Monday 30 March 2015

Dynamic Transition

Onemississippi.  If the time to say that is the length of time it takes to make a short radius turn, then the dynamic transition between turns is about half way through the one part of onemississippi.   That's sliding a 20-30 lb weight (skis, boots and feet) 4 feet sideways in 0.1-0.15 second, about 50 to 40 km/ hour.  Fast.  
I mentioned before that there are 4 ways to make the transition. One is to start the transition by a quick turn of the hip, another is to knock the previous dominant ski knee against the other, and the last two are similar.  The third then is moving the previous dominant knee quickly toward the other. The last is moving the previous dominant knee towards the other and then pressing on the big toe, steering the ski.  They all have one thing in common in that the inside edge of the previous dominant ski is engaged for a fraction of a second flipping both skis from one side to the other.  
My preference, the last, is steering the ski.
   When I start the transition, say, turning to the right, my right foot drops back slightly so I can press on my big toe (pad). At the same time, I tilt my right knee in and press on my big toe, thus engaging the front edge of the ski. The left ski is released and mimics the motion of the right ski. For an instant, both skis can be disengaged and then, the front of the left ski engages, followed by the right.  I control how and when the left foot engages. Almost like hopping from one foot to the other.  After some practice, it becomes automatic.  I spent about a season before I was comfortable with the process.
One of the characteristics of the dynamic transition is that your leg relaxation time is less and so, using it continuously can be tiring if you are not in shape.  This is caused by being in full control of the turn, right from the top of phase 2 to the end of phase 3. For racing that may last only a few minutes; an athlete wouldn't notice.   When toppling through the transition, you get a bit of a break and start your turn later with a foreshortened phase 2, the other extreme. 
Steering the ski has an advantage. You can control the length of the transition by controlling the amount of steering.  This gives you more control for adapting to changing terrain.
Your body is always facing in the general direction of travel.  
The first few times, it feels as though you are tripping yourself with the skis crossing beneath you. The initial engagement of the right ski is enough to make the transition and so you  can choose to lift both skis off the ground if you wish.  Playing around with this is fun  and adds a new dimension to recreational skiing.
 My ski lessons, and previous blogs are prerequisites for the dynamic transition and the "raison d'etre" .  My words of wisdom are to start slow and get the movement right before turning on the speed.

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