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4 Questions

post #1 of 509
Thread Starter 
There 4 questions have been pulled from another thread to be discussed separately here.  They needed a thread of their own.   

So with those basic questions resolved, perhaps it would be useful to delve a little deeper into the subject.  Here are a couple more questions for you think about and discuss.

1)  What are the pros and cons of being countered while steering?   

2)  What are the pros and cons of staying square while steering?

3)  When is "skiing into counter" a good option, and when is it not?

4)  Is rotating, or skiing rotated, while steering ever a useful practice?


Work through those and this thread could prove to be a very valuable learning tool. 
post #2 of 509
Wouldn't it also be useful to ask these same questions with tipping replacing steering?
post #3 of 509
Thread Starter 
Si, if by tipping you mean carving (tipping is necessary to steer too),,, sure.  Some of the answers will be similar, some different.  Let's focus for the time being on steering.  That should be a big enough topic all on its own. 
post #4 of 509
I'm seeing all four questions as common to a discussion of whole body and leg steering. I'm assuming we're excluding the greater RoM in the lateral plane from a countered and angulated stance. I'm also assuming we are excluding any discussion of keeping a strong inside half ahead of the outside half. Which is somewhat in the rotary world but is also very much a fore /aft balancing issue as well. so with those qualifications I'll try to throw a few ideas out for consideration that are specific to steering and the effects of a countered stance on rotary leg steering skills... Is this what you were wanting Rick?

An anticipated stance (one form of a countered stance) helps us avoid whole body rotary and all the excessive angular momentum in the upper body that whole body rotory movements create. This applies to both getting into a countered stance and getting out of a countered stance. Less upper body movement in these examples also facilitates leg steering because the relatively stable upper body can be used as an anchor. In addition, since we engage a smaller mass (legs only verses the entire body) the steering movements tend to be more accurate and repeatable. We use a simple hop drill to demonstrate this. 

  • Without looking down at your feet, Do a hop and turn the whole body in the air while trying to land facing a specific spot. after you land look down and notice where your feet are facing. Now repeat this several times and note how accurately you can land with your feet facing that exact same spot.
  • Now do several hops while just turning the legs and note how accurately you can land with your feet facing that spot. I've found that most people find it easier to be more accurate turning just the legs.

I'm sure some out there may be very accurate using whole body steering but in general we've observed our staff finds it easier to be more accurate on a consistent basis when using leg steering.
So in most cases I see the downside of whole body steering moves as the creation of the additional angular momentum. The down side of leg steering being the more limited range of motion possible and it puts a lot of stress on the abductors, adductors, and groin muscles. If you haven't been actively strengthening them it's very easy to pull those muscles using leg steering. 
I didn't answer more than maybe two questions here but the thread is young and I'm sure others will add their thoughts and we will cover all four questions. 
Edited by justanotherskipro - 11/1/09 at 2:25pm
post #5 of 509
You are skiing short radius turns using anticipation.  At the end of a turn you are in a countered position. 

Upon initiation are you rotated? 

At what point in modern skiing does one meld into the other?
post #6 of 509
Being rotated (anticipated) and applying rotary are two different things.  In my view, applying rotary would mean that you're already skiing with a squared up stance and you intentionally rotate your upper body in the direction you want the skis to eventually turn also. 

Skiing into counter is really more related to building anticipation in my mind.  Since your edges are set as you ski into counter, you are able to build up tension between the upper and lower by holding your upper facing down the fall line and turning your skis across that line.  
post #7 of 509
Good question! If we actively turn the torso into the new turn is that different than using leg steering to ski into and out of a countered stance. I've always thought of a rotated stance as an active turning of the upper body / torso inward which is drawing the legs and feet into the new turn. In a way I suppose the unwinding or skiing out of counter phase sort of fits but since the body really isn't being turned inward should we classify that as a rotated stance?
post #8 of 509


In this photmontage we see Cochran is in a GS course skiing into and out of counter.
post #9 of 509
Do you think it makes a difference if the skier is pulling his upper body away from the squared stance or whether the skis are skiing away from a squared stance?
post #10 of 509

Yes! If I'm reading your post correctly. It goes back to either twisting the upper body while the feet remain anchored, twisting both in opposite directions, or twisting the legs while the upper body remains anchored. So what do you think BTS? 

post #11 of 509
 Yes I do definitely think they are different.  Now the question becomes, what kind of scenario might you envision when you would want to use the upper body rotation, as opposed to skiing into counter?
post #12 of 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post

Si, if by tipping you mean carving (tipping is necessary to steer too),,, sure.  Some of the answers will be similar, some different.  Let's focus for the time being on steering.  That should be a big enough topic all on its own. 

Rick, as so many people use steering to mean so many things I don't remember what your particular definition of it is.  From what you said it seems to refer to the way the ski is interacting with the snow.  Personally I would find it easier to follow if the discussion was limited to body movements and their effect on ski movements (independent of ski/snow interaction).

I definitely did not mean carving when I referred to tipping.  As I said, in a discussion like this I would just want to relate body movement to movements of the skis.  Whether there is enough tipping to carve a turn adds a level of complexity that I don't think will serve this discussion any.

Counter and body rotation definitely have an effect on the ability to pivot or tip a ski.  As you said, I think some of these relationships between inputs (body movements) and outcome (ski movements) will be similar and some may be quite different.  I would certainly benefit from a clear discussion of these. 
post #13 of 509
BTS, As you know some advocate "early counter" which allows them to move the control phase up into what would normally be called the initiation phase, or first third of the new turn. So the option of being patient and skiing into a countered stance later in the turn just wouldn't work well since the first third of the turn is already behind us. I've heard two schools of thought on this though. Do you add a strong move that would create a rotated stance before the edge change, or do you finish the turn mostly square (a relative term here) and add an upper body counter rotational move after the edge change? As a racer I'm sure you see more of this than we see outside of the race arena. Ducking a tree after an across the hill line change might be a place I would need that much early edge. While I'm thinking maybe you could share your thoughts on where you would use it.
post #14 of 509
Well in my view, when you can ski into anticipation, you do so knowing that you want anticipation because you want the pivoting/steering effects that will be added to the skis when you transition into the next turn as the skis go flat, especially if you unweight.  But if you finish a turn mostly square, but you need some quick pivoting into the next turn, you have a few options to do that, one of which is to crank your upper body towards the turn.  If you do that while still finishing the last turn you would essentially be creating anticipation without skiing into it.  If your skis are flat or already into the new turn, then you'd create more of a pulling effect immediately.

Why would you do that?  Because you you need to pivot NOW.

Alternatively you could try to use an aggresive counter-rotation to accomplish some immediate pivoting.
post #15 of 509
Agreed. Although IMO it's hard to assign the term "need" to most situations. Don't get me wrong though, the whole need verses want opinion isn't meant to open up another endless debate over your choice of words. Not hitting a tree, or negotiating a gate mean our line is pre-defined more than we might see in other circumstances. Is that what you're saying? 
post #16 of 509

 As far as I'm concerned, need or want works for me, particularly if they are rotating the upper while staying on the old edges to create anticipation without skiing into it.  

In recreational skiing we often have multiple choices for how to proceed and it doesn't neccessarily need to involve what some of us would consider an in-elegant solution such as rotating our upper and pulling the skis around now.  We could often take a different line and still "look good" so to speak.

But sometimes stuff happens.  Could be a bump close out.  Could be a tree.  Could be another skier.  Whatever.

I know of a friend of a friend who had a terrible accident a few years back.  He was a decent backcountry skier, but mostly decent because of fat skis, not neccessarily a long time veteran of the sport.  Well supposedly he was cruising along in some low light situation or something and suddenly there was some kind of cliff in front of him or something.  He was quite adept at riding sidecuts and making nice flowing turns, using the technology.  However, when it came time for him at the last second to dig down and come up with something new to stop or turn very abruptly, he didn't have it.  Or didn't think of it.  Went over the cliff.  He is now mentally handicapped.  

 

post #17 of 509
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

I'm seeing all four questions as common to a discussion of whole body and leg steering. I'm assuming we're excluding the greater RoM in the lateral plane from a countered and angulated stance. I'm also assuming we are excluding any discussion of keeping a strong inside half ahead of the outside half. Which is somewhat in the rotary world but is also very much a fore /aft balancing issue as well. so with those qualifications I'll try to throw a few ideas out for consideration that are specific to steering and the effects of a countered stance on rotary leg steering skills... Is this what you were wanting Rick?

The greater lateral range of motion we have in a countered stance (I'm assuming you're talking about how that range can be used to angulate more when in a countered stance) is a topic well worth discussing.   It would be useful to explain it to the readers, then discuss how much of that range is really needed when steering, and why. 

The fore/aft aspects of how counter is created (your strong inside half statement) will be worthwhile to mention at some point, as it's a very important part of a good turn, but it's not as much at the heart of the discussion. 


An anticipated stance (one form of a countered stance) helps us avoid whole body rotary and all the excessive angular momentum in the upper body that whole body rotory movements create.
 
That's a good thought, JASP. 

One thing; if we want the average reader to benefit from this discussion, so they can take something to the snow they can use, we have to be careful to KISS and explain the jargon we throw out there.  I'm referring to "angular momentum".  Basically says that once you get a body rotating it wants to keep rotating,,, the way a top keeps spinning.  Agree?

The result of that top spinning effect is that if we use an aggressive rotation of the upper body to twist and turn our skis, our body keeps rotating once we stop actively rotating it, and that ugly tail washout late in the turn often happens.  It's not leg steering, and it's not a precise or efficient way to turn. 

So let's assume we ARE leg steering (using the muscles of the legs to precisely twist our skis into a new compass direction and create a turn).  If we simply allow the upper body to passively go along with turning legs such that it remains facing the same direction the skis point, do you think it can result in a disruptive amount of angular momentum?    

Before you answer, think about this;  imagine carving in a countered position that was manually created at the turns initiation.  In riding through the turn in that position the body passively changes compass direction no more than if that same turn had been executed in a square stance.    






 

This applies to both getting into a countered stance and getting out of a countered stance. Less upper body movement in these examples also facilitates leg steering because the relatively stable upper body can be used as an anchor. In addition, since we engage a smaller mass (legs only verses the entire body) the steering movements tend to be more accurate and repeatable. We use a simple hop drill to demonstrate this. 

  • Without looking down at your feet, Do a hop and turn the whole body in the air while trying to land facing a specific spot. after you land look down and notice where your feet are facing. Now repeat this several times and note how accurately you can land with your feet facing that exact same spot.

  • Now do several hops while just turning the legs and note how accurately you can land with your feet facing that spot. I've found that most people find it easier to be more accurate turning just the legs.

This is a good demonstration of how momentum makes the body want to keep rotating, even after we land.   Try to quickly land and hop/rotate a turn back in the other direction and we can feel lag time as our muscles strain to stop the rotation and execute the next hop.  The contrast between the slowness between hops of this method of pivoting, and the quickness of just leaving the body facing forward as you do leg twisting hops is clear. 

Now, contrast the aggressive whole body hops to simply staying on the gound and subtly leg steering the direction change.  The momentum created and lag time experienced is greatly diminished.  The hops version replicate a transtional pivot when skiing, and the subtle leg steering version replicates the precise steering that happens as you go through a turn. 

There's one other factor that aids in quickness of the body facing forward hops, beyond the avoidance of rotational momentum.  Leaving the body behind as the legs turn creates a virtual loaded spring.  When you hops again the spring is released, and the legs quickly snap back into directional harmony with the legs.  We can see that take place in the first transition in the photo montage you posted.  That body position which results in this loaded spring effect is called anticipation, and it's a powerful tool.



I'm sure some out there may be very accurate using whole body steering but in general we've observed our staff finds it easier to be more accurate on a consistent basis when using leg steering.

So in most cases I see the downside of whole body steering moves as the creation of the additional angular momentum. The down side of leg steering being the more limited range of motion possible and it puts a lot of stress on the abductors, adductors, and groin muscles. If you haven't been actively strengthening them it's very easy to pull those muscles using leg steering. 


When you say whole body steering, are you speaking of using the body in some manner to help do the steering, or simply the body going along for the directional ride as the legs do the steering?  I definately agree with your assessment about the added muscle stresses  involved with leaving square.  It's easily felt in carpet steering exercises. 

I didn't answer more than maybe two questions here but the thread is young and I'm sure others will add their thoughts and we will cover all four questions. 


Great input, JASP, thanks for taking the time.  It leads us right into a specific discussion on the question I asked about the whens and whys of skiing into counter.   Though I fear out of necessity we are going to get to technical in our discussions for the average reader to benefit from.  Hopefully when we get finished hashing it out ourselves we can condense the findings into digestable thoughts the learning skiers here can use. 

 

Edited by Rick - 11/1/09 at 7:53pm
post #18 of 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post

1)  What are the pros and cons of being countered while steering?   

To me the main pro of being countered regardless of steering is that it lines up the large muscle groups in a more structurally sound position, and makes it easier to angulate.  There is a gait mechanism that can happen at turn init too if early counter is used.   On the con, I will say that I think steering while countered is more difficult to do.

 Quote:
2)  What are the pros and cons of staying square while steering?

I think staying square will provide the greatest range of motion to try to steer from the legs if that is your desire.  The con is you lose some of the benefits mentioned above in #1.

Quote:
3)  When is "skiing into counter" a good option, and when is it not?

I think its a good option in the second half of the turn when anticipation is the desire for the next turn.  Its also useful to start a turn with some anticipation and steer through the top part of the turn into counter by the apex.  Its not a great option in the bottom half of attempted arc to arc turns because it will create anticipation which can hurt arc-to-arc performance.   I'll state for the record that I don't like the "ski into counter" phrase or concept because I feel its too ambiguous.

Quote:
4)  Is rotating, or skiing rotated, while steering ever a useful practice?

I think I covered that above.
post #19 of 509
1)  What are the pros and cons of being countered while steering?  

 Well the pros are that its much easier to create angles in the body, its much easier to dynamically balance against the outside ski and therefore go faster and its easier with counter to take g force on the outside leg.  Cons. It favors one footed skiing vs two footed skiing.

2)  What are the pros and cons of staying square while steering?

The pros are that its much easier to balance the forces between your feet, its easier to control steering and it lends more stability in soft conditions.   The cons are that it tends to be much slower.

3)  When is "skiing into counter" a good option, and when is it not?

Skiing into counter is a good option when you want to be quick as in very quick turns or in being fast on the mountain.  Skiing into counter is a lousy option when the goal is to spray your companions with snow in a quick hockey stop.

4)  Is rotating, or skiing rotated, while steering ever a useful practice?

Yes, when in the park for sure when you want to rotate in the air as in 360's and the likes.  Skiing the Mambo or wedelln with Ott is another example.

I have never unlearned a thing in skiing.
post #20 of 509
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by borntoski683 View Post

Well in my view, when you can ski into anticipation, you do so knowing that you want anticipation because you want the pivoting/steering effects that will be added to the skis when you transition into the next turn as the skis go flat, especially if you unweight.  But if you finish a turn mostly square, but you need some quick pivoting into the next turn, you have a few options to do that, one of which is to crank your upper body towards the turn.  If you do that while still finishing the last turn you would essentially be creating anticipation without skiing into it.  If your skis are flat or already into the new turn, then you'd create more of a pulling effect immediately.

Why would you do that?  Because you you need to pivot NOW.

Alternatively you could try to use an aggresive counter-rotation to accomplish some immediate pivoting.
 

BTS, this post is golden! 
post #21 of 509
 Rick, 

If by "steering" you mean "Actively change the angle between your instantaneous direction of movement and the direction the skis are pointing", then you cannot remain square to the skis.  

If you do *change* the steering angle and remain square to the skis, you did that by edging.  That would not be steering.
post #22 of 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post

There 4 questions have been pulled from another thread to be discussed separately here.  They needed a thread of their own.   

So with those basic questions resolved, perhaps it would be useful to delve a little deeper into the subject.  Here are a couple more questions for you think about and discuss.

1)  What are the pros and cons of being countered while steering?   BASICLY PRO
Since counter improves balance and increases your edge hold you need to be able to constantly vary the ammount of counter in order to stay balanced and have sufficient edge hold. It is very closely related to angulation and both blend into each other when balancing and edge holding. Its also natural to counter since as angles are built up through out the turn tip lead is increased and therefore counter in knees, hips, waist and shoulders are created automatically.  

2)  What are the pros and cons of staying square while steering? BASICLY CON
Staying square puts your hips out in the turn and decreases edge angels. This in turn promotes excess skidding, banking and all sorts of bad stuff. Pros would be its easier.
 

3)  When is "skiing into counter" a good option, and when is it not? BASICLY GOOD
Counter should always be "skiing into counter". Its not a position, its a movement. But if you look at a photo you can see how much counter the person has at that particular moment.  

4)  Is rotating, or skiing rotated, while steering ever a useful practice? BASICLY BAD
Rotation is a movement that is the opposite of upper body counter. From square you turn towards the inside of the turn insted of towards the outside. Is turning into the turn ever usefull? No, cant think of any at the moment.


Work through those and this thread could prove to be a very valuable learning tool. 

 

I commented in the above quote with blue. On a general note I would like to say that it does not really matter if you are steering or carving, the movements used through out the turn are the same. Counter would be used for same reasons. In bumps, powder, short truns and SL-skiing counter and skiing into counter is used.
post #23 of 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post

 Rick, 

If by "steering" you mean "Actively change the angle between your instantaneous direction of movement and the direction the skis are pointing", then you cannot remain square to the skis.  

If you do *change* the steering angle and remain square to the skis, you did that by edging.  That would not be steering.
 
Why cannot we get a very short definition of "steering"! What ide is there to discuss counter in combination with steering if we dont know what steering is?
post #24 of 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post



Why cannot we get a very short definition of "steering"! What ide is there to discuss counter in combination with steering if we dont know what steering is?
 
What's the fun in that? All the threads would be two posts long -- Q&A.
post #25 of 509
How about a thread where everyone gives their personal definition of steering ?
Guiding?
Pivoting?
Twisting?  (twisting what?)
Leg rotary?
Upper body rotation?
Hip Rotation?
Skidding?
Sliding?
Gliding?
Countering?
Angulating?

These are all terms that I've seen get thrown around over the years on here & everywhere else.  There seems to be a lot of different interpretations.  To me each one of these have a different & separate meaning.  I've heard examiners even within the same division, interchange for instance sliding & skidding to mean the same thing.

On the other thread there were 2 completely different interpretations of what hip rotation is.  This can get very confusing for the average viewer, & downright frustrating for others.
JF
post #26 of 509
Rick, whole body rotary IMO isn't passively riding the sidecut, or assuming a position and passively letting the skis turn the body. Although an argument can certainly be made that we need to have an outside force acting on us that causes the body to "spin" in the first place and the tension in the body needs to be sufficient to have that force turn the entire body as a unit. I was actually thinking of maneuvers like bowling ball turns where throwing an arm introduces enough rotary force to spin the body, or a blocking pole plant introducing the force that spins us.
Steering with the legs is different in that we use muscle tension to turn the legs in the hip joint while using the torso as an anchor. Much like we see Cochran do with the pole plant in between frames three and four. He keeps the body anchored with a blocking pole plant while the legs turn underneath that stable anchor. 
post #27 of 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post

How about a thread where everyone gives their personal definition of steering ?
Guiding?
Pivoting?
Twisting?  (twisting what?)
Leg rotary?
Upper body rotation?
Hip Rotation?
Skidding?
Sliding?
Gliding?
Countering?
Angulating?

These are all terms that I've seen get thrown around over the years on here & everywhere else.  There seems to be a lot of different interpretations.  To me each one of these have a different & separate meaning.  I've heard examiners even within the same division, interchange for instance sliding & skidding to mean the same thing.

On the other thread there were 2 completely different interpretations of what hip rotation is.  This can get very confusing for the average viewer, & downright frustrating for others.
JF

How about:
1. Carving, edge locked
2. Skidding, skis not edge-locked
post #28 of 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post

How about a thread where everyone gives their personal definition of steering ?
Guiding?
Movement. Havent heared before.....

Pivoting?
Movement. Nothing unclear with this. Pivot point can change.

Twisting?  (twisting what?)
Movement. Same as pivotting

Leg rotary?
Movement. Femure rotation is done to tip skis on edge, has nothing to do with steering because is also done when carving to increase torque on the skis.

Upper body rotation?
Movement. Will cause skidding..

Hip Rotation?
Movement. Will cause skidding.

Skidding?
Outcome of movement.

Sliding?
IMO used for describing the skis sliding forwards not turning.

Gliding?
IMO used for describing the skis sliding/gliding forwards not turning.

Countering?
Body movement has nothing to do with steering.

Angulating?
Body movement has nothing to do with steering.

 
post #29 of 509
Thanks TDK.  My intention really wasn't to interupt this thread, but it just goes to show because my definitions would be much different than yours for the most part.
JF
post #30 of 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Rick, whole body rotary IMO isn't passively riding the sidecut, or assuming a position and passively letting the skis turn the body.
 

I think this is an important observation. Riding the sidecut is not rotation.
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