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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Yesterday I finally got a chance to get out and ski without the confines of a lesson, clinic, or exam. As a result, I got to "play" with my turns, balance, and a number of other characteristics of my technique. I discovered a few things that you may find fun to explore when you have a chance...

First, you may want to know that until this year I skied with my feet virtually glued together, even on the newer skis that I have been demoing. I bought a pair of Fischer RX8s this year (170cm/14m turn radius) and new boots (Tecnica XT17s). I may post on my balance experiments with the boots sometime, but I'll focus on technique studies here.

As I focused on turns yesterday, I first focused on the gentle transition from turn-to-turn. Instead of my old edge-set-to-edge-change approach to the transition, I worked on a gradual roll of my feet onto the new edges at the transition. This provided a pendulum-style smooth move into and out of each turn (and into the next). This approach leads to a couple of key thoughts: "patience" and "smoooooth."

As I felt that I had really made progress with that, I began to realize that I needed to focus on the activity of the inside foot and leg. The sense I began to have was of leading the turn with the tipping of my inside foot and "pointing" with my inside knee. My sense was that I was doing a good job of keeping the leg on the same plane (limited side-to-side movement of the knee). At the angle necessary for the turns at speed, though, this meant a lot of knee flex. My thought here was, "lead with the inside foot/knee."

Near the end of the day, I began to play with the alignment of my outside leg. The challenge for me is dorsiflexing my ankle (pulling my toes towards my leg) and extending my knee (this combination movement effectively moved me forward in relation to the ski). Part of this was working to keep some flex in my knee instead of allowing it to completely straighten.

The result was a real thrilling ride.

Have any of you played with these kinds of things?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hmm - I could refer you to the posts in this thread but I see you were there already Steve Wink Or have I got this all wrong? snowHead
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Alan Craggs, hmmm.... Which part of that thread?

WTFH talks about the patience turn, which is a drill I worked on earlier this year, too. He and others talk about the inside ski and knee, too. I didn't see anything there on the outside leg move that I mentioned, though. And, most of that was spread around. I just found this a bit interesting for me--I actually had an entire ski day to play with it (and the "ego snow" was a great surface to play with it).

Nothing really new here. Just some thoughts and I'm interested in responses...
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During a clinic this year, the instructor focused on (what I think) are your main points here, ssh. We were learning how to carve at relatively high speed - and properly. Not slalom stuff or anything, but certainly better quality carving at a higher speed than we were used to.

We were all relatively comfortable black skiers and the instructor took our skiing apart. At one point we were all falling over on blues - we'd regressed that much!! She took away our poles and we moved back onto the nursery slopes. Weight transfer wasn't the issue (as it was when I learnt to carve), but instead we had to focus on initiating the turn my moving the inside knee and getting that ankle to flex (which ultimately leads to the forward movement you describe). We used our hands to pull our inside knee over, which led to the outside knee following naturally. Also, we had to have a wider stance to get this to work properly.

Once we'd reassembled our skiing again, we found we were all capable of skiing much more confidently (and technically correctly) at higher speeds. The wider base seemed to be necessary to really get the skis to carve - especially on steeper slopes. The inside leg movement helped get both skis onto their edges at the same time (rather than the lazy inside ski effect that we used to have) and also gave our turns more progression, resulting in more carve and less skid. Finally, our weight was a lot more equal during turning. We were taught to have almost equal weight on both skis, rather than unweighting the outside ski (as we were probably all taught when we learnt to carve the first time). This equal weight again gave us a more stable base and allowed higher-speed carving. It seemed that if you're using your ankles and knees properly, you don't need to use unweighting/weight transfer to force your body to carve the skis/turn.

Those were my thoughts anyway - and seem to tie in with what you're describing, ssh.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Oops - I see you'd already been there Steve - my excuse is that I'd just come in from several pints of Timothy Taylor's Landlord and a chinese meal washed down with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Cool

However, I was thinking about the bits relating to patience, a smooth transition (no "flat spots") and use of the inside leg. I'll just crawl away now and play with my "snowHeads HowTo" kit...
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masopa, I thought Stephen Neal was the most comfortable black skier in the known universe - was he there?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Laughing Laughing Laughing
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Alan Craggs, Wink

masopa, very interesting. What progression did she use to disassemble your skiing? I like the "no poles" and "use the hands to move the inside knee." What else?

Another interesting element of this day was skiing the morning on frozen groomed. Even on the relatively wide runs at Keystone, I couldn't carve at the speed I wanted to go, so I mostly "scarved" my turns, working hard at keeping the movements "offensive" instead of "defensive." More thoughts on this later, but I'd be interested in your thoughts about that.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
ssh, another technique was to get us to reach as far forward with our hands as possible, whilst skiing (without poles). We tried this after we'd got the hang of pushing our inside knee into the slope while turning. With our hands (overly) forward we had to feel the front of the skis biting as we initiated the carves. It took a while, but after a bit of practice, I could really feel the front of the skis (about 1-2" in front of my bindings) bite into the carve on turn initiation. Getting our hands forward probably helped keep our weight front-biased at the beginning of the turn. The result was getting a "turbo-charged carve" at the beginning.

We were very lucky that Courchevel (even the 1850 runs) was really quiet, so we had plenty of space to practice - as well as lots of space to burn at the end. What are "scarved" turns? Half carved, half skidded?

I'll try to think what other techniques we employed - will post back with any other thoughts.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
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masopa, yeah, "scarve" is a skidded carve.
A lot of people manage to start a turn on a carve, but skid the end of the turn.
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masopa, when you say, "as far forward as possible" were you holding them straight out in front of your shoulders, waist, or reaching for your ski tips?

Yes, I probably should have typed "skarve" to make it more clear. Wear The Fox Hat notes that this is sometimes done because one can't hold the edge, but I've been working on skarving the entire turn using offensive movements (moving in the direction of the turn) and having the skid aspect of the turn be an integral part of it.

I think of "buttering" my turns as I think Eric DesLauriers taught it at this year's EpicSki Academy (am I right about that, WTFH?).
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
ssh, that sounds about right, although I didn't get to ski with Eric Sad
Maybe next year...
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
We'll try to arrange that, Fox. Though I suspect you will miss me terribly. Little Angel

I like to think of skiing as managing two forces, gravity and friction. Scarving is carving with a little extra friction (created by allowing the skis to have some lateral movement). I think the expression "buttering the turn" is one of those natural analogies that would occur to anyone who has prepared a piece of toast.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
nolo, my choice would be Mr W from Aspen, or you. I'm nto sure if Eric is the kind of instructor who would take as big a risk with his group as you would, and I like being pushed beyond my perceived limits...
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
(Fox is currying favor in hopes of skiing with my daughter at Big Sky. If ESA's at Big Sky...Wink )
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
That's favoUr, mum, you're over here now!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Ough, I suppouse I ough you a brough?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
nolo's gone all breathy on us...
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
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Wear, son of Hugh, wrote:
That's favoUr, mum, you're over here now!
So, young cub, do you change accordingly when you go to the States?
Anyway, you are located in nolo's modem, so she aint over here: you are over there! Toofy Grin
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
That's me brogue. Wink
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