Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy
Missing in the discussions above is the action of making carving movements but not locking the edge into the snow. The ski brushes across the snow and scrubs off speed. The radius of the turn is controlled by the angle of the ski on the snow and by how much the tip is loaded. Putting more weight on the tip causes the wide tip to pull the ski around the turn with no twisting effort from the legs. The turn radius of a turn with the edge locked into the snow is also controlled by the angle of the ski on the snow and the pressure on the tip, not just by the sidecut of the ski. I ski that way every day.
By the way, the U.S. ski team has been much more successful in the last few years after they've been working on total carving with redirection (skivot, pivot, steer, whatever) only when needed for a tactical necessity. Carving is fast. Anything else is slow. And, LeMaster is a great photographer but he is not a coach. I know he's written a book and gotten paid to speak on coaching, but still isn't a coach.
hmmph, steering is simple. The skis are twisted one way while the body twists the other. You must keep your weight balanced over the arches of your feet, or sometimes over the balls of your feet in the beginning of the turn. This counter twisting motion, combined with minor bending at the waist, puts the skis on edge and they turn you. (Anyone who says the body doesn't twist the other way snoozed through class the day Newton's Third Law of Motion was taught.) "Steering" is not thrusting the heels out. The body's center of mass (somewhere in your abdomen) must be balanced over the inside edge of your outside foot's ball or arch.
Great post SSG. A couple of other thoughts. It used to be that adding a twisting motion was required to make a ski turn. Long, stiff, straight skis would not engage without a little help. They didn't have enough side cut to keep the tip engaged without applying some twist. This was true of both edge-locked turns and brushed turns. Note that the twist is applied in the plane of the ski. A flat ski, when twisted, will pivot. Twisting an edged ski will simply increase pressure on the tip. Many called the combination of these collective movements (edge, pressure, twist) that were required to make a ski turn "steering."
Most modern skis, however, have enough side cut that simply rolling them on edge will allow the tip to engage and stay engaged. As a result, if you tip a modern ski on edge, it will turn. You do not need to apply any twist to help the turn succeed. Because of this, today many people have reduced the term steering to refer to simply using leg rotation to twist a flat ski to effect a direction change. You'll want to understand exactly what folks are talking about whenever you hear the term "steering."
There is no question that edge-locked turns are often not so useful in many situations. However, subtle use of edging is an equally viable alternative to active redirection of the skis. As SSG mentions, if the edge angle isn't large, the engaged tip will pull the ski around quite rapidly since edge lock does not occur. What SSG doesn't mention is *extremely* short turns can be made this way. For example, I can use this technique to make a 180 degree turn in less hill space than the approximate length that one of my skis occupies.
The next time you are getting off the chair, just lift the tail of your inside ski slightly and tip the ski. Make sure you keep the inside foot lined up with your outside foot (it helps to touch the boot with the edge of your lifted ski). If you do this correctly, you should turn smartly around the lifted ski and you will have done so by letting the ski do all the work. That movement is the basis for making extremely sharp turns without needing to actively redirect your skis.
While there may be places where using active rotation to twist the skis in order to redirect them is useful, many of us would argue that modern ski design means that these cases will be much rarer than you might think. There are very few turns that you can accomplish with active rotation that cannot be accomplished equally well through precise edge control and use of ski design.
Regardless, the thing about using active rotation to guide your skis is that you already know how to do it. If I were to drop a piano in front of you while you were skiing, I would be willing to bet that you wouldn't have any trouble throwing your skis sideways to avoid it. You instinctively know how to use rotation already. If you need it, it will be there for you. However, if you allow active rotation to become your go-to move to initiate turns you may find that it holds you back.
At issue is the fact that high-level, dynamic skiing generates tremendous rotary forces that must be properly managed in order to make the ski do what you want it to do. You don't need more rotation, you need less. Many of us who have been there, done that, will tell you that if you base your skiing on using active rotation to make your ski turn, you will find it very difficult to advance your skiing. The critical piece to high end skiing is generally getting from one set of edges to the other cleanly. During this point of transition, it is important to eliminate all rotation so you do not induce a skid. Obviously, if you base your skiing on starting every turn with rotation, that will be fundamentally at odds with making clean transitions. OTOH, if you focus on edging first, you will end up ingraining technique that will serve you well no matter what type of turn you need.