How to Initiate the "Turn"

aswinter05aswinter05 Posts: 363 Baller
edited May 2013 in Technique & Theory
I've gotten some advice from various thread contributors about turning a ski. I'm sure most of you mean well but when you tell a beginner not to turn the ski, rather let the ski turn itself......... that makes absolutely no sense. I surely have to do something to help the ski "turn itself". The ski doesn't know when I'm closing in on 1 ball.

In one of Gordun Rathbun's archaic yet valuable videos he talks about how to initiate the turn. He simply says almost word for word "Once you feel the the speed of the ski start to die-off, that's when it's time to sort of... fall over"

See picture below. If I were to take Gordon's advice literally, and "fall over" towards the wakes of the boat, what body angle would I be at. Feel free to edit image and repost. I drew three arrows that are to represent the direction my upper body "falls towards" like Gordon explains. (please let me know if you can't open the PDF and I will repost in different format)

Is there someone out there that can explain the entire process of the turn that might give me something to visualize and practice? Should a turn be thought of similar to initiating a pull-out at the gates? (i.e., shifting your center of mass over the edge of the ski)


  • aswinter05aswinter05 Posts: 363 Baller
    edited May 2013
    @shaneH , so then the arrow representing my inside hip movement would be the top arrow pointing to the rear of the boat? (from the picture)
  • Jim NeelyJim Neely Posts: 291 Baller
    Andrew, I have some comments to your posts but I'll wait and say them in person.
    68" Vapor
  • aswinter05aswinter05 Posts: 363 Baller
    @scotchipman, noted. It actually does "start" to make sense when you put it that way. I will be sure to follow up with you when I finally feel that deceleration, etc. Thanks for the insight.
  • lakeolakeo Posts: 85 Baller
    aswinter05 what you are really asking(I think) is how do you initiate the edge change. I say that because in corse sking you should always be riding an edge, never a flat ski. If the ski is on its turning edge(the edge toward the boat) it will turn itself. Then it becomes a matter of style, binding placement and fin settings. Hope this helps. If you are in Florida there are a bunch of great coaches to get valuable information from.
  • ctsmithctsmith Posts: 281 Baller
    A fellow 15 off'r here. aswinter, you are brave. Keith, please dont ever post any of my videos :)
  • aswinter05aswinter05 Posts: 363 Baller
    edited May 2013
    @lakeo, yes that would be a good way to put it. Im wondering the best body position or movement at apex. When i think of apex a think of CP's massive wall he puts up. :) i try to watch the pros "lean-in" but sometimes its too fast and not the right camera angle to see their body angle. Im trying my best to make sense
  • aswinter05aswinter05 Posts: 363 Baller
    @ctsmith , thanks. Just wanting to get better at skiing. Ive been putting lots of time on the water and BOS helps me make the most of my time on the water.
  • aswinter05aswinter05 Posts: 363 Baller
    edited May 2013
    a should mention that i came from open water skiing on a public lake. i was taught to rip turns as hard as possible to generate big spray. Ive quickly learned that same concept doesnt work the best on a slalom course.

    Im guessing most people started this way too. How did you learn to adjust turning technique when you first got on the slalom course?
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,375
    First got on? Hell, I'm still learning to turn better 7 years later at 38 off!
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • aswinter05aswinter05 Posts: 363 Baller
    @ShaneH , I liked your comment earlier. Let me make sure I understand correctly. So if I'm at the apex near 1 ball... flex front ankle and move my LEFT (inside) hip towards 2 ball? Hopefully I'm on the same page. I love that description because it gives me a mental visual. Thanks again.
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 2,173 Mega Baller
    @aswinter - I have benefitted from your posting of this question tremendously! I think we can all benefit from learning more about the basics of skiing. Why? Because what is shortline skiing but being able to build on the foundation. It just happens faster and shorter.

    @shaneh - excellent description of a properly executed turn.
  • lakeolakeo Posts: 85 Baller
    At the actual turn, for some(style dependent), the best thing to think is that you are trying to sit on the bouy. May that can give you avisual to use.
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,590 Mega Baller
    Agree with posts above - I was a long time open water skier and learning to get into a leverage positions was and still is a big issue for me.

    As far as videos, you can learn a lot from them but some of the things the pros are doing are so subtle that you my not pickup on it or understand it.

    Trying to sit on the buoy can open you up to the misinterpretation of West Coast that ShaneH is talking about of dropping hip back. If you watch the top skier most or not making exaggerated movements.

    Last spring I did a lot free skiing where I would do gate like turns and cuts across the wake (from both sides). I'm planning on doing it this year but using what I learned about turning from Seth (See @ShaneH s post). I would pull out to glide like with a gate then use my hips to initiate a turn. Let the ski come around and try to get into the best leveraged position I could cutting across the wake. I did this drill over and over both sides). I started out the season really good last year and think this drill had a lot to do with it.
  • estromestrom Posts: 512 Baller
    I rarely get on a course, but I agree with what @gregy is saying in his last paragraph about practicing wake crossing. When I first learned to ski, someone told me to pull out wide and learn how to cross the wake before you worry about turning. Turns will come more naturally if you're properly crossing behind the boat.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 3,004 Mega Baller
    edited May 2013
    If you haven't put it together... The edge change and turn is a result of the lean & wake crossing. A new skier who is not generating speed but rather staying equal to the boat speed and struggling to to get width, the turn is very different compared to a 36 MPH short line skier...

    I'll add this concept to the mix: Think about a bicycle. If you are going very slow, you turn by steering the front wheel then slightly leaning. If you are going very fast, you turn by leaning and slightly steering the front wheel. These turns are different.

    The ski has a rocker (curve tip to fin) and a lengthwise flex. Imagine a ski on a 75 degree edge (almost fully on its side), going very fast through water... It will naturally follow an arc path similar to its rocker and flex. The more this ski is on a turning edge, the tighter this arc will be. Thus, a skier with sufficient lean/wake-crossing speed can lean the ski over more and thus turn tighter.

    It is a balance. The more outbound speed generated through the wake crossing, the more angle can be exploited during the turn. Consider this image: You are holding a bucket by the handle and it has an inch of water in the bottom. You start to spin your self, but hold the bucket down by your side. The centrifugal force makes the water collect along the outer edge. Now extend the arm out while you spin. In harmony with the rate of the spinning there will be an angle you can hold the bucket and the water will cling to the bottom of the bucket evenly - thus the forces are balanced. Too much angle for the speed and the water falls to the inside edge. Too little angle for the speed and the water stays on the outside edge. Your stance on the ski is like the water. The more speed you generate across the wake, the more you can angle your ski during the turn and the more it will arc a tighter path through the turn. Your turning angle should be balanced with the speed you just generated on the preceding wake crossing so that you feel pressure under your feet onto the top of the ski during the turn.

    The "fall" mentioned above is simply a maneuver where the skier holds the ski at a less intense angle before the buoy, then makes a motion to tilt the ski a little more on its turning edge just as the ski is for sure going to round the buoy. This is more of a technique to stop the outbound glide on the inside edge and to initiate the completion of the turn. It is very obvious in short-line skiers. There is a lot of body position and weight distribution finer elements to what they are doing, but this is why the "fall" to the inside of the turn arc sort of applies...
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • aswinter05aswinter05 Posts: 363 Baller
    edited May 2013
    @ToddL , Thank you. That helps explain a lot. I can assure you I will post video to my other thread ASAP and you will notice a difference in my lean. Hoping for an 8am glass session in the morning at the course. I can also assure you that there may or may not be a knarly whipeout added to the mix :) I'm looking forward to it.
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