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Weight 100% on the outside ski – a useful drill?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I am an intermediate skier who would like to improve but started skiing late in life (29) and undoubtedly has many bad habits. I am the sort of person who likes to understand how and why things work in order to learn (mathematics, physics and logical reasoning come easily to me, but my coordination is poor). Thus I have absorbed plenty of theoretical skiing knowledge but because my practical skiing is poor, I try to avoid “talking the talk”. I have 3 books on how to ski: “Skiing and the Art of Carving”, “The All Mountain Skier” and Lito’s latest book.

I realise that much of Lito’s advice is contraversial, but I find his compelling explanations and his efforts to simplify easier to absorb and remember than the advice in the other books.

In particular I am wondering if his advice to put all my weight on the outside ski is useful, even if only as a drill. In his book he suggests than intermediate skiers often start off with a good weight transfer but then lapse into more equal weighting which causes the turn to skid. Some on this site have recommended that we should let outside ski dominance simply happen rather than trying to control it. My worry is that if I take this approach it is likely that I will fall into the pattern of lapsing into equal weighting and skidding. If on the other hand I practice 100% weight shift (as a drill) I will know straight away if I have the lapsing dominance issue and can start to get used to the feeling of loading up the outside ski and keeping it loaded throughout the turn. Once I have learned this skill then I can then experiment with different weight shifts for differing conditions.

I also wondered if somebody could offer me advice on my main hangup, which is controlling speed gracefully on moderately steep narrow tracks. Un-weighting and swivel turns have never been my strong point. I much prefer trying to carve on open blue runs (where un-weighting and steering are almost non-issues). When I make an effort to link turns in a narrow setting I find it difficult to make my inside ski follow the outside ski and I feel like I am swivelling from end to edge in a wedge position. I am not sure whether I should work on a stronger weight shift (seem to fit with the need to scrub off speed at the end of each turn) or do something else. I suspect this is a common problem.
post #2 of 20
Go find a really good instructor (as in good for you - a nice technical soul) & take a few lessons....
post #3 of 20
James,

Yes, I think it's a useful drill and use it fairly frequently. But why stop at the outside ski? Why not make turns on just your inside ski too? As most of us know there are extremes in this sport. On hard pack, there are time when I try to get a significant percentage (90%-95%) of my weight distributed of the outside ski. At these times, I'm generally "hauling the mail" so to speak... There are also times when I try to "even things up" and have a more equal weight distribution between my skis. These times are in deep powder or maybe the bumps.

However, one thing I've noticed about moving all or most of my weight to the outside ski, is that the other ski tends to loose contact with the snow. This, for obvious reasons, can be bad. Balance for one. While I feel pretty comfortable on just one ski most of the time, I am still not in optimum balance. The other point of contact the other ski provides is very useful. Another issue here is the ability to use both edges to help hold you in fast turns or steep terrain. I remember Scott Mathers telling me in a clinic once, "a ski skids because we've turned it more or faster than we've edged/and pressured it and it breaks free to a skid." Most of us have a hard time (esp. if you've already committed 100% of your weight to the ski), pressuring a ski more. It can be done, but it's tough. We could turn the ski less, but this really isn't an option many times. So this leaves us with edging the ski more. This we generally CAN do with proper skill development. So work on edging. Especially with that inside leg. You can commit weight to the outside one, but keep the inside ski there and use it's edges to help hold you. However, you should constantly be making fine adjustments with your weight distribution between your feet. The easiest way (at least for me) is controlling the length of you inside leg. Remember, keep the outside one strong....

The other end of this spectrum is the release of the old edge. Many skiers do a pretty poor job with it. Make sure you are getting your skis flat before you steer them in the direction of the new turn. This very well could be causing the brief wedge position you are seeing. If you hang on to that old edge, and don't release it, when you start steer the new outside ski in the direction of the new turn, they'll pop to a wedge for just an instant. Does that make sense ?

Another issue relating to this is overall speed. If don't want to slip, keep it slow(er). The extra forces that build up on us at the end of the turn are magnified by speed. I'm sure PhysicsMan could give us some equations. I however, made a "C" in physics in college and was happy to get it An easy way to keep your speed down in steep terrain is to finish that turn !!! Don't start the new one until A). Your at a speed your comfortable with, or B) Your going to hit some thing. If it's narrow, use as much of the trail as you can. Keep you speed in check and your turns will feel more graceful. Don't "rush" things, this will cause your skis to skid. (Remember turning your feet faster than edge/pressure....) Trust your edges to hold you at the end of the turn.

Most people I work with really like to talk and work with weight sift or pressure control movements. Why? Because they can "feel" them the easiest. It's one of the most direct feedback mechanisms we have. It is however, only one part of the skiing equation. Truth is every exercise requires some degree of control working with balance, edging movements, rotary movements and pressure control movements simultaneously. Some exercises work more on one skill than another but they all work all skills at some level. This is one reason I due "drills" infrequently and work more with "tasks". What's the difference ? To me a task is "ski this run making your turns as "smooth" (or round, or quick or slow etc...) as you can..." while a drill is "ski on one ski..." I've personally found that with task or goal oriented skiing, people become more aware about blending all of the skills as opposed to working a single skill. Just my teaching style. It's also very easy to replicate on your own. It seems to me that your "goal" is skiing steep narrow groomed terrain smoothly. To do this we need a good edge release, an weight early shift to the outside ski, and smooth steering of the skis throughout the turn with progressive edging as you move through the turn. This is a lot different than just getting the weight to the outside foot. It takes all of the fundamental skills blended into a smooth package.

Lonnie
post #4 of 20
James, may I make a couple of suggestions that have helped me as a very technical, analytical person? I am relatively new to EpicSki (this fall), and, although a good skier, am having to revamp my technique to make better use of more modern equipment.

When it comes to turning, take a look at this classic post on the Perfect Turn by Bob Barnes. I think it may help you to visualize many of the elements of developing a strong, effective turn.

When it comes to controlling your speed, I found that Bob's post describing that "Good skiing is skiing a slow enough line as fast as you can--WHEN you can!" to be very useful, as well.

The challenges that you describe seem to me to be tied into defensiveness in your turns (see the first post) and limited focus on using your line to control speed. Let me know if those posts are helpful. They really need to go into the Training Center, too!
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by James Powrie:
In his book he suggests than intermediate skiers often start off with a good weight transfer but then lapse into more equal weighting which causes the turn to skid. Some on this site have recommended that we should let outside ski dominance simply happen rather than trying to control it. My worry is that if I take this approach it is likely that I will fall into the pattern of lapsing into equal weighting and skidding.
I see no nexus between "equal weighting" and skidding. Don't confuse "weighting" with what you feel on your outside leg during the course of a turn.

I also don't believe anyone here is currently advocating outside foot dominance. Both fet have a role in the process.

I like Bob Barnes mantra...."the inside foot is where the activity is and the outside foot is where the action is".

Skidding is not inherently bad. Skidding is merely skidding!
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help.

I have read Bob’s post on the perfect turn and it seems to amplifier my confusion on outside ski dominance. Bob (and many others it seems) are saying that outside ski dominance is an effect not a cause. A car analogy is used to explain that outside dominance simply happens and does not contribute to direction change. I think the car analogy is flawed for at least 2 reasons:

1)The steering mechanism of the car is not related to the pressure at the wheels. Skis bend more when pressured more and turn more sharply.

2)The grip on the car tyres is not the same as ski edge grip. Tyre grip is largely proportional to the amount of rubber on the road (hence wide tyres for sports cars) while ski grip is more about maximising pressure on a ski edge.

So in Bob’s example I would have thought the fastest way to turn left towards the goddess would be to actively maximise pressure on the outside ski both to force it into a tight arc and to minimise the chance of skidding. I thought this principle was widely accepted (i.e. extending off the outside ski), yet it seems to be at the heart of a fundamental dispute between “Lito’s method” sympathisers and some others.
post #7 of 20
The best way to turn left fastest, James, is to push the left knee farther into the turn.

The point of the car analogy is that the weight shift occurs as a result of the turn. Making a gross weight shift to cause a turn is far less efficient and far more difficult to control and adjust than allowing the weight shift to happen as a result of directing the inside foot toward the desired goal. You can fine tune the inside foot.
post #8 of 20
Alas, James, we are not dissimilar. I, too, started late and have the same type of approach to learning. I read all the books you listed as well all the links to other posts in this forum. The result was that I felt like an over-lessoned golfer at the first tee as everytime I started a turn I had to go through a long mental check list. Lito's book does a masterful job at making skiing sound easy. The reader wants to believe in everything in the book because it sounds like a simple path to expert skiing. When I got to the mountain, however, I couldn't get it to work.

The whole right tip-right, left tip-left mantra sounded appealing, but never worked for me. That is, until I took a lesson from someone whe knew how to teach it. The beauty of this approach for me was that you could basically forget about weight transfer, it just happens. One simple movement (right tip right, or left tip left) replaced about ten different items on my mental checklist.

Am I a great skier now? Hardly. But one hour or so working with "right tip right" and a good instructor improved my skiing more than anything else in years. I don't have the knowledge as to whether Lito's book is wrong. It just didn't work for me.
post #9 of 20
James,

You can pressure a ski all you want, but unless you redirect (turn) the ski in some way, it isn't going to turn. The application of pressure to an edged ski will cause it to turn more sharply, but so will simply turning your feet/skis through a tighter arc. (However, if this rotation is done too fast, then the skis can skid, if the edge angle is not also increased.) Pressuring a ski NEVER caused it to turn without applying other forces to it. Don't belive me ? Then do this. On flat terrain, start a straight run, with equal weight on both skis. Now lift one of them slightly off the snow, for 100% weight transfer to the other ski. Are you turning ? Most likely not. Why? Because the flat ski has no turning forces acting upon it. The pressure vector is down, into the snow. Try the same thing while tipping and turning the ski. Now what happens? Now the increased pressure on the ski is directed in a vector that allows the ski to bend and it's not supported by the snow surface. This bending acts like the compression of a spring and when released help accelerate out of the turn. The bending of the ski also help the ski track through a smaller arc. Problem is, you have to be going pretty fast for this to have a significant effect.

You are right on when you say "1)The steering mechanism of the car is not related to the pressure at the wheels." What does the steering mechanism of a car do ? It TURNS the front wheels, and is EXACTLY what we must do with our skis. This turning causes pressure to build on the tires or skis. You were some what correct when you said, "Skis bend more when pressured more and turn more sharply.", but this is NOT the primary turning force, Rotation of the femur from the hip socket is.

I'll say you are not correct when you say that "2)The grip on the car tyres is not the same as ski edge grip. Tyre grip is largely proportional to the amount of rubber on the road (hence wide tyres for sports cars) while ski grip is more about maximizing pressure on a ski edge." I would say that ski grip IS DIRECTLY proportional to the amount of edge/ski base surface we can apply to the snow. However, the mechanism IS different. In skiing we do this by adjusting the edge angle and increasing it to hold the ski during the turn. As the speed of the turn or steepness of the hill increases the edge angles have to increase to keep the ski from skidding. It's a simple vector thing. As you go through the turn gravity and centrifugal force want to pull you more to the outside of the turn. If you keep the ski flat to the snow (O edge angle) you'll slip. This is because there is very little surface area from the edges/base of the ski to resist these forces or to apply pressure to. If you edge the ski, then you increase the surface area of the edges and the base which helps resist the forces wanting to pull you away from your current arc. I most likely could go into a discussion about camber and contact patches on tires, but I don't think that would help your skiing ....

That's enough for now. I'll post more later....
Lonnie

BTW, I'm a "thinker" too. Try not to think to much while skiing. It can ruin a ski day. Ask me how I know.....

[ January 15, 2004, 05:30 AM: Message edited by: Lonnie ]
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by Skidmo:
The whole right tip-right, left tip-left mantra sounded appealing, but never worked for me. That is, until I took a lesson from someone whe knew how to teach it. The beauty of this approach for me was that you could basically forget about weight transfer, it just happens. One simple movement (right tip right, or left tip left) replaced about ten different items on my mental checklist.
[/QB]
Skidmo,

That is singularly one of the best things that has ever been posted at this site.

It is music to an instructors ears.

I have plenty more to say in response to this thread, however, it would pale in comparison to the lyrical quality of your words.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice.

I agree that a discussion about car tyres will do nothing for anybodies skiing. But I am surprised that anyone would want to argue the principles of car tyre grip are the same as those for ski edge grip on snow. Big wide racing slick tyres (i.e. less pressure per square inch) grip well on tar roads. Use those same tyres on the snow and you will slide all over the place (trust me, I have tried it in my roadster). You need to dig-in to grip on snow – especially hard snow. This takes increased pressure via spikes on tyres and sharp edges on skis.

The relevance of my observation is this: Adding extra weight to the ouside tyres (e.g. by getting all your passengers to sit on the left hand side of the car) will not reduce your chances of skidding when cornering to the right. However transferring weight to the left ski edge could/should reduce the chance of skidding when turning to the right (according to virtually every text I have read on carving technique). This is why I contend that the car analogy does not tell the whole story.

Obviously pressuring a flat ski will not cause a turn – if I didn’t have this elementary level of understanding I wouldn’t be posting.

Are you saying the fastest way to get to the goddess in Bob’s example (i.e. the method that will turn fastest and conserve speed) is to steer with the femurs. Is this because loading up the edged ski has a negligible affect on camber? Is this how racers negotiate GS courses? I have been led to believe that the fastest technique would be to edge both skis and then load up the outside ski with leg extension to increase camber and initiate the turn and then rely on centripetal force to maintain the tight arc.

Of the 4 books I have read which discuss carving (not to mention numerous online articles), 4 out of 4 recommend extending off the outside ski to crank up the bend of the ski.
post #12 of 20
James,

Let me ask you this question. Why are racing ovals banked ? For the same reason we edge our skis. To decrease the effect of centrifugal force. It's not the weight transfer that holds the ski there, it's the edge angle. It's banked, just like a race track. Do you go faster on a flat oval or a banked one (irregardless of where we put the weight in our car...) Which brings me to another point. Most oval racers want a majority of the weight to the INSIDE of the turn (left side in US oval racing), not the outside. Why? To manage the pressure forces that build up on the OUTSIDE (right side) tires. But your right, this isn't the best example.

What I'm saying is in skiing, its a COMBINATION of these things. If I simply turn my skis, without edging and pressuring them I'll simply skid, there's nothing to hold them. I guarantee that if we go out on the hill and you simply edge and pressure your skis, and I turn them, edge and pressure mine, I'll turn tighter arcs than you. Will my overall speed be slower than you ? It depends of where/how we finish our turns, but that's another discussion. But I bet I get to the goddess before you....

And let me ask you another question. If centrifugal force wants to pull us to the outside of the turn, how does that help us maintain a tight arc? I'm pretty certain that unless your pretty large, you can only de-camber a ski when your moving fairly fast. (Unless of course you have some pretty soft skis.) I'm only 145 lbs (66 Kilos). and have a REALLY hard time de-cambering a ski. (I can do it, but I have to be flying...) However, I know that can carve at relatively slow speeds and change the radius of my turns while doing it. How? It's not from putting pressure on the ski. Sorry, that's just the way it is. I change the radius of my turn by turning my feet. Unless I do that, there's no way that I can ever really make a turn that significantly different that the natural sidecut of the ski. I still pressure them and I still edge them, but it's NOT my PRIMARY TURNING force. My interpretation of your understanding of this is that you want to use weight transfer and pressure as your primary turning force. I don't think this works.

When I'm pressuring a ski through a turn, I'm more concerned about "Pressure management" than I am with applying more or less pressure to the ski (generally). By rotating my legs and changing the radius of my turn, I'm building or reducing the pressure forces on my skis. Tightening the turn means more pressure to regulate, opening the turn means less.

Here's a great photo from the Rolen Masters sight.
http://ronlemaster.com/miscPictures/...cther-PCGS.htm
I think it proves a point. From the first image count down and look at images 5 and 6. This is where the direction change is happening. The skis at this point are pretty flat to the snow. No edges and what looks to be pretty equal weight. It's not until the middle/end of the turn that the ski really gets a significant amount of pressure applied to it.
Here's another
http://ronlemaster.com/slalom2002/im...n-Copper-2.jpg
In this one, the skis have obviously de-cambered by frame 6, but pressuring them more in frame 5 didn't cause them to point in the direction they are pointing in by frame 6. RELEASING some of the energy stored in the ski in frame 6 may help us get to frame 7, but notice that there isn't that much change in direction of ski travel in these two frames. A similar thing can be seen in frames 2 and 3.

I guess my point is we have to blend of the fundamental skills, or ours skis will not function at their maximum efficiency.

[ January 15, 2004, 11:55 AM: Message edited by: Lonnie ]
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by Lonnie:
James,

Let me ask you this question. Why are racing ovals banked ? For the same reason we edge our skis. To decrease the effect of centrifugal force. It's not the weight transfer that holds the ski there, it's the edge angle. It's banked, just like a race track. Do you go faster on a flat oval or a banked one?
Well, Lonnie, you can go as fast as you want on any shaped tracked, it's just a question if you'll make the turn or not!


I think you're going to have a lot of trouble analyzing skiing via the race car analogy because your physics is incorrect. First, let go of "centifugal force" --- there is no such force. If a car is blasting down a straight and you want to turn left, you've got to push the car left. You push left by pushing against something to the right; that would be the track (just like "to stand up you push down"). If the track is flat then the only thing you can push against is the coefficent of friction of the surface. Too fast, you skid off because friction itself does not provide enough force to turn. On the other hand, if the track is banked then you get to push down on the track which reduces your relience on friction.


This is obviously getting long-winded, but I don't see how modelling skiing on false premises gets anywhere. Weight transfers, pressures, whatever, are forces YOU are generating by opposing the on-rushing snow, and you must successfully manage them (and not exceed the holdng power of the snow) to make direction changes (sort of like having little thrusters, eh?) ]
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by NoCleverName:
Well, Lonnie, you can go as fast as you want on any shaped tracked, it's just a question if you'll make the turn or not!

I think you're going to have a lot of trouble analyzing skiing via the race car analogy because your physics is incorrect.
That's why the wall is there [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

Hey, I said I only made a "C" in physics. Now you know why :

Lonnie
post #15 of 20
James, check out Bob's turn illustrations for some more help. I have heard Bob say that there are only three things that you can do to a ski: tip it, turn it, or pressure it (increase or decrease pressure). That's it.

Now, if you say that you only want to use two of the three to create your turns, you certainly can do that. If you do, however, you will limit your possible turn shape and speed.

If instead you mix all three, you have the broadest possible selection of turn shape, line choice, and speed.

As someone who is just beginning to let go of the "carve good/skid bad" mantra, I understand how difficult this can be to really understand. But, if you'd be willing to get out and try a few things--especially with a really good instructor like those you find here--you may discover some pretty amazing things about what's possible. I know that I have!!!
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by Lonnie:
That's why the wall is there [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

... or failing that, "eight wheels is better than four"!
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by NoCleverName:

... or failing that, "eight wheels is better than four"!
Does that mean 4 edges are better than 2??, Hummmm.... / / / / [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

Checkers or Wreckers !!!

[ January 15, 2004, 04:43 PM: Message edited by: Lonnie ]
post #18 of 20
[Amateur Night Mode ON]

My ski buddy (former ski instructor) taught me the "pick up my inside ski while turning and see if the tip is touching" trick - which is an indicator of whether you're distributing your weight forward on the ski. I realize that it's not a proper skiing "technique" but a run or two of that drill seems to help clean up my turning, by getting me out of "reflexive snoplow mode."

I don't know if this actually *is* the 100% weight on the outside ski trick or a variation therof, but it is helping me while I learn. (I am not an great skiier, nor do I play one on TV - but I am learning how to carve my boards though...)

My 2 pesos...

[ January 18, 2004, 11:55 AM: Message edited by: EricW ]
post #19 of 20
James,
If you ever read the Daily Mail Ski Mag, you'll see Martin Bell, and others, doing Javelin Turns, where you pick up the inside ski and point it across the otuside one. This is a similar exercise, which is useful, and helps with balance.

Oh, and welcome to Epicski!

S
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by Wear the fox hat:
James,
If you ever read the Daily Mail Ski Mag, you'll see Martin Bell, and others, doing Javelin Turns, where you pick up the inside ski and point it across the otuside one. This is a similar exercise, which is useful, and helps with balance.

Oh, and welcome to Epicski!

S
I saw Rob Butler do that drill on Skiers World.

Since I have issues staying forward I may try it tomorrow.
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