Pivot slip demo

Mike King

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Practical application? Oh my. With a little tweaking, pivot slips can morph into very short radius turns.

The active rotary of the skis/feet/legs in pivot slips without hip/upper body rotation comes in handy in all kinds of situations. The lack of upper body rotation keeps you stable, whereas the upper body will want to keep rotating if you allow it to turn with the skis so keeping it quiet is a major accomplishment. If your upper body keeps rotating even a little once your turn is done, you are done.

So these super short rotarized turns without upper body rotation are useful on hard snow that's steepish - when you want to ski in a narrow corridor without mach schnell speed. In other words, you can learn to make speed-controlling short turns down the fall line on groomed black diamonds that are skied off. They are also useful if you want to go slow in hard bumps (the ones I'm familiar with here in NE) straight down the fall line. You can actually ski a more-or-less direct line in bumps at a glacial pace, if you've got pivot slips in your tool box, then increase speed at will. If you like to travel along in the ribbon of soft shavings ("snow") at the side of the trail once the trail is skied off and want to slow that travel down, you can use super short turns there too.

I'm sure others will chime in with other reasons to get pivot slips in your repertoire. Backwards pivot slips? Not so useful, but fun anyway.
@LiquidFeet, this is a good summary. Pivot slips are what we ski instructors call a highlighted task, which is a task that highlights (not isolates, but highlights) a specific skill. In this case, the highlighted skill is rotation, but the task also requires edge control and fore/aft pressure control skills as well.

So, what are the practical applications of the skills learned doing pivot slips? These skills are really key in skiing terrain. In skiing terrain, you may find your line limited in bumps by a lack of snow, a presence of rocks or organic matter, or a nasty adjacent bump. Because of the time and effort you spent on learning how to link pivot slips, you might find it possible to ride and slip along the ridge of the bump, pivoting your skis to avoid the organic, mineral, or hydrologic features in the terrain.

Linked pivot slips teach you upper and lower body separation. Such separation is a key to skiing bumps or steeps, where the ability to steer your skis is paramount to picking a line that is dynamic, slow, controlled, safe, survivable, or aesthetic.

Pivot slips with retraction (as the skis rotate to be in the fall line, retract your legs and change the edge in a very compressed position, extending as you steer the skis from the fall line to a slide slip) helps you learn how to tip the skis to a new edge from a very compressed position. This is a key skill in skiing steeps and bumps. This is a drill that highlights the fifth fundamental -- the regulation of pressure created by the interface of the snow and the ski. Mastery of the fifth fundamental, in my opinion, is the magic glue that opens the door to expert skiing not only in terrain, but on the groomers and in the park as well.

So, don't dismiss pivot slips. It should be a drill that you practice often. Go for mastery, not just competence.

Mike
 

Mike King

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BTW, more advanced linked pivot slip drills might involve slipping across the hill at a target that is not immediately down the fall line, but at an angle to it. Very illumination, and it involves even more control of fore/aft balancing movements.
 

CS2-6

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Pivot slips --> rotary-powered (skidded, smeared. whatever) turns --> 1/3 of mogul skiing technique
 

T-Square

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I’ve used pivot slips to help with short radius turns. This is done after the student is familiar with pivot slips and can do them. Start with pivot slips (this reinforces separation and facing down the hill), then start getting "edgier." This will start a transition from the slip of the pivot slip to an edged arcing short radius turn. I’ve found this helps skiers develop a really tight short radius turn down the fall line.
 

Fuller

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I find it interesting that the effort needed to swing the skis square to the hill is aided by some very subtle fore/aft pressure to the front of the ski. It starts with a little rotary movement but it takes very little muscular effort to make the tips swing around to 90 degrees to the fall line. Ease up on the effort to keep the hips square to the fall line and you have more of a falling leaf effect.
 

Mike King

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I find it interesting that the effort needed to swing the skis square to the hill is aided by some very subtle fore/aft pressure to the front of the ski. It starts with a little rotary movement but it takes very little muscular effort to make the tips swing around to 90 degrees to the fall line. Ease up on the effort to keep the hips square to the fall line and you have more of a falling leaf effect.
One of the interesting things in a pivot slip is to think about what part of the ski is actually rotating. As the skis move from a pure side slip to in the fall line, the tips are steering down the hill. From the fall line to the pure side slip, the tails are steering down the hill. You can't slip the tips or tails up the hill because the edges would bite into the snow...

Mike
 

Bendu

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Ensuring that people never learn how to use their edges properly ;)
curious why would learning to turn your legs with out turning your hips would prevent you from learning to edge properly?

I mean most edging movements are just a different form of femoral rotation. There is nothing objectively bad about learning to separate your femurs from your hips rotational, if anything the skill could help people edge even better.
 
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jimtransition

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curious why would learning to turn your legs with out turning your hips would prevent you from learning to edge properly?

I mean most edging movements are just a different form of femoral rotation. There is nothing objectively bad about learning to separate your femurs from your hips rotational, if anything the skill could help people edge even better.
The femoral rotation is the same, how the ski reacts is completely different, if you want to learn to grip, why practice sliding? Pivot slips aren't the worst drill, but I rarely do them and haven't taught them in years
 

Fuller

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The femoral rotation is the same, how the ski reacts is completely different, if you want to learn to grip, why practice sliding? Pivot slips aren't the worst drill, but I rarely do them and haven't taught them in years
Well yeah... but if I wanted to learn how to slide (correctly) I would do pivot slips :ogcool:
 

4ster

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Ensuring that people never learn how to use their edges properly ;)
There was a time in the late 70s a few years into my teaching career that I would have agreed with you.

I’m glad you used the ;-) emoji. I would be surprised if your own pivot slips aren’t near immaculate, even if you have not done them in years. ogsmile
Until yesterday I don’t think I had.
 
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jimtransition

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There was a time in the late 70s a few years into my teaching career that I would have agreed with you.

I’m glad you used the ;-) emoji. I would be surprised if your own pivot slips aren’t near immaculate, even if you have not done them in years. ogsmile
Until yesterday I don’t think I had.
Why did your opinion change? If you haven't done them in a while, I guess you don't teach/train them either? Thanks, yeah I would hope I can still do them!
 
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