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post #1 of 202
Thread Starter 
I recently spent an afternoon in a group skiing with Jennifer Simpson, a second term member of the PSIA Alpine Team (formerly Demo Team), during which she reported the team is working on a focus of bending the ski from the middle.

My take on her presentation is that there's too much emphasis on forangle movement. I THINK she was after moving forward along the length of the skis while creating tipping with the feet and legs. We need to not only move forward but stay forward, balancing on the outside ski, to bend it from the middle. I found my efforts to follow this direction helpful.

Since then, I spent a few minutes talking about Jennifer's suggestions with David Oliver, the two-term team freestyle member. He said the focus on bending the skis from the middle came out of the team's effort to define the common elements of all good skiing, whether on the groomers, in the race course, in the park or off-piste. He said bending the skis from the middle was the first thing all team members could reach agreement on as necessary for any good skiing.

What do you think?
post #2 of 202
I think it's about time. And I'm very glad to hear it. The fallacies and/or misinterpretations of the so-called "foragonal movement," we have discussed at great length many times here, along with what I have long described as the myths (half-truths?) of "forward pressure," "flexing the ankles (and boots)," "hips over feet," "vertical femurs," and so on.

Pressure centered on the skis over the "sweet spot" (the point that will cause the entire ski to bend evenly when tipped on edge, with pressure distributed from tip to tail), at least by default (that is, unless there is a specific need to focus the pressure somewhere else to modify ski performance)--what a concept!

Yes, the body (center of mass) does move "diagonally and forward" at the initiation of a turn. But not relative to the feet, unless the feet were to just stay fixed in one place. They don't--the feet, which move faster than the body (cm) on their longer path, must move ahead of the body as they move across the hill through the transition. The body moves more directly down the hill, faster in that direction than the feet, taking a shortcut to get downhill of the feet and "ahead" of them at the start of the pressure or shaping phase. If done perfectly, the result is ideal balance with the body well-inclined into the turn and pressure centered over the sweet spot when the skier "lands" on the skis at the start of the pressure phase. This is what I've long called the "X-Move," as the paths of the Center of Mass and Base (point) of Support cross at the turn transition, then continue to diverge through the initiation phase and into the shaping/pressure phase. Far from producing the "closed" (flexed) ankles and forward boot cuff (and ski tip) pressure in the initiation that many instructors have taken for dogma, it is more likely to lead to the ankles "opening" (extending) through the transition, as the knees flex, giving the appearance, at least from above or below on the hill, of the skier being "in the back seat" for a moment (in the transition or "float" phase). Heresy?

Of course, one additional advantage of pressure centered by default is that it retains all of our options of fore-aft leverage for whenever they are needed situationally.

Well, nothing new here--again, we've discussed these things practically to death in many previous threads. But it does seem to be a bit of a change for our Alpine Team. Good news!

Best regards,
Bob
post #3 of 202
I should add that the need to "move forward" is largely indisputable. But that need is more often misunderstood than not. Which direction is "forward," anyway? I can think of several legitimate meanings of "forward"--the direction the skis point, the direction the skis are moving (which may or may not be the same direction as they are pointed), the direction the body (which part?) faces, the direction the body (cm) is moving, toward the "apex" of the new turn, downhill. Any of these fits the definition of "forward," but they can refer to directions as much as 90 degrees apart in typical turns--and more with turns that complete back up the hill.

Next, forward of what? As I mentioned in my previous post, the body does move "diagonally forward" of the path (direction) of the skis in normal turn transitions. Of the path of the skis and feet, that is, but not necessarily forward relative to the feet themselves, as they also move in their direction (across the hill) at greater speed than the body.

Yes, we need to move "forward" at the initiation, and through the shaping/pressure phase, for several reasons. As our skis race down the hill in an offensive turn, we need to move forward simply to stay with them, whether our intent is to "pressure the tips" or simply to remain balanced over the sweet spot. Also, we need to move "forward" as our skis tip down from more-or-less "level" when they point across the hill at the end of one turn to the angle of the hill in the fall line part of the turn. Both of these factors point to a strong need to move "forward" into the turn. But that "forward" is not in the direction the skis point--it is, clearly, downhill. The more complete the turn (the more the skis travel across the hill in the transition), the greater the difference between these two "forward" directions.

So, Kneale, while you may be right about what she was thinking ("I THINK she was after moving forward along the length of the skis while creating tipping with the feet and legs,,." you wrote), I would question that thinking! From my observations, moving "forward along the length of the skis" at the transition (relative to the feet, in the direction the skis point)--trying to bring the hips forward (of the feet, in the direction the skis point) and closing the ankles--is one of the most common errors and misunderstandings in high-level skiers, instructors, and coaches in all of skiing. It is a primary cause of stemmed or parallel "pushoff" initiations, excessively skidded upper turn halves, delayed (ironically) clean edge engagement, and other ubiquitous errors (unless, of course, these are the ski performance outcomes a skier is actually looking for in a given situation).

Best regards,
Bob
post #4 of 202

Foot containment is a method WC athletes use to recenter. It results in a slightly closed ankle and cuff pressure without the pushoff and stemming problems Bob outlines. Used in moguls and racing.

post #5 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

My take on her presentation is that there's too much emphasis on forangle movement. I THINK she was after moving forward along the length of the skis while creating tipping with the feet and legs. We need to not only move forward but stay forward, balancing on the outside ski, to bend it from the middle. I found my efforts to follow this direction helpful.

 

Jennifer has been mentored by Mel Brown and Dave Gregory, exceptional high level race coaches. Your summary fits with that training. Did Jennifer mention what movements you could use to get and stay forward?

post #6 of 202

NE care to expand on the term foot containment?

post #7 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
. We need to not only move forward but stay forward, balancing on the outside ski, to bend it from the middle.
What do you think?

I'm not sure I get this. How can you bend the ski from the middle when you are forward?

post #8 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

NE care to expand on the term foot containment?

 

Feet pulled back towards your center.

 

Good visual starts at 1:06

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHhJrABKj5Y

post #9 of 202
fwiw, i've begun to view "getting forward" differently than i used to. we project our cms down the hill using various tactics while at the same time placing our feet (skidudes terminology--i like it) to support the mass and establish the new turns platform. all of this can be hard to conceptualize at first but one thing i noticed in my skiing as i kept these ideas in mind was my hip joints...and what they were doing as i entered the top of the new turn-they open. so by thinking hips come forward, what people may really be experiencing is the opening of these joints, even though as bob notes they rarely move ahead relative to the feet (except in terms of being first to the fall line).

zen
post #10 of 202

The move along the length of the skis was also an idea presented by Eric Lipton a while back. The progression he used started with a step onto the uphill ski while moving the core over that new platform. The tipping subsequent to that move allowed the core to arrive at the top of the next shaping phase in alignment along the balance axis and ready to pressure the outside ski from the middle. It varies slightly from what Bob had us doing because the core was actively accelerated forward and then projected into the new turn but not towards the apex, towards the beginning of the shaping phase. So some lateral was involved but not nearly as much as when move the core to the apex. My impression was a feeling of catching the new outside ski prior to adding the lateral "tipping".

 

Then Tony and I ran into each other and he told me my outside ankle was staying too closed, so I added the plantar flexing he suggested and the some leg steering to produce tip pressure rather than levering onto the boot tongue. The result was a swoopy feeling as the skis felt like I had followed a rut and they bent from the middle. Continuing to steer them across the hill made them load and rebound like would be needed to do the medicine ball stuff Bob developed.

post #11 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by zentune View Post

fwiw, i've begun to view "getting forward" differently than i used to. we project our cms down the hill using various tactics while at the same time placing our feet (skidudes terminology--i like it) to support the mass and establish the new turns platform. all of this can be hard to conceptualize at first but one thing i noticed in my skiing as i kept these ideas in mind was my hip joints...and what they were doing as i entered the top of the new turn-they open. so by thinking hips come forward, what people may really be experiencing is the opening of these joints, even though as bob notes they rarely move ahead relative to the feet (except in terms of being first to the fall line).

zen

 

Personally I do not like the projection image. Too many racers end up with too much inclination and out of balance early because of that description.

 

When I picture the knees bent at transition and then the hip opening as the outside leg gets long the center moves forward relative to the feet.

post #12 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

 so I added the plantar flexing he suggested and the some leg steering to produce tip pressure rather than levering onto the boot tongue. The result was a swoopy feeling as the skis felt like I had followed a rut and they bent from the middle. Continuing to steer them across the hill made them load and rebound like would be needed to do the medicine ball stuff Bob developed.

 

Care to elaborate on leg steering to product tip pressure? And what you mean by "levering onto the boot tongue"?

post #13 of 202
true, nec..."projecting" in that the cm is now inside the arc relative to the bos rather than directly "above" the bos.

zen
post #14 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by NECoach View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

NE care to expand on the term foot containment?

Feet pulled back towards your center.

Good visual starts at 1:06

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHhJrABKj5Y

...and easy to see here in this bump clip--it is the "backpedaling" movement pattern that has arisen in many bump (and "virtual bump") discussions here. But in fall-line bumps, as with any turns that barely veer from the fall line--there is very little difference between "downhill" and "the direction the skis point" at the transition, so it should not be controversial or difficult to understand. You have to get downhill of your feet (or your feet uphill from your center of mass, depending on your frame of reference preference) in the shaping phase of the turn.

The controversy comes, as I described above, when the skis point more across the hill in the transition. Then, "forward" can mean at least a couple quite divergent things. Interestingly, I submit that we (our CM) must move both forward of our feet, and our feet move forward of us, at the same time. How is that possible? Two different definitions of "forward," simultaneously, as the paths of the body and the feet cross with the feet moving faster across the hill and the body moving faster down the hill. Any way you look at it, it challenges the notion of moving "forward" with a closing (flexing) of the ankles at the transition--because that definition of "forward" is not the same as "down the hill" (which is, at that point, a lateral movement, relative to the skis).

Best regards,
Bob
post #15 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamt View Post

I'm not sure I get this. How can you bend the ski from the middle when you are forward?

I agree, 'staying forward' isn't a helpful concept, in order to move forward (for the sake of clarity lets say along the length of the ski) we have to have at some point moved back, or allowed our feet in front of us, I would say this generally happens as we flex moving into the transition. 

 

I like this image of myself at the end of the transition as I'm inclined, but already balanced over the outside ski. I'd say at this point I'm extending my outside leg from it's most flexed position and just starting to move my hips forwards relative to my skis in order to be centred for the pressure phase (as well as moving laterally inside by flexing the inside leg).

 

I agree with Bob that 'forwards' is a difficult to define term, is it down the hill? Along the skis? Along the path of travel for the skis, or the path of the CoM?

 

 *

post #16 of 202

Let's not forget that bindings put our feet slightly behind the middle of the ski.   

And ... aligning our COM over the middle of our boot sole does not mean our COM is aligned with the middle of the ski.

Also, centering our shins inside our boot cuffs does not tell us where our COM is with respect to the ski, either.  

post #17 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

I recently spent an afternoon in a group skiing with Jennifer Simpson, a second term member of the PSIA Alpine Team (formerly Demo Team), during which she reported the team is working on a focus of bending the ski from the middle.

My take on her presentation is that there's too much emphasis on forangle movement. I THINK she was after moving forward along the length of the skis while creating tipping with the feet and legs. We need to not only move forward but stay forward, balancing on the outside ski, to bend it from the middle. I found my efforts to follow this direction helpful.

Since then, I spent a few minutes talking about Jennifer's suggestions with David Oliver, the two-term team freestyle member. He said the focus on bending the skis from the middle came out of the team's effort to define the common elements of all good skiing, whether on the groomers, in the race course, in the park or off-piste. He said bending the skis from the middle was the first thing all team members could reach agreement on as necessary for any good skiing.

What do you think?

I don't get this at all. Sounds like it's the opposite of what Bob is talking about.
Moving forward along the length of the ski and staying there while tipping? Sounds like the ankle is closing not opening. I'm with Jamt, how does one bend in the middle yet be forward along the ski - into the boot cuff?

 

Sounds a bit like the Austrians in the beginning of this Interski video. They're the first ones in the red/white. They're way forward along the ski, and at transition they open then close quickly moving forward along the ski.

Not a fan of that at all.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MJGZ8LTeRM&feature=share&list=PL3544ACDEA781F039

post #18 of 202
So, I was trying to talk about pressuring the ski without levering and it might help to imagine the different ways we can do it.
1) drive our shins onto the tongues of the boot. As mentioned this levers us forward until we let off the strong driving move.

2) plantar flex the foot. As the skis run away from us it allows us to maintain tip pressure. At least temporarily.

3) steer the engaged ski and drive the sidewall of the tip strongly into the snow.

All three have a legitimate use and it is up to us to explore when and where that is...
Edited by justanotherskipro - 4/16/13 at 5:51pm
post #19 of 202
Tog--I agree with you. It sounds like an important revelation is on the verge on one count, but a few pieces of dogmatic "conventional wisdom" may still obstruct the trail before all the pieces fit together. I believe that the key is ... to look forward! (Which direction is that? What moves forward, relative to what? ....)

Best regards,
Bob
post #20 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

So, I was trying to talk about pressuring the ski without levering and it might help to imagine the different ways we can do it.
1) drive our shins onto the tongues of the boot. As mentioned this levers us forward until we let off the strong driving move.

2) plantar flex the foot. As the skis run away from us it allows us to maintain tip pressure. At least temporarily.

3) steer the engaged ski and drive the sidewall of the tip strongly into the snow.

All three have a legitimate use and it is up to us to explore when and where that is...

 

1) How do you drive your shins onto the front of the boot? You mention diving in the 2nd sentence but that is usually down the hill which would be away from the front of the boot at the top of the turn.

 

2) Tip pressure for a slit second and then the calf is on the back of the boot. When do you like to use it?

 

3) I think it was Witherell that wrote about the technique 40 years ago. No one I know coaches this on modern equipment. The decrease in tail pressure would be a problem for racers. A tail that releases and skids loses the race. There are safer methods for racers to use when they need more tip pressure. 

 

IMO the fastest way to get forward at the top of the turn without levering is foot containment. The skis want to jet away so you fire up those lazy glutes and hamstrings and tug them back.


Edited by NECoach - 4/16/13 at 6:41pm
post #21 of 202
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tog View Post
 

Moving forward along the length of the ski and staying there while tipping? Sounds like the ankle is closing not opening. I'm with Jamt, how does one bend in the middle yet be forward along the ski - into the boot cuff?

 

 

The forward movement is hips in relation to the feet along the plane of the top of the tipped ski. Starts with foot containment and then is passed off to outside leg extension. The bend starts from the middle of the ski because the binding placement typically has the middle of the arch behind the middle of the ski. To bend middle of the ski you get to the front of the boot.  I acknowledge this mounting is not the case for a center mounted symmetrical twin tip park ski.

post #22 of 202

I actually think that one of the major problems with the majority of our skiers is the inability to move for/aft effectively.  Too  many of us try to stay in the sweet spot throughout the whole turn, causing us to be static and back of center the majority of the turn.   As Bob has pointed out, our feet move faster than our COM, however they also change speed, more than our com, throughout the turn, accelerating from release through the fall line and slowing down from the fall line to the transition.  This causes our for/aft balance point, along the length of the ski, to change throughout the turn.  A good analogy would be if we were standing in the back of a moving truck.  If the driver were to accelerated at any point we would have to lean forward to stay standing up, also if he slowed down we would need to lean back to stay standing.  The amount we would have to lean would be determined by the speed at which he accelerated or slowed down.  The same happens in skiing.  As we release our edges and the ski turns or is turned down the hill it accelerates. To stay in balance we need to move our com forward in response to this.  The steeper it is and the harder the snow is the faster this acceleration happens.  We need to more aggressive in our forward move in these conditions.  The flatter and softer the snow the slower it happens but it still happens and we still need to adjust even if it is a small adjustment.  

I think the issue that Bob talks about is more attributed to peoples lack of upper/lower body separation than that of people trying move too far forward.  If people are too aligned with their skis at the end of the turn and we talk about having them move foragonally then they will have to twist their upper body to  accomplish the movement we are asking them to do causing the rotary push off he is talking about.  If they are properly aligned at the end of their turn they can release their edges, and move forward(2 different movements happening at the same time) without a having to twist the pelvis or upper body.  

post #23 of 202
NE, Yup done in excess any of the three would result in tail wash. And hip and knee extension allow a skier to get forward without driving the shins excessively. Adding fine adjustments from the ankle and Leg steering allow us to incorporate fine motor skills along with the gross motor skills you mentioned.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 4/17/13 at 8:10am
post #24 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by NECoach View Post

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog 

Moving forward along the length of the ski and staying there while tipping? Sounds like the ankle is closing not opening. I'm with Jamt, how does one bend in the middle yet be forward along the ski - into the boot cuff?
 
The forward movement is hips in relation to the feet along the plane of the top of the tipped ski. Starts with foot containment and then is passed off to outside leg extension. The bend starts from the middle of the ski because the binding placement typically has the middle of the arch behind the middle of the ski. To bend middle of the ski you get to the front of the boot.  I acknowledge this mounting is not the case for a center mounted symmetrical twin tip park ski.
You mean the body is going over the skis downhill? The ol' change edges and start the turn by doing nothing. (well getting your body going downhill which is started earlier isn't completely nothing). There's quite a few who see that as not possible, that one must always do something at transition whether it's flex, tip, forwagonalize or be perplexed.

I always that the boots were for "foot containment" but I kind of like the term. Whether one contains or not the edges will change and the turn start if the body is going over downhill even in a retraction turn.
post #25 of 202

Tog, my post didn't comment on CoM movement down the hill. That is a different can of worms!

post #26 of 202
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NECoach View Post

Jennifer has been mentored by Mel Brown and Dave Gregory, exceptional high level race coaches. Your summary fits with that training. Did Jennifer mention what movements you could use to get and stay forward?

There was inconclusive discussion of what constitutes forward, much like Bob describes, and what constitutes the middle of the ski. Jennifer held up a ski with a finger across the base at the point the middle of the boot would be and just asked, "Is this the middle of the ski?" Same for the toepiece location. She suggested starting with the movements made for creating railroad tracks and then trying to keep the COM ahead of the feet. In watching her skiing, I saw more Fore and minimal Angle that resulted from the tipping movements. Her skis bent beautifully.
post #27 of 202
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamt View Post

I'm not sure I get this. How can you bend the ski from the middle when you are forward?


Unless you're on a park ski, your binding position is well back of the middle of the ski. You HAVE to be forward to bend the ski from the middle.
post #28 of 202
The standard mount varies by model though. Some bindings have fore / aft adjustments as well.
post #29 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post


Unless you're on a park ski, your binding position is well back of the middle of the ski. You HAVE to be forward to bend the ski from the middle.

The middle of the sidecut (ie narrowest part of the ski) will generally be underfoot though.

post #30 of 202
I think that "middle of the ski" need not be taken entirely literally. The geometric center of the ski is not necessarily its "sweet spot," and optimal binding mounting location has been a hotly debated subject of its own here at EpicSki. I do feel that many skis and many skiers have bindings mounted further aft than may be ideal for most conditions.

To me, "centered" implies pressure along the full length of my foot sole, focused generally below the bottom of my tibia (shin)--closer to the heel than the ball of the foot or the toes--although I do feel it move forward slightly at times when my skis are on edge and carving (mostly due to rotary leg movements that twist the fore-foot down toward the snow when my legs are tipped). "Centered" also implies neutral in the boot cuffs. If cuffs are snug, that means contact, but minimal pressure, both fore and aft on the cuffs. If the bindings are correctly mounted, a modern ski (with conventional camber) tipped on edge and pressured this way will find its entire edge engaged, from tip to tail, and carve a very clean turn.

Maintaining this "centered" pressure and balance, as discussed earlier, is hardly the result of a static, frozen position. It requires very active and accurate fore and aft movements, of course. But, interestingly, it demands accurate lateral movements in the transition as well, as the body moves downhill while the skis move across the hill, to produce "centered" balance later in the shaping phase of the turn. And it even involves accurate rotary movements, as noted above, to regulate fore-aft pressure when the legs are inclined (visualize turning the handle of a garden rake lying on the ground). The dynamics of the turn and slope angle and the various changes in velocity (accelerations) of skiing influence fore-aft pressure as well--including the various movements we can make to modify ski performance, such as briefly twisting the skis to brake and "check" speed, allowing us to catch back up if we get behind. Keeping "centered" is not a simple task.

And again, part of the significance of this "centered" stance is that it keeps all your options open, allowing subtle or dramatic adjustments to fore-aft pressure quickly and easily, as needed.

Best regards,
Bob
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