Saturday, February 27, 2021

Skiing traditions: Debunked and Explained! 1st in a Series, by Harald Harb

Just a short history: 

The transition in skiing has been misrepresented or not described correctly in ski literature since the beginning of time. In fact, in Warren Witherell's two books, it is never addressed at all. George Joubert, the French coach, in the late 60s and early 70s,  wrote two books. In them he does address the transition, however his descriptions are incorrectly focused.  I can make that statements because skiing at the highest levels has evolved differently from the way Joubert described it. Many so called ski technicians even today reference these books as the "gospel" never looking to evolve or properly analyze skiing after Joubert. Therefore ski teaching has stagnated since. 

In this series I will explain and break down how 21st Century skiing works at the highest levels and how recreational, intermediate and advanced skiers can add significant improvements to their skiing enjoyment and performance. With these methods and approaches you will ski with more efficiency, control and ease, rather than fighting gravity. You will learn to enjoy relaxation and the ease of acquiring ski performance with less effort. Let's get into it!

The Transition

The Transition is the most complex part of ski turns and requires the biggest change in the body. In the transition, your lower body, from below the hips, moves downhill, and the upper body stays the same until the lower body engages the skis to the new edge angles. Once this is done, the upper body needs to move from one side to the other over you skis. Ideally, this is accomplished without a pivot or and effort to create direction change. Once in the arc or a turn, the movements are relatively simple and consistent with how you stand on the ski. The transition is the point at which, everything happens, all this
changes and you move from one ski to the other and from one turn to the other. The best free skiers and racers can get this done before they reach the fallen. Let's have a look at the basics. 

     For the first session of body movements in this series; I focus on lower the body.       

To achieve a good transition, you have to have the skis engaged, not slipping, and the inside leg bent more than the outside leg. This happens with inside flex bending and tipping. Also, the upper body needs to counter-act the turning forces, called counter-acting. More on that later.


Through the bottom of the turn continue building your angles to load the outside ski. Many skiers give up the turn too early and therefore are rushed, therefore never getting the lower body released.


The actions of the release have begin already in this photo. The outside leg has shortened through bending  and lightening the pressure. How do you lighten pressure? You physically retract or pull the ski and knee up. Photo below.


The red arrow is the movement to retract. The blue arrow is getting that ski released.         The black arrow is where your balance and pressure goes when you create these     movements.



Now the tip of the ski is lifted, both knees are equally bent and the angles from the previous turn are gone.


The skis are flat, and half way through the transition. Notice nothing else has moved, only the lower leg flexing and bending up toward my chest,  has created the transition. Now both legs have the same amount of bend.

The lower body transition is complete, now you build the actions for the arc. The inside leg keeps bending and tipping,toward its outside little toe edge of the ski, until it is shorter than the outside leg.



The red arrow is for continued action of bending and flexing. The yellow arrows are
to indicate increased tipping.   Never push against the outside leg, common
error tau
ght to skiers.



In the turn, all is good.

Keep a look out for the second article in the series where I address the upper body responsibilities in transition.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Air turns are fun!


Powder days, small bumps for turns, or edge changes, in the air.



(Above Photo) Anticipate the lift from the lip of a drop-off. 


 (Above Photo) Quickly retract or suck up your knees and tip your legs toward a new turn


                            (Above) In the air change the angles of the skis to land on the new edges.

Land softly by absorbing with the legs and continue tipping to finish the turn.

Upon landing prepare to increase edge angles and add your counteracting to your hips and upper body.

                                          All set up in perfect position for the next turn.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Tip lift and Retraction begin the transition, next is "Pullback!"

Connect the "Retraction Tip Lift" to the transition with a new inside ski "Pull Back" movement.


In a previous post I described the release with retraction; describing the movements to release with a lifting of the stance ski tip. This series of frames describes what happens right after the the tip lift retraction technique.



This first photo shows a world cup top 5 slalom skier using the tip lift, using retraction and transfer of balance to the new ski, (Super Phantom Move) the little toe edge balancing act. This lifted ski, needs to be transitioned toward new edge angles. The movement toward the new edge angles begins with the lifted ski, tipping it toward the new little toe side of the foot or little toe edge side, creating this action.


(In this first photo) This World Cup skier has started the transition to the new turn with a lifted ski tip. This is the classic retraction and lifting of the ski move. 

(2nd Photo below) Shows a very Minor change, however the commitment to the uphill little toe edge ski is complete, and the lower lifted ski has released further, and is beginning its tipping toward the new little toe edge side of the foot.


(below) The tip is still lifted and the lifted ski and boot are pulled back and toward the stance boot.



In this last frame you see the transition completed. The skis are on the new edges and the angles are created high and early for the turn. The inside ski once pulled back and tipped must continue to be pulled back through the turn. These frames happen in less than a 10th of a second by World Cup skiers. Learning and practicing them may require more time at slower speeds.