The Phases of the Turn
Here is a fairly technical look at the sequencing involved in a regular ski turn.
I’m often asked, “What is the best way to start a turn?” One way to achieve a great start of the turn is to release the edges from the previous arc with a simultaneous relaxing of the legs. Allow your mass to move over your feet, at the very start of the turn, by giving in to the turning forces that are pulling you to the outside. Be careful, stepping on the new ski at this point, to push yourself across the skis, will compromise your balance. Create balance using body weight sitting on the skis, not through your muscles pushing on the ski edges. Feel your body weight in the transition. Better snow contact can be achieved through smooth, unhurried movements when you flatten the skis.
This part of the arc determines turn shape. We do this by controlling the rate at which we turn our feet. In long ‘GS’ style turns, the feet pivot only a small amount and we rely on the bend and sidecut of the ski to determine the arc. In short turns, however, the legs turn more, which tightens the arcs radius.
At faster speeds we incline our bodies, to the inside of the turn, to create edge angle. This can feel like a topple or lean to the inside of the arc. We should feel our balance and pressure building on the outside ski at this stage of the turn, this should be a natural effect of turning forces. If you find you have lots of weight on the inside ski then you might of overcooked the inclination and need to angle your body over the outside ski in order to maintain better balance.
In this part of the turn we have our balance set up on the outside ski and we can increase edge angle if we need to tighten the turn. How do we increase edge angle at this part of the turn? By bending. Bending the joints allows us to move them laterally to the inside of the arc resulting in an increase of edge angle. The pressure under the ski is at its greatest during this part of the turn. We often take too much time in this part of the arc, and this is a mistake. We should not hold onto one edge angle for too long. In fact to ensure we flow down the hill our edges must constantly be either increasing or decreasing. If you have set your balance well on the outside ski in Phase 2 (the Roll) then just move in and then out and repeat.