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Stupid question: how do you flex your boots

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I started learning how to ski a months ago, so far, I can take on some easy - mid blue, (I ski twice a week)

 

I have read something about you need to flex your boots with your ankle, not with your knee, I wonder what does that mean? I can't really flex my boots without my knees,(can't even flex my shoes with my ankle alone,)

 

and also when do you actually need flex your boots?

 

 

sorry for the dumb question, I tried searching in forum, but not really any answer

post #2 of 10
You aren't applying force with your ankle, rather you move your center of mass forward and pushing against front your boots with your shin. Your ankle joint flex as a result of this, not cause.
post #3 of 10

Yeah, jzmtl is right.  I would never think about flexing the boot with the ankle.  Keep your knees bent to a reasonable degree and move your HIPS in the direction of your ski tips.  Your hips are your center of mass which determines your balance.

 

I wouldn't worry about when to flex too much since.  Just make sure you're always either neutral or a little forward. 

 

If you want to try something more specific, your could try being a little more neutral in the first part of the turn right after pole plant, then get slightly more forward as your skis are more perpendicular to the hill as you're approaching the moment of the next pole plant  ....whatever though, really. 

post #4 of 10

Def not a stupid question Rich. Took me years to figure this out. Go put your boots on and click into your skis in your living room. Now lean forward trying to fall on your face without bending at the waist. Your ankles will flex and you wont be in the backseat. You can still bend your knees and its a good idea to have some knee flexion for shock absorption. But if you just try bending your knees without leaning your body forward, as described above, your butt will stick out and you will be in a bad position. Its a little disconcerting when first trying this on the slopes because the tendency is to sit back and be defensive but it will become more comfortable and allow you to progress much faster. I was like you and thought the way to flex the ankles and pressure the tongue of the boot was to deep knee flex and I remained a backseat driver for many years and Im still working on it. Good luck

agreen

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot guys!, good thing I asked, or else I might keep trying to dip my knee in whenever I turn lol. 

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by richDDT View Post

I have read something about you need to flex your boots with your ankle, not with your knee, I wonder what does that mean? I can't really flex my boots without my knees,(can't even flex my shoes with my ankle alone,)

 

Not a dumb question. No joint flexes anything. You create movement across a joint using muscles that originate above it and end below it. So you can flex the ankle both directions actively, by contracting (among others) the tibialis anterior or gastrocnemius. Or you can flex it passively, by using other muscles higher up to move your Center of Mass forward and down so that your shin leans into the front of your boot. Try just watching your foot wiggle as you flex your ankle to lift your toes, and then to drop your toes. See what happens when you pronate (invert the inside arch downward) or supinate (evert the outside of the arch downward). All of this is happening across the ankle, all is active. 

 

Both kinds of "flex" are necessary, although if one kind really predominates, it can create a different style of skiing. I think the "something" you read probably advocated active feet, using ankle and small foot movements inside your boot to create lateral pressure moving from your boot tou your ski edges. Doing ankle rolls, for instance, with the upper leg and body quiet, is a classic way to learn this. From there, instructors may progress to using the ball of one foot, or the little toe of the other, to initiate turns. Another ankle movement, retraction, is taught by dorsiflexing (trying to lift the toes) when the ski's flat, to get the feel right. Nowadays, instructors discourage just leaning into the front of the boots. 

 

By contrast, though, many skiers have very passive feet, ski more by cranking their knees and hips. (Or just banking, not much lower activity at all.) And many skiers still do a lot of riding the tongues. My own opinion is that a good turn necessarily starts from the feet and ankles, and can end there too, but you'll need to add knee and even hip movement if you're getting more aggressive, or handling higher speeds on steeper pitches. 

 

You may have a heard time feeling your boots flex, but if you are sure they're not, then they're too stiff for how you ski right now. OTOH, if you can't feel your street boots flexing, then maybe it's some issue you're having with figuring out how it feels, cuz it's happening. Try this: Take your ski boot and remove the liner. Buckle up the shell. Now stick your hand down into the shell until you touch the inside bottom at the heel. Push your hand forward and watch the boot flex. Watch what happens to the entire boot, not just the tongue. Various parts of the shell will change. Now put in your foot, still no liner. Repeat. 

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks beyond!

 

more questions:, what is aggressive skiing?

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by richDDT View Post

Thanks beyond!

 

more questions:, what is aggressive skiing?

 

You know about aggressive driving? Just substitute 'skiing' for 'driving', and there's your answer. 

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by richDDT View Post

Thanks beyond!

 

more questions:, what is aggressive skiing?

What markojp said.  Also, do you mean aggressive skiing or offensive skiing?  Aggressive is what markojp said.  Offensive does not mean "rude" but the opposite of defensive.  It is more of an attitude than a technique, though technique is a major contributor.  It isn't just skiing fast either.  Search this forum on offensive skiing and you'll get plenty.

 

Ken

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by richDDT View Post

I started learning how to ski a months ago, so far, I can take on some easy - mid blue, (I ski twice a week)

 

I have read something about you need to flex your boots with your ankle, not with your knee, I wonder what does that mean? I can't really flex my boots without my knees,(can't even flex my shoes with my ankle alone,)

 

and also when do you actually need flex your boots?

 

 

sorry for the dumb question, I tried searching in forum, but not really any answer

I was told for years that I needed to flex my boots, and that the reason I wasn't flexing them was because they were too stiff.  So I got softer boots.  They still didn't flex.  It was me, not the boots.  Once I learned how to flex them, I realized those new soft boots were not stiff enough for me.  The message I'm delivering here is that the issue may not be more flexible boots, in case you hear that from people.  It's what you do with your feet inside the boot, and what you do with your body above that flexes the boot.

 

Next:  How to flex the boot?  You need to know what it feels like first, so you can tell when you're doing it.  First, stand inside in your boots in the house and check out how your boots fit your feet.  Make sure your boot cuffs are snug against your entire shin.  There should not be air between your lower shin, in the front right above the ankle, and the front of the boot cuff.  No air at all.  The cuffs should be SNUG.  Your heel should be against the back wall of the boot, and your toes against the front wall of the boot, and the sides of your feet against the side walls of the boot.  There should be no air above the top of your foot (instep) either.  If your foot is slipping around inside the boot, or if your boot cuff doesn't snug itself against your entire shin, you'll have trouble flexing the boot.  The foot will move around instead of the boot flexing.   If this is the case, the boots are too big for you and no amount of body language will flex them.  You'll need to go buy new boots that fit properly.  Use an experienced bootfitter in a ski shop to help you find a boot that is shaped appropriately for your foot's anatomy.  Boots that fit will tell the skis what to do much better than boots that allow the foot to slop around inside.

 

Assuming your boots fit, clip them into your skis in the house.  Do everything in the advice in these posts that people are suggesting will help you flex the boots.  Some combination of moves will allow the entire length of your shin to press into the front of the boot cuff and you'll feel it flex forward.  Don't look down.  Feel it.  Close your eyes and memorize how that feels.  Again, with eyes closed, figure out what your feet, ankles, knees, hips, etc are doing as you feel the boot flex.  Memorize the whole feeling.  Now go out and ski that way on easy slow terrain.  You should be able to make the boots flex.  

 

Last issue:  why flex the boot?  I'll let others deal with this one.

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