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Help with short turns please? - Page 2

post #31 of 58
If by old slalom turns you mean the float-sting type, I think there are more efficient turns. The unweighting (float), rotating, and somewhat harsh (this is a relative thing) edge set (sting) seems to me a often unnecessary set of actions of todays skis. However, rotary is such a cool thing when combined with variable edging- i.e. brushed or scarved turns. I think any time spent exploring rotary is time well spent.

The shaped ski revolution really pushed the "carve or die" mentality to the extreme, but now we're starting to find a middle ground where the various merits of each skill set are being appreciated.
post #32 of 58
I think that the harsh edge set is a thing of the past. As is major unwieghting. And big pivoting.

Same mechanics, just toned down alot to let the skis do more (not all) the work. Even pivoting the skis through just the first 45 degrees of the arc gives the skier a much wider margin for error, with very little extra effort. Most folks don't want to do things the hard way when they get on steeper stuff, even if they can.
post #33 of 58
Try short turns on a shorter, narrow-waisted ski and tell me how much pivoting you feel. On a 160 cm. 106/64/95 ski I sure don't feel much.
post #34 of 58
45 degrees isn't much at all, assuming you are starting with the skis across the fall line. You are still pressuring the skis before they get into the fall line. It just makes my steep skiing more relaxing than trying to get the skis to carve right away.

maybe this picture will help:

The fuzzy part of the turn represents the pivot, whether it is done while completely unwieghted or a simple brush of a flattened ski across the snow.

Note that the trickiest part of the turn is essentially eliminated in the 3rd drawing. This part of the turn is really not necessary for recreational skiers on steeper terrain.

[ September 06, 2002, 02:07 PM: Message edited by: milesb ]
post #35 of 58
Notice how the hands remain forward.
post #36 of 58
keeping one's upperbody/arms in balance with the terrain really really helped me to be more dynamic
with the feet/knees/hips..etc, particularly in changing one's edges.
*A few interesting boots/skis out there!...

post #37 of 58
When I do short turns as you pictured them, my body is already moving down the hill into the turn, making rotary more difficult. My knees have already rolled over, and my skis are beginning to edge.
Hmmm... need snow to play with this...
post #38 of 58
The rotary may be more difficult for you to apply to your skis, but unless your skis are going fairly fast, or you are on shallow terrain, the skis are going to pivot on their own during the edge change. Especially if "already moving into the next turn" means (more or less) straight downhill, as it will in a short turn. Throw in a blocking pole plant, and the pivot is a done deal.
Check this out:

Let me point out that I'm trying to suggest what is practical (as OZ and Ott, just to name a couple have said), rather than what is possible.

Consider this- if someone like Lisamarie wants to ski a black diamond run, is it better for her to try to carve medium radius turns, with the resulting speed? Or can she EASILY be taught "modern short turns" (like I pictured) that would make the experience much less daunting?
post #39 of 58
Ahhhh... rotary at the point of edge change- that I can handle, and I probably do more of that already than I realize. I was completely misreading your picture to see where the rotary was occurring- must've been focusing too much on parallel shins or something similar.
post #40 of 58
Thanks, Mike. Note the edit to the picture to make it clearer.
post #41 of 58
Cool. However, I think the first skier is banking a little. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #42 of 58
He's not bad [skier], he's just drawn that way!
post #43 of 58
Try short turns on a shorter, narrow-waisted ski and tell me how much pivoting you feel. On a 160 cm. 106/64/95 ski I sure don't feel much.

This statement is of course a true statement BUT only within the context as applied … alas the context as applied does not include IMHO 97% of skiers taking lessons. If one pushes this “pure carve short ski short turn” mantra to a client that wants to work on “short turns” then in reality they are simply saying “don’t take a short turn lesson on any ski longer than 160 or more than a few years old” WHICH I think many will agree is a line of rhetoric that breaks many basic rules of instructing.

I agree with Miles. He has made points more eloquently than I and presented a very excellent pictorial example of “THE NEW SHORT TURN” that is both achievable for 97% of skiers and smoother, less effort and more “transportable” than a pure “up motion” short turn.

When I posted about “honesty in teaching dogma” IMHO Miles has supplied this “honesty” by including the example of LM skiing black diamond runs for two weeks a year using safe and effective short turn mechanics as opposed to striving for dogmatic perfection.

IMHO something needs to be done at the instructor clinic level to ensure that “the pure carve\short ski\short turn rhetoric” is fully understood in the context of the prospective client’s needs and aspirations. It is a fine goal to aim for perfect carving short turns BUT IMHO learning skills that enable all facets of the ski physique to be progressed is a more desirable lesson outcome. (mechanics, fear, balance, progression, personal achievement etc)

…. There appears to be a few too many instructors out there pushing a warped “latest & greatest” message and ignoring the fundamentals of “a linear pool of movements” for all turns on any equipment, applied as the situation demands.

Oz. [img]smile.gif[/img]

(97% is an amazingly accurate figure)
post #44 of 58
post #45 of 58
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the inputs. Just got back from another 2 days in New Zealand.

I mainly concentrated on rolling my knees a lot more into the turns rather than relying on hip angulation and this seemed to help a lot. Unfortunately I rarely ski with anyone to operate my video camera, but after a run, the lifty’s comment “Awwlllriiight!!” and grin on his face suggested I’m starting to get something right. Well, I was really enjoying myself.

Of course the snow was quite soft there now so it really wasn’t the same hard conditions as I described in my initial post, but I think as long as I maintain the confidence that my edges will indeed hold, and get the knees going where they should, I think harder conditions will prove easier.

Bending the skis very strongly has exposed another weakness that I really have to work on now however, and that is getting caught back as the ski rebounds at the end of the turn. The P50s have a strong rebound and find I have to move a long way forward to avoid the skis racing out from under me. Well, practice makes perfect so back over there next week!

Thanks again for the assistance.


post #46 of 58
Pete: Before I give you my 2-cents I would need to know more about your skiing. Can you tell us about your stance? Is it open or closed most of the time? Have you ever had an alignment done by a good boot fitter/orthotist type of shop?

Do you in-line skate in the off season? Do you know where you initiate each of your larger and / or medium radius turns from? (ie-what body part do you actually move first?)

Are you familiar with the terms "cross-under turns and cross-over turns" and how each relates to customary turn sizes we ski on the hill? ie- Large / Medium / Small ??? Have you had any lessons recently (last season), by a good instructor, who pointed out areas of improvement to consider in each area of your skiing? When was the last time you actually did some wedge christies for practice?

In your last post on Sept. 9th you noted that you worked on getting less hip angulation in your turns and you rolled your knees more. It sounds like your hip angulation may actually be hip rotation instead. Thus my questions.

Finally, when you watched yourself on video in slow motion, can you see an A-Frame develop in your lower leg and does your outside ski slide out frequently during short radius turns or just once in awhile? Well so much for questions. Sorry for my late response, I just saw your post tonight.


[ September 10, 2002, 09:22 PM: Message edited by: whtmt ]
post #47 of 58
Thread Starter 
WHTMT, Not sure I've come across that term when referring to an "open" or "closed" stance, however it could just be that we use a different term. I'm pretty sure I know what you're referring to but in case I'm wrong I won't comment until you explain your meaning.

Yes my alignment has been done, it was quoted as "being as bad as they'd seen". It made a huge difference.

I do skate in the off-season (well actually I really don't have an "off" season as such, just ski in the northern winter instead of down here). I'm not a great skater though, not into jumps/pipe/etc. I spend about 50 days actually on the snow each year, none of it is pottering about, all hard free-skiing 6 hours per day.

You know I really haven't taken much notice of where I initiate the turn, but am reading an excellent book on noticing just these things. Provided the season hangs in there I'll try to take more notice and let you know. At a guess I’d probably say large radius turns I move my body across the skis, but with short radius turns I tend to roll my knees to begin the turn.

Yeah I tend to take a private lesson about once every week or two. Unfortunately the quality of the instructor varies so some lessons I don’t get much out of, others are great. No I don’t think I rotate much these days, sure on large radius turns I follow the skis around, but not on short radius turns. I do bank a bit on turns to the right for some reason, which is very annoying as I can’t feel myself do it but it’s very obvious to me when I see it on video.

No, don’t ski with an A-frame since I had the alignment done. Maybe a slight A-frame if I’m pushing it hard through GS gates, but no big deal. It could be though that an A-frame develops as the outside ski skids out on ice, pretty likely in fact, but I haven’t actually seen it via video.

Regarding the outside ski sliding, it depends on how hard the snow is. In soft snow I’d say it basically never skids, it’s only on hard snow that I notice it. I’m beginning to think that maybe part of the reason is that I go quickly from a high edge angle to the other high edge angle, and as I suggested above this is “surprising” the ski. This isn’t a problem when more of the ski is in the snow, it will hold, but just isn’t gentle enough when the conditions are hard. It would also explain why I can get caught by the skis racing out from under me between turns, as it’s physically difficult to move my body mass forward in such a short period of time. It’s just a thought that I throw open to others, but it could be that if I roll the ski just a little slower, rather than throwing it straight onto a high edge angle, it will help both areas.

Hope that answers some of your questions, and thanks again for your help.


post #48 of 58
What great information,skiers. At my skill level there is nothing I can contribute. Except talking about myself. [img]redface.gif[/img] I have always had diff. with ice conditions. : The more edge I put into it the worst the response. A quick lite edge seems to work the best 4 me. Like walking on "eggs". If the terrain steep'ins then I have to open up my turns,otherwise a short swing will cause me to skid(chatter)the edges. In softer snow my short swing turns seem to displace more snow. A wider path where the ski has turned.
I'm going to go with SCSA & tom on this one.
Boy I can't wait to stop talking and start skiing.
post #49 of 58
VP, by the time I proposed that, the discussion had moved away from the icy surface problem. What you said about getting the ski to hold once it's skidding on ice is so true, it's the hardest thing, and I cannot do it! When it's icy and steep, I open up the radius of the turns to where feel I don't have to do that initial pivot. For me that is a medium radius turn. Obviously, better skiers can make it a smaller turn. Or I go with an actual shortswing turn with all the skidding and edgeset involved. Which is often the best option if I still want to relax. If I were a better skier, it might not be.
post #50 of 58
You have entered into one of the "Holy Grails" of skiing- the carved short turn. Having just read the entire thread, I must say there is a lot of really good information in there. Unfortunately, it's mixed in with some misconceptions and miscues.

In your intial question, you mention the inability to hold an edge when it gets slick. I've read ideas re: ski type/ flex, biomechanics, etc, all good stuff. Let me add another idea, and a rebuttal.

Lets start with a sharp pair of skis. Most average skiers (even instructors) are notorious for having dull skis. If you don't know how to, take them to a reputable shop and get them worked. Have a 2 degree side bevel, and a 1 degree bottom bevel put on them. This should be a good place to start. As you become accustomed to that, you can vary it as you want. This might begin to give you more confidence in the ski, resulting in more confidence in the turn. Dynamic, carved, short turns require a significant amount of confidence-. If it's missing, so are the turns.

I'd like to take exception to something milesb proposes-.
Pivoting at the beginning of the turn? This only makes your goal more difficult to achieve. When the ski rolls from one edge to the other, there should be NO redirection of the ski until it is established on the new edge. After the new edge is established, then the redirection can occur.
If the pivot takes place as Milesb suggests, then the ski is already skidding sidewards to some degree. Once that happens, it is one of the hardest things to make it hold again. The best you can hope for is chatter.

I won't disagree that there are times for the pivot to occur early, but not on hard, slick surfaces.

Have you considered the upcoming Gathering in Utah? Should be a great opportunity to get this quest into high gear!

Good luck, and make a few turns for us all.....
post #51 of 58
Originally posted by Pete:
Can anyone suggest drills that may be able to help with my short turns?
The other thing I’ve noticed is that I do not use much knee angulation in turning, most comes from the hips. It’s this latter point that I would like to do some work on. Can anyone suggest drills or things that I may like to think about to improve in this area?.......

One drill that i have found helps ankle and knee movement starts with large GS type turns. Traverse across a gentle slope and lift your uphill ski off the snow. While continuing to hold the uphill ski in the air, complete the turn until you are now traversing on the (new) uphill ski with the (now) downhill ski in the air. Once onto the traverse, roll the ankle and the the knee into the hill to increase edge angle and shorten the turn.

Repeat in the reverse direction and then gradually link turns together. You should find that this will help you engage your edges, including the inside edge earlier in the turn and help you avois skidding in short turns.

Hope this helps.
post #52 of 58
Thread Starter 
Thanks Snopro. Yeah I keep my edges pretty sharp, and run the angles you mentioned. You are quite right, it does make a huge difference. I tune my own skis, and feel quite confident doing it. As an aside, for those who also DIY, I found the edges will keep their sharpness MUCH longer if you polish them with a diamond file after filing with your normal chrome file. The theory is that if you just leave the edge filed, as the metal breaks away in use (at a very fine level) it does so in a random way, hence leaving a dull edge. Regarding angles, while I was in NZ there were quite a few big teams training and it was interesting to see these guys running 0/85 angles!

The confidence issue you mentioned could be a big part of the problem. I remember discussing this with an instructor during some race training and he assured me, “Pete, those skis, that sharp … YOU won’t be able to get them to break free!” Well all very well and good if you know how to drive them properly I guess. [img]smile.gif[/img] However it’s possible that because I EXPECT the edges not to hold I pivot the ski in the first instance before giving the edges a chance to bite. Once the skid begins to develop the only way to make the turn is to pivot more, which skids them more, and so it goes on. As mentioned recovery from this situation is very difficult if your line is predetermined.


post #53 of 58
I'd like to build on VSP's recent comment about pivoting the ski while on edge to initiate the short turn. Ian Beveridge, on his CD teaches pushing the new downhill edged ski forward to pivot it while pulling back on the other ski. Ive tried this on Rollerblades and it helps me to slalom with better control. Does this seem like acceptable technique?
post #54 of 58
[/qb][/quote]One drill that i have found helps ankle and knee movement starts with large GS type turns. Traverse across a gentle slope and lift your uphill ski off the snow. While continuing to hold the uphill ski in the air, complete the turn until you are now traversing on the (new) uphill ski with the (now) downhill ski in the air. Once onto the traverse, roll the ankle and the the knee into the hill to increase edge angle and shorten the turn. [/QB][/quote]

Try this in the reverse. Traverse on the uphill edge & roll the dowhill ski into the turn. This will help you to initiate your turn with the inside ski and you will be surprised how strong and round you turns will become. It takes a little practice/balance to traverse on the uphill edge of the uphill ski so don't rush it. Work on the traverse first before rolling over the downhill foot. This will also help you to develop a strong inside half. [img]smile.gif[/img]

Have a Great day as best you can on 9-11.

post #55 of 58
Well, once more: on ice you must start out slow and never gain any speed since it is almost impossible to scrub speed once you have gained it. So from the very first short turn you must be very vigilant to not go fast or you will just lose the edges and pick up more speed until you can throw them sideways without slowing down.

We here in Ohio often have ice to where you can see the grass through a foot or two of ice, mostly because the snow machines were not shut off when the temperature got over the freezing point and over night it got solid ice.

Our SSD used to chase us out to ski ice under the chair so that folks sitting on the decks or the few on the chairs would say: "How do they do that? I better take a lesson". [img]smile.gif[/img]

The biggest problem with inexperienced skiers on ice is that they start off from the top with skis facing down the fall line to gain momentum as they do on snow. BIG MISTAKE! It is just like jumping out of an airplane and trying to backpaddle to get back in.

post #56 of 58
Originally posted by Ott Gangl:

We here in Ohio often have ice to where you can see the grass through a foot or two of ice, mostly because the snow machines were not shut off when the temperature got over the freezing point and over night it got solid ice..Ott
We DO NOT have ice but we do have loud powder. Come on Ott you are going to give us a bad name! [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

post #57 of 58
John, I'm talking about a dozen years ago when I stil was teaching. Boston Mills and Bradywine have installed the new computerized snowmachins from Sweden which automatically measure temperature, humidity and a bunch of other things and mix the air/water to properly make snow and when it gets too warm they turn themselves off, drain the water to keep it from freezing, etc. Take the decision making away from humans, all the great snowmakers have died off.

And they make great snow, often better than the natural we get here.

Before this there was always a crew with flame throwers thawing out ome frozen pipes and hauling rubber hoses around.

So I'm afraid that the new skiers will never learn how to handle ice unless they go to Stowe where it rains every week once to make ice.

post #58 of 58
Pete: Thanks for answering my questions. You have painted a much beter picture now. I'm happy to give you some thoughts, but my overall concern is that this thread has become voluminous with so many suggestions that we all might overwhelm your focus. So here are my 2- cents. Unfortunately this may put you to sleep by its finish.

First, defining the "cross-over turn" mechanic. It is when the center of mass crosses over the center of the ski as weight transfers from one set of edges to the opposing edges during turn initiation. It occurs typically in medium and larger radius turns. The "cross-under turn" mechanic is when the skis move under the center of mass, and then away from the CM, while it remains in a relatively single location, during turn initiation. The skis travel in one direction away from the CM and then return crossing under the CM as they move in the opposite direction.

With regard to your alignment correction. Did the boot fitter also make any changes to your fore / aft alignment also known as "ramp angle"? I ask this only because you made a statement that your skis "rebound and get away from you frequently". I assume they have also corrected for any ramp angle problems. One last item here. Are you wearing stiff (race type), boots or more contemporary softer all mountain boots? Stiff boots will frequently push a skier into the back seat syndrom, which causes the skier to make other body mechanic adjustments in their turn mechanics to correct for this problem.

My question on in-line skating, was with regard to how you move your body parts in a turn while skating, not about tricks in a skate park. For instance, can you make slalom type turns on in-line skates with your arms crossed across your chest, the same way we do on skis (assuming you have seen this done on skis)? In so doing do you turn without over rotating the turn finish on skates or are you set up properly for the next turn? You should be able to tip the in-line skates and turn without much foot steering and still not over rotate the turn.

My question on turn initiation. When you initiate a large radius turn you mentioned that you move your body across the skis, but when you initiate short radius turns you "roll my knees". This leads me to believe that you are doing both a cross-over movement and a cross-under movement in each turn actively and correctly for the turn size at the time. My only thought here is that you may have a lingering hip rotation in the short radius turns, which you wouldn't notice in the larger turns, due to the speed and change of direction being only slight in comparison, therefore not causing any noticeable slippage.When you move to the short radius turn on hard or icy surface conditions you will find slippage if there is any hip or other upper body rotational forces in your turn mechanics. You will not be able to see this rotation in your video either in larger radius turns, but it will show up as an abstem (downstem-outside ski moves away from the inside ski), typically at the end of the turn when the centrifugal forces are at their peak. If you do observe this in your video your clearly twisting your skis under you not tipping them to initiate the turn. You also mentioned that you tend to "bank a bit on turns to the right". When this happens do you find that the short radius turns to the right end with washing out (slipping), the left or outside ski? Does this happen more frequently in the right turn and are you aware of more weight ending up on the inside ski (in this case the right ski), as opposed to when you make short turns to the left? If this is what is happening then some skiing fundamentals need to be mastered to correct and change these current movement patterns.

Lastly you mentioned that you "go from a high edge angle to another high edge angle surprising the ski". This is clearly a pressure management problem. Some of the other folks, I believe it was Ott Gang, that focused on this made it very clear that an abrupt edge engagement would cause the skis to slide on the hard surface. I fully agree with Ott. We ski alot of hard boiler plate conditions back east here and find that pressure management is critical if we're to be successful on this condition. Ice or hard pack always points up our flaws in technique, due to the precision needed to ski it successfully.

Now for a few last suggestions and a mini short-turn progression with some related tasks.

First I would like you to rebuild independence in turning each foot / ski independently from the other. Do this by practicing some sideslipping straight down the fall line in each direction until its second nature. Do it in all but powder conditions.

Next add to the sideslip a linking of one sideslip to another in each direction at the middle of the practice segment by releasing the skis edges and twisting your skiis under you a full 180 degrees, so they face in the other direction and then continue sideslipping. Do this until its easy and can be done on command. Here's a hint. Keep your stance open (feet apart), throughout the exercise.

Next do hockey slides to both sides straight down the fall line until it is easy. Hint-Don't go fast. Do all of these exercises slowly.

Now link the hockey slides without using a pole touch yet. This will change these to pivot slips. Hint- Keep your feet and stance open even more than you did earlier throughout the exercises. Additionally be sure to extend your center of mass to be ahead of your feet / skis as you do this or it won't work. Specifically, your hips must lead your feet / skis and be kept up or you won't be able to turn your feet independently. Your feet should feel like you're on a ball bearing surface.

Now add a pole touch for enhanced timing. This IS NOT a blocking pole touch. It's a light touch.

Now add to this sequence some mild and Progressive edge engagement as you finish each pivot slip. Be very light here also. Once this gets a little easier then add some foot steering as you finish the pivot slip, so that you continue turning the skis actively throughout the turn.

Now after you're very comfortable with all of the above add more edge engagement to this sequence (a higher edge angle). But whatever you do Don't rush it or you will defeat all that you have just mastered.

Finally, take this to some groomed green or low blue terrain to practice. NOw go back to the medium radius turns and ski them very slowly all the while tightening the radius of every third or fourth turn until you have begun to ease into short radius turns. Keep your speed very slow now and change from the cross-over movement to the cross-under movement and you're on your way to short radius turns.

Last but not least. If I haven't put you all to sleep yet-Take this out on hard pack to practice until your confidence builds. Be sure not to ramp up the intensity and pace at all until the movements have become second nature at every point. This may actually take you an entire season or two to clearly recognize what is happening in your skiing. Good luck with your practice and I hope I haven't confused you more than before.

: whtmt :
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