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Problems with crossing or catching tips and tails

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Am an intermediate 50's + skier (on and off the skis for 35 years) who has struggled to manage the shape ski side-cuts that make current skis so wide at tail and tip and a narrow waist, that adds a narrow platform as well. What is the best way to prevent the tips and tails from catching and sending me into a wipe-out? I have a back/disc issue that makes up-weighting right side and stable turns to the left more challenging, as well as affecting parallel turns.  I'm 5'10" & 150 lbs and wondering if skiing significantly shorter and lighter (read - more controllable) skis than the 177cm narrow-waisted heavier skis I'm on currently would help....

Thanks.

 

post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by albee View Post

Am an intermediate 50's + skier (on and off the skis for 35 years) who has struggled to manage the shape ski side-cuts that make current skis so wide at tail and tip and a narrow waist, that adds a narrow platform as well. What is the best way to prevent the tips and tails from catching and sending me into a wipe-out? I have a back/disc issue that makes up-weighting right side and stable turns to the left more challenging, as well as affecting parallel turns.  I'm 5'10" & 150 lbs and wondering if skiing significantly shorter and lighter (read - more controllable) skis than the 177cm narrow-waisted heavier skis I'm on currently would help....

Thanks.

 



do not ski with you feet so close together and ski a rounder line.

post #3 of 15

You may find a shorter ski a little easier to manage but the problem probably lies in trying to ski how you used to ski on the old skis and applying it to shaped skis. It would be interesting to see you ski. That might give a better idea of what's going on.

 

If you're skiing in a narrow stance and turning the skis with an up unweighting move and then pivoting then this may be part of your problem. Also with shaped skis you really don't need too much fore and aft movement like you used to. I suspect the problems with your back while skiing eminate from rotaional movements in your upper body which would also lead to the issues you highlight. The skis are much more responsive. As you extend your new outside leg at transition your hips should move across the skis rather than upwards. You need to trust the skis and when tilted allow them to do what they are designed for. You don't need to muscle them around (not that you ever did)

 

I'm being a bit vague because I'm only speculating as to what may be going on. Send some footage if you've got some. I'm certain there will be lots of good advice if you do.

post #4 of 15

Wider stance. Shoulder width. Shaped skis invariably are actually a wider platform than straight skis. Shorter, but wider. Old skis were ~65mm almost along their entire length. Modern shaped skis are typically 75+mm underfoot, and widen out to 110mm+ at tips and tails. In any case, widen your stance, and start using more edging (tipping) than rotation (twisting).

 

And as far as ski length goes, that's a matter of opinion. BWPA will inevitably tell you that 177 is good, maybe a little too short. I, on the other hand, am 5'9" 185lbs, and all of my skis are in the 165 range. Neither school of thought is wrong, it's just a matter of what each person wants from their skis. BWPA skis longer skis because he wants more float in powder, and wants more speed (I'm sure there are more reasons, BWPA can expand). I ski shorter skis because I prefer the shorter ski's quickness in moguls, and ability to maneuver in tight trees.

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post

Wider stance. Shoulder width. Shaped skis invariably are actually a wider platform than straight skis. Shorter, but wider. Old skis were ~65mm almost along their entire length. Modern shaped skis are typically 75+mm underfoot, and widen out to 110mm+ at tips and tails. In any case, widen your stance, and start using more edging (tipping) than rotation (twisting).

 

And as far as ski length goes, that's a matter of opinion. BWPA will inevitably tell you that 177 is good, maybe a little too short. I, on the other hand, am 5'9" 185lbs, and all of my skis are in the 165 range. Neither school of thought is wrong, it's just a matter of what each person wants from their skis. BWPA skis longer skis because he wants more float in powder, and wants more speed (I'm sure there are more reasons, BWPA can expand). I ski shorter skis because I prefer the shorter ski's quickness in moguls, and ability to maneuver in tight trees.



I did not mention length because usually if people are good enough they can compensate for nearly anything.

 

Long skis tend to be easier to balance on and feel quicker turning at speed to me because there is more edge/base to press against.

post #6 of 15

The primary reason for crossing skis can be traced to several causes so no one solution can be offered. The three most common are rudimentary rotational skills, fore / aft balance, or lateral balance. In other words the three fundamental skill pools that help us create balance are typically where we would begin our investigation.To some this is not new news but before dismissing what I just said please read further and consider the following.

 

1. Twisting the skis, externally rotating your foot / leg uses a set of muscles that are somewhat weaker than the ones you would use to internally rotate your foot / leg. So if you are trying to simultaneously rotate both legs the stronger set of muscles can turn that ski a bit easier. So the solution in this situation is to match what the outside ski is doing to what the inside ski is doing. Simple enough in theory but what does that mean in real life? Consider the fact that lateral balance and weight bearing can have a profound effect upon rotary inputs and it becomes a bit more complex. The short version is that the more weight you have on a ski, the harder it is to make it pivot, or more precisely the same input applied to a weighted and relatively less weighted ski would produce different outcomes. This is why parallel turns at under a half mile an hour are so difficult but it is how to make very good wedge christies.

 

2. Fore / Aft balance, fulcrums and pivot points are all subjects directly effected by our fore / aft position on the skis. To further complicate this the inside half and outside half can end up at different stances because one leg is bending so much more than the other. If that's not complicated enough the two skis are at different points in their arced paths. Correcting for this has been debated here many times but what it has to do with this thread is that the skis may not be completely parallel during your turns unless you artificially force that outcome to occur.

 

3. Lateral balance, getting too far inside the turn forces the skier to balance on that inside ski. It also creates a higher edge angle because the skier's balance axis is tipped so far to the inside of the turn. So the outside ski becomes an outrigger and balance aid. So in this circumstance Edge engagement and the previously mentioned weight bearing are closely related and both contribute to unequal turning outcomes.

 

So what's the solution for you Albee? That my friend is hard to say based on the limited information offered to this point. I would offer that a scratch on your skis isn't a big thing and in many circumstances a natural consequence of your movements. Perhaps it's an error, perhaps it's not. What is important to understand is the alway parallel skis dogma is just that. Wider stances, making sure you get the inside ski out of the way, and even keeping the inside foot back to create more parallel skis, can and are often offered as solutions. But what are we solving? If the goal is perfectly parallel skis all the time I would question why that outcome is so important to you. Ifcrossing your tips / tails occurs all the time and you end up biffing because of that,then by all means correcting that is important. If it's simply scratching the topskins but your skiing is unaffected by that contact, it's not a big deal. 

post #7 of 15

Hi Albee,

 

Often when skis converge, the issue is with the inside foot getting in the way. (ie the outside ski's driving along the correct arc, but the inside ski's not tracking on the same arc.) To fix convergence, we need to balance over the outside ski, and actively turn the inside ski. People are asking for video because it's easy to see which of the two is the issue on film. Here's some general strategies that can help: 

 

Tap the inside ski against the snow throughout turns. Alternately, as a more challenging version, lift the inside ski throughout the turn. If you can succeed, congrats - you're balancing over the outside ski. If you can't yet do this exercise, spend a while touching your outside boot buckles through the second half of the turn. This exercise will get your upper body over the outside ski. 

 

Think of your inside ski as the "director ski". When you start a turn, actively turn/engage the inside ski. The outside ski will naturally follow. Blend the "director ski" idea into your normal skiing so that you engage both skis at the same time, but still direct that inside ski. 

 

Also, you can make this easier on yourself by getting a shorter, turnier ski. 177 is long - I skied 160cms at intermediate level, and I'm taller. Sure, it's doable, but why torture yourself? 

post #8 of 15

By your question/statement   I wasn't perfectly clear if your meant; 1) crossing you skis or 2) catching an edge ? I'll offer an opinion on crossing your skis-tips.  Probably 90% of the time if you cross your tips you will have a Straight Downhil Leg.  Sit in a chair and put your feet on the floor, straighten one leg and watch (imagine) a ski attached and you will see that foot turn across the other, consequence - crossed your tips.  Solution:  keep your legs flexed when skiing, no stiff downhill leg.  The flex should be moving all the time, absorbing terrain etc. etc.

post #9 of 15

Sorry Pete that long outside leg idea isn't forcing the skis to cross unless you are aft and the doing a heel push. Just like you would do in that chair. It's even more concerning to me that you would offer a 90% number when there can be so many other causes.

 

Met is onto something here and yes inside leg usage is certainly important. Following the inside leg's lead defines the DIRT we should be using for the outside leg. It's also related to the strength and weight / load stuff I mentioned. Not sure standing 100% on the outside ski teaches that though. Don't you want to focus on the outside leg following what the inside leg is doing? Can you do that when the inside leg is in the air? seems to me the inside ski would be doing the matching which is the opposite of what you were suggesting. Maybe white pass turns, 1000 steps, or any drill that includes a more active guiding of the inside leg would be better. Just say'n...

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post



I did not mention length because usually if people are good enough they can compensate for nearly anything.

 



Life lessons from BWPA...biggrin.gif

post #11 of 15

Have you detuned the tips and tails of your skis?  If not, that may be causing a large part of your problem.

post #12 of 15

IMHO, the problems here are:

 

  1. Equipment.  This guy's 5'10 (~177cm), 150lbs. and he's on 177cm skis, which I'm assuming are some kind of front-side carver since he describes them as "narrow-waisted" and heavy.  I'm 6'6" (almost 200cm tall), ~265, and I ski stiff carvers in the 175-185cm range.  Try something in a 160 or 165, maybe 170 at most.  It'll be a lot more manageable.  Also, look for something that's not the stiffest/most 'expert' ski out there.  Stiff skis are great for going fast, not so much for being easy to use.
  2. Technique.  He mentions up-unweighting in the OP!  You can use modern skis with old-school technique, but they're not built for that, and if you have very long, stiff skis for your size I can see how it would be very easy to catch edges.  Take a few lessons, and ask for an instructor who learned on straight skis and had to convert to modern ones.  They can show you how to take advantage of the new skis.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Met is onto something here and yes inside leg usage is certainly important. Following the inside leg's lead defines the DIRT we should be using for the outside leg. It's also related to the strength and weight / load stuff I mentioned. Not sure standing 100% on the outside ski teaches that though. Don't you want to focus on the outside leg following what the inside leg is doing? Can you do that when the inside leg is in the air? seems to me the inside ski would be doing the matching which is the opposite of what you were suggesting. Maybe white pass turns, 1000 steps, or any drill that includes a more active guiding of the inside leg would be better. Just say'n...



Hi Jasp, 

 

Good question. Agree that lifting the inside ski doesn't help to prevent converging tips. That said, before we can work albee's inside foot steering, I'd like to confirm he balances over his outside ski. Otherwise we're putting the cart before the horse! If he can balance over the outside ski, he's definitely ready for steering the inside ski. 

 

Good idea about 1000 steps - it's actually a good way to develop balance and steering, and probably the right level for albee.

post #14 of 15

A more direct approach is to focus on developing the proper inside leg usage. There is a natural foot to foot weight transfer that will occur if we let it. Flex the inside leg and steer / guide that inside ski into the turn and voila' it happens. It's the same move we use to change directions as we walk and run. Teach for transfer...

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

WOW....thanks for all this experienced, prescriptive and helpful advice from all who responded. Some of you were spot on in getting to what I think are some of my confounding behaviours and needed adjustments to making turns and allowing the sidecut technology to assist. Justanotherskipro did hit the nail on the head about pushing with the heel while leaning back to turn one direction (left). That does occur as a result of the back injury. It doesn't allow for more fluid use of hip flexors and so I am thrown back or forward with the snow/slope conditions on those turns. The use of the inside leg in the turn, tipping up onto the edges, and other concepts mentioned are what I haven't been to confident about. I did go to shorter, less stiff skis and it made a significant difference. The idea of lessons to transition out of old habits is something I will embark on. My kids have had plenty - I can too.

Thanks to all for the words of wisdom.

Albee

 

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