106 Turn shape variations
(8 to 18 degree pitch)
The initial mode of descent will be a side slip on a chosen edge. This is followed by zig-zagging, traversing back and forth on the same edge. Add a little depth to each zig and zag, and you have a falling leaf. The direction of travel has changed, but not by actually creating a turn. By the way, it is not the act of turning that slows you down, rather what the turn allows you to do, which is to say, go across the hill after you go down the hill.
The first actual turn would be referred to as the W turn, since the track looks somewhat like a large ‘w’. This type of turn is effected by riding the backward leg of a falling leaf long enough that the tip of the board swings into the fall-line. Shortly thereafter, movement should stall out. As the board begins to move down the hill, change edges while the board is flat, rather than moving back out on the edge you rode in on. The idea is to instill the confidence to make edge changes while there is almost no motion, and while the board is pointing down the hill.
Basic skidded turn. This turn is essentially the same movement, from edge to edge, without going backward and without using the falling leaf. One edge should be released before the fall-line, and the other engaged at or just slightly past the fall-line. During this maneuver, the rider will move down the hill a fair amount. The idea is not to point the board in another direction in one spot, but to pass through an area as the board makes the turn for the rider. The goal, by the way, is not to carve a turn, but to skid a turn. A carved turn will be much too ‘tippy’, and the rider will move too fast for comfort. At this point turn shape is not much of a concern; the track will probably look a little boxy.
Often a rider will try to make a sharper turn by pushing or ‘kicking’ the board to an edge, rather than tilting the board to an edge. This is the start of what can become a bad habit. Sooner or later this movement will come in handy, but it will be made intuitively, and need not be taught. Encourage the rider to give the board a little more time to make the direction change, and to focus on bringing the board to an edge more assertively.
Excessive skid in a turn is an indication that the rider is not moving back off the front foot once the turn has been initiated. If the board locks in on edge and zips out from under the rider, the board has been brought up on edge too quickly.
Round skidded turns are achieved by correct proportion of board tilt and pressure distribution from one foot to the other. Consistent round skidded turns are quite an accomplishment. It is not necessary for a rider to make any other kind of turn before they can be challenged by slightly steeper terrain.
A railed turn is a turn made entirely by the sidecut of the board. The turn will be much longer than a skidded turn, and the rider will notice that it feels much more ‘tippy’ and locked in. Due to a lack of friction, the rider will feel like they are moving much faster, with a sensation underfoot not unlike that of an ice skate. There is not much manipulation of the board, other than correctly timing the movements from one edge to the other, and not standing with too much weight on the lead foot. Railed turns require a lot of space, a lot of trail width, and a fairly flat pitch.
A carved turn is effectively a railed turn with finesse. The track in the snow will be narrow, but not necessarily pencil thin. Essentially, a carved turn is one in which the tail of the board follows the same path as the front. Initially, the carved turn will differ from the railed turn in that the rider will generate more bend in the board, which requires better balance and positioning. The carved turn indicates the ability to utilize cross-over as an edge change mechanism.
Cross-over, simply means that, in changing edges, the rider’s center of mass will cross from one side of the board to the other. Until carved turns are introduced, most riders will remain directly on top of the board, and move in the same direction and at the same speed as their board. With cross-over, the mass of the body begins to follow a slightly shorter path than that of the board, and the body is not always directly over the board, as seen from above. This means that the board is moving slightly faster than the body. As an edge change mechanism, cross-over is generally used on longer radius turns on flatter slopes, simply because it is a slow, albeit effective, way to get from edge to edge. The actual mechanics of cross-over will be discussed later.