PhysicsMan, Can you elaborate on your technique for doing this turn?
|Originally posted by learn2turnagain:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
... Now, you are at a psychlogical point where you can actually teach them how to do a proper, narrow-angle gliding wedge turn through the slush. I usually demonstrate that with the proper technique (eg, both knees move in the same direction), I can make a 180 degree turn in about a ski length or two, even at sub-walking speeds in slush. ...
</font>[/quote]Daslider gave a good overview.
To add a bit more detail, in a gliding wedge turn, the tips are fairly close (just like in an old fashioned braking wedge - aka snowplow), but your boots are only a foot or so apart. Because of this, the skis meet at a more modest angle, say 5 to 20 degrees, compared to the much larger angle (30 to 90 deg) of the braking wedge.
The proximity of the boots allows the skier to keep his shins parallel instead of dramatically A-framed as in the braking wedge. This allows both skis to lay flat on the snow, and allows them to be simultaneously twisted in the same direction by simultaneous rotation of both femurs in the pelvis (aka, braquage). One of the important features of this turn is that because the skis are relatively flat on the snow, release from the old turn/traverse is trivial, and this is critical to shortening the radius of any turn.
The next thing to add in terms of turn sophistication is simultaneous edging of both skis onto their corresponding edges (ie, two left or two right edges). Because distance between the boots is much less, simultaneous edging is easy to do.
This is quite different from the old snowplow, where one is on adjacent (ie, both inside) edges. With the large and opposite edge angles that result from the A-frame position, the skis are essentially always fighting each other (ie, the right ski wants to rail off to the left, and the left ski wants to rail off to the right).
One of the main attractions of the gliding wedge turn is that there is no essential difference between the simultaneous edging involved in this turn and what one does in high level dynamic parallel skiing, yet its width provides less experienced skiers with a solid base of support.
Most people would never think of suggesting a wedge as part of a progression to learn to ski slush. However, in my experience, it works quite well, even with very inexperienced skiers, especially if they are used to doing a proper gliding wedge from previous lessons on groomed snow.
In slush, the narrow angle, gliding wedge turn works well because your skis are going mostly forward, and are not trying to be forced to move sideways through the heavy snow at a large angle. Even if the wedge angle is as much as 20 deg, each ski is pointed at most only 10 degrees away from straight ahead, and the ability to add rotary steering and generate simultaneous edging all contribute to the ability to make extremely short radius turns with this technique, even in slush. This is a huge advantage to skiers just learning to ski in such conditions. As they get better and move to steeper slopes and higher speeds, this turn merges seamlessly into the normal, fully edged parallel turns described by the other contributors to this thread.
There is lots more to discuss (and has been discussed) about gliding wedge turns, but I hope this gives you a basic idea of what its about. A search should turn up much more lengthy discussions of this type of turn.
Tom / PM