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Advice on turning

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I went to the indoor snow slope at Milton Keynes yesterday for a pre holiday warm up, and was trying to initiate turns by tipping the inside ski, which I found quite difficult. It worked ok some of the time, but seemed to take a while for the skis to turn. Anyway, I tried a couple of runs where I tried to keep my shoulders still and edge the skis by moving my knees and hips from side to side. Suddenly I found that the skis were turning very quickly, so much so that I was almost falling straight down the slope as they turned away to the side. I guess that maybe my body wasn't far enough inside the turn, but how do I get it there soon enough? Am I on the right track with the knees and hip sideways motion or should I just concentrate on tipping the inside ski? I know it's difficult with no photos, but I would really appreciate any advice as to what to concentrate on when I hit the slopes in 10 days.
post #2 of 20
Actually Simon, it sounds like the opposite problem. The reason you are almost falling down is probably that you are moving too far into the new turn, laterally. You need to move your CM forward more. This will give you more control and allow the skis to be turned very quickly. If your skis are pointed at 12:00, when you move into the new turn, your CM should be moving in the direction of about 1:30, or maybe 2:00 if you are trying to make really short turns. It'll feel kind of funny at first. Like you are not going to turn. But once you actually move in that direction, and get across the downhill (new inside) ski, you'll be amazed at how easily they come around, and how much control you have.
post #3 of 20
The use of the word "hips" worries me. I do a drill with many of my students. Stand on a slope perpendicular to the fall line. Tip the new inside foot to initiate a turn. You may think of this as the old outside or downhill ski. If you do anything other than tip or supinate the foot you will push the tail of the ski out to create a platform and a stem will result. Isolate the tipping movement with just the new inside foot and the skis will release, the tips will fall down hill, the tails will follow the tips. As soon as the skis have "released and you are heade downhill continue to blend inside foot tipping and/or turning into the mix.

Let the hips and/or C.O.G move inside the turn naturally. Don't ry to freate inclination by moving to far inside the turn. I'm convinced that is the basis why so many folks do a little tipping with the foot/lower leg and then stop the progression.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Many thanks for the help, and I will try to put what you have each suggested into practice the week after next.

Kind regards

post #5 of 20
Hi Simon,
Two questions:
How busy was Xscape when you were there?
Where are you off to?

post #6 of 20
Another good tip to practice is this:

While traversing, move the hips slightly to the inside ski while reaching down with the hand to the outside ski as if you were reaching for a boot buckle. Now swing the downhill pole downhill diagonally moving out and downhill diagonallyand forward as if falling downhill. Skis roll from edge to edge completing the turn. All the rest you know already... flexing at midriff during turn completion, etc.
post #7 of 20
Originally posted by jyarddog:
Another good tip to practice is this:

While traversing, move the hips slightly to the inside ski while reaching down with the hand to the outside ski as if you were reaching for a boot buckle. Now swing the downhill pole downhill diagonally moving out and downhill diagonallyand forward as if falling downhill. Skis roll from edge to edge completing the turn. All the rest you know already... flexing at midriff during turn completion, etc.
: : :

post #8 of 20
Ditto Wigs.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

I was at Xscape from 2pm until 4pm and it wasn't very busy at all (or as some may say "at all at all"!). I'm told that it gets much busier at evenings and weekends.

I am going to St Anton with the same 16 aging drunkards as usual - but I've also booked an off piste instruction week in Val D'Isere with my son in March, and that's why I'm desperate to improve my skiddy, heel twisting short radius turns. If I don't sort myself out, I think that I may be eating a lot of snow!


post #10 of 20
...and there is a lot of great off piste in Val to eat!

Have fun in St Anton. If you bump into Dangerous Brian, remind him that he owes me a pint.

post #11 of 20
wiggs and JohnH- We were working on angulation and inclination and some other things, then checking our tracks for a clean railroad track... no snow throwing.
This was during a morning clinic taught by our ski director who is a level 2 PSIA. The hip movement is only slight.
Tell ya what... call Cooper Spur at Mt. Hood and ask for Michael and let him explain it. We are there, but sometimes they don't answer because we're busy setting up for the morning. But try anyway.
I should have known better than to help out here anymore. With the questioning emoticon faces... and 3 of them to boot, and the ditto comment strongly implies I'm thought of being off my rocker with my comment.
I'm starting to see the direction Epicski seems to be taking these days.
post #12 of 20
Don't take the questioning personally! I too was unsure of your intended outcome by the written description of the exercise. When just an exercise is decribed, with no support or outcome to correlate with it, it can be confusing.

Please don't think that your input is either unwarranted or unwelcome. Many reading your post might have understood it immediately.

And personally, I don't think I've ever seen such an open forum to share ideas. True learning exists "outside the box" of traditional methodologies. So keep experimenting, listening, learning, and sharing!

post #13 of 20
Ditto....well said vsp!
post #14 of 20

I did not mean to imply insult. I just didn’t understand what you were trying to say. I believe, as I believe others do, that your input is a valuable asset to this forum. I’m sorry if you took my post as an insult. I just didn’t understand the exercise. Sorry, [img]smile.gif[/img] -----------Wigs
post #15 of 20
The miscommunication is mine. I was trying to be susinct because my posts sometimes get too long. Long posts usually aren't read thoroughly. What we were doing is the above, but mainly letting the skis to the turning without any help from us. Basically getting to know your skis and where they like to turn.
This is just a neat little drill where you start a downhill traverse, say about 45° angle from straight across the hill and just let them go. Do the above and the ski arcs while turning uphill and you come to a stop. The skis should be very quiet and you should have two clean railroad tracks. Practice this going the other way as well.
Next you can link both directions. As the skis complete the turn and before coming to a stop it's more of a pole swing (downhill pole of course) and the body moves diagonally forward and downhill while you 'get tall'. This rolls the skis flat and over to their new edges, while the inside ski steers to the downhill ski but not too close, and you repeat the above move (first post). What this does, I noticed, is it also keeps the shoulders parallel with the hill while traversing.
This makes turns quite effortless. An important item in this is constant speed or speed control through a series of turns rather than seeing those Z turns where one makes a sharp direction change, throwing a lot of snow and scrubbing off speed at the end of the turn.
I asked Mike, our ski director, why is it I can do this beautifully during a high speed carve, but shorter turns I have to think about it. He said during the long carve we have more time and we have gravity and other forces helping us along.
It's a matter of practice, I guess, just to 'make it your own' without having to think about it. In golf you can't think about every little thing you have to do in a swing; you'd blow it as well as going nuts! So I practice. I try my older turning (I wasn't scrubbing off speed and Z turning, but the speed was harder to control- beginning of the season I had some scrubbing, being out of practice... bad habits) and then I'd use what I was taught. This was so I could get to feel the difference. The contrast is quite an eye-operner. Brains tend to like to compare a contrast. This is s yes.... this is a no. do the yes.
Now, if anyone can tell me something about the F4 Volkl. Kind of like the F5 but without the riser, same stiffness, same waist, a bit more tip and tail width. Haven't heard back from Volkl yet. Got these because the kids were tearing up my Mods. Now they're tearing up these! I like the way these turn and handle. Now I don't want these to get messed up either. Maybe I should just use some rentals at the shop to teach in. The Mods feel much more stable at higher speeds, but these F4's are spunky little skis in the turn!
post #16 of 20
As a lay person who has just got back from a week in the Alps* and had some success with this topic my experience might be helpful.

* (Courchevel - couple of days of nice hard pistes for carving practice then a foot of powder - nice)

I was looking to try a couple of tips on turn initiation/edge transfer that I had picked up on this board

1. tipping the old downhill ski to the little toe edge
2. relaxing the old downhill leg and letting my CM move down and forward

Before I started I was a bit sceptical about 1. - how do you tip the ski bearing most weight? can you be on opposite edges at the same time? isnt the tipping of both skis simultaneous? is this really just another way of visualising 2?

In practice (for me at least), I found that the ideas complement each other but that the second one is key.

In the past I had been able to carve railroad track turns on moderate angled slopes but tended to skid on inititiating a turn on steeper angles (requiring a conscious knee roll to make my edges bite later in the turn). By focusing on progressively relaxing my downhill leg I was able to naturally move into the turn. Also, relaxing this leg naturally allowed weight to transfer to the uphill ski giving me the freedom to tip the downhill. In this context, tipping enhanced the improvements that I had made through relaxing the downhill leg.

These two steps really helped me make a significant improvement - thanks very much to the contributors to these boards.

Slightly off-topic - Is there too much emphasis on carving? Are skidded turns (misguidedly) treated with distain? Last week I thoroughly enjoyed blasting round the hill in railroad track carves but still found plenty of occasions when they were the wrong option, e.g., it does not have to get all that narrow/steep/busy before you cannot shed enough speed using gravity alone and some controlled skidding/edge-checking is required. Do you agree or does this comment just show up the limitations of my technique? (BTW - my skis claim to have a 22m radius, this may be different on extremely shaped skis)


post #17 of 20
just posted the off-topic question on my previous post as a new thread - if you are interested suggest that you reply there

post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 

Just got back from a few days away (not skiing) and read 24/1 onwards posts.

I can absolutely assure you that I was extremely grateful for your post of 23/1, and fully intend to try it out on the slopes next week. I had assumed that moving the outside hand down towards the outside ski would maybe tend to correct any banking into the turn and give better angulation, and the diagonal movement of CM I thought seemed broadly along the same lines as JohnH's tip. Many thanks for the subsequent fuller post.

Regarding your ski and golf analogy, I think that another similarity is that with each of them very often what one feels one is doing has very little resemblance to what is actually going on.

Many thanks also to Jedster. I think that maybe part of the difficulty I experienced with tipping the inside ski was that I was trying move 1 without enough move 2.

I will report back on my return as to how I get on.
post #19 of 20
Simon- Great! it's feeling more than knowing. I'll get in trouble for that one! [img]smile.gif[/img] ithink the guys here know what I'm trying to say. We know what to do, but it becomes a feeling when we can do it without having to think about it. I.e. 'making it our own'.
Michael, me ski school director and basically my mentor now, mentioned from time to time about making the uphill leg shorter. This basically moves the uphill ski away from the downhill ski for more stability, automatically. I found it doesn't take much, and it moves the uphill ski just a few inches. He calls it getting the uphill leg shorter. I'm still working on understanding this. I do it but I'm not sure what the hell I'm doing to achieve it! Maybe I'm bending my uphill knee a bit. Perhaps someone here can explain it better than I'm doing here! I do it, but I don't think I'm saying it right.
Last Sat. Michael started us out with some basic skating. I thought to myself, "Uh-oh!" i can skate, but I've always had trouble skating withouit expending a lot of energy and not being able to stay on one ski for very long. I knew I was doing something wrong but didn't know what! I watched Mike and saw his excellent, clean tracks... one here, one there, etc. I looked at mine. They weren't too bad, but I was tossing some snow here and there... not very clean. Mike had me look at mine... snow toss and fairly straight. Then he had me look at his... clean and each one slightly curved. he said to get forward more and hold it. BINGO! Instant sucess! Clean, slightly curved tracks, and staying on one ski with good balance! Very simple fix.
We sometimes forget the simplest and easiest things, don't we? I had always thought that I was too hunched over. So, I tried working on staying more upright. (being overweight I look like a damned butterball going down the hill anyway! [img]smile.gif[/img] ) Being so upright just tossed me in the backseat without knowing it. My skiing was ok except for certain times which need more of staying forward, a slight fine tuning which I wasn't doing. I'd get into trouble and have to work my butt off to get back forward again.
Now I understand what one PSIA woman said once, that watching one's skating can tell you a lot about their edge control ability which entails staying forward.
So when the guys here say... get forward, they mean it. Sometimes it is slight adjustment.
Now this may sound silly, but I noticed last week the following:

When we were doing that drill I talked about above, traverse across and stop. Then turn around and do it the other way. I'm standing still and noticed that to turn the other way I'd plant the downhill pole, unweight or 'pop', come around on the new downhill ski and quickly swing the uphill ski in place kind of like a Christie.
I though of this and said, "Yeah... right, Bob! Lousy!" Why was I doing this? answer- backseat driving! So now I'm working on this little, stand-still turn by staying forward with the knee, using the ankle. It feels scary at first, but I can feel the increased stability. So I'm working on that any time I catch myself doing the Christie-cheat!
Any comments on this or fess-ups anyone catches themselves doing? [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #20 of 20
Angulation is the angle between the upper body and the legs. Inclination is tipping the ankles. it's cnosidred a 'fine tune' move. This really helps with any skidding. But then, sometimes it's just fun to skid! (Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar) - Freud.

here's something neat to try. I learned this in a level 2 instruction's class I tagged along with one day.

During a long, high speed carve, notice how there is a tremendous pressure on the legs, especially on the outside ski/leg? The following technique astounded me!

As you pick up speed in a steep angled traverse go forward and up as tall as you can get, straightening your legs as straight as possible without locking your knees. You will be up on the balls of your feet. It will feel like you are floating. Point your midriff toward the inside of the arc of the turn you want so the upper body is at an angle to the skis. You can hold this as long as you wish. When crossing the fall line start to flex slowly from the midriff more and more as you cross the fall line and complete the turn. Then “get tall” slowly and angulate again to repeat the process.

This takes about 80% of the pressure off the legs yet still holds an incredible edge all the way through the turn.
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