Ski Into Counter Or Passive Counter?

Should I Create Early Counter Or Not?


 When do I want to passively ski into counter, and when do I want to create that counter myself, right at the beginning of the turn?  


i'll begin by explaining the difference.  Self creating counter at the beginning of a turn is done via something I call the pelvic shift.  The pelvic shift is done during the transition between turns by driving the downhill hip forward.  That movement eliminates the counter that was present in the prior turn, by rotating the pelvis.  The downhill hip keeps driving forward until it's leading the pelvis into the new turn, thus creating a countered position for the initiation of that new turn.

Skiing into counter is different.  Here, there is no forward drive of the downhill hip.  The counter of the previous turn is not eliminated, so the skier enters the new turn rotated, with the pelvis facing more down the falline.  That position is maintained until the new turn causes the skis to arc into a new direction under the body, and cause a counter position to just happen.

The important difference to recognize between these two approaches is that the pelvic shift creates a countered position early in the turn that makes angulating to balance on the outside ski much easier.  In slower turns, or turns that redirect the skier sharply  across the falline, that higher degree of early turn lateral balancing potential is a of great value.  

If speeds are higher, momentum makes lateral balance early turn less of an issue, so skiing into counter becomes a more feasible option.  It's also becomes an option when turns end with the skier facing more down the falline.  Here too, lateral balance is easier to achieve.

When skiing into counter is possible, it provides a very movement efficient technical option.  The extra motion of turning of pelvis away from the new turn is eliminated.  The body just maintains it's directional orientation down the falline and waits for the skis to catch up.   It's a bit challenging to pull off well, because it results in a twisted body position at the beginning of the turn (anticipated) that naturally wants to pivot the skis the moment the edge engagement from the prior turn is released.  It takes a skilled skier to be able to control that pivot tendency, and execute a cleanly initiated arc to arc turn.  

An issue with skiing into counter is that the early counter that helps the outside foot pronate and direct pressure to the turning edge of the new outside ski does not exist.  The skier goes through the top half of the turn less solidly engaged than they could be if they pelvic shifted into an early state of counter.  The pronation comes later in the turn, once the counter appears.   It's a reason why even when skiing into counter is an option, some skiers who can do both will opt for the secure feeling of a more strongly engaged outside ski early in the turn by using a pelvic shift.  

Experiment with both, and experience the sensation contrasts. 

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