When Do I Use Cross Over And When Cross Through?

How To Choose Between different Ski Transitions


When do we use crossover and when cross through?  Turn shape, edge angles, terrain, something else…?


When it comes to selecting a transition type, sometimes it's just a matter of personal preference, and sometimes not.  Most skiers use only one type of transition, simply because it's the only option they have with the tool box of skills they currently possess.  Skiers with more skills will have more transition options.  They may select a particular transition type because it's the best choice for the job at hand, or they may choose to use a certain transition simply for the fun of it.  Each transition type provides a unique experience, and sometimes we just have a craving for a particular sensation while we ski.  

That said, crossover and cross through each have their individual attributes and compromises.  Let's take a look at them.

Cross though provides a faster transition from turn to turn, because the Center of Mass (CM) takes a more direct path of travel from one side of the skis to the other.  In crossover, the CM takes more of a pendulum shaped path of travel over the skis, rising, then falling.  When you need to end the old turn fast, and make the new turn happen NOW, cross through is a valuable transition.  Linking short radius arc to arc turns down a narrow trail would be a good example of a situation that could present such a need.  In longer radius arc to arc turns on a wide trail, more time is available for allowing the CM to take a longer trip across the skis, so crossover is a feasible option.

Crossover involves an extension of the old inside leg early in the transition, which brings you into a state of fore balance right at the start of the turn.  This is helpful for getting the shovels of the skis to strongly engage at the beginning of the turn, which produces an aggressive turn entry with full control of the front of the skis.  It results in a powerful sensation of control, with the body leading the skis into the turn.     

Cross though is a little different.  With cross through your old inside leg goes through the transition still flexed, so the CM comes into the start of the turn aft.  Fore balance comes later in the turn, via an extension of the new outside leg, once the CM has begun to tip into the new turn.  That can certainly works fine too, but a potential problem can arise if the skier does not extend the outside leg, and goes through the whole turn aft, anticipating the flexion that will be needed in the next cross through transition.  It's a common happening for skiers new to carving, or just learning the cross though transition, and it leaves them in a weak and injury prone stance.   This is why the cross over transition is generally the better vehicle for people learning how to do arc to arc carving.  Crossover promotes the quick adoption of a functional fore state of balance at the beginning of the turn that is confidence inspiring.  

Cross through, in one respect is a bit more energy efficient.   When you extend as your CM is crossing over your skis, you're extending vertically, and in the process working against gravity.  If you wait to begin extending your new outside leg until after your CM has crossed over your skis,  you'll be extending more horizontally.  Extending horizontally means not fighting gravity as much, so it requires a bit less work.    

On the other hand, with cross through the legs never get to enjoy that moment of relaxation that comes from being extended between turns.  At that moment between turns, when the skis are flat on the snow, the forces are low, so the legs are granted a moment to rest.   In cross through, the legs go through the transition deeply flexed, missing their rest opportunity, then are immediately fighting turning forces when they extend.  Many find the rest period provided by the the cross over transition, along with the early fore balance state it creates,  makes it overall a more relaxing way to ski.   

So, as you can see, each transition has it's strong points, as well as it's compromises.  Choosing which to use is really a juggling act of which attribute we want to exploit, and which compromise we're willing to make, for any particular turn.   Learn how to do both crossover and cross through, then experiment with each in various skiing situations, and experience for yourself how their unique characteristics shine or fade in each instance.  Not only will you be learning how best to apply your new transition skills, you'll be enhancing your ability to do so.   

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