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flexing & extending best way ?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

For rapid fire extending & flexing the legs what is the best method for quickness & most economical for conserving energy so large vertical can be skied none stop, while performing salomon through rapid type turns  ? (cross unders)


Is it quicker to actively extend through the turn then actively flex to release  skis & keep flexing through transition as skis come under body then tip skis & actively extend legs on other side?


Is it quicker to actively extend then relax the edges to release the turn then actively flex through transtion then actively extend as skis are tipped? (perhaps relax before actively extending)


Is it quicker to only actively extend through the turn then just relax & let the forces that are released do all the flexing of the legs through transition then tip the skis & actively extend ?




Instead of the focus being on extending & relaxing, Should the focus be on flexing & relaxing ?



What is the quickest way of doing this for both the quicker independent leg action & for doing a quick turn where weight is on both skis i.e., when skiing powder ?


If relaxing is used @ some point instead of always actively extending & flexing maybe it would give the legs time to rest the way the hart beats then rests so it is more energy efficient ?


 When Bolt won the 100m the anouncer said something about the runners had to relax the last part of the race to keep thier speed up. Perhaps relaxing Through part of the flexing & extending process would benifit skiers as well ?



 Any thoughts or research appriciated

post #2 of 8

Hi powderjet,


Exertion is a funny thing in skiing. The best way to not fatigue is to ski a lower performance turn. In the last coach course I took, everyone who put in their full effort was pretty burnt out each day after 4 morning runs and 4 afternoon runs. This included several FIS racers. While I'm not trying to discourage you from high performance turns (on the contrary--I love higher performance skiing), the reality is that no matter how fantastic your technique, you'll be generating more forces and getting a better workout. 


It seems to me your questions mostly relate to pressure control. When skiing, pressure enables us to speed up, slow down, get a ski to deflect our mass, maintain grip on an edge (I wonder if I missed anything). And as you're discovering, the timing and amount of our flexion and extension plays a large part in managing pressure. 


When racers extend their legs, they're maintaining or applying pressure. If you don't extend, you lose pressure against the ski. If you extend too much too abruptly, you'll break the ski away, or create a temporary bump in pressure (like jumping on a scale) that you'll have to recover from in the rest of your turn. 


If you soften through transition, you'll maintain pressure against skis, maintain your momentum/speed, and ideally topple into the next turn (or allow the skis to steer under your body into the next turn--whatever language you prefer). 


If you crumple through your joints during transition, you release all pressure off the ski and lose speed. That said, it's one way to release your edges, though not what I'd call the best way.


As for "relaxing" to make it easier on your leg muscles, keep in mind that as long as you're balancing over your outside ski, your inside leg gets to recover.



When you say "relax the edges", I just want to put in a caution to think about where you're releasing. Joe Sixpack tends to flatten the edges way too early, resulting in dead zones and limiting the toppling effect. In higher performance turns, you continue tipping on edge until the moment you're ready to start your next turn. In doing so, you build loads of coiling/pressure/momentum and make it easy to release into the next turn. 


Lastly, for powder, pressure control becomes more a case of balancing in three dimensions on both skis. There are a few different tactics for powder that can affect how you pressure your skis. "Functional tension" is a good idea I like to think about in powder--maintaining just enough tension through your lower body to be able to react to sudden pushes/pulls on your feet. You definitely want to maintain consistent pressure in powder so that you get as few "surprise" pushes/pulls as possible.

post #3 of 8

Metaphor is right on about high performance turns. One rule of thumb states racers can make 8 runs in a training course before they become unproductive. By the last run they are making more mistakes due to fatigue. 

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

 Hi, Metaphore & NEcoach

 Thanks for the well thoughtout replies


 If turns get over a certain number per a minute would trying to focus on both flexing & extending put a lower number of turns per a minute that could be reached ? If the focus was only on extending then sudden relaxing to release the energy created from the turn would it increase the maximum turns per a minute that could be reached. Maybe up to a certain number of turns per a minute the focus could be on both flexing & extending & maybe higher then 90 turns per a minute or what ever that number might be everything starts happening to fast to focus on 2 things instead of one.


I came up with 90 because I think that is how many steps most people take per minute when walking.



The path the feet take when extending & flexing is it a complets revolution of an eliptical or is it a pendulum swing but instead of a circle shape an eliptical shape. Like an orbiting planet.



If the turn shape forms a spiral like that of a spiraling galaxie it seams the forces from the turn can build the fastest. It also seams the feet travel some type of an eliptical path like a planet thattravels around the sun.

post #5 of 8

You're asking a bunch of different questions.


With good technique most of the muscular effort at high speeds is in resisting centripetal acceleration.  That is, actually changing the path of your body and skis' mass.  For a given speed and turn radius, this part of the effort always takes the same amount of "work" (using the physics textbook definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_%28physics%29 ).


The less you change the path of your COM, the less force you have to resist.  All else being equal, retraction/crossunder turns should be 'quicker' and less tiring than extension/crossover ones.  There is less momentum change -- your COM takes a more direct line down the hill and doesn't move up/down as much.  To do these in a short radius at high speed, though, you have to actively extend and flex.  Relying on just passively 'crumpling' will be too slow.  ("Zipperlining" moguls is very much like this as well.)  If you do this fast enough it will become very tiring on your legs.


Hugely simplifying, if you hold speed constant, then with shorter-radius turns you expend more effort flexing and extending fast enough to bring the skis around, and with longer-radius turns you can 'ride' the ski more but expend more effort accelerating your COM back and forth across the hill.  This would imply there's some minimal radius where the required effort of flexing/extending fast enough outweighs the reduction in momentum change.  That inflection point should be the 'most efficient' turn you can make, at least in this very simplified view of things.


In practice it's probably not so simple.

post #6 of 8



The quickest most energy efficient way to ski large vertical is to go straight down a slope without actively bending and flexing the legs. The more turns one makes, the more energy one is going to use. The most efficient turns are going to involve flexing one leg while extending the other (and vice versa) and making those movements continuously throughout each turn. Whether you initiate your turns with retraction/cross under movements (flexing the legs), extension/cross over movements, or a mix does not generically determine the relative quickness of your turns, but you fill find situations (e.g. moguls, high speed GS turns) where a particular style is quicker or more effective. In powder, you will find that slower movements are more effective than quicker movements.

post #7 of 8
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
In powder, you will find that slower movements are more effective than quicker movements.


I'm trying to wrap my head around this idea. Can you elaborate on your thinking. I don't 'think' I slow my movements when powder skiing but I am not 100% certain.

post #8 of 8

One of the common pieces of advice for skiing in powder is to make your movements in "slow motion". Some skiers, upon feeling the extra resistance of powder snow react by trying to use more muscular force to overcome the resistance. Instead, it is better to have patience and wait for the skis to react. An analogy would be like steering a large boat. Rookies spin the wheel more when the boat does not turn fast enough. Experienced pilots turn the wheel a little and wait for the boat to react. Another aspect of this is the advice to make shallower turns more in the fall line. Since the turns are not as round as on groomed snow there is less turning per turn and thus the turning that you do do needs to be done slower.


Obviously, as one gets to fatter and more rockered skis, the differences between powder and groomed snow snow skiing diminish.

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