Help Me Learn How to Turn...

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ianjt
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Help Me Learn How to Turn...

Post by ianjt » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:37 pm

I posted a thread a few weeks back looking for help getting an XCD setup. I received lots of valuable feedback. I bought Fischer Excursion 88s, BCX 6 boots, and Magnum NNN BC bindings. I have been out on four small ski trips thanks to some snow in the Boise area that has since melted away. It's been fun, and a welcome reprieve from not being able to mountain bike. But I cannot, for the life of me, turn my skis. When I do, it's a long, slow, gradual process that usually ends in me losing control at some point. I have lots of alpine experience and can turn my alpine skis very easily, though I understand the difference in equipment. I am not looking for deep backcountry epic turns (at least not yet, and not with this setup), but I want to be able to turn down a few hills and around obstacles while I am out exploring. My fear is that my choice of bindings (NNN BC) is limiting my ability to turn. I think the truth is that I am inexperienced in this type of skiing all together. My attempts are parallel turns are particularly harsh. If I adopt a sort of bastardized telemark, I feel like I have a bit more control. Are there any overarching considerations/pointers/tips that you all might suggest?

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paulk
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Re: Help Me Learn How to Turn...

Post by paulk » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:49 pm

I read Stve Barnett's book Cross Country downhill and also watched very beginner tele videos on you tube. And after three winters I can turn okay. Maybe your best bet is to buddy up to a very experienced resort tele skier and take a lesson. my friend is ski patrol and tele turns in his sleep on any snow, and he showed me alot on the golf course hills behind our houses. It only comes through a ton of runs, the feel, the committing to the fallline, the posture, the transition ( which is really just k&g) and you must fall alot.

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Woodserson
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Re: Help Me Learn How to Turn...

Post by Woodserson » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:59 pm

Mike and Allen Telemark Tips book too. Hugely good

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Woodserson
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Ski style: Bumps, trees, and steeps and long woodsy XC tours
Favorite Skis: DH: Voile V6, Altai KOMs, XC: Asnes Gamme 54, Classy Woodies
Favorite boots: T2Eco, T4, Alaska
Occupation: Retro Rager-grouch. Intermediate skier on good days.

Re: Help Me Learn How to Turn...

Post by Woodserson » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:05 pm

The 88s also have lots of camber. You are going to have to really compress that camber and bend the ski. Otherwise, ride it in long arcs.

In this corner of the sport there are high camber skis that tour well and low camber skis that turn easy but are going to be a slog to go anywhere.

The 88s are one of the high camber skis that tour well, and within that class, they turn easy... Which is all relative.

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Favorite boots: T2Eco, T4, Alaska
Occupation: Retro Rager-grouch. Intermediate skier on good days.

Re: Help Me Learn How to Turn...

Post by Woodserson » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:07 pm

Also, keep that BOF (ball of foot) down on your back ski. You MUST engage the NNN-BC rails to unlock that binding's potential. Coming up on the tippy toe and hitting the bumper is largely ineffectual

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Re: Help Me Learn How to Turn...

Post by 12gaugesage » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:13 pm

Practice, watch videos, think, repeat. I know how you feel, still learning myself.
It's all about foot pressure and weight transfer/distribution.
It will take time for your feet to develop the strength and feel.
As far as boot/binding selection is concerned, nnnbc/bcx6 is adequate depending on conditions, terrain and skill level.
Personally I use that very setup for lower angle stuff, but I'll swap to a 3pin and T4s for more DH oriented outings, huge difference for sure, and I find it builds my confidence and skills, which I will then transfer to the lighter setup.

Still though, sometimes its more of a point and shoot game. Sometimes you have to just arc and ride it out, or use terrain to compress/decompress, unload the skis and turn. Easier said than done of course and conditions play a huge part.

When I'm struggling I go back to basics, develop a strong snowplow with the XCD kit, it naturally evolves into stems and so forth.

All this is just from my relative novice experiences, others here are much more adept and probably have better technical advice
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lowangle al
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Re: Help Me Learn How to Turn...

Post by lowangle al » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:29 pm

Here's my take. Those stiffly cambered skis are your biggest handicap, especially if you got them in a length to maximize K&G. It's hard to get enough weight on both skis to engage the edges underfoot. Did you try to do any P turns? Being an alpine skier you should be able to feel your edges and at least do a P turn. I suggest getting a single camber ski that doesn't require all that heavy weighting to get them to turn. I think this is the difference in the equipment that you are feeling. A couple inches of powder will probably help those skis and among other things you need to be centered over both skis.

Where are you located, I give lessons for balony sandwiches.

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Re: Help Me Learn How to Turn...

Post by Lo-Fi » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:31 pm

All the above posts are excellent recommendations. 12gaugesage's suggested tactics are uncannily similar to what I would say.

These are about the best turns I can muster on a similar class of equipment (10th Mountain / Epoch, NNN BC, Alaska boots), on fairly ideal soft snow on an even firm base, on an open trail - with many years of tele-skiing experience:

Image

I spent my first, probably 5 years, of eastern backcountry skiing, building my skills, one turn at a time. Literally, I would face myself downhill, stopped in a snowplow position and plan out between what trees I would make the next turn, and what type of turn I would use (snowplow, wedge, parallel, side-slip, telemark, kick turn), and where/how I would stop or try to link the next turn!

This class of gear offers its own kind of versatile fun, but it delivers virtually none of the turnability you would be used to from your alpine equipment. Lowangle al, above, is right on this.

Certainly, in your early days, individual exaggerated parallel turns, frantic jump turns, panicked snow-plows, do-or-die hockey stops and single survival deep-arcing-teles will be the order of the day. Actually, come to think of it, they will remain highly useful for the rest of your xcd career!

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Re: Help Me Learn How to Turn...

Post by ianjt » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:51 pm

Thanks everyone! I hadn't really thought about the camber of the ski. I bought the 189 ski length. I am 6' 4' and 185 lbs., so I was trying to split the difference between collapsing the camber and having enough length to float in powder (189 vs 199). I am going up to Stanley, ID this weekend and will try some low angle stuff in more powder and snow with a firmer base. We'll see if I find any more confidence.

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Re: Help Me Learn How to Turn...

Post by Tom M » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:41 pm

Lots of good advice above, but give it some time before you jump to a different ski setup. If it's any help, keep in mind that backcountry downhill skiing on XC gear takes a lot of time and practice. Its a little bit like learning to swim. It doesn't seem natural at first and looks easy from the side of the pool, but once it starts to click, you no longer have to worry about drowning. Start in a calm pool, in the shallow end (low angle, fresh soft uniform snow) and practice your balance. Ski downhill, go into a tele stance, try to get equal weight on both skis, then carve a gentle curve across the hill until you come to a stop. Practice both left and right turns, but don't try and link them. Once you build the confidence that you can turn in this fashion to avoid an obstacle and to control your speed, you will be ready to move on to the next step.

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