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Start the Turn

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Hey Gurus, at what point does an old turn end and
a new one start? Edge release? Or, is it when whatever one does to release the edge? How does
this start/end sequence change with various types of turns? Or, does it?
post #2 of 46
A single turn starts from a traverse and begins when the skier commits to the turn in their mind.

In my opinion, continuous turns begin in the fall line and end in the fall line. That is where the commitment is made to make the next turn a mirror image of the last.
post #3 of 46
Thread Starter 
I kinda bet you are doing something long before
the fall-line that is part of that new turn?
And what about real terrain which may have a double fall-line? Do all turns have a little bit
of traverse in them?
post #4 of 46
I kinda bet you are doing something long before
the fall-line that is part of that new turn?
Who says the new turn starts before the fall line. I can designate the turn to start anywhere.

And what about real terrain which may have a double fall-line? Do all turns have a little bit
of traverse in them?
Double fall line? Still fall line to fall line.

Linked turns do not have to have a traverse in between turns however 99% of all skiers put a slight travese in their turns. Why? because they are taught that turns begin from a traverse and end in a traverse (across the fall line). Think fall line to fall line to eliminate the traverse. [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ August 15, 2002, 03:23 PM: Message edited by: Pierre eh! ]
post #5 of 46
FWIW, there was a long thread on this very issue several months ago that you might find interesting. Unfortunately, with the search function (and my memory [img]smile.gif[/img] ) apparently broken, I can't point you to it. Perhaps somebody remembers the thread title?

Tom / PM
post #6 of 46
Thread Starter 
So, Pierre eh, you can start a turn wherever you
want and don't have any traverse in there. What's
the linear sequence of events? Back to my original question, "what starts the turn"?
post #7 of 46
So maybe the new turn starts and the old turn stops when your mind says you are going to make a new/different turn. You think new turn, start moving your CM towards the new turn, relax your feet/ankles/lower leg to allow release of your edges so you are able to initiate an edge change to allow the new turn to commence etc. Ah but it all can happen so quickly.
post #8 of 46
In my way of thinking resisting Mother Nature creates and continues shaping the turn giving-in to Moma Nature(gravity/centifical force) indicates the start of the new turn.

Using more conventional terms, the new turn starts when you release the energy and edge angle of the previous turn.
post #9 of 46
According to a book I'm studying, three things happen at the initiation of a turn:
1. Body inclines towards the inside of the turn
2. Skis change edges
3. At least one ski establishes a steering angle relative to momentum.

(p32, The Skier's Edge, Ron LeMaster)

post #10 of 46
Originally posted by Wear the fox hat ?:
3. At least one ski establishes a steering angle relative to momentum.
(p32, The Skier's Edge, Ron LeMaster)
Well, Fox, now you've gone and done it again! You thought you were posting on a nice non-controversial, technical topic, and all you do is quote a book, but you manage to stir an old pot of contention among people (well, just technicians, actually, but they are people too, aren't they).

This is because in a turn that is truly carved from start to finish, you need to keep the steering angle equal to zero throughout the entire duration of the turn. Zero steering angle IS the definition of carving. Starting turns with a non-zero steering angle (ie, skidding or hopping the starts) used to be the only way to get them going, and is still by far the most common way you'll see on the slopes, but it certainly isn't necessary to start turns this way, and isn't even desirable in many cases.

The reason there is perhaps some controversy over this issue is that carving the beginnings of turns is not the easiest thing to do, particularly as the slope gets steeper, so some people say, "why sweat it".

Now, try to stay out of trouble, will you!

Tom / PM

[ August 18, 2002, 08:44 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #11 of 46
Now, PM,
Don't get me started. Up until your post, the concept of a perfect carved turn was not discussed, it was only "how do you start a turn"
But, maybe if I fully quote the book it will clear it up, either that or I've dug myself deeper into a hole I'm not knowledgeable enough to get out of

"3. At least one of your skis must establish a steering angle relative to your momentum. This could be as small as the ski's sidecut, or a pivot of more than 40 degrees"

So, surely if the skiing angle is the sidecut of the ski, then you are carrying out a perfect carve? Am I right, or am I stupid?

post #12 of 46
Originally posted by Wear the fox hat ?:
Don't get me started. ...This could be as small as the ski's sidecut, or a pivot of more than 40 degrees". ... So, surely if the skiing angle is the sidecut of the ski, then you are carrying out a perfect carve? Am I right, or am I stupid?
a) LOL - Couldn't resist a good chance at a tweak!

b) Nope, you most certainly aren't stupid. What's going on is that there are various closely related definitions of steering angle, and LeMaster doesn't bother (as far as I remember) to carefully distinguish between them:

1) Because it is extremely clear, the definition I favor is the "local steering angle". Imagine you had a little video camera mounted above the edge of the ski looking directly downwards at the snow streaming by the ski at various points along its length. In a pure carve, the part of the edge near the tip goes over exactly the same bit of snow as the part of the edge near the tail. This means that the local steering angle all along the length of the ski is exactly zero.

Unfortunately, using this definition is a bit complicated because there is not just one "steering angle" for the whole ski, but an infinity of them for each point along the edge as you go from front to back on the ski. This definition, while precise, confuses some people because in a straight, flat ski schuss, because of the flair of the tip and tail, there is always positive steering angles in the forebody of the ski and negative steering angles in the aft section of the ski along one edge, and the opposite along the other edge of the flat ski. The maximum of any of these angles is small, just a few degrees, and the average along both edges and over the length of the ski is exactly zero, but it takes a bit of mental work to get to the conclusion that most people would say is obvious, namely, in a flat ski schuss, *THE* steering angle better be zero. Most people think of only one "steering angle", and it is better be zero in this case - no muss, no fuss, don't make a big deal about an infinity of steering angles.

2) In the quote you supplied from his book, LeMaster is being quite free and easy with the terminology. He seems to be implying that the minimum steering angle is always equal to the sidecut angle of your skis (ie, relative to the ski centerline). Well, this certainly isn't the case, because in a carve, the local sidecut angle at all points along the edge will be exactly zero. On the other hand, should one define the steering angle as relative to the centerline of the ski, in a carve, the steering angle will always be exactly equal to the angle the edge diverges from the centerline of the ski, so you will have a positive steering angle near the tip and a negative angle near the tail with an average value again equal to zero.

So, there you have it, one can define it locally or as an average along the length, with respect to each point on the edge, or with respect to the centerline of the ski, but one has to be clear and consistent about which definition you've picked.

The bottom line is that IMHO, you basically were caught up in a minor inconsistency in his text.

Obviously, to some extent, this is splitting hairs because for most recreational skidded turns, the steering angle (whatever definition you pick) is always considerably larger than the much smaller angles which define the shape of the sidecut.

Hope this helps (& you didn't mind the bit of earlier ribbing).

Tom / PM

[ August 18, 2002, 09:51 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #13 of 46
**Fox retreats to the safety of non-skiing posts***
post #14 of 46
Hah--found it! Here's the thread that discussed this, a two-pager from last fall:

Where does it all begin???


Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #15 of 46
Close, Miles, but no cigar...
I was trying to sort out inexpensive car hire in the SLC area, and on the phone with a friend, but you're right, maybe I should stick to non-technical answers!

post #16 of 46

You are a quick one! My hat is off to you...
post #17 of 46
When I am free skiing and doing it fairly well there is no start to the "turn". In fact there is no "turn", I'm just going where I want to go at the speed that I want to go. Sometimes I think that the idea of the "turn" can get in the way of effective teaching. Ever try to teach a lesson without using the word "turn". Not only can it be done but the lesson can be very successful.

To see what's in the box you have to get out of it. And then you may find that the box is empty.

post #18 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks Bob B. for linking me to the previous time
this question was posted. Because of my extensive
business travel schedule, I get in and out of this
forum on a pretty spotty basis and miss a lot.

My intent in asking the original question was to
get people to think in detail about what really
happens in the the ski turning process and maybe
to realize how confusing it is to students when
we say things like "finish your turns", or "you
are not starting your turns early enough". Kind of goes back to the earlier comments about teaching rote excercises and spouting doctrine without having enough of a comprehensive understanding to put things in proper context.
post #19 of 46
My first thought was to say when I am going left and want to go right and vise versa, but then I started thinking about what if I am going left and slightly release my edges then engage them taking a slightly different line, but still going left. Is this a new turn?
post #20 of 46
I agree with Ydnar's observation that, in some ways, it doesn't make sense to talk about contemporary linked turns as separate--or separable--entities. Every movement comes from the past, and links to the future. You're just "going where you want to go." You're just steering your skis and balancing on them, constantly--even when you're going straight.

We often speak of "making turns" on skis, but as I've suggested, modern ski turns resemble steering a car. It's a continuous process, a sinuous cycle of motion. It would be unusual, I think, to describe what we do in a car as "making turns." We just drive!

There are two separate issues here--which may be causing some confusion. There is the definition of "complete turn" and the unrelated technical question of "how do you end/start a turn?"

A "complete turn" is simply one that has the shape you want it to have. Usually, it describes a turn that continues far enough around its (roughly) circular arc to control your speed without requiring added braking. If you gain speed with every turn (unless you want to), your turns are not complete.

My rule for free-skiing--the "slow line fast" rule--is that a turn is complete, and you are ready to begin a new one, when you want to GAIN SPEED again--and not a moment sooner. You WILL gain speed, of course, as soon as you point those skis downhill into a new gliding turn--so you have to WANT to gain speed. Otherwise, your turn will have to play the role of BRAKING--which is fine, but it's incompatible with the offensive concept of TURNING--as a way to GO where you want to GO!

For those who have not participated in these discussions before (we've had many), please note how different this concept is from the common image of turns as a way to slow down! If you turn only when you feel a need for speed control, your turns will NECESSARILY become defensive, braking, speed control things, rather than the smooth, gliding, flowing, "effortless" turns of experts.

HOW to end a turn--and begin a new one--at the exact point you intend--is another question entirely. And as I mentioned, it is a question inseparable from how to control the shape of the turn at any point in the cycle.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

[ August 21, 2002, 09:47 PM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]
post #21 of 46
Thread Starter 
Bob, what you are describing is certainly the "enlightened" and "arrived" reality
of graceful movement down the ski hill; but,
how the heck do you relate this perfect "steering and balancing on skis" to the PSIA ATM progression
and certification process, which seems to stress perfect types of "turns"?
post #22 of 46
Well, Sitz (don't get ME started!)--I'll just say that I contend, unequivocally--and there are many threads in our archives where I've gone to great lengths to elaborate and support this contention--that PSIA's skiing model recognizes EXACTLY these flowing, offensive turns, and that the movements and tactics it emphasizes lead directly to them.

At the same time, PSIA's model is not a dogmatic "one-turn only" system--it clearly and explicitly describes both "linear learning" (the direct route to these offensive turns) and "lateral learning"--which encompasses everything from pure braking hockey stops to pure carved railroad tracks, as well as tactics and techniques that allow the versatility to ski everything, everywhere. But what we have long called "Center Line Turns" (a term, but not a concept, now unfortunately abandoned in our latest technical manual), are exactly the offensive "go where you want to go" turns that I'm describing....

That said, I do NOT claim that all, or even MOST, instructors who work for PSIA ski schools UNDERSTAND this. Unfortunately, it makes little difference how accurate and relevant our model may be, when we have such a ridiculously small opportunity to train instructors to use it! Remember that, unless he/she wears that Red, White, and GOLD pin, the instructor is NOT PSIA CERTIFIED. He may or may not even be "partially" certified--Level 1 or 2. There is no requirement that instructors receive ANY PSIA training or certification to work for a PSIA ski school! And even the Full-Cert pin is no guarantee, unfortunately, that the instructor is current.

All I can say is that we're concerned about these things. They are real problems, and they frustrate me. We don't have the solution yet, but we're working on it! Stay tuned....

If you want more on my own take on the skiing model--not "official" PSIA material, but completely in line with it (I contend)--check out the threads

How do you make a perfect turn?


Those turns...illustrated

(among many others!)

But really--please--DON'T get me started!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #23 of 46
Thread Starter 

I pretty much agree with most you are saying (in
just about all of those posts). I also agree with
you that just because someone at some area wears
a name badge that says "instructor" doesn't necessarily mean that they are ski proficient or even have a clue as to the real nuances of ski teaching (red, white and blue badge or not).

Don't really want to "get you started", but what's
the solution? Better education requirements? Tougher Certification standards? Both? Why can't PSIA seem to get an handle on all this in
some manner that is both visible and enticing to
both the student and to the teacher?

I'd also be interested in what you might think is
a good measurement system for assessing instructors? I think we all know that certification level isn't necessarily all that great a predictor of lesson value. Granted, people work hard for their level III badge, but once they have it, it's sort of for life (yes, I know about the rinky-dink requirement to take a clinic or so every other year). Maybe Certification ought to be like a College Degree --once you earn it, you got it; but, maybe there should be an annual licensing requirement beyond the cert?
post #24 of 46
All of the above, Sitzmark! The problem is not so much PSIA's certification standards or educational offerings, although these are all under review and worth discussing. PSIA offers some great training opportunities, and both the quality and the breadth of the offerings increases all the time. But few instructors take advantage of more than a tiny fraction of what is available. In the Rocky Mountain Division, the current requirement calls for a minimum of two days of clinics as a pre-requisite for each exam level. That's all! That is NOTHING! Much more is available, but since it isn't required, and since most full-time instructors live paycheck-to-paycheck anyway, many instructors just go for the minimum--if they "go" at all.

If you aren't going for an exam, there is NO requirement, and many instructors do no training. PSIA does not regulate what goes on at individual ski schools. It offers educational and certification opportunities--but it has no power to require that anyone take advantage of them.

Personally, I'd like to see this change. The requirements for being a PSIA-affiliated ski school are unbelievably minimal. There is a miniscule annual fee--less than $100, I believe--for ski school membership, and I think you have to have at least one instructor on the staff who is at least Level 2 certified, as the director or training director. That's about it! And you can then display the PSIA shield, hire a bunch of warm bodies that fit your uniforms for minimum wage (or below, since instructors rarely get 8 hours of paid work in a day) and therefore "represent" PSIA in the worst possible way, if you want to.

PSIA provides the opportunity and tools to build a great product, but it has virtually no control over the product itself. The certification standards, at least at Level 3 "Full Certification," are pretty tough--the pass rate at exams is typically 25% or less. That's not to say they couldn't be still higher--or just different--but I don't think the level of the standard is a problem. In my division, we're currently working hard on a solution to the "re-currency" issue too. The days of the "rinky-dink requirement" you described to maintain your certification are seriously numbered--mark my word on that!

But again, without pressure from the only group that CAN apply pressure--the consumer--there will be little change. If skiers would DEMAND that their instructors be full-certified (and yes, you CAN demand that--just tell them you won't take a lesson otherwise!), and then still DEMAND competency (ask for your money back if you don't get it), then resorts would have no choice but to hire and/or provide the training needed to staff their schools with qualified pros. And I contend that, while they might do it only under duress, these resorts would ultimately reap enormous benefits from this change!

Sitz--we've really derailed this excellent thread if we continue on this line. If you want to discuss this further, we should probably start a new thread, although I suspect there's little else to discuss that hasn't already been beaten to death somewhere in the EpicSki archives.

So--back to starting the turn....I'm for it!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #25 of 46
I also don't want to have this thread go any further off course, but something that happened to me over the weekend is quite relevant to this discussion, so here is a link to a new thread:

Thread on misrepresentation of PSIA qualifications by ski deck instructor

Tom / PM
post #26 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks Bob. You are absolutely right that the power lies with the consumer. It's just too bad that we have to resort to a process of pissing the consumer off in order to get any meaningful change. It would really be nice to get in front of this thing and actually court the consumer.

PSIA has a lot to be proud of (and certainly many excellent teachers out there to validate the organization's worth). I'd gladly pay a premium to take a lesson from a Victor Gerdin, a Jerry Warren, a Max Lundberg or Joan Rostaad, but how the heck does an unsuspecting consumer sort those kind of people out from all the charlatans in the business?
post #27 of 46

Do you think EpicSki members have an inside track on who the go-to instructors are at a given area, by their ability to get recommendations from the other members, including instructors on the boards, as well as making their own judgments about instructors who post here?

I'm interested in how we could develop the Instructor Registry as a referral service for EpicSki members to access the best instruction at just about any ski area in the country.

The advantage of an EpicSki rec. over a ski area's web site referral system would be similar to the advantage a product that has the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval has over one that is only touted by the company's marketing department.

[ August 21, 2002, 08:06 AM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #28 of 46
Thread Starter 
Interesting idea. The typical Epic Skier person is probably much more inquisitive and enlightened
than the rest of the pack (and therefore probably
more likely to know how to make a good choice when it comes to ski instruction). Problem is,
how do you get the masses out there to recognize
Epicski (or anything else, for that matter) as
the "gold seal of approval"?

It's a well documented fact that the right kind of endorsement really will sell a product. But the endorser has to be someone or something that the public really wants to emulate or has absolute faith in. This is probably why Barnes keeps coming back to the fact that Instructor education, training, currentness, committment and
validation have to be top-notch, uncompromised and
supported by by all segments of the Industry.

Can you immagine what we'd think of medical care if hospitals were only required to have one degreed MD on staff and the rest of the physicans
could be anybody with a box of bandaides and a set of white clothes?
post #29 of 46
The gold seal has to stand for what it says!

I've often said that it's inherently weak to have the educational institution certify its graduates. Of course they think their people are well prepared! Better to have the exam group completely separate from the education group. This is the premise of the National Testing Service for college and graduate entrance exams--that more is needed to verify the graduate's qualifications than the word of the educational institution.

I say, have the divisions do the educating (having conceded the argument that ski schools haven't shown themselves consistently able to perform this function) and put in place a national PSIA exam and a team to administer it that has no personnel overlapping with the divisions' function.

Right now, PSIA national and its divisions are unclear about their roles and responsibilities--there's a lot of duplicated effort and stepping on each others' toes. Why not clearly demarcate reponsibilities and thereby employ the strengths of each: "the national standards" and "the local delivery systems."
post #30 of 46

I say, have the divisions do the educating (having conceded the argument that ski schools haven't shown themselves consistently able to perform this function)....
Neither has PSIA on either the national or the divisional level and I see no reason to hope that the situation is going to improve. So where does that leave us except up chit creek without a paddle, and the damn canoe is leaking.

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