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engaging your edges at initiation...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey folks,

I'm looking to improve my edging skills on boilerplate/ice. My current limit for pure carved turns on boilerplate is western blue runs. On boilerplate black runs I revert to pivoted short radius. I can ski a carved turn on a soft snow black. 

My premise for increasing edging proficiency on hardpack blacks is as follows: 
  • Continue using down unweighting as a means of maintaining consistent pressure throughout the turn
  • Invert the skis at turn initiation (phase 1) to engage the edges
  • increase edge angles through phases 2 and 3
  • avoid rotary movements (pivoting) as the ski will break away on ice (no longer carved, instead you'd get a skidded turn)

Is there a drill one can use to balance over the inverted edge at initiation? I believe I am successfully engaging the edge at initiation on blue runs, but not on black runs. 

Lastly, is up-unweighting compatible with technique on ice? 

Thanks!
post #2 of 10
 If your avoiding rotary movements how do expect to make anything but pure carved turns?

When skiing steep enough icey runs that are to steep to pure carve on my equipment that day I tend to strive for brushes carved turns that if done correctly can be quite dynamic.

couple points about you assumptions thats are wrong...

unweighting never has to take place unless the snow is sticky and/or you need to use a pivot entry. Pivot entries are pretty useful in the right context but there is no reason to be using either  a unweighting move or a pivot on ice except in racing and extremely steep situations

just as important as early edge engagement is being progressive with you movement so you dont move to fast and end up in skidded turns. If you move relativitly slowly you have much better edge grip.

2 of my favorite drills to get early edge engagement are these.

skate down the falline to shapeing - skate down the fallline and progressively let your ski go out farther on each skating stroke as they start to come around match your inside skis. As both skis start to match keep the same feeling of 'skating" down the falline at the top of each turn

tug of war or the whip - requires a partner and a wide open slope. do this first in wedges before progressing to parallel turns. both you and you partner hold on to piece of bamboo and make medium radius turns while the person down hill in the transtion tries to pull the uphill the person down the hill. The downhill person resist but yields to start the next turn. and repeats process untill you run out of slope. Please I urge you to be very careful with this one. Its fun and teaches alot of moving the COM down the hill in alittle bit of time but has ALOT of risk and should only be done with skiers who for the most part know what they are doing.
post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
Is there a drill one can use to balance over the inverted edge at initiation? I believe I am successfully engaging the edge at initiation on blue runs, but not on black runs. 

Lastly, is up-unweighting compatible with technique on ice? 

Thanks!
 

Try narrow slow speed railroad tracks on flat terrain focusing on ankle movements. Once you start picking up speed it will be hard to get too high edge angles, so stop and start over. Try to get as high an edge angle as you can get to the point where you do fall over (or at least step out). You want to find the point where you can minimize acceleration without letting your skis get out from underneath your upper body. This way you'll get a lot of practice of "driving" flat skis onto an edge.

Up or down unweighting is not the issue. It's your ability to make round turns. To the extent that you can spread the forces evenly throughout the turn and those forces are less than the gripping capability of your edges, you will have the ability to carve. In general you're going to want to make your edge transitions quickly and keep weight on the skis through the transition. In practice, most skiers will benefit more from increasing the sharpness of their edges than from improving their technique.

I'm with Bush about carving on steep "firm" terrain. We generally prefer to achieve speed control through turn shape. However, the excess speed that (cough) firm snow provides us, combined with steeper terrain means that we would need to employ ridiculous shaped turns to make carved turns under these conditions. Most times we don't have the room to safely do this. It's much more practical to add some skidding back in under these conditions. In places where you are having trouble, try pivoting the turn entry and carving the finish.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses! Some questions and thoughts...

Quote:
 
 If your avoiding rotary movements how do expect to make anything but pure carved turns?

Exactly--That's the point! I'm not looking for a skidded or brushed turn right now. The alternative to skidded or brushed is a carved turn.  (Excluding wedging or sideslipping, which isn't clean high level skiing.) Plus a carve feels a lot nicer than a nasty chatter or slide down ice.

Quote:
 
unweighting never has to take place unless the snow is sticky and/or you need to use a pivot entry. Pivot entries are pretty useful in the right context but there is no reason to be using either  a unweighting move or a pivot on ice except in racing and extremely steep situations

 
In CSIA demos (and probably PSIA as well) there's a perceptible up-unweight to initiate turns. This seems to happen in even "dynamic turns". For evidence, check out the CSIA level 3 demo skiing under "Level 3 standards": http://snowproab.com/skipro/course_materials.htm

My preference is to down-unweight to relieve pressure through transition, then apply it going into the next turn. Doing so should enable the skier to maintain consistent pressure against the ice rather than the abrupt pressure change (and breaking of ski away from the ice) inherent in a sudden up-unweight to initiate. 

Quote:
 
just as important as early edge engagement is being progressive with you movement so you dont move to fast and end up in skidded turns. If you move relativitly slowly you have much better edge grip.

Agreed. That's implied in "maintaining consistent pressure in the turn". 

Quote:
 
skate down the falline to shapeing - skate down the fallline and progressively let your ski go out farther on each skating stroke as they start to come around match your inside skis. As both skis start to match keep the same feeling of 'skating" down the falline at the top of each turn

Ahh, that's a good one. I forgot about it! Not sure how to apply it on a black as skating will increase the speed too much. It works well on flat flat greens.

Quote:
tug of war or the whip - requires a partner and a wide open slope. do this first in wedges before progressing to parallel turns. both you and you partner hold on to piece of bamboo and make medium radius turns while the person down hill in the transtion tries to pull the uphill the person down the hill. The downhill person resist but yields to start the next turn. and repeats process untill you run out of slope. Please I urge you to be very careful with this one. Its fun and teaches alot of moving the COM down the hill in alittle bit of time but has ALOT of risk and should only be done with skiers who for the most part know what they are doing.

Interesting! I imagine it's good if your learner can't bring themselves to get their CoM down the hill. This drill may work well in a private? I'll try it with another strong skier first. (...and try to find some bamboo... d'oh.)

Quote:
 
To the extent that you can spread the forces evenly throughout the turn and those forces are less than the gripping capability of your edges, you will have the ability to carve. 

How do you define the gripping capability of your edges? I understand the concept of edge grip by melting ice and tracking in a line, but aside from magazine reviews stating "excellent edge grip", how does one identify it? (To put it in the most base question possible: what calibre of ski is capable of edge grip on a black? is my 2007 x-wing 10 capable of it? Is there a ski that grips ice like Oprah on Christmas ham?)

Quote:
 
In practice, most skiers will benefit more from increasing the sharpness of their edges than from improving their technique.

Interesting perspective. I've heard both the statement above, and the counter-statement that technique allows a skier to ski the dullest blade on ice if balanced over it. I'm inclined to think both are required... 

Quote:
 
I'm with Bush about carving on steep "firm" terrain. We generally prefer to achieve speed control through turn shape. However, the excess speed that (cough) firm snow provides us, combined with steeper terrain means that we would need to employ ridiculous shaped turns to make carved turns under these conditions. Most times we don't have the room to safely do this. 

For sure. Only appropriate on empty days on an empty wide run. This isn't a good technique at all for Saturday skiing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

It's much more practical to add some skidding back in under these conditions. In places where you are having trouble, try pivoting the turn entry and carving the finish.

I find, regardless of terrain steepness, if the edge isn't engaged going into the turn, it's unlikely the skier can engage the edge until the next turn. Instead the skis simply slide downhill. Yes, balancing over the outside edge should give control to engage that edge, but it just doesn't seem to work well in practice. Kind of like how when a conductor brakes a train, it takes ages for the brakes to grip.  

It would be really nice to have an ice clinic out here. Surprisingly I've never seen such a clinic even in Ontario, ice central. In the past when I'd ask the level 2 instructors in my ski club about training on ice, they'd dance around the issue saying "ski lightly" without doing any concrete drills on ice or working normal drills back into skiing on ice. Maybe this is better addressed in the CSCF (Canadian Ski Coaching Federation) courses. It's something I'd like to develop in my skiing to be able to teach well.
Edited by Metaphor_ - 3/18/10 at 11:55pm
post #5 of 10
How do you carve ice? Something of an oxymoron or more charitably a contradiction, I think. On ice, edge engagement is almost impossible, that's why it's called ice, its frozen solid. Not sure what this entire speech is about, and  I am humbly asking, TheRusty already said it clearly. Something logically flawed, unless your ski edges are made of diamonds.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyfog View Post

How do you carve ice? Something of an oxymoron or more charitably a contradiction, I think. On ice, edge engagement is almost impossible, that's why it's called ice, its frozen solid. Not sure what this entire speech is about, and  I am humbly asking, TheRusty already said it clearly. Something logically flawed, unless your ski edges are made of diamonds.

Have you ever skated? That's applying edging on ice.

Amusingly enough, since taking up skiing a few years ago I've had a renewed interest in skating as well. Skating's like simple skiing--a consistent surface in a (mostly) predictable environment. Skiing is inconsistent surface in a changing environment. Both entice the athlete to use their edges to manage speed and direction.   

No intent for a speech--I'm simply looking for clarification and "comparing notes" in an attempt to reach the unattainable perfect turn.

EDIT: oh noes... service instead of surface? Boy was I getting tired 
Edited by Metaphor_ - 3/19/10 at 8:11pm
post #7 of 10
my comments are in green

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Thanks for the responses! Some questions and thoughts...

 


Exactly--That's the point! I'm not looking for a skidded or brushed turn right now. The alternative to skidded or brushed is a carved turn.  (Excluding wedging or sideslipping, which isn't clean high level skiing.) Plus a carve feels a lot nicer than a nasty chatter or slide down ice.


 
In CSIA demos (and probably PSIA as well) there's a perceptible up-unweight to initiate turns. This seems to happen in even "dynamic turns". For evidence, check out the CSIA level 3 demo skiing under "Level 3 standards": http://snowproab.com/skipro/course_materials.htm

Look at the level iv standards. You'll see much less of this. If you finish turns in a countered position, you'll be able to match flexing of the new insude leg with extension of the new outside leg and thus keep the upper body level as it comes across the skis.

My preference is to down-unweight to relieve pressure through transition, then apply it going into the next turn. Doing so should enable the skier to maintain consistent pressure against the ice rather than the abrupt pressure change (and breaking of ski away from the ice) inherent in a sudden up-unweight to initiate. 

This is perfectly valid. But it's not the only way to make turns.

Agreed. That's implied in "maintaining consistent pressure in the turn". 


Ahh, that's a good one. I forgot about it! Not sure how to apply it on a black as skating will increase the speed too much. It works well on flat flat greens.


Interesting! I imagine it's good if your learner can't bring themselves to get their CoM down the hill. This drill may work well in a private? I'll try it with another strong skier first. (...and try to find some bamboo... d'oh.)


How do you define the gripping capability of your edges? I understand the concept of edge grip by melting ice and tracking in a line, but aside from magazine reviews stating "excellent edge grip", how does one identify it? (To put it in the most base question possible: what calibre of ski is capable of edge grip on a black? is my 2007 x-wing 10 capable of it? Is there a ski that grips ice like Oprah on Christmas ham?)

There are different grades of steel used in ski edges, but I don't believe this will effect edge grip. Edge bevels will make a difference (think about sharper points). It's my 2 cents that edge grip comments on ski reviews are more about the torsional flex of the ski than about the edges themselves. A soft flexing beginner ski is not going to be able to hold the forces of a carved turn on a black run as well as a performance model. The problem is that the better a ski is able to handle firmer snow, the more difficult it will be to get it to perform nicely in softer snow. The bottom line is you identify grip by feel.

Interesting perspective. I've heard both the statement above, and the counter-statement that technique allows a skier to ski the dullest blade on ice if balanced over it. I'm inclined to think both are required... 

If a skis edges are dull and dinged up, there's only so much one can do with them. Have you ever tried to cut a tomato with a dull knife? A chef can do it, but he's only going to be able to get the slices as thin as the blade will let him. Which is why chefs like super sharp knives and ice skiers like super sharp edges.

For sure. Only appropriate on empty days on an empty wide run. This isn't a good technique at all for Saturday skiing.


I find, regardless of terrain steepness, if the edge isn't engaged going into the turn, it's unlikely the skier can engage the edge until the next turn. Instead the skis simply slide downhill. Yes, balancing over the outside edge should give control to engage that edge, but it just doesn't seem to work well in practice. Kind of like how when a conductor brakes a train, it takes ages for the brakes to grip.  

Racers use this technique. It's worth a try.

It would be really nice to have an ice clinic out here. Surprisingly I've never seen such a clinic even in Ontario, ice central. In the past when I'd ask the level 2 instructors in my ski club about training on ice, they'd dance around the issue saying "ski lightly" without doing any concrete drills on ice or working normal drills back into skiing on ice. Maybe this is better addressed in the CSCF (Canadian Ski Coaching Federation) courses. It's something I'd like to develop in my skiing to be able to teach well.

OMG! Mon Dieu! Marketing people never use the "I" word! It scares the paying customer away. Only crazy people like to ski i... err firm snow.
post #8 of 10
The ability to handle ice and still make a clean carved turn of any size is something of a misconception. Racers try to carve as much as possible but to be honest even they use some skidding. Not a lot but it's important to understand that the carve and carve even more mantra isn't literal advice, as much as an objective.
Secondly, the upside down stance through the initiation phase needs to be seen as a set up for the strong edging and pressure phase coming up. If that phase is early, as in the initiation phase, you may need to get immediate edge and pressure building but the most common problem is trying to do too much in the set up phase. An old analogy my bike race coach used all the time is that you need to think about our activities in the context of a limited resource, he called it a book of matches. Burn them all early and you don't have anything left at the finish of the turn, or the run. Using that mental approach keeps my focus on the objectives both in a long and short term way. What I need to do to deal with the immediate needs, what I need to do to set myself up to do things later (turn / run), and what do I need to do when I get to that later place.

I realize this sounds vague until you actually start applying this to a real situation. So here's an example I'd like to share

Say you pivot the entry and float through the first half of the turn. Now you need to work even harder during the last half of the turn just to gain edge purchase while simultaneously trying to not overwhelm the edge platform you are trying to establish. In that sense, earlier edge engagement makes sense but even then that doesn't automatically mean huge edge and pressure at the very beginning of the turn. Just enough is a term I throw around a lot but it is very important to understand that there is a range of appropriate DIRT in every phase of a turn. Change that and you change the outcome. Establish the edge but focus on a strong edging phase around the fall line. If the size of the turn requires a bit of a skid don't be afraid to use that since it will keep you from entering the last third of the turn going too fast for the ski to gain grip, and will just cause the snow to sheer away (from too much pressure) which will in turn causes the skis to skid sideways. Beyond that it comes down to balancing on the outside ski even when it skids.
  
Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/19/10 at 10:15am
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

It would be really nice to have an ice clinic out here. Surprisingly I've never seen such a clinic even in Ontario, ice central. In the past when I'd ask the level 2 instructors in my ski club about training on ice, they'd dance around the issue saying "ski lightly" without doing any concrete drills on ice or working normal drills back into skiing on ice. Maybe this is better addressed in the CSCF (Canadian Ski Coaching Federation) courses. It's something I'd like to develop in my skiing to be able to teach well.
 

Yep, there's your answer.
post #10 of 10
 I love the idea of an ice clinic. It would be fun to do, but more importantly, it would guarantee a huge dump.

As far as the unweighting thing goes, up or down, I think it's antithetical to what you say you are trying to achieve which as you said is consistent pressure through the turn. If you unweight, you will have no pressure at the top of the turn. If you don't do anything up there, then you have to do everything at the bottom of the turn and if your skis have limited grip, you may overwhelm them. Conversely, if you do too much at the top, you can run out of options at the bottom of the turn.
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