Originally Posted by Rick
Let me provide some prospective on the Ligety montage Tog posted.
The nature of the course set in this photo is dictating that the turns apex for the first gate is actually above the gate. That's fairly clear to see by observing that in image 2 his skis are already beginning to turn out of the falline, and he's already beginning his flexion into a retraction transition. Before that, in image 1, his hips are above his outside foot. You must look at the relationship between the pelvis and the outside foot to have an accurate understanding of the hips to feet relationship, because the outside foot is where the skier is laterally balanced.
In images 2-6 he is executing his retraction transition. Retractions require an intense flexing of the knees, which puts the hips well behind the feet.
That pelvic position is clear to see through these transition images 2-6.
I used to use hips for synonym for pelvis until I was corrected by a doctor. For this discussion pelvis is much clearer.
Well, we could just as easily say, "Get your knees up and let your hips fall back!" as opposed to "Get Forward", no? Clearly in a retraction turn the hips are behind the feet. We can choose to ignore this, as is doesn't support "hips over the feet", but in terms of total time, Ligety's pelvis is behind his outside foot more than in front of it no? I get that the part of the turn with the most forces his pelvis is over or in front of his outside foot - but getting there requires a wide range.
To get where he is in the last frame, he really has to start moving in the 3rd frame. (from left)
In image 7 he's rolling on edge, engaging the new turn, and beginning to lengthen his outside leg by extending his outside knee. Though this camera angle does not allow you to see it, by images 8-9 his outside leg is long and his hips have recovered to a position over his outside foot. As I said, it's hard to see here, but if you observe the amount of tip lead he has in images 8-9 you can get a better idea of the relationship of his pelvis and more rearward located outside foot.
Here are a couple more montages that provide a better view of the relationship of the pelvis to the outside foot at the turns apex.
The above montage is of Ted in a GS turn. Notice here he has abandoned the retraction transition and has employed a cross over variety transition. This is common in GS, where the need for a fast transition is not as great as it is in slalom. Cross over provides a better connection with the snow through the transition (less float), which provides better feel of edge engagement and therefor a cleaner initiation.
Now look at what Ted does with his hips. Notice between image 4 and 5 how he extends his new outside (uphill) knee, and thereby brings his pelvis up over his new outside foot for the initiation of the new turn. At image 6 his outside leg has already reached full functional extension, and at image 7 at the apex of the turn, at maximum edge angle, he has a long and strong outside leg, with his pelvis over outside foot.
The movement he has to do to get himself "up and over" is really starting just before the 4th frame - before the turn is even finished. Could we not say that he's getting the body downhill before the skis? Does this even relate to "hips over feet"? Yes, the ultimate goal is to get "long and strong" with outside of pelvis in front of the foot, but to do that you have to let the skis get away and the pelvis will be behind the feet for some time.
Here we're also exposing another myth - that there's no "up" in modern turns.
Plus, thank god for turns like these. Do we have to see endless videos of free skiing "racers" making endless retraction turns on a 50 yard wide trail and nary a pole in sight? As if it's "wrong" or impossible to make an Inside Leg Extension turn - even in powder.
Here's Ted again. Observe the transition between the blue and red gate. We'll call the image where Ted is right next to the blue gate image 1. Between image 1 and 2 is where the transition starts. Look how much Ted extends his inside leg between images 1-4. In doing that he has moved his pelvis up over his new outside (uphill) foot significantly, all before he has even reached edge angle neutral. By image 6, still well above the turns apex, he has already reached full functional outside leg extension, with his pelvis in front of his business foot (outside foot). Remember, the forward lean in a ski boot means a long strong outside leg also means a pelvis above or in front of the foot.
Ok, so between your images 1 and 2 - at the blue gate, he has started his move to get to the other side. (Hey Bob! - couldn't we call this move "Foragonal"?!) The extension is getting his body down the hill - esp. since in the coming float phase you can't effect a body move downhill - there's nothing to push on. You can continue it and extend new outside leg for ski/snow contact.
If we go back to frame 4 from the left of the image, his skis are off the snow! Clearly he's in float phase, pelvis well behind feet. Somewhere after frame 3 he's started the movement to get his body downhill, release the skis, and let the feet go forward.
Maybe the problem comes from an interpretation that if one lets the skis go at transition, that means that no muscular movements are required. Clearly Ligety has to use a lot of muscle force to maintain his position at the bottom of the turn and then to get his body moving downhill. But what does that have to do with "hips over feet"?
Will we always see the pelvis directly over the foot at the turns apex? No. Skiing is a dynamic sport, and different situations may require creativity in technical applications. Great skiing is characterized by the ability to adapt and adjust to need, and also the ability to vary what you do, just for the fun of it. Building a broad skill base involves developing the ability to venture comfortably into various ways of executing a turn. As a general rule though, in an arc to arc turn, achieving a long and strong outside leg with pelvis over feet before reaching the turns apex represents the strongest and best balanced stance for dealing with the forces that impact the body at that highest force level period of the turn. For skiers who suffer from perpetual hips and balance aft at all phases of a turn syndrome, which constitutes a good portion of the recreational skier population, aspiring to that long and strong apex stance can be an important enhancement to their skiing.
And to those who think the cross over transition is old school, that retraction is the new "correct", you only need to look at the montages I've posted above, and how much extension of the new outside leg is happening before edge angle neutral, to realize it's just not true. Retraction is gaining a faddish following of late, but it's not the only transition of value in modern technique, and certainly not the only transition the best skiers in the world are using. For the skier struggling to get out of the back seat, and to get their outside leg long and strong, going back to the cross over transition is a very effective way to break out of their "sitting on the toilet" rut, and learn this more efficient turning approach.
What's up with the "I ski powder on 125mm skis and can only make a retraction turn" business? People aren't doing 50mph in Alaska doing freakin' retraction turns all the time. Plus, you can make an extension turn in powder on skinny skis.