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The Fall Line

By Cathy Margiotta
Posted: 2021-12-05T19:41:00Z

The notion of twisting has sparked a whole heap of nostalgia in me. The dance. I’m humming along with Chubby Checkers singing “Let’s Twist Again.” The Beatles with “Twist and Shout.” There’s nothing quite like the energy of early 1960s music, that’s for sure.

Sadly, if you ski like you dance the twist, you’re gonna look pretty funny on the slopes. Not to mention that you’re gonna be way off balance.

What made the dance so full-bodied is absolutely not the kind of twisting I’m talking about that ought to occur at the end of a carved turn. See the following bad diagram of the kind of twisting I’m talking about.

In general, when you twist a ski, you turn it about its center, with the tail moving uphill and the tip moving downhill an equal amount. As you can see, that’s markedly different from a skid, where the tip stays in place and the tail smears like a butter knife over the snow.

Both are useful in speed and direction control. You can either skid or twist on a bump run to control your speed and direction.  But in a carved turn, it’s more efficient than a skid because it doesn’t alter your stance all that much, and I think it provides more fluidity. If you’re trying to stay countered in a turn, a skid just might cause you to square up, so then you have to reset your stance. In the bumps, that might not be as easy as it sounds.

Here’s how to incorporate the twist into the end of your turn (it’s the yellow part of my turn diagram):

1) Once you’re done edging, you bring your skis back to flat.

2) Then twist as much as needed. It’s a rotary movement of your legs. One way to accomplish this is to make your toes point up the hill. 

3) Twisting is optional.

  1. If you’re carving on a green run, you can skip this step because you probably have your speed and direction under control. On the other hand, it's also the perfect place to practice this skill. 

  1. If you’re in the bumps, carving on a black diamond or icy slope, or just on the edge of losing control, a twist will get you back to safety. 

  1. Twisting in powder is usually not a good idea. It’s how I end up doing a somersault because my lower body is heading one way and slowing but my upper body is going elsewhere.  



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