Linking Turns - Part 2

From Linking Turns – Part 1, the skis readily carry the feet from one side of the body to the other when they travel more across the hill than the upper body does between turns. If something inhibits the freedom with which the skis slide the feet across under the upper body, this reduces flow from turn to turn. If so, what might that something be?

There are a couple of possibilities to choose from, other than poor balance:
   1) an inability to roll the skis without pivoting them, and
   2) failing to manage pressure while the skis move the feet from out to the side to directly under the body.

Unable to roll the skis without pivoting them. From the exit of one turn to the entry to the next, the skis need to roll from the tilt that suited one turn to the opposite tilt for the next. Learning to roll the skis without disturbing the direction they point in is a learned skill. The next time you are on skis, lift a ski about six inches off the snow, and attempt to roll it side to side while keeping it pointed straight ahead. If the tip moves right and left when you try this, it means you have yet to master the skill of rolling the skis without pivoting them. Not on skis? Try the same in your sock feet, right now, by pointing your raised knee left and right while keeping your foot pointed straight ahead. 

Poor pressure management. The potential boost in pressure when exiting a turn is more notable the further our feet need to shift sideways under us and the quickness with which they do. In a performance turn our inside hip may be within inches of the snow as we balance amid the forces of the turn. Between turns, our feet moving across means our upper body has nowhere to go but up and away from the snow surface. Some amount of absorption of the distance between snow and upper body helps the skis (and feet) slide across unimpeded, helping to smooth out the transition to the next turn.

The figure below illustrates the effect, with the yellow arrow depicting the length of the outside leg at the apex of the turn. Keeping the leg equally long (yellow arrow) throughout the transition causes the upper body to be lofted away from the snow (red arrow).

Lofting the body means a notable pressure boost from underfoot early in the transition. That boost is accompanied by a force that inhibits the skis from carrying the feet across and under the upper body between turns (red arrows scenario below). This inhibiting effect can and should be reduced by shortening the length of the outside leg during release from the turn, by bending it as represented in the right side of the diagram, in order to reduce the upwards pressure boost and the corresponding inhibiting effect (green arrows scenario).

These two articles on linking turns identify considerations that relate to smooth linking of turns. This subject is discussed in greater depth in both How I Ski and Ski Well Simply.

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