What is "railing"?

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What is "railing"?

Postby Jeff Markham » Mon Apr 12, 2004 3:58 pm

In ACBAES 2, Harald mentions that to rail a ski is not the same as carving and implies that railing is undesirable.

What is "railing" a ski?
Jeff Markham
 
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Thanks for asking this question

Postby JimR » Mon Apr 12, 2004 5:56 pm

Jeff:

Just like in school where the teacher says there is no bad question. I wondered this same thing myself, but assumed that everyone else knew and I was the only one wondering. thanks for asking
JimR
 

It's a more interesting question than first appears

Postby John Mason » Mon Apr 12, 2004 8:58 pm

My understanding of the term "railing" is:

When a ski edges when your not meaning to. Thus the ski goes the direction it is now edging like it has a mind of it's own which may not be the way you were going.

For instance, if you engage with your big toe edge first rather than tipping to the LTE and the ski starts to carve before your CM has crossed over the skis into the new turn, the ski may "rail" or catch an edge and do the direction it is going to go well before your body is in position to balance that new direction. Rather than the ski turning in this case it will "rail" straight ahead.

The other term that has similar causes is to "catch an edge". Of course, we like to catch edges. But in this case, it's when you have a ski edge or rail when you were not ready. A common illustration of this is using a wide stance in bumps. Since both skis are not hitting similar terrain at the same time because they are wide, one ski may rail or catch an edge that is a different direction than your other ski. This type of unintentional edging can be avoided by having your skis closer together so they behave and engage at the same time and/or simply keep most of your weight on one ski. In this way, the skis won't "have a mind of their own" and edge apart.

Another instance that is less a factor of bad skiing like the above two examples, is you may be skiing in highly variable snow conditions. (like spring skiing) You may be brushing a carve but because the snow surface changes abruptly what may have been sufficient edging for a brushed carve all of a sudden engages the edge fully and the ski "rails" away or accelerates in the direction it is pointing rather than it's prior mixed carve and sliding direction. This may be the most common way people use the term "rail". Often, this type of problem is greater on skis that are more torsionally stiff since their angle to edge vs the angle to brush is quite narrow. A less torsionally stiff ski has a broad range of edging to non-edging in a much less abrupt fashion. Thus the idea of a ski that's good for an expert verses a beginner.

This is how I have come to understand these terms based on the contexts I have heard them in.

The "Enclyclopeida of Skiing" (which I highly recommend for people new to the terms of skiing) describes that a ski that is railed out, meaning it is sufficiently edged by tipping, that it can only go the direction it is pointing and carving. (a loose paraphrase from the enclyclopedic reference) But, a ski that is railed in this fashion can still be adjusted in it's radius by adjusting the tipping which can easily be done by using the free foot. That's an interesting definition of railed because it almost assumes that leg steering must be used to shape a turn. In this thinking if the ski is in a pure carve steering is not possible so it's "railed" and a dangerous thing. While this is traditional thinking, my own experience shows you can continue to shape the turn by adjusting the tipping or pressure on the carving ski. (which is also what PMTS teaches and Witheral's book the Athletic Skier teaches among others) (Ok the "Athletic Skier" book says that at this level perhaps 1% is leg steering so they still latch on to that concept even though the other 99% is tipping and pressure) It's interesting that all three points of view actually converge and state that you can't steer a ski that is in a pure carve. But who needs to.
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Postby Jimanweller » Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:58 pm

Let me give a different take on a railed ski. In my experience a railed ski is one whose base has worn down more then the steel edges. Thus, the edges stick up a bit above the base. Such a ski is very difficult to handle and is hooky. The opposite, a ski whose edges are below the base, will skid all over the place.
Jimanweller
 

Railed Ski

Postby John Mason » Tue Apr 13, 2004 9:50 am

Railed Ski is the noun version and that refers to the base that is so worn the edges make like a train track. If you turn such a ski upside down the metal edges protrude upwards just like the rails of a train track. At that point a ski needs replaced.

This is totally different the the verb phrase " to rail a ski " which is what this thread is about.

(That Enclyclopeida of Skiing is a useful thing as these are seperate definitions there as well)
John Mason
 
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Postby Jeff Markham » Tue Apr 13, 2004 10:04 am

A couple of references I googled up:

http://www.angelfire.com/biz/sterlingski/skitips.html#railing

http://www.snowcrst.com/03_04/alignment.htm

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for misinformation on these sites.
Jeff Markham
 
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 6:53 pm
Location: Sandy, Utah

Good sites Jeff

Postby John Mason » Tue Apr 13, 2004 11:26 am

Good sites Jeff - and the disclaimer is appropriate

Particullarly the first site. You can see the problem. If you have too much edge angle (in their view) at the top of the turn the ski will "rail" and go forward. What's actually happening is if you initiate with the big toe edge and steer with to much edge angle you'll get this problem if done before the body is inside of the new turn.

If, on the other hand, you initiate turns with the phantom move so that your body is tipped into the turn before the big toe edge passively engages, you will never "rail". This is one of the great ascpects of the phantom move for turn initiation.
John Mason
 
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Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 10:52 pm
Location: Lafayette, Indiana, USA


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