Sprungwedeln, a series of connected single Sprung turns, is the final exercise in the new approach to the shortswing technique. Sprungwedeln combines the elements of counterswivel, leg spring, weight shift and skiing in the fall line—all the essentials of good Wedeln. It forces you to use the poles effectively, whereas classic Wedeln—in which the skis never leave the snow—does not. The poles are the only thing that will boost you high enough to hover for a moment while the skis swing the full 90° arc of Sprungwedeln. Not only must you use the poles effectively, but the long, almost leisurely leap of Sprungwedeln actually slows down pole action so you can become familiar with it before you have to use it in the shorter, faster Wedeln turn shown on the next page. Lastly, Sprungwedeln is an excellent way to handle a long, steep descent. The series at left shows how, as the skier starts off with left and right Sprungwedeln turns and ends with a heel push. Each Sprungwedeln turn puts a strong check on momentum, so that a competent recreational skier can, with Sprungwedeln, get down a trail that formerly would have been experts' country.
Starting right turn, the legs prepare to spring and swing tails of skis across fall line. Tip of right pole goes into snow.
Right turn finished and left turn under way, left hand bears down on the pole to help swing the skis in complete 90° arc.
In middle of left turn, the left hand moves forward and inward toward position in front of body where it can pull pole.
Completing left turn, upper body counter swivels energetically to help start the heel push in the flat runout of the hill.
Heel push ended, right hand moves tip of the pole forward, where it can be planted at the ski tip to start a new turn.
Long, steep pitch is a good place to practice connected Sprungwedeln turns. Upper pair of tracks shows position of skier as he finishes left turn; second pair shows landing position after right turn, and last pair shows the position after left turn. Solid arrow shows track as skier moves into runout and does heel push in order to traverse to his left across the slope.
From Sprungwedeln to Wedeln
Willy Schaeffler's final demonstration is a short Sprungwedeln turn to the left with skis off the snow, followed by a true Wedeln turn to the right with skis on the snow. The sequence shows you that as the jumps in Sprungwedeln are shortened, Sprungwedeln blends into Wedeln. Further, it emphasizes the similarity of pole action in Wedeln and Sprungwedeln. The right pole goes through a perfect cycle that could come from either a Sprungwedeln or a Wedeln sequence and in fact comes from both. Notice how the right hand comes up to shoulder level to swing the tip of the pole forward preparatory to planting (second figure from left). Then the hand drops down to waist level. From this position, the hand can make the most of the thrust that the pole gives. Notice how the pole hand starts in toward the body as it takes the thrust. This motion is subtle but very important, and there is no better way to learn it than through Sprungwedeln. Remember to plant the pole so gently that your hand can move quickly inward before the thrust of the pole carries your hand backward and throws your turn off. If your hand gets pulled behind you in Wedeln, do five Sprungwedeln turns as a cure.
Each of the other exercises in Part I and Part II can be used in this same way—as a specific corrective for a given mistake. For instance, if you find that you are falling over your outside ski, it means that your skis are too flat and you are catching your outside edge. Go back to the ballet series of Part I: in the ballet exercises you cannot use the poles to cover up your failure to edge, so you soon start edging again. On the other hand, if you are falling over your inside ski, it means you have too much weight on it. Take 10 minutes of step-stem turning. Now, if you regularly fall backward between the skis, you are letting your weight get too far back. In that case, Sprungwedeln, which makes you move the weight forward, is the answer. And best of all—as this two-part series has shown—Sprungwedeln is the key that can unlock for you the whole delicate rhythm of Wedeln, a rhythm whose attainment, in a way, embodies all the challenge and fascination of the entire sport of skiing.