Poll: What do YOU do to initiate a turn?

Problems making turns? Riding switch? Looking to get air for the first time (on purpose)? Ask these and other questions here. If there's a more specific forum, please ask there.

Postby wrathfuldeity » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:03 am

Shift weight toward the nose (by shifting hips toward the nose), while bending or driving your leading knee toward the imaginary center of the turn, and also dropping the leading shoulder and then look back up the hill. At least this is what I think I do from practicing switch riding this year, still working on coordinating these movements and timing.

I've seen folks have a difficult time completing to toeside because they are twisted up looking back over their leading shoulder that is in a raised position to see where they are going...but just keep the leading shoulder down turn your head toeside and look back up the hill.
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Postby Rob » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:56 pm

It always amazes me how important things can fall through the cracks of any teaching technique. I'm pretty sure this is why John Dewey preached that "We learn what we do."

Driving my forward knee and hip into the desired turn and thus shifting my COG forward and over the toe edge DURING the heelside traverse really DOES initiate the toeside turn every time. I proved this to my body dozens of times today and thus learned by doing.

I'm still skidding around both heelside and toeside turns, and I still can't turn very well on steeper slopes, but I want to thank everyone who has posted to this thread. Your ideas helped me transition from novice to reasonably proficient beginner. Thanks!

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Re: Poll: What do YOU do to initiate a turn?

Postby Rob2 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:31 pm

Hoping to reinvigorate this thread, I've been reading about cross-under turns and I wonder if the following resonates with any of you. The idea starts by asserting that the rider's center of gravity will make the turn with a smaller radius than the board itself. This seems clear since we have to move toward the center of the arc to counter the centripetal force and get up on the turning edge. What I had not encountered before is the idea that the shift to the new edge should occur as you are CROSSING the fall line, and it's at this point that the board crosses under the rider. Early on I learned (painfully) that I did not want to engage the downhill edge. But now I'm thinking that it's fine and possibly essential to engage the downhill edge when you initiate a turn. The key would then be: You can always engage the downhill edge if your velocity vector is parallel to the long axis of the board. It's only when you have a velocity component from the center of the board toward the downhill edge that engaging that edge is a recipe for disaster!

The other element that's new to me is the torsion-move. I've read a couple of places that when you initiate a turn you actually apply some twist to the board with the front foot pressing on the new edge while the rear foot stays in the plane of the traverse waiting for the turn to initiate before moving the rear foot over the turning edge.

I gather that for beginners it's recommended to weight the new edge with both feet to initiate the turn, and this is definitely what I'm doing, but it often leads to a skidding turn.

So I'm wondering if SteveH's infinity symbol is really saying the same thing, and I did not see the torsion part because I've been thinking of the board as rigid rather than flexible.

Are you consciously applying torsion to initiate your turns?

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Re: Poll: What do YOU do to initiate a turn?

Postby canoer » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:47 pm

Are you consciously applying torsion to initiate your turns?

Not every turn or even every trip to the hill, but I'll try to consciously do that now and then to remind my muscles that they can stick the hill with the back edge while driving the board through the turn and into the next one. Sort of body English through the boots if you will.
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Re: Poll: What do YOU do to initiate a turn?

Postby wyorider » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:10 pm

Hey Rob, canoer makes good points, the concious twisting of the board is important to practice till it becomes habit.

The way I explain the turn initiation is by having my student stand relaxed on the board and twist the board while sliding down the hill both toe and heel side. Once they feel the movement and subsequent reaction of board, it makes complete sense to believe it or not their feet, knees and legs in general. It seems the student can almost forget that part because their legs understand. So once they have completed a few turns I then explain that in between twists of the board they will feel or (if they look at their tracks later) the board go flat between their turns. This flat will be there regardless of the speed or turn shape on a properly executed turn. Now to the fun part, I find a relatively groomed and not too steep slope to do the cross under turns. Once I have layed down some tracks the student can see the flat is there although the edge change is fast and cool to feel and watch. This is when a person can see the dramatic effect of the twist because the tracks show that the board is actually concave on the longitudinal axis that cause (on a toe side turn) the toe edge leaving a mark showing the edge change and the heelside edge showing a mark from before the edge change. The board being concave causes these opposing marks to ovelap. The longer the overlap the harder the twist and the faster the rider is going. If you see a good carver follow them to check out their tracks to see this and notice no matter how fast they are riding the flat is still there. The flat is also still there during a skidded turn but the tracks are hard to decipher. It is very important while making cross under turns to keep the shoulders parallel to the board and for me an exagerated bending of the knees. While my knees are bent this way I also push them apart some. This does a couple of things but most important is it moves the effective edge toward the front and further to the back of the board so you take full advantage of the sidecut of your board. It also gives you amazing control of your board. Sometime try turning while pulling your knees together, then see what happens when you push your knees apart as far as you can. you should feel a dramatic change in control and stability.

All of this is important to the process of initiating and completing a turn. Crossunder turns and crossover turns are just faster and tighter versions.

Hope this wasn't too long and rambling but I so enjoy boarding I want every one to have a blast too.
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Re: Poll: What do YOU do to initiate a turn?

Postby SteveH » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:53 pm

Lots of great information in this thread.

One of the pieces I get out of it is that a good rider will often use pull different techniques out of the bag to make turns under different conditions. Take torsion for example. In wide, fast turns there may be little or no twisting of the board because the edge change and board shape alone will initate the turn. Tight moguls will require lots of twisting to turn fast enough to fit through the bumps.
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Re: Poll: What do YOU do to initiate a turn?

Postby runswithdog » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:49 pm

Listening to you guys is just like talking to my Dad when he was still with us.

He was an old school aeronautical engineer who worked his heydays in the 60's and 70's and never went to work without his sliderule.

He used to love to teach me on the golf course: full of comments on velocity , torque and momentum.

Thank God I had physics in college.

And Thank You for bringing back a great memory.

Anyway, great snowboarding info and I thank Rob, Wyo and steveH for that.
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Re: Poll: What do YOU do to initiate a turn?

Postby Rob2 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:03 pm

Anyone who has seen the thread on making the transition from green to blue will know that I'm in my 4th season on a board and have never been on skis. Last week I rode at Big Sky Resort in Montana and on the last day I nailed a couple of 2.5-mile long blue runs, thus cementing my transition from green to blue and actually riding with my wife of six months who is an intermediate skier. This was my goal, so I am a happy guy.


Despite reading and putting into practice many ideas I've found on GoT, the vast majority of my turns involve substantial skidding. Very occasionally I succeed in carving a toeside turn, but I have not been able to identify what it is I do differently in those turns compared to the skidded turns. Nevertheless, to my way of thinking, the carved turn is still the holy grail and so I'm going to keep trying until I get it.

On the plane home from Big Sky I had a thought about initiating turns that might just explain my difficulty, so I'm going to lay it out here hoping that more advanced riders will share their thoughts.

In the carving threads, several ideas are mentioned often: 1) start the turn early, 2) gradually roll from the uphill edge onto the (counterintuitive) downhill edge during the traverse, 3) do this at relatively high speed so that all your momentum is approximately perpendicular to the fall line and you don't catch the downhill edge, 4) flex knees and ankles as you change edges, 5) extend knees as you go around the turn so as to pressure the engaged edge and KEEP it engaged. Many of these ideas are from posts by SteveH. How's that book coming, Steve?

My realization on the plane home was that perhaps these ideas on carving were NOT IN ADDITION TO the ideas in this thread on initiating turns, but rather were IN PLACE OF the ideas in this thread.

In this thread on what you do to initiate a turn, people talk about driving the front knee into the turn, and weighting the new edge. There is also the idea of shifting the weight forward, getting the nose of the board pointed downhill and then weighting the new edge. And there is SteveH's infinity symbol that brings the weight back along the newly engaged edge so that the edge stays engaged.

So what I've been doing to try to carve a turn is to 1) gather more speed, 2) roll over to the downhill edge about midway between the toeside and heelside turns, AND THEN drive my front knee into the turn. But with the increased speed it's essentially impossible to make this sudden shift without losing the engaged edge and skidding around the turn. I've been told this skid is evidence that I need to bring my weight back along the edge toward the tail so that the back end of the edge stays engaged, and I've tried this with some success, but at this point I'm thinking that it's my sudden drive of my front knee into the turn that is making it impossible to hold the edge. Hence, I skid.

Maybe what I've failed to do is "let the board do more of the work." Even more, perhaps by driving my knee into the turn I am violating the carving principle enunciated by SteveH: "Be patient."

In other words, maybe a carved turn is a completely different beast, and I've been thinking of it as an advanced form of the turn I learned first.

Maybe, on those few occasions when I've actually carved a toeside turn, I've just neglected to drive my front knew into the turn.

What do you think?
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Re: Poll: What do YOU do to initiate a turn?

Postby canoer » Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:36 am

Next time find a quiet slope and make big, sweeping wide turns. You don't have to carve within the groomer tracks (although that's fun to do too). IOW, you can also ease into a nice carve without having to be so aggressive. Get a good carve going like that and you have a little time to reflect on what your edges are doing, and hours to set up for the turn.

It always helps to pick a day with ego snow. :-)

When I want to focus on carving a slope I tend to fall back on the up and down motion more than driving the knee. But the knee trick helps too.

More hours will help a lot too, and don't make every run a "training" run. Take some runs just to enjoy just breathing the fresh mountain air and eyeballing the scenery.
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