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How to turn?...

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I made a posting recently to stay that I felt I was struggling and that my skiing was bad (what really annoyed me was transversing across a slope, coming to a stop at the edge of it, when I should have just kept turning). I think maybe part of the problem is iniating the turn.

I am a bit confused about how/when to turn. Does it just come naturally and follow on from something else or is there something you have to do? Anywhere I look (books, etc) doesn't actually tell you how to turn - it all just follows on from basic snowplough.

Easiski gave me a really good tip which seems to have helped a lot (extend on the upper leg and press the uphill big toe into the corner of the boot).
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Start the turn when you're just about to finish the last one. You don't really want to have any "dead time" between turns when you're not doing a lot.

To actually make the skis turn you can rotate them into the new direction by rotating feet/legs; you can put the ski onto an edge and carve the turn; or you can pressure the skis into an arc and the skis will follow that line. The great majority of turns are a blend of two or three of those ways of steering your skis.
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This is a problem I definitely have. My ski buddies don't tend to like following me as I'm a bit unpredictable where I turn. I think I spend too long wondering where the best place to turn is and should just get on with it. I avoid linking one turn straight on to the next turn unless it's flattish and I can control my speed, so anywhere that's a bit steeper I traverse between turns more to slow down than anything else. Then begins the "where's a nice spot to turn" thing. I don't struggle to initiate the turn once I've decided where I'm actually going. My ski buddies decided I need indicators! Snigger... Very Happy
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jb1970, Dont turn, go straight.
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queen bodecia, the first turn you make is always the hardest because you're not in a rhythm and you don't have the momentum from the previous turn to help you. If you don't link your turns you're making every turn a first turn. You're making it unnecessarily hard if you don't link. So, stop shopping for turns and get linking!
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rob@rar,

I know you're a learned chap (well done) and I admit that Grandmothers & egg-sucking comes to mind here Embarassed - for which I apologise in advance but I'm in the same boat as Queen B...

IMV the primary objective in skiing is to control the speed of descent (otherwise we die). The timid among us need to control the downward speed to a greater degree than the more confident (you, for example) might feel was necessary on the same slope. Every turn includes an element of acceleration which is only reined in by travelling across (and sometimes up!) the slope, so the slower you want to go down the fall-line, the longer you must stay in the traverse. My mushy brain insists that the steeper the slope, the longer the traverse must be to control speed down the hill, hence the overly-long traverses with an ugly near-stationary turns at the end of each.
As I see it, the only way to break the 'long-traverse, stationary turn' scenario is to learn to accept more downward speed, thus allowing for less traverse and therefore, eventually, linked turns. It's dead easy on a shallow slope but the big question (for me, at least) is, 'how do I become confident that I won't crash if I go a bit quicker?' so I can do it on the steeper slopes as well.

Answers on a postcard, please. There is no prize.

Edited for clarity
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Red Leon, you don't really *need* to traverse. I think a BASI-approved answer to your question would be that you keep turning for longer (to the extent that you are almost going back up the hill) rather than traversing. alternatively, you use edge control to manage your speed through the turn. you are never going to avoid some acceleration as you point downhill but you can reduce this a lot if you skid your skis rather than carve them cleanly
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Red Leon wrote:
[
As I see it, the only way to break the 'long-traverse, stationary turn' scenario is to learn to accept more downward speed

No, just hold on to your turn for longer to control your speed. The traverse in between turns isn't a particularly good way to control your speed and it just makes the next turn more difficult. It's just "dead time" between turns. If you want to slow down just keep turning - eventually you'll be heading up the hill and will come to a complete stop if you hold the turn for a long time.
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I can link my turns no problem, but as Red Leon aptly describes above on a steeper slope I don't want to as I'd end up going too fast. Not sure what the answer is really. I really don't want to ski any faster, I'm happy with my current speed...
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queen bodecia, the answer is to not "let go" of your turn too early as your skis will be pointing too much down the hill, and you will accelerate quicker than you want. If you keep turning until your skis are pointing more across the hill than down you won't accelerate more than you're happy with.
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I understand that, and believe me I've tried it, but I still seem to go far too fast. I prefer to slow to an almost stop before starting a turn, as I pick up so much speed when turning I really need to slow down a lot before I turn again...
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rob@rar wrote:
If you want to slow down just keep turning - eventually you'll be heading up the hill and will come to a complete stop....


Coming to a complete stop facing uphill is, IME, not that helpful wink The long traverse is the alternative way to control speed without ending up facing the wrong way. The difficulty is in deciding where & where to start the turn (back to the OP!) at the end of the traverse without losing so much speed that you stop. Why can't I just be a bit braver...? Embarassed
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queen bodecia wrote:
I understand that, and believe me I've tried it, but I still seem to go far too fast. I prefer to slow to an almost stop before starting a turn, as I pick up so much speed when turning I really need to slow down a lot before I turn again...

I understand what you're saying, but the traverse isn't really an effective method of controlling your speed AND it makes the next turn more difficult. It's a bit of a vicious circle. I think it's much easier to do very slow linked turns than it is to do slow speed turns separated by a traverse. As Arno said, you can skid the turn a lot to control the speed and you can keep the turn going so you're almost pointing back up the hill without having to do any kind of a traverse.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Red Leon wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
If you want to slow down just keep turning - eventually you'll be heading up the hill and will come to a complete stop....


Coming to a complete stop facing uphill is, IME, not that helpful wink The long traverse is the alternative way to control speed without ending up facing the wrong way.


Before you come to a stop you put another turn in. Your skis don't have to be pointing downhill to make a turn if you have a bit of momentum.
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Red Leon wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
If you want to slow down just keep turning - eventually you'll be heading up the hill and will come to a complete stop....


Coming to a complete stop facing uphill is, IME, not that helpful wink


no.... but it's better than going down the hill fast and faster until you die (as somebody posted above!)

Best to start the next turn from the heading-uphill position, whilst still moving!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Red Leon wrote:
The difficulty is in deciding where & where to start the turn (back to the OP!) at the end of the traverse without losing so much speed that you stop.

Exactly, and without losing the helpful energy and momentum at the end of one turn which makes the start of the next turn so much easier. So cut out the traverse altogether as it destroys the flow of your skiing, making it more difficult than it should be.

In terms of being brave and building up these skills maybe ski on gentler slopes until you get a good feel for the rhythm and controlk you get from linked turns, then gradually ski on steeper stuff?
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James the Last wrote:
Red Leon wrote:
rob@rar wrote:
If you want to slow down just keep turning - eventually you'll be heading up the hill and will come to a complete stop....


Coming to a complete stop facing uphill is, IME, not that helpful wink


no.... but it's better than going down the hill fast and faster until you die (as somebody posted above!)

Best to start the next turn from the heading-uphill position, whilst still moving!

Puzzled
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rob@rar, in fairness I can do rhythm and control, linked turns and all that jazz. I just choose not to on steeper slopes so as to avoid going too fast. On easier slopes it's no problem at all. But I don't really want to pootle about on blue runs all day. I like a few reds and the occasional black. I just don't want to ski any faster...
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queen bodecia, Sorry to keep harping on about this, but linking turns does not mean that you automatically go fast, just as doing a traverse does not automatically mean you go slow. If you want to go slower when you're linking turns skid a bit more and hold on to your turn a bit more. It's a far more effective strategy than destroying the flow of your skiing but traversing between turns.
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queen bodecia wrote:
rob@rar, in fairness I can do rhythm and control, linked turns and all that jazz. I just choose not to on steeper slopes so as to avoid going too fast. On easier slopes it's no problem at all. But I don't really want to pootle about on blue runs all day. I like a few reds and the occasional black. I just don't want to ski any faster...


One thing that sets good skiers apart from the rest is the ability to ski (carve) a steep slope without increasing the speed of the descent.
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We are digressing slightly. How do you actually turn?
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also work on flexing knees and ankles to absorb the pressure build-up as you go past the fall line and your skis go more across (rather than down) the slope. this will automatically put you in a good dynamic position from which to start the new turn.
a lot of people "lock in" to a carve, meaning that the outside leg is locked pretty straight through the turn - this doesn't set you up too well for starting the next turn
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jb1970 wrote:
We are digressing slightly. How do you actually turn?


rob@rar wrote:
To actually make the skis turn you can rotate them into the new direction by rotating feet/legs; you can put the ski onto an edge and carve the turn; or you can pressure the skis into an arc and the skis will follow that line. The great majority of turns are a blend of two or three of those ways of steering your skis.


I think you've skied a bit. How do you manage to turn now?
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jb1970 wrote:
We are digressing slightly. How do you actually turn?


tip your ski over (so that is on edge) then stand on it
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Years ago when I first started learning to carve, I found I could only do 2 or 3 turns without having to stop to check my speed. This was because previously I'd been using a skid to control my speed when turning, rather than the shape of the turn. Now when doing long radius carving turns i have a tendency to finish my turns too much, meaning I can keep a fairly low consistent speed when carving. Not really a fault in itself, execpt when the trainer wants me to ski faster.
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P.S. Can this and the Struggling thread be moved into Bend Ze Knees?
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I was taught on steeper slopes to use a side slip towards the end of the turn to help control speed rather than edging/traversing back up the hill, but that might only be useful to someone at my lowley level . . .

I had a bit of an epiphany on my recent trip, but it might be something everyone on here already knows, which was to to initiate the turn earlier by really pressing on the front of my uphill boot (which becomes the down hill boot at the end of the turn). I guess before i was shown this i had been forcing my turns rather than letting my skis do what they're designed for. The whole pressing thing brought all my body into the right position and meant that my thighs were no longer burning after a few runs, i also found speed control and accuracy improved immensely. I wish i had had this explained to me years ago. Obviously i'm explaining this in my words not an instructors and it was the fix that was prescribed for my particular problem of stiffening/straightening my downhill leg at the end of turns and on the traverse.
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Quote:

We are digressing slightly. How do you actually turn?

Rotation, edge and pressure. That's all there is to it.

A gifted few have a body that can work out for itself how to combine them. If you're like the rest of us, and it can't, then get some lessons. You won't be able to learn this by phone!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
snobunni wrote:
I had a bit of an epiphany on my recent trip, but it might be something everyone on here already knows, which was to to initiate the turn earlier by really pressing on the front of my uphill boot (which becomes the down hill boot at the end of the turn).

That's a good thing to do as it means you get pressure on the outside ski really early in the turn, so it is being actively steered before you reach the fall line (when your skis are pointing straight down the hill). It's an effective way to control the shape of your turn, and therefore what speed you're travelling at.
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What skis are you on? jb1970, if you're on proper carving skis it will be pretty hard "not" to turn - they do the work for you.

As for the rest of you "faux" speed demons Toofy Grin FINISH YOUR TURNS! Traversing at speed does not diminish your speed, you're kidding yourself - AND, to add insult to injury you're probably losing your "bottle" during this traverse and swinging your shoulders side-to-side in that beautiful fashion only the British can really master! wink
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rob@rar, theres probabaly a whole lot of other stuff that i'm just doing instinctively but the whole pressing thing (really pressing not just pushing into the liner) was a total revelation than transformed my skiing, i now need to practice practice practice until it all becomes second nature Very Happy
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snobunni wrote:
rob@rar, theres probabaly a whole lot of other stuff that i'm just doing instinctively but the whole pressing thing (really pressing not just pushing into the liner)

Yes, I'm sure there's a whole lot of good stuff going on, like keeping centered over your skis, when you feel for the front of your ski boots. So having that one thing to focus on, that one mental trigger, probably helps you deal with a number of potential problems. Half the fun of learning is trying to find a mental trigger for you which works, and that's where a good instructor can make a big difference.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
At risk of annoying the cuss-filter here, but does anyone dare mention short swings these days (especially those self confessed "linking turns is no problem but I have to do a big traverse to kill speed" types) ? Laughing
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jb1970, I am probably one of the hardest folks to teach to ski I reckon and I can recommend the Easiski treatment for it! Certainly I am a slow learner as fear of loss of control holds me back far too readily. You'll probably have seen reports of the recent trip to LDA and there's the blog I wrote too.

I have a terrible habit of hunting out ideal turning ground, occasionally reaching the edge of the piste and realising I have left it too late! In my Easiski lessons we worked on a lot of different exercises that addressed different issues one at a time. I find the indoor snowdomes here aren't ideal practice ground for me as the top is steep enough to stop me being relaxed about what I am doing and the bottom, shallower section is frustratingly short and often narrow. In LDA there was ample opportunity to use gentle slopes for extended practice. I grew to really love the Petites Cretes; it's graded green but has a huge variety of terrain within it.

You ask how to initiate a turn and someone mentioned that indicators would be handy - well funny that, cos one most useful technique that has helped me a huge amount starts with essentially indicating with my arm that I am going to turn! Actually the purpose is anything but indicating, but linking it to the concept of doing so helps get the right arm involved. The purpose is to extend the arm/shoulder forwards and slightly across the body in order to aid weight transfer to what will be the outside ski of the new turn and to prevent the natural desire to retreat one's body into the safety of the hillside (which actually weights the wrong ski and makes things worse). BTW I find it confusing to talk about uphill/downhill ski in turns - when you turn you're tracing part of a circle and one side of your body's on the outside the other is on the inside of that circle.

Other exercises that helped me personally involved
- traversing and whilst doing so playing with ankle/knee flex at different rates and feeling the difference in stability/grip (I had skied almost 100% stiff legged before this)
- extending the leg which is becoming the new outside one on starting to turn and then "sinking" into the boot on passing the point of facing directly downhill.
- traversing and briefly (very briefly in my case) lifting and replacing the uphill ski
- traversing and experimenting with gently rolling my knees towards the slope and back again to find out how that altered my course
- turning and keeping on turning until I stopped (convincing myself to trust the skis to do so)
- skiing turns in a small valley in the middle of the Petites Cretes; this allowed the speed to build up as I knew that I was headed uphill each side and so there was no danger of not slowing down! I found the first "whoosh" traumatic, but then discovered it was FUN and I became more willing to experience a bit more speed generally! This led to Easiski reporting somewhere on here that I had been seen skiing really quite FAST - something some SHs would have had difficulty imagining.
- learning to do parallel stops (something I had NEVER achieved before) and some forward diagonal sideslipping
- developing a more relaxed "gliding plough" that was narrower but more effective and less tiring


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Mon 30-03-09 14:50; edited 1 time in total
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Yoda wrote:
At risk of annoying the cuss-filter here, but does anyone dare mention short swings these days (especially those self confessed "linking turns is no problem but I have to do a big traverse to kill speed" types) ? Laughing


Is there a difference between short swings and short radius turns? I kind of have it in mind that the swings bit involves some sort of heel push to get the skis around quickly (remnant of old-style skiing on long, skinny skis). Might be wrong though, and it's just the terminology which doesn't get used much rather than a technique which shaped skis have made a bit redundant.
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Butterfly wrote:
... (I find it confusing to talk about uphill/downhill - when you turn you're tracing part of a circle and one side of your body's on the outside the other is on the inside of that circle) ...
A good observation. I also find the uphill/downhill terminology very confusing, both as a teacher and a learner.
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rob@rar, well I've never actually been sure what a "short swing" is, since various demos are usually subtly different Laughing I remember Ali Ross saying he'd had years of "discussions" with BASI about short swings. afaik it shouldn't involve a heel push (object being to still rotate the skis around their centres rather than the tips) but there may be a "scrape" event at the end of each one to form a platform for the next.
Fit young short-swingers can go backwards up the hill whilst facing down it - that enough speed control for anyone?
But how else to control speed on steep narrow slopes without excessive side slipping? lots of linked short radius turns as you say.
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Not being able to control speed or make the next turn on steeps is often linked to being in the backseat.
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jb1970, The two things I think of when initating a new turn are;

1. shift weight to new outside/downhill ski and simultaeneously
2. move hips downhill and fowards, accross the skis and down the falline

These two are followed immediatly by telling myself NOT TO LEAN BACK and concentraing on driving the edge of the ski into the snow.

Works for me (sometimes rolling eyes )
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