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Getting low

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have problem of not getting low enough which I think is affecting my ability to progress.

Everyone is always commenting how straight I'm standing when I'm skiing but to me it feels like I'm as low as I can. I know this is likely a problem because when skiing fast, I easily get knocked off balance by unevenness in the snow (I get a feeling of falling forwards or backwards.‬)

The problem is, if I try to go lower, my shins come off the front of the boots so no forward pressure and thus no control.

I know I have somewhat limited dorsiflexion as I can't really do a proper squat without my heels coming off the ground or if I place something under my toes.

Will this likely be fixed if I improve my ankle mobility or is there something else I could do as well?

post #2 of 11

Jave, without photos or video its hard to say anything for sure. If you say you get in the back seat when you drop your CoM then its obvious you are not flexing at your ancles and waist but thats not the problem I think. Why are you trying to drop low? What is the purpose of this movement? Just because somebody said so doesent make it right. Without knowing more details I would say that they are giving you completely wrong advice. There is nothing wrong with being upright when skiing. Its how you are upright that counts. Usually everybodys trying to stay forward. Not down, because down is usually back. Close your ancle, open your knee and stay the same angle in your waist. This will move your body forward.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post

Jave, without photos or video its hard to say anything for sure. If you say you get in the back seat when you drop your CoM then its obvious you are not flexing at your ancles and waist but thats not the problem I think. Why are you trying to drop low? What is the purpose of this movement? Just because somebody said so doesent make it right. Without knowing more details I would say that they are giving you completely wrong advice. There is nothing wrong with being upright when skiing. Its how you are upright that counts. Usually everybodys trying to stay forward. Not down, because down is usually back. Close your ancle, open your knee and stay the same angle in your waist. This will move your body forward.


Maybe I'm wrong but I'm trying to get lower because I feel that would improve my balance a lot.

 

Same idea as with the athletic stance in most sports I guess, lowering your center of gravity so that its easier to absorb shock and you just generally get more stable.

 

I do fine on groomers but as soon as I'm in powder or cut up powder, variations in the snow that slow me down quickly make it feel like I'm about to topple over.

 

I see people straightlining bumpy almost-moguls crud and wonder how they do it... just from observation, they seem to be getting fairly low. If I tried that I'd get knocked off balance right away.

 

post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jave View Post

I have problem of not getting low enough which I think is affecting my ability to progress.

Everyone is always commenting how straight I'm standing when I'm skiing but to me it feels like I'm as low as I can. I know this is likely a problem because when skiing fast, I easily get knocked off balance by unevenness in the snow (I get a feeling of falling forwards or backwards.‬)

The problem is, if I try to go lower, my shins come off the front of the boots so no forward pressure and thus no control.

I know I have somewhat limited dorsiflexion as I can't really do a proper squat without my heels coming off the ground or if I place something under my toes.

Will this likely be fixed if I improve my ankle mobility or is there something else I could do as well?


Like tdk6 said, a picture or better yet video would help, but I think the first thing you need to fix is your boots, then address the issue that causes you to be in the back seat.  Limited dorsiflexion usually gets a heel lift.

 

Many folks bend at the hip instead of the ankles to get forward.  If you feel your shin come off the tongue, you're in the back seat or at least heading that way.  To get forward, close you ankle without closing anything else.

 

Things to check:

Alignment in boots

Boots too stiff?

Cuff too big?

Body position correct?

Butt in front of heels?

Do you lean down hill?

 

Something else to consider is -  "What is getting low?"  I'm interpreting what you're saying as head needs to be lower and more than likely in your turns.  When done correctly, your upper body should still be upright.

 

You would be hard pressed to get lower than Ted, but notice his upper body is up right and not (maybe just a little) bent over (fore and aft).  His outside leg is also fairly straight.  He's not in a tuck and you could even say he's standing tall (if you measured from his foot to his waist and then his waist to his head, you would get close to his actual height).

Ted Upright.png

 

So his upper body is upright and his outside leg is straight yet he's low to the ground.  He gets low laterally; not fore and aft.  It sounds like you are trying to get low in the fore and aft plane instead of the lateral plane.

 

Maybe what you are doing is "tipping".  This is when you lean inside a turn but your body is straight.  If you tip, you will not have the control that you should have by angulating (like Ted).

 

To feel it, you don't have to go to the extreme of Ted's picture either.  Using the red pole in the picture as a reference, you only need to get both skis (just) on one side of it and your outside hip on the other.

 

I'm not sure I explained that well.  Please let me know if I muddied things up.

 

Ken

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post


Like tdk6 said, a picture or better yet video would help, but I think the first thing you need to fix is your boots, then address the issue that causes you to be in the back seat.  Limited dorsiflexion usually gets a heel lift.

 

Many folks bend at the hip instead of the ankles to get forward.  If you feel your shin come off the tongue, you're in the back seat or at least heading that way.  To get forward, close you ankle without closing anything else.

 

Things to check:

Alignment in boots

Boots too stiff?

Cuff too big?

Body position correct?

Butt in front of heels?

Do you lean down hill?

 

Something else to consider is -  "What is getting low?"  I'm interpreting what you're saying as head needs to be lower and more than likely in your turns.  When done correctly, your upper body should still be upright.

 

You would be hard pressed to get lower than Ted, but notice his upper body is up right and not (maybe just a little) bent over (fore and aft).  His outside leg is also fairly straight.  He's not in a tuck and you could even say he's standing tall (if you measured from his foot to his waist and then his waist to his head, you would get close to his actual height).

Ted Upright.png

 

So his upper body is upright and his outside leg is straight yet he's low to the ground.  He gets low laterally; not fore and aft.  It sounds like you are trying to get low in the fore and aft plane instead of the lateral plane.

 

Maybe what you are doing is "tipping".  This is when you lean inside a turn but your body is straight.  If you tip, you will not have the control that you should have by angulating (like Ted).

 

To feel it, you don't have to go to the extreme of Ted's picture either.  Using the red pole in the picture as a reference, you only need to get both skis (just) on one side of it and your outside hip on the other.

 

I'm not sure I explained that well.  Please let me know if I muddied things up.

 

Ken


Thanks Ken. That was quite a lot to take in. I think I need to get a video up here to properly show you.

 

As for the boots. I've probably had more boot work done than you've seen before, lol. I bought boots at Fanatyk Co here in Whistler which are supposed to be the best bootfitters in town and since I have oddly shaped feet, I had to have quite a lot of work done to get a proper fit. I've been back there maybe 8 times now making adjustments and they have taken care of several issues.

 

I have very small lower legs/ankles and did initially get a heel lift, not for forward lean but to fill up space in my instep. I was getting pretty bad shin splints however and physio recommended taking the heel lift out so I don't have it any more. Bootfitter recommended adding boot spoilers behind my calves to add to forward lean and fill up space as well.

 

They were pretty stiff boots though, Lange RS130 race boots since it was the only boot closest to a proper fit for my odd feet. They have however been softened up quite a bit at my request by taking the bolts in the back out and also cutting a 'V' in the back of them. Bootfitter says I can flex them properly from what he can tell.

 

Anyway, I'll try to get a video of me skiing for you but it might take me some time.

 

Thanks!

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jave View Post

Maybe I'm wrong but I'm trying to get lower because I feel that would improve my balance a lot.

 

Same idea as with the athletic stance in most sports I guess, lowering your center of gravity so that its easier to absorb shock and you just generally get more stableThis is incorrect. You need to let your ankles and knees absorb.  Get out of a defensive position and get more aggressive.  This way instead of having to aborb crud or the like, you will cut through it.  You need to close your ankle and open your hips. 

 

I do fine on groomers but as soon as I'm in powder or cut up powder, variations in the snow that slow me down quickly make it feel like I'm about to topple over.  This is because you're in the back seat and need to close your ankle instead of your hip.

 

I see people straightlining bumpy almost-moguls crud and wonder how they do it... just from observation, they seem to be getting fairly low. If I tried that I'd get knocked off balance right away.  I think you are confusing their legs and skis coming up with them getting lower.  They absorb the bump with their knees and then extend again.

 

 

I know it's counter-intuitive but in skiing, you want to stand tall (hips and knees open) and ankles closed.  This gets your upper body down the hill.  That is how you get control.

 

post #7 of 11

Get low by moving hips laterally rather than vertically, keeping outside leg longer.

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jave View Post
I see people straightlining bumpy almost-moguls crud and wonder how they do it... just from observation, they seem to be getting fairly low. If I tried that I'd get knocked off balance right away.

 

Sometimes it's all in your head.  If you think about pulling the skis back instead of moving your body forward, you might find your knee gets closer to your toes bending the ankle, instead of your but getting behind and closer to your heels closing the knee. 

 

You definitely need to flex, like a slinky.  Start by trying to follow the contours of some of the little bumps and rollers and other fun shapes that form on the hill (not necessarily moguls, just terrain) instead of catching air, tips down the backside and soak knees into chest on the font side.

 

I find a fully standing up stance isn't good 'cause you got nowhere left to go in that direction.  I prefer to have a slight flex all the time.  The front of my boots are in snug contact with my shins while the back of my calves are in good contact with the back of my boots; my boots fit.

 

Also, I find swapping out my 165 cm 13 m skis for my 190 cm 24 m skis makes high speed bumpy almost mogul crud skiing a lot easier.
 

 

post #9 of 11


Have you had your fore/aft boot alignment checked?


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jave View Post

I have problem of not getting low enough which I think is affecting my ability to progress.

Everyone is always commenting how straight I'm standing when I'm skiing but to me it feels like I'm as low as I can. I know this is likely a problem because when skiing fast, I easily get knocked off balance by unevenness in the snow (I get a feeling of falling forwards or backwards.‬)

The problem is, if I try to go lower, my shins come off the front of the boots so no forward pressure and thus no control.

I know I have somewhat limited dorsiflexion as I can't really do a proper squat without my heels coming off the ground or if I place something under my toes.

Will this likely be fixed if I improve my ankle mobility or is there something else I could do as well?



 

post #10 of 11

When I had the sensation of getting tossed forwards and backwards it turned out that my boots were too big....make sure your boots are properly fitted.

post #11 of 11

Jave - when you are looking at expert skiers you should realize that the biggest difference between you (sorry no offence) and them is not wether you are low or not. Its all about skills and technique. But you are right, they are lower. Its a surpricingly low position. Its also a surpricingly forward position. They are bending at the waist a lot. Here is a photo of Sato (I think). See how low he is:

 

Sato001.jpg

 

His knees are bent 90deg. His hips are allmost as close to the snow as his knees. Now comes the important part. In order not to be in the back seat, like you mention on your own account, he is bending forward at the waist a lot. About 45deg. That puts his CoM back over his feet. Look how far forward his head is. Over the toes of his boots or even more forward. Why is he bending at the waist and not flexing his ancles? Look at how upright his boots are.! The reason is that he is in the middle of a transition between turns. This is what we call a float. Rebound from previous turn and quick retraction of leggs causes the pressure to reduce under his skis. He is unweighted. Maybe not entirely but enough that he cannot put pressure on the front of his boots enough to make them flex a lot. But enough to retain shin pressure.

 

This is the technique thing I was talking about earlier. You need to start looking at retraction typ of turns and how to create rebound needed for the float. You need to start working more with your legs. You need to start extending and flexing more. Flex through the transition and extend into the turn. Ski bumps because it forces you to flex and extend.

 

You ask excellent questions. Get some videos. Can be taken by mobile phone. Even by a child.

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