The graceful turns shown in this final chapter on the Austrian shortswing as taught by Willy Schaeffler are the culmination of all the lessons learned in Parts One and Two. They are the most useful, most exciting ski maneuvers ever devised. Yet they are no harder to learn than the simple stem and snowplow shown in last week's issue. And, beginning on page 100, Willy shows how to combine a series of swing turns in a climactic presentation of the hip-waggling ski dance called Wedeln (pronounced Vaydeln), which through the past few years has been the most thoroughly discussed and most thoroughly misunderstood word in skiing's colorful lexicon.
Stem-turn-swing is transition step between stem turn demonstrated last week and swing turns shown on following pages. In basic stem turn, skier starts by stemming the uphill ski until it points into the arc of the turn. He holds stem through fall line, then lets skis run back naturally into new traverse position. In swing turn, all or part of turn is carried out by parallel heel brush done with skis pressed together. Stem-turn-swing, as name implies, begins with stem, ends with swing. Basically, it is an exercise, but it is also useful way to swing past obstacles during traverse. Willy starts off in traverse (1), stems toward fall line (2) with uphill (in this case, the right) ski. Note, however, that he does not pull back his uphill shoulder since he does not hold stem through the fall line. Moving faster as he approaches the fall line, Willy shifts weight back to downhill ski, brings skis together (3), bends into comma with strong reverse shoulder. Then he thrusts out and down with heels, exaggerating knee bend to emphasize thrust (4) and sends tails of skis brushing across snow in swing away from the fall line, finishes by easing comma (5) for new traverse.
Holding snowplow during stem toward fall line on steep hill helps skier control speed in stem-turn-swing.
Snow pattern shows Willy does not cross fall line. Making series of stem-turn-swings gives skier feel of the rhythmic motion of linked heel-thrust turns.
Willy shows pupil Ann Taylor, an experienced skier, how to stem into fall line, then swing back toward slope without using shoulder rotation. Moving along in slow traverse, Willy stems out lightly, then snaps skis back together and brushes with both heels.
Rotation at finish of stem swing is unnecessary, causes the skier to turn too far. If shoulder rotation persists, go back and practice the stem-turn-swing.
THE STEM SWING
The stem swing is the last step before the pure parallel swing; but it is far more than just a learning device. It is a stylish and functional turn, good on any slope and good enough for anyone but the real expert. If, on the other hand, you are already an expert, you may have an urge to start your whole shortswing curriculum with the stem swing. Be warned—hardly anyone who skis with the old style really believes he can get through the fall line with no rotation until he has tried it with a few slow, simple snowplow turns. And until a skier believes he can make it without rotation, he is likely to keep rotating—a great waste of time and effort. However, if you are in a hurry and feel you are good enough to skip some fundamental moves, let the stem swing be your first turn through the fall line. But don't make it without practicing the side-slip, the swing to the slope and a solid dose of the stem-turn-swing.
Starting stem swing (above), Willy traverses slope in comma position (1), stems out (2) with uphill ski (right ski here) and pulls back uphill shoulder just as in stem turn. At same time he shifts weight onto uphill ski to start skis moving into arc of turn. At this point, similarity to stem turn ends. Instead of holding stem through fall line and letting skis run together slowly after turn has been completed, Willy starts bringing inside, or left, ski over to right ski even before he reaches fall line. By time Willy hits fall line (3) skis are almost parallel, weight completely on outer ski with inner ski barely brushing snow. Right side of body describes modified comma. Just over fall line, Willy brings skis completely parallel, bends ankles, knees and hips into strong comma (4), finishes turn with outward and downward thrust by both heels, then eases comma bend (5) for new traverse or turn.
Antirotation exercise, with poles behind neck, trains skier to keep downhill shoulder back during swing to slope.