles. This results in maximum pressure on the outside ski right over the sweet spot all while doing a retraction cross under. My center of mass is always in motion with no noticeable heavy edge set. The ski tips carve a clean turn while the tails wash a bit at the top of the turn. I use a fairly wide stance.
I don't know if I recommend this turn to everyone as the turn everyone should be doing. These turns have a very high pucker factor requiring absolute full commitment to the fall line with few mistakes.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 17, 2001 03:32 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Pierre eh! ]</font>
post #11 of 17
Intent--is it to slow our speed, maintain speed, or change direction?
Pierre talks of heavy tip engagement at the top of the turn, strong inside ski activity. But then, he talks about committing to the outside ski, followed by a cross-under move??
Lots here that I don't follow-stupidity perhaps :
Shaped skis need to work with pressure under the feet, what does tip pressure do for one?
Strong inside ski activity THROUGHOUT the turn is what I look for. Here in the East, balancing on a heavily weighted outside ski will have you and the ice becoming kissin' cousins.
I hate the idea of a cross under on very steep terrain. The period of time when the skis cross under the body, with the skis unedged, unweighted, and with no steering input would seem to be a moment of real acceleration. Compare that with a positive, aggressive cross-over, where the skis are constantly available.
I see some confusion here about whether short radius turns are 'speed control' turns. Ain't necessarily so--can be, but only if it is so desired.
My .02 worth, but I am open to being corrected!
[img]smile.gif[/img] [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #12 of 17
This is the best thread in a while.

The shorter the turn radius, the less the CM moves sideways. If the raduis is short enough, the cross-under is the only possibility.
Anyone agree?
post #13 of 17
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ott Gangl:
If the carving skier intends to lose speed by carving more uphill, it is no longer a short swing.


Now this is what I have been thinking during the past few weeks of "carve ski" learning with my SS peers. If I carve back up the hill for speed control can I still make a short swing turn for control on the steep?

Not as yet ... now if I just get some 140s SL skis then maybe. Is the tail now wagging the dog?

Okay ... what I use a short swing turn for and how I execute them is entirely dependant on the terrian. Short swings are a means of speed control on the steep or a sexy pickup line on the groomers. Do what you will. Just do it smoothly and in control ... i.e. smooth, round, strong and without gaining speed .... unless you consciously choose to.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 17, 2001 05:37 PM: Message edited 1 time, by man from oz ]</font>
post #14 of 17
Skiswift, I think that you missunderstood what I was saying as evidenced by this statement. >>I hate the idea of a cross under on very steep terrain. The period of time when the skis cross under the body, with the skis unedged, unweighted, and with no steering input would seem to be a moment of real acceleration.<<
A crossunder turn can be accomplished without duely unweighting the skis, losing edge or shutting down steering.
Leveraging the tips of the skis at the start of the turn has the effect of progressive braking action at its most effective place. My skis do speed up and slow down quite a bit. My center of mass is what stays at constant speed.
post #15 of 17
Oh, about 1960 or so, I learned to bow to Mrs. Smith from Birmingham .

That's when I was young and strong and was skiing in Stowe and got somewhere where I shouldn't have been with just one other guy within eye sight. He saw my apprehention as we both looked down this daunting steep.

So he told me to bow to Mrs. Smith and tickle her tummy with my pole and he demonstrated. We were both on 210s, skiing a VERY close stance, not locked, but very close.

Here is how you bow to Mrs. Smith: as you stand there with your skiis across the fall line, you start by facing your shoulder and upper body down the fall line, squarely down.

Now you bow down from your waist reaching way down and tickling Mrs. Smith's tummy by setting your plole as you rectract your legs and swing them around sharply, diggin in the opposite edges, hard, and as gravity pulls you down over your edged skis, you bow to Mrs. Smith again, and you let your body flow over your skis, retract...etc...etc..

Why bow, you ask? By bowing you commit the weight of your upper body and plant the pole BEFORE YOU RELEASE THE HOLD OF THE EDGES. But by retracting the skis and swinging them around you and cross wise in front of you the edges will bite again and you will let your body flow across them, but you must bow so as not to realease the edges too early as they would otherwise...

So when I find myself on very steep stuff and need to control my speed, I say to myself "Hello Mrs. Smith (tickle with the pole) How are your Mrs. Smith, nice day Mrs. Smith [img]smile.gif[/img] .

post #16 of 17
Welcome Blizzard and nice topic starter!

Short radius turns with constant speed on steep terrain is the question as I understand it? There are some variables as to the snow conditions, ski type, your definition of what SHORT is? and what you call steep? but here is my take anyway:

The first hint is go in at a slower speed and really complete your turns. The idea of very agressively retracting the legs at turn intiation (cross under if you want to call it that) I think does a couple things for you. First it is a less scary move as you are not projecting your body down the pitch you are reaching your legs. Second it allows you to get more edge purchase at the top of the turn thus helping with speed control. I consider the same fundimental things apply for speed control, turn the ski tips up the hill. If you have got the skis on an early edge and reached them up the hill at turn intiation and they flex and bend back up under you as you ski the tips up the hill for the next turn YOU can maintain a constant speed. There are some other things I do that also help and that is open up my stance to slightly wider than hip width to better allow both legs to edge and turn actively.

There are so many varables as we ski so you need to be able to do it all, but most of the time I would rather ski with my foot not resting on the brake!
post #17 of 17
I ski at a western resort with a lot of steep winch groomed and corniced ridge line steeps and chutes. And I like to crank short swings on steeps when it is relatively smooth due to loose fill in or wind buffing. I played an old 1987 instruction tape tonight "Sybervision: Black Diamond Skiing" which used Chris Ryman and Jens Husted skiing at Snowbird. They demonstrated short radius and short swing turns on steeps which is probably the way most of us do it. Sometimes on a quite steep firm snow slope I will use my stomach and lower back muscles to work off the mass of my upper body to cut my edges deeper into the snow at the compression point and thus gain a better grip to prevent the usual acceleration that most advanced skiers battle. If the snow is too firm like it gets in some slabby wind pack or in the spring in thaw freeze snow, to get any depth, I spread my skis stably wider, wish I had sharper edges, and traverse out to where it is safe. -dave
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