Use An Effortless Turn Movement Pattern To Reduce Fatigue
It takes a 5 step sequence of movements to make an efficient, effortless and well-controlled turn that produces less fatigue. To explain the movement pattern we are de-composing the sequence into discrete steps. However, don’t take this discreteness too literally because, in reality, the five steps will blend together into a continuous and seamless flow.
Here is the Effortless Turn Movement Pattern sequence:
1. Decelerate And Slow Down From The Prior Turn
Decelerate and slow down from the prior turn before attempting to initiate your next turn. Reduce your speed using a combination of steering your skis perpendicular, or higher, to the fall line underneath your feet and drifting your turn – e.g. adjusting/feathering the edge angle of your skis higher or lower against the snow to reduce or increase your speed.
To make a drifted turn more than 50% of your momentum should be lateral (down the fall line) toward a target where you intend to make your next turn.
Slow your speed sufficiently to the point where you believe that you can make a patient, relaxed, un-rushed turn. Do not initiate a new turn until you have reduced your speed to the point where you can make a slow, controlled and relaxed turn.
2. For An Effortless Turn Initiation Just Make Your Short Leg Long
Make your short leg long and simultaneously tip your sternum in the direction of the new turn without rotating your torso. Keep your hands forward and quiet.
Your short leg is the uphill leg and making your short leg long means extending the uphill leg in a forward (not vertical) direction until it is straight. If you do not move forward when you extend your uphill leg then you will rise vertically which will likely cause you to end up in the back seat as the turn progresses. Please note that we did not say to make both legs long.
When you make your short leg long find new balance on the uphill ski and feel pressure under the ball of your feet and/or toes. That sense of pressure under the ball of your feet and/or toes confirms that you have moved forward on your skis to anticipate the acceleration which will enable you to remain perpendicular to you skis as they enter the fall line.
We stress the concept of making your short leg long to initiate a turn rather than focusing on making a turn because it encourages patience rather than a sense of urgency to quickly turn your skis.
3. In The First Half Of The Turn, Patiently Wait For The Skis To Start Moving And Then Pivot Your Skis
In the first half of the turn, patiently wait for gravity to initiate the turn. Do not force or rush the turn. When your skis become flat to the snow gravity will begin to move them in the direction of the new turn. At that point it is very easy to slowly and casually pivot your skis across the fall line. Stay balanced on the uphill ski as it crosses the fall line. Continue to keep your upper body, arms and hands forward and quiet.
When you initiate your turn on the flat top of a mogul this technique allows you to pivot your skis in a small turn radius that is tighter than the trough and which enables you to stay on the mogul that you initiated your turn on. Such a tight radius pivoted turn will result in a much slower skiing speed exiting the turn.
4. In The Second Half Of The Turn Actively And Continuously Steer Your Skis Using Low Edge Angles Until You Decelerate
In the second half of the turn, after your skis cross the fall line, you must now change from being passive to active. Keep your legs long and use your upper legs (femurs) to actively and CONTINUOUSLY steer your skis perpendicular, or more, to the fall line underneath your feet until you decelerate and slow down. As you steer, keep a low edge angle between the skis and the snow so you will drift your turn rather than carve your turn.
To facilitate a drifted turn keep your previously short (uphill) leg extended long throughout the turn – remembering that it has now become the downhill leg after you cross the fall line. Resist the pull of gravity and centrifugal forces and avoid the temptation to bend your downhill knee or crouch down. Instead, absorb pressure by flexing your ankles rather than bending your knees.
As you cross the fall line match the angle of your shoulders to the slope of the hill.
5. Select And Continuously Focus Your Eyes On A Target Location Down The Hill Where You Intend To Initiate Your Next Turn
As you drift and begin to slow down select, and CONTINUOUSLY focus your eyes on, the intended location of your next turn which should be DOWN the hill. To focus on your next turn location just turn your head (imagine your head being on a lazy Susan) rather than twist or rotate your torso. Lessen the edge angles between your skis and the snow and drift DOWN the hill with the goal of arriving slowly at that location where you would like to make your next turn.
BUMPS FOR BOOMERS mogul skiing clinic participants consistently tell us that continuously focusing their eyes on the intended location of their next turn is a major “game changer” in their ability to ski moguls.
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Repeat this 5 step movement pattern for efficient skiing and minimal fatigue in moguls.