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Can too much forward lean cause this?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I was in a training session today, working on short radius turns on somewhat steep icy slopes. My trainer was doing these just fine, of course. Following him was me, doing all kinds of wobbly interpretations of his turns.  I kept losing my edge.  My skis were sharp with a nice race tune; that's not the issue.  

 

What it finally came down to was that I was doing a little pivot at the top of the turn, which undermined getting the big toe edge of the new outside shovel edged well before it entered the fall line.  My trainer told me it wasn't a rotary push-off, just a little pivot, but enough of one to undermine engaging the tip above the fall line.

 

Yes, this is probably just psychological, rushing through the fall line.  But maybe it isn't....

 

Another thing we both noticed is that at the end of the old turn he was only slightly countered, while I was extremely countered.  I had significant inside tip lead, and I held my outside hand somewhat back.  Why?  Because I needed to do this to keep my weight over the arch of my outside foot.  I needed the strong counter to keep that outside ski weighted equally from tip to tail.  If I were to have the stance of my trainer at the end of the turn, with less tip lead and my outside hand more forward, and my body only slightly countered, my tails would wash out.  I tried this; confirmed.

 

With such significant counter at the end of the turn, my initiations came with an unwinding (wind-up and release; anticipation) which I know I don't need.  Those unwindings caused a small pivot.  Maybe. 

 

So... I'm thinking that this counter may be causing my wobbliness in these short radius turns on steepish icy terrain, instead of psychology (I don't FEEL afraid of the fall line, by the way).  I'm wondering if too much forward lean in my boots may be necessitating holding that hand back with the weight it drags back along with it, just to keep the pressure situated beneath my arches.  Without that held-back hand, along with its held-back shoulder and hip, my weight would stay over the ball of foot for the entire turn (causing tail-wash-out at the end).  

 

So maybe it's not psychological. Maybe it's the forward lean.  My bootfitter has already put a slight lifting shim under my toes.  I'm thinking I should go back and ask for more.

 

Maybe. Or it's just inexperience and weak technique.

 

Anyone ever had such thoughts about forward lean in boots, and done anything about it with some success? 

 

 

post #2 of 6

I prefer a more upright cuff and then use my ankles to move forward. I ski Head B3 140 flex boots so their no lightweight. It's a personal preference that has been working for me.

As for technique, with more counter if you are up unweighting that would cause the slight pivot as the skis/legs realign with the hips. I'll say that in a short swing to offset slalom turn my hips and core are facing down the fall line, but at edge change i'm not rising to release, but instead moving my core across the skis in the direction of the new turn.

Washing out the tails usually tells us we are either turning our upper body up the hill away from the direction of travel, settling at the end of the turn by which I mean moving our butt closer to the skis, or twisting the feet to much with out good engagement. For you I'm going with the latter two.

Play with some retraction turns in a shorter radius on easier terrain. Concentrate on feeling connected to the snow the whole turn. Start out feeling some very extreme movements like your trying to show someone far down the hill what a retraction turn looks like and then start working out that retraction towards more "normal" skiing i.e. being more subtle in your movements. Then you can start ramping up the terrain again.

Let me know what you think,

Nate

post #3 of 6

LF, you can (and should) counter without pushing the inside ski forward.  It seems contradictory, but try pulling the inside foot back strongly while pushing the inside hip (and arm & shoulder) forward.  You mention the benefit of counter but might not realize it--by taking all rotation out of the hip joints by the countering motion, you greatly reduce the tail skid.  Strongly pulling the inside foot back utilizes the strong hamstring muscles to keep you balanced over the ball of your outside foot.  Your body and arms are countered, and you plant the pole straight down the fall line from your outside foot--no heroic arm swing that disengages the edges, pls.

 

Retraction turns---icon14.gificon14.gificon14.gif---three thumbs up.

 

When ending one turn and starting the next, retract and strongly pull both feet back behind you.  This sets up the front halves of the skis to engage during the upper third of the turn.  This is where you establish the turn radius for speed control.  A smooth engagement of the edges on this upper third sets the radius without a skid.

 

Too much lean angle in the boots or too much ramp angle in the binds upsets everything.  My Rossi/Dynastar bindings ski much better with the spacer plate under the heels removed.  With the plate, my lower legs were angled too far forward which required a bend at the knees to get my center of mass over the balls of my feet.  The result was limited movement and tired quads. Experiment as much as your gear allows to see what feels most natural and works best for you.

 

post #4 of 6

LF to much forward lean will definitely cause excess counter in order to get both feet over the sweet spot.   The problem this causes in short turns is that the lead must be changed and that takes a lot of time. 

post #5 of 6

There are four parameters to consider on the sagittal plane (fore/aft) and all need to work in concert to optimize a balanced stance and a position which optimizes our abilities to transfer energy to the shovel or tail of the ski.  It is generally accepted to begin this evaluation with the dorsiflexion range of motion and set up the internal angles of the boot FIRST.  This involves adjusting ramp angle and forward lean to create an appropriate net forward lean angle for the skier's dorsi flexion range of motion.  Once this has been set we then move up to the knee and adjust the delta angle created by the bindings to have the knee plumb statically somewhere over the boot toe (this is likely your issue! so try gas pedalling with shims and see how if affects your turns!). Once this static ball park position is achieved we need to test dynamically to fine tune with shims then make the final adjustments by shimming the bindings or plating the toes or heels of the boots.  The fourth parameter is the binding mount position which affects where we stand over the ski's sweet spot.  Note here that a center mounted park n pipe ski will elicit a much different stance than a european country GS race ski's mount position.

 

 

How easily can you shape a round steered turn on the little toe edge when one ski skiing?  If your boots have too much forward lean or too much delta angle you will find it difficult to pressure the shovel on the little toe side to effectively shape your turns because you can not effectively press your shin into the tongue of the boot and remain in balance.  By simply bringing the cuff more upright you will be able to get better energy transfer to the shovel.  When optimized you will feel early tongue pressure which will permit your inside hip to move forward while maintaining a longer leg and keep the hips from moving behind the feet, which is a common problem in one legged skiing.  I would also suggest wrapping your power strap tightly around your liner only before buckling your upper cuff over the power strap which will eliminate the gapping in the top of the boot liner eliminating the slop which sacrifices fore/aft control.  

 

So to answer the OP, it could be too much forward lean or it could be too much delta?  Following good methodology will help you find your optimum set up.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

All this solid advice is much appreciated.  Thanks everyone for writing it all out.  I've read carefully and have a list of things to try on snow.

Now if I can find some ice, or at least hard snow out there, I'll check out the movement patterns you folks are suggesting.  

Bud, I'm going to find a plumb line and check out my knee-to-boot toe alignment before going back out, and then play with some duct tape shims to see what affect they have.  My hard snow skis have system bindings, so can't mess with that.

 

All of this - IF I can find hard snow.  We are warm here.  (Slush bumps - not complaining about that!)

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