Challenging the traditional concepts on turn shape.

Traditionally, the start and end of the turn has been defined by a C shaped curve. Linked them together and you should end up with the S shaped turn that we so commonly see. 

Traditional turn shape.

Now here’s the problem. Almost all skiers mentally approach skiing using this traditional C shape curve. What results is an unconscious pause between turns. This pause is incredibly detrimental to skiing. The unconscious pause puts the skier in a static body position. The skier’s body isn’t moving yet the skier himself is still moving. (Gravity ensures that). You would then end up with turns that look like this.

Pauses resulting from mentally approaching
skiing using the traditional form.

The skier ends up with skis across the hill in a static position where the external pressures are greatest. In combination with being static, which means that you’re neither twisting your skis nor increasing your edge, you’ll end up skidding/ breaking your edge grip

So here’s a new proposed turn shape where we make the traditional middle of the turn the new start and finish of a turn. 

Proposed new turn shape.

Reason 1) Traditionally, we would make half a turn and then only mentally start a full turn. Why not make that half turn into the start of a new turn. In this manner, you’re actively moving from the very start. 

Reason 2) It is human to pause, to gather our thoughts and collect ourselves. Yet if you have to do so, do it when going down the hill, not across. It is incredibly counter intuitive to do so yet in practice, it reaps so many dividends. If you pause here, you’ve got a good edge grip and there isn’t as much external pressures that will cause it to break either. You’ll also end up staying down the fall line for longer giving yourself more time to set up for the all important transition phase.  To change their turn shapes, I would often tell a skier to think of their turns this way. 

Mental approach to adapt to new turn shape; 
conscious pause in the fall line. 

Reason 3) The transition phase is where we change from one set of edges to another. Therefore It is the phase where multiple movements are performed quickly in a very short space and time. Given all that, it is a pretty damn important phase of the turn. So it should conceptually be the middle of a turn rather than in no man’s land in between 2 traditional turns. Previously pausing at this stage also eliminated any possibility of the transition being a quick movement. 

It may seem like a minor thing to change your mental approach to skiing. But give it a try and you might surprise yourself on how much difference it will make to your skiing. It’s not a technique change that takes a lot of mileage to build and ingrain into muscle memory. Instead, it’s a tactical approach where you’ll usually see results immediately. 

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