Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
A serpent striking is how the foragonal move was described in the late sixties / early seventies. For that to happen the upper body is thrust into the new direction (middle of the next turn) as the feet turn across the hill and slow down. Others have described it as the feet stalling out and the body continuing to move into the new turn. Even others described it as leap frogging, catch and release, or even gorilla turns. Regardless of what you choose to call this move it involves the feet slowing down, or at the very least the body and feet moving at the same speed across the hill and the body being thrust into the new turn.
Contrast that with the idea of a transition where the feet are passing under the body without any stalling out / slowing down. The body taking a more direct path to the middle of the next turn is the only way to remain standing. A stivot subsequent to the feet speeding through the transition is certainly one way to scrub off some foot speed and mitigate any acceleration as the skis turn into the fall line. If a pure carve is occurring, then the skis would need to take an even longer path to stay relative enough to the speed of the body for us to remain standing. We can certainly discuss and include the idea of the float phase where our stance is less relevent but even then we need all the parts to move into proper alignment before we engaged the new edges and balance on the newly engaged skis. If we don't acheive that alignment, then we fall, period. Bode's blowing up in a race is a perfect example of this IMO. What's most important here is the middle and last part of the turn where the skis are more likely to be carving. Scrubbing speed here upsets the timing of the "squirt like" cross over and makes the serpent move more necessary.
Additionally, TOG when you are introducing this maneuver it is very important to articulate the need to maintain as much foot speed as possible through the transition, or said another way, we strive to mitigate the natural tendency of the feet to slow down as they turn across the hill. Is it possible that this is perceived as constant foot speed throughout the entire turn? Perhaps, but IMHO to prescribe it as a "necessary" component of the maneuver overstates the importance of "constant" foot speed and is a distraction to the basic idea of conserving as much foot speed and momentum in the last third of the current turn and the first third of the upcoming turn.
Can we reconcile the two ideas, Yup. Watch Bode, Ligety and just about any world cup racer nowdays and you will see the reaching turn with the feet moving forward and the serpent striking forward move being used. They are valid but contrasting tactical options and a polarity exist between them. (See Weems' book for more details on the idea of polarity I'm using here.) For Epic, who is trying out for a position on the D team, the maneuvers involved in that try out are already established and they don't include the "foot squirt" at this time. Or maybe it is in the mogul skiing activities where the feet slide forward as we absorb. I'm sure Bob can speak to that idea better than me. In any case, it's not implied that the foot squirt is somehow superior, or inferior to the serpent striking move. Perhaps like the retraction turn it may occur in a test activity but the judging criteria and a consensus opinion about a drill that would demonstrate an isolated version of that movement has yet to be developed for that test.
Ski well my Friends,
Ok, I get what you're refering to now. That whole serpentine/foragonal history is new to me.
I must say that when the foragonal move is talked about I don't hear it as a sudden move, but it is a move so I guess it always is interpreted as starting from the transition and being more like you talk about with the "Serpent Striking". I guess a common interpretation is as Bob talks about - a sudden, deliberate move. Thus, at the transition, I'd have to suddenly hurl myself "foragonally" down the hill, which would slow the feet. Rinse, then repeat.
I'd prefer to just describe it as letting the feet go, instead of talking about foot speed, momentum etc.
Would one be able to execute the let the feet go, and have the body meet up with these skis and boots? I doubt it, but I never skied those things.
Here's a photo of the Serpentine turn:
From: "Ailing From Avalement", by Stu Campbell
Skiing Heritage Journal, Sept 2002, pg24 ; Link: SHJ Sept 2002
There's also this discussion of Serpentine Turn and Cross Under: