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.

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