Carved Uphill Arc (decreasing radius “J”)
Begin with skis pointed down the fall line. Tip the skis on edge to engage the side cut of the ski and progressively increase edge angle until the skis have turned back up the hill. Skis leave carved tracks.
Why This Activity Will Be Useful:
This task highlights Edge Control and Pressure Control skills to develop the ability to engage the skis edges in the snow and utilize sidecut to access a carved ski performance.
Practicing efficient and accurate mechanics to access carved ski performance will lay a foundation for further progression of skills.
What The Skis Do (EFFECT):
• Tails follow the tips of each ski to leave two clean lines in snow.
• Skis tip progressively throughout uphill arc
• Radius of arc decreases progressively
• Skis tip at similar time and rate
• Skis bend from center
• Skis maintain a parallel relationship and consistent stance width
How The Body Moves (CAUSE):
• Edging movements originate from the feet and ankles
• Edging movements of the body are progressive and continuous through the arc to decrease the radius over time/distance
• Flexion/extension and upper body angulation directs pressure toward the outside ski
• Joints are flexed and extended proportionately to maintain COM over the base of support (fore/aft)
Fore aft cues:
• Fore/aft pressure control is vital to effective carving. Pressure too far forward or aft can make it challenging to achieve this task.
• Think of having three points of contact in each boot: some weight on heel, more weight on ball of foot, some pressure of shin on cuff of boot. Maintain this throughout the task.
Foot to foot pressure cues:
• Learning to be able to have both skis leave clean carved tracks in the snow is the goal of this task, so both skis need to have weight on them, but the downhill ski should have more weight than the uphill ski. How much? It depends on pitch, speed you travel through this exercise, and how much you tighten the arc throughout the task.
• Tip the feet/ankles/legs tip toward the hill to increase edge angle (incline the lower body). This happens under a stable upper body and pelvis — this means the whole body does not incline toward the hill like as a unit. As the legs tip, use subtle lateral movements of the pelvis and spine to tip away from the hill (angulate) this is a lateral pressure adjustment allows pressure to flow through the outside foot/ski. Practice in front of a mirror, using your shadow to become familiar with how to move body in this manner.
Cues to develop Edge Control Skill
• Static, stand in athletic stance, make sure ankles are flexed appropriately. Practice slowly tipping feet/ankles laterally. Maintain tension between both lower legs so they move at similar rate/time. Watch your shadow, or have someone watch you to ensure movements come from lower leg, not hip or whole body moving laterally. Sensation cue: you may feel like you are standing on the sides of the feet as you tip to higher edge angles.
• In static or moving practice, if one ski is on a higher edge angle, or gets onto edge first, focus on tipping the other leg more or first until this movement is developed.
• On gentle terrain or flat terrain from a stop, tip the skis onto low edge angle. Either push with poles on flats, or allow skis to start tracking across slope on gentle pitch. Do not try to adjust edge angles at first, just maintain balance and let the ski traverse across the slope on edge. Maintain fore/aft and lateral balance without adding turning movements. Stop. Check tracks. Repeat and practice.
• Slowly move to more pitch. May point skis slightly more downhill to add more speed to traverse/arc practice.
• When consistently leaving clean lines, begin to progressively tip both feet/ankles into the hill more to increase edge angle while moving. May think of lifting the downhill edges both skis off the snow to increase edge angle.
• As edging movements of legs become more developed, remember to compliment with angulation of upper body for lateral pressure control (direct pressure to the outside ski).