Skiing short turns basically involves making parallel turns in quick succession. Because of the speed involved when executing the short turn ski technique, the body movements and positions vary from the ones used in other maneuvers. The skiing pole plant also becomes extremely crucial – you will need it for turning and not just for the timing.
If you just purchased your all-mountain skis, the short turn ski technique may be new to you. In this article, we will be showing you everything you need to know about skiing short turns.
Steps Involved When Making the Short Ski Turns
Step 1: The “Anticipation” Step
The “anticipation” step involves turning the body towards the slope while your beginner skis remain perpendicular to it. In this position, your skis will be ready to turn towards the downhill. The only thing that will be keeping your skis from turning is the edging. The first movement will twist your body, similar to how you would wind up a normal spring.
Step 2: The “Unweighting” Step
The unweighting via the extension/flex method is the second step. The goal here is to release the spring created in step 1 above and hence help with inducing a fast rotation of your skis.
Since the skis will not be subjected to the bodyweight anymore, they will turn towards the slope. This rotation will require a lot of pressure on your skis and hence a strong edging during the take-off. In some instances, when the unweighting is complete, the skis will leave the ground completely.
Step 3: The “Narrow Steering of the Skis” Step
Short radius turns will imply a strong centrifugal force – the smaller the radius of the turn, the stronger the force that tends to push you outside your turn.
For this reason, if the edging in step 2 is not strong enough, you will end up skidding. If the skidding does not lead to falling on skis, it will make the radius of the turn bigger. To keep the skis in the narrow trajectory, you will have to edge strongly to carve the turn.
Understanding the Body Position
With the short turn ski technique, you will still need to keep your body pointing down the slope after donning your ski helmet and ski pants. However, unlike when you are using other maneuvers, you will only need to turn the weight of the skis and legs around every turn to twist your body. The twist will use your body as a spring, storing the energy in the stretched muscles that can be released to start your next turn.
Understanding the Upward and Downward Movement
The downward and upward movements are ideal for giving your skis the maximum power at the ideal times. You will need to use these movements a bit like a jump.
As your skis come across the slope, your body weight will be thrown upwards from your last turn and very limited pressure will exist on your skis. The upper body weight will start to fall and once you have as much downward energy as you would want, you can initiate the turn and push down on your skis – this will drive the skis into the snow harder and also help you with catching the upper body weight.
Catching the upper body weight will help power the skis through the first half of the short turn. Once the upper body weight has been caught, you will need to throw it back into the air again – this will continue to push the skis into the snow for the second half of the short turn.
The turn is supposed to finish just as you stop pushing on your skis. The skis will unweight slightly since you have already thrown the upper body weight into the air. This will leave you in the same situation as at the start of the turn.
Put simply, when your skis are coming across the slope, you will need to let the upper body accelerate downward due to the gravity, decreasing the pressure on your skis. When you are turning, you will need to accelerate your body upwards, pushing your skis into the snow harder. This will give you the power you need to make efficient and fast turns.
Timing Your Upward Movements
To succeed at skiing short turns, your jump-like motion has to be sized and timed correctly to your turns. Once you throw the upper body weight in the air, you will need to wait for the weight to start coming down before you can initiate the next turn.
If you throw your weight upwards a lot, you will have to wait for a longer period of time for gravity to start bringing it down. This tells you that the quicker your short turns, the less you will have the ability to throw your body up and down. This means that you will have to turn more quickly with less power.
For the short turn ski technique to offer you ideal results, you will need to finish every turn with the same speed as you started the turn. If you speed up, you will end up having too much speed for the turns. If you slow down when making your turn, you won’t have enough speed to complete the turn as quickly as you may want.
Understanding the Pole Plant
As we had noted at the beginning of this article, ski poles play a key role in the short turn ski technique. The flex phase is initiated at the same time as the pole plant – that is, when the skier wishes to turn.
At the end of your flex phase, your knees will be extremely bent, the downhill knee bent slightly to increase the edging and your upper body facing the slope in anticipation. The pole should be planted and the bodyweight should be both on the pole and the downhill ski.
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If you are just getting started with skiing, learning how to make short turns can make your time on the slopes more enjoyable. Skiing short turns aren’t too complicated. However, to get the trick right, training and practicing are necessary. The theory in this article should help you perfect the short turns more quickly.
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- Basic Short Turns, Psia-c.org