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Checking for alignment issues in lessons - Page 2

post #31 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
 

Don't mean to lecture but I see too many instructors with this attitude and use it as an excuse to ignore educating themselves in this realm.  SAD.  I am not advocating doing anything irresponsible or dangerous. I agree 100% and I know that many instructors will use liability as an excuse for not trying. 

 

Who here has been dragged into court regarding alignment or boot fitting related issues?  I would be curious to here more from these people!  Not for boot fitting issues specifically that I am aware of yet but everything else under the sun.  in Ohio its easy to sever the instructor from the resort and single them out in court and the experience usually results in the instructor hanging up their teaching hat and buying a pass. This is a very litigious state, especially in auto accidents.  Once in a while there is a test case.  Last year the Ohio Supreme court ruled in favor of a snowboarder whom hit a skier.  The court basically said getting hit is one of the inherent risks.  You never know how cases will work out here.

 

Properly aligned boots actual greatly reduce the chance of injuries do to the tremendous stress poor alignment places on joints and ligaments.  So if an instructor knows a student is at danger, is it their duty to warn them? Morally yes, legally not usually.

 

 I have been asked to write a more detailed paper on what symptoms to look for to help identify issues in each of the 10 parameters I have identified.  I am working on it and hope to help PSIA divisions work this info into their certification processes.  It needs to be addressed  and is a glaring shortcoming in today's resort ski schools.  Note that private ski camps such as Epic Ski Academy, NASTC, Harb camps, etc. have embraced proper alignment as an integral part of their programs.  Resort ski schools have bucked this topic for various reasons, one being they don't see an immediate bottom line profit potential, the other is their risk management departments are paranoid about their exposure.  I don't understand how resorts can build all the sick terrain features and jumps in their parks and pipes where skiers and boarders are badly injured on a regular basis yet offering a service that actually makes skiing more enjoyable and safer gets shoved aside????  My efforts here through the ski school have raised awareness greatly at our resort. I have given talks on alignment though the SS.  SAM is seeing some benefits in customer satisfaction and things are moving in the right direction. I am certainly getting more ideas to improve things in the forums.

post #32 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
 

Don't mean to lecture but I see too many instructors with this attitude and use it as an excuse to ignore educating themselves in this realm.  SAD.  I am not advocating doing anything irresponsible or dangerous. I agree 100% and I know that many instructors will use liability as an excuse for not trying.

 

Who here has been dragged into court regarding alignment or boot fitting related issues?  I would be curious to here more from these people!  Not for boot fitting issues specifically that I am aware of yet but everything else under the sun.  in Ohio its easy to sever the instructor from the resort and single them out in court and the experience usually results in the instructor hanging up their teaching hat and buying a pass. This is a very litigious state, especially in auto accidents.  Once in a while there is a test case.  Last year the Ohio Supreme court ruled in favor of a snowboarder whom hit a skier.  The court basically said getting hit is one of the inherent risks.  You never know how cases will work out here.

 

Properly aligned boots actual greatly reduce the chance of injuries do to the tremendous stress poor alignment places on joints and ligaments.  So if an instructor knows a student is at danger, is it their duty to warn them? Morally yes, legally not usually.

 

 I have been asked to write a more detailed paper on what symptoms to look for to help identify issues in each of the 10 parameters I have identified.  I am working on it and hope to help PSIA divisions work this info into their certification processes.  It needs to be addressed  and is a glaring shortcoming in today's resort ski schools.  Note that private ski camps such as Epic Ski Academy, NASTC, Harb camps, etc. have embraced proper alignment as an integral part of their programs.  Resort ski schools have bucked this topic for various reasons, one being they don't see an immediate bottom line profit potential, the other is their risk management departments are paranoid about their exposure.  I don't understand how resorts can build all the sick terrain features and jumps in their parks and pipes where skiers and boarders are badly injured on a regular basis yet offering a service that actually makes skiing more enjoyable and safer gets shoved aside????  My efforts here through the ski school have raised awareness greatly at our resort. I have given talks on alignment though the SS.  SAM is seeing some benefits in customer satisfaction and things are moving in the right direction. I am certainly getting more ideas to improve things in the forums.

You guys are doing a great job and we applaud your efforts!

post #33 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
 

Don't mean to lecture but I see too many instructors with this attitude and use it as an excuse to ignore educating themselves in this realm.  

 

This really needs to be addressed within the culture of the school. I read somewhere that half the PSIA membership have been members for 5 years or less. It's unlikely a second season L1 is going to have the skill, but it should most certainly be part of aspiring L3 and up education, and required for SSD's and TD's. If the latter two don't encourage it in their school culture, it's not likely to happen. This is probably the reality of many non-destination resorts. In the end, it's often a case of 'not knowing what we don't know' more than laziness. There's not a lot in the national manuals about boot fitting and alignment either that I can recall at the moment.

post #34 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
 

Don't mean to lecture but I see too many instructors with this attitude and use it as an excuse to ignore educating themselves in this realm.  

 

This really needs to be addressed within the culture of the school. I read somewhere that half the PSIA membership have been members for 5 years or less. It's unlikely a second season L1 is going to have the skill, but it should most certainly be part of aspiring L3 and up education, and required for SSD's and TD's. If the latter two don't encourage it in their school culture, it's not likely to happen. This is probably the reality of many non-destination resorts. In the end, it's often a case of 'not knowing what we don't know' more than laziness. There's not a lot in the national manuals about boot fitting and alignment either that I can recall at the moment.

 

Good points.

post #35 of 75

I love the idea of boot adjustment becoming a more critical part of the teaching process.  I really applaud this effort from Bud and look forward to the result.  That being said I can see both sides of this debate.  I know ski instructors who fancy themselves as self taught boot gurus and they stuff trail maps down the sides of ski boots, etc.  Yet when I talk with them in the locker room or at the bar, its clear to me they have a lot to learn about it and sometimes are even just flat out wrong, based on this or that thing they heard, or expert opinion they think they have.  I have really jacked up foot and lower leg anatomy myself, so I've had to pay some of the best boot gurus over the years and had many discussions with them, and I feel I have a pretty good understanding, yet I still do not feel comfortable doing much more than checking to make sure boots are buckled properly and if I see alignment issues, refer them to a real boot fitter.

 

Perhaps boot certification would be a great addition to PSIA.  At a bare minimum instructors should know how to MA and evaluate boot performance.  Watch for alignment issues, watch for fore/aft boot issues, flex issues, etc.  Well Bud is going to come up with a very comprehensive list, I can't wait to see it.  Why can't this become official part of certification?  I think it would be just outstanding. 

 

My personal opinion is that ski instructors should not mess with anyone's boots or bindings on the spot, unless they are certified to do so.  I do think that clinics which include people like Bud to show up and bring real boot expertise are just simply in one word..."awesome".  It would be great if resorts adopted this strategy for all multi-day lesson products in order to make some quick adjustments, recommend deeper adjustments and perhaps improve the lesson experience.  But I think most ski instructors are simply not qualified to make those kinds of adjustments and probably should not do so unless they truly are qualified.  Perhaps a certification process could be proceduralized enough to make it possible for some minimal adjustments on the spot, but I'm doubtful about that.

 

At my current hill, we are not allowed to adjust bindings for liability reasons and even though they may not say it, I guess we'd be open to similar liability if we stuffed a trail map down the side of someone's boot and they ended up tearing an ACL.  We can help them tighten or loosen their boot buckles and we can direct them to a boot fitter, but that's about it.  Liability.  Pierre is right, its a real and valid concern.  

 

Resorts need to be more proactive about addressing this need and have qualified boot people standing by with tools and quick fix methodologies to get a group off and running, while also giving students recommendations for further adjustments back at a boot shop later.  I've seen some excellent clinics where boot masters work together with high level instructors to identify boot issues and do as above, but they are usually one off clinics that happen only once or twice a year.   I could even see a few hours back at a shop at the end of the first day where everyone gets some basic simple adjustments that are possible in that time frame.  I've seen some clever approaches for quick adjustments that don't require a full race canting setup.

post #36 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

Would you agree that there is not that much you can do when you don't know what is inside the boot in terms of fit or footbed? I personally just like to use my cant strips to prove to the client that there is a problem and that it can be improved upon and then send them to the bootfitter (I'll often  call him from the slope with the client and tell him what I see when he is skiing).

Now that I have thrown cold water onto the subject and flew the caution flag of liability and resort policy I will go a bit the other way and actually throw out some meat and potatoes.. epic, I really can't fault what you are doing with the can't strips, you seem to be getting results using the cant strips to convince a client to seek help. That said, cant strips would not be my first choice and here is why.  I consider canting at the sole to be almost the default of last resort when performing an alignment.  When I see a need for cants I double check my work and look for reasons to justify the use of canting.

 

Consider one of the PSIA Skiing Concepts: The position of the hips over the feet fore/aft will play a major role in the parallel relationship of the skis and promote the ability to use corresponding edge angles

 

Another PSIA Skiing Concept: Flexion movements that originate at the ankle support movements through the boot cuffs. Settling in the knees and hips may be seen as diverging ski tips and or sequential edge change.

 

What those concepts really say from the alignment perspective is "Being out of balance (being able to find center and relax) drastically shuts down a skiers range of motion to flex or tip the ankles and greatly effects edge angles".  Toss in a preference for one turn over the other and fore/aft problems look like canting issues.  Some common problems are boots that are too big,  heels loose in the heel pocket  both big boots and loose heel,  short tibia's and big calf muscles, too many pairs of socks and poor buckling techniques.  Over a cup of hot chocolate you can:

 

Boot too large;  put some spacers on the zeppa or under whatever foot bed is there or a small heel lift on the zeppa

Heels too loose; Put a heel lift in the liner but under the footbed or put a few pieces of foam between the shell and the liner and favor the area slightly above and ahead of the ankle. Putting material behind the ankle is likely to cause forefoot pain, toe bang, numbness and cold feet without really doing the job. Favor the heel lift for tight ankles or big calf muscles and favor the foam for noodle ankles or skinny legs.  Caution, its easy to put to much foam in for this fix.

Boots too big and heels to loose:  Use a combination from the above but also consider more foam added in the cuff area.

Short tibia's and big calf muscles;  Add a heel lift inside the liner but under the footbed.  With noodle ankles consider some spacers if they will fit.  Make sure the cinch strap is inside the front boot enclosure on the liner. Buckle the ankle buckle fairly tight but the top buckle only tight enough to close the cuff.  Too much tension on the top buckle is self defeating as it tends to squeeze the leg upwards creating the loose heel condition all over again due to the wedge shape of the lower leg.  In many cases the skier will still be too far forward.  If you can get ahold of some skis with gas pedals, go for them.

Too many socks or ribbed socks:  Self explanatory but you might end up with boots too large.  Too many socks is often the skiers fix for boots to large.

Poor buckling techniques: Most skiers buckle their boots ineffectively.  For most people a tighter fit can be gained by putting the top cinch strap inside the front closure and not cranking down on the top buckle.  For skiers with low ankle range of motion tighten the top buckle in addition to the cinch strap inside.  For high range of motion buckle the top buckle fairly tight unless the calf muscle is extending into the boot and put the cinch strap on the outside of the enclosure.  Buckles will not compensate for a boot that is too big.  The buckles tend to collapse the enclosure down on tender parts of the foot.  Always try the above fixes for large boot as a preference.  In the long run there is no good fix for boots that are too large.  Flex patterns are wrong and control may not be progressive in nature.  Over buckled large boots will often cause hooking of the skis and lose of balance.

 

In the long run fore/aft issues/loose boots are far more problematic for learning than lateral issues although lateral issue are often perceived by the skier as a bigger issue.  Remember fore/aft exasperates lateral issues.

 

Assuming reasonable fore/aft alignment and issues with release or edging still exist look for lateral cuff alignment problems. Cuff adjustments to the boot and temporary padding can improve lateral issues.  If you have a tool (usually 4mm hex wrench) and cuff adjustments possible adjust the cuff to center the leg in the boot shaft.  Assuming no adjustment or more adjustments needed you can pad the side of the leg with too much space and carefully re-buckle the boot.  For bow legs the foam usually goes on the inside.  With knock knees the padding usually goes on the outside.  Generally put the padding between the liner and the shell.  This quick fix offers some of the same correction as the cant strips.

 

There are many other little things I could do but they exceed the scope of the forum. There are other easy fixes but they require that you have access to more items.  The above fixes can be approximated with bar coasters, trail maps, napkins, tape and cardboard, all things you can find.  Alignment is a fix of opposites and some fixes may seem backwards but are correct or I may thought logical and typed them backwards.  A bit of correction would be appreciated if I got it wrong.

post #37 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
 

 I consider whether the cause could be T.echnique, or E.quipment, P.sychological, or P.hysical.  Many times it is caused by poor alignment.

 

You forgot mental. In my case there is all five. The mental is caused by evaluation of the other four with my own skiing.:deadhorse:

 

My own situation for alignment is a bootfitter's nightmare.

post #38 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by borntoski683 View Post
 

 

Perhaps boot certification would be a great addition to PSIA.  At a bare minimum instructors should know how to MA and evaluate boot performance.  Watch for alignment issues, watch for fore/aft boot issues, flex issues, etc.  Well Bud is going to come up with a very comprehensive list, I can't wait to see it.  Why can't this become official part of certification?  I think it would be just outstanding.

 

 

Great Idea.

post #39 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by levy1 View Post
 

Great Idea.

 

Lovely indeed... now you have to convince clients and the average joe/jill that they need it and will pay the going rate. Fine tuning is a back and forth involved process. The best work happens when the skier is working with a knowledgable instructor AND a boot fitter... the instructor and boot fitter could be one in the same, or at least know each other professionally. IMHO, one or both need to be full time. Ideally, an instructor would have had some experience in boot retail... this is where the experienced skill set blend gets tough. You can take a clinic, pass a test, but really have NO idea what is currently going on in  the market. I was told yesterday that a Head Raptor RS was a high volume boot made by Lange... by a L3 candidate. Not that they're a bad person or anything, but when the vast majority of instructors are part time (including myself) and have jobs in the real world to pay their bills, it seems a bit unrealistic to expect everyone to have the knowledge and skill sets of BOTH an experienced boot fitter and an accomplished instructor. I'm sure someone like Bud could do a really nice training program for his hill to at a minimum, build awareness so a student could be better directed to someone with real experience and expertise. 

 

In the end though, unless a ski school can put together a comprehensive program with a definitive price tag, there won't be much actual demand even if there's genuine interest. I'm sure large destination resorts would have success with integrating the two though. Locally, it's pretty much only racers and the PSIA hard core that bother though a couple of local shops will notice things when setting up a new boot.


Edited by markojp - 11/1/13 at 3:40pm
post #40 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post
 

 

This really needs to be addressed within the culture of the school. I read somewhere that half the PSIA membership have been members for 5 years or less. It's unlikely a second season L1 is going to have the skill, but it should most certainly be part of aspiring L3 and up education, and required for SSD's and TD's. If the latter two don't encourage it in their school culture, it's not likely to happen. This is probably the reality of many non-destination resorts. In the end, it's often a case of 'not knowing what we don't know' more than laziness. There's not a lot in the national manuals about boot fitting and alignment either that I can recall at the moment.

I couldn't agree more my friend.  Last year I sent an email to the National office suggesting and offering to spearhead a team of top boot fitters to write a chapter for the new manual on equipment alignment.  I included names like Greg Hoffman, Jim Lindsey, and more who could author the work, but never got even a reply?  Dogma???? Fear of liability? Dunno?

post #41 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by borntoski683 View Post
 

I love the idea of boot adjustment becoming a more critical part of the teaching process.  I really applaud this effort from Bud and look forward to the result.  That being said I can see both sides of this debate.  I know ski instructors who fancy themselves as self taught boot gurus and they stuff trail maps down the sides of ski boots, etc.  Yet when I talk with them in the locker room or at the bar, its clear to me they have a lot to learn about it and sometimes are even just flat out wrong, based on this or that thing they heard, or expert opinion they think they have.  I have really jacked up foot and lower leg anatomy myself, so I've had to pay some of the best boot gurus over the years and had many discussions with them, and I feel I have a pretty good understanding, yet I still do not feel comfortable doing much more than checking to make sure boots are buckled properly and if I see alignment issues, refer them to a real boot fitter.

 

Perhaps boot certification would be a great addition to PSIA.  At a bare minimum instructors should know how to MA and evaluate boot performance.  Watch for alignment issues, watch for fore/aft boot issues, flex issues, etc.  Well Bud is going to come up with a very comprehensive list, I can't wait to see it.  Why can't this become official part of certification?  I think it would be just outstanding. 

 

My personal opinion is that ski instructors should not mess with anyone's boots or bindings on the spot, unless they are certified to do so.  I do think that clinics which include people like Bud to show up and bring real boot expertise are just simply in one word..."awesome".  It would be great if resorts adopted this strategy for all multi-day lesson products in order to make some quick adjustments, recommend deeper adjustments and perhaps improve the lesson experience.  But I think most ski instructors are simply not qualified to make those kinds of adjustments and probably should not do so unless they truly are qualified.  Perhaps a certification process could be proceduralized enough to make it possible for some minimal adjustments on the spot, but I'm doubtful about that.

 

At my current hill, we are not allowed to adjust bindings for liability reasons and even though they may not say it, I guess we'd be open to similar liability if we stuffed a trail map down the side of someone's boot and they ended up tearing an ACL.  We can help them tighten or loosen their boot buckles and we can direct them to a boot fitter, but that's about it.  Liability.  Pierre is right, its a real and valid concern.  

 

Resorts need to be more proactive about addressing this need and have qualified boot people standing by with tools and quick fix methodologies to get a group off and running, while also giving students recommendations for further adjustments back at a boot shop later.  I've seen some excellent clinics where boot masters work together with high level instructors to identify boot issues and do as above, but they are usually one off clinics that happen only once or twice a year.   I could even see a few hours back at a shop at the end of the first day where everyone gets some basic simple adjustments that are possible in that time frame.  I've seen some clever approaches for quick adjustments that don't require a full race canting setup.

I believe there is lots of room for education and training instructors to know what symptoms to look for and how to do simple assessments and make suggestions.  There is little need for instructors to modify equipment.  This can be handed off to the boot fitter.  I too agree this should be part of the certification process and have been pushing for setting a standard of understanding with written test questions and practical understanding on hill to be integrated into the certification process but have received zero love on the topic.  I keep trying.

post #42 of 75

I can speak to this topic with quite a bit of experience. I helped developed and ran just such a program within the Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen/Snowmass for several years. We went out and skied with clients, videotaped them running through a series of on snow drills designed to illuminate stance and balance issues. We then went indoors and went through a thorough assessment of their biomechanics and equipment, we made changes based on the information and went back out and repeated the exercises, again with video. 

 

The results were in many cases, quite remarkable. If you change the way someone stands, you change the way they move. Without even asking them to move differently, they just do.

 

You can make almost anyone ski better or worse, with quite predictable results, depending on what you do to them.  The program ended because it was difficult to charge enough to operate profitably. Even in Aspen.

 

I can't tell you how many times I've watched video of someone who started every turn to the left by swinging their right arm across their chest, totally lose the move, without being told, just by changing the way their body and the equipment interacts. Or someone who didn't do that, adopt the move because now it worked.

 

We generate a huge amount of our business through Ski Pros who can recognize when their clients have stance and balance issues. It makes for a great relationship for everyone involved.

The client skis better and more comfortably, the Ski Pro can give more effective coaching, as they no longer have to deal with compensatory movements, and my business achieves it's goal of helping more people achieve their athletic potential.

 

Experimenting with cant chips can be a very short term attempt to show a client that their experience on skis can be different but it doesn't tell you that's what they need. It only tells you they can be different.

 

It is also likely to be strongly discouraged by your Ski School Director and rightly so. Interacting with the the boot binding interface is not child's play. Unless your'e a lawyer. In that case, it's probably pretty easy.

 

Our industry is becoming increasingly aware and tolerant of this work when it is applied accurately. Find, encourage, or develope resources in your own areas.

 

I do a bit of training and public speaking within the industry, and I can't count how many times a Retailer or Ski Instructor or Product Manager from somewhere else has said to me "Well sure, in a place like Aspen, but our customers, they wouldn't think of spending an extra $400 on top of the price of their boots."

 

I always respond the same way "That's curious, because your customer was in my store just the other day and thought it was the best $400 they had spent on their skiing."

 

If as an Instructor, you spend a lot of time tinkering with your client's stance most likely you will fall into the inevitable and predictable trap of believing everyone needs the same thing because it make them all look the same. It doesn't mean they all function better, they just look similar.

 

It isn't something you can dabble in because you don't see enough variations to recognize the patterns. And to create a consistent evaluation protocol that minimizes subjectivity, requires lots of understanding and tooling and experience. 

 

Cooperation and interaction between the athlete, the coach and the serviceman is always the best way to do business. At least in my experience.

 

jl

post #43 of 75

"The program ended because it was difficult to charge enough to operate profitably."

 

And there in lies the problem.

 

I find the whole alignment & fitting process fascinating.  I've also benefited greatly because of it.  It involved boots, with shims and me doing physical therapy (functional movement).  I still have a couple issue that won't go away but I have been able to minimize them greatly and what is left is easily compensated for.

 

I've always felt that where this is most needed is when folks start out, but those are also the people that are the least likely to cough up that kind of money.  I know that I was one of them.  Just 7 years ago I was cutting every corner and trying to garnish every deal in hopes of making this affordable.  After wasting all that money on "great deals", I now understand how much cheaper it is to invest wisely in those that really know what they are doing.  And the price tag isn't for the squeamish!

 

With so few people willing to go to such lengths, and it isn't really affordable on most ski instructors pay, how does the industry get them motivated to even do it for themselves let alone their clients?

 

PSIA E offers early season clinics on alignment and functional movement which is great!  I hope to attend next season (too much to do this season already).

 

It comes down to what people want out of it.  Some folks just want in inexpensive car with great gas mileage to get back and for from work.  Others want to go to work in style and still others want performance over style or mileage.  It's hard to get a mileage person to invest in a high end sports car until they have made a change in their priorities.

 

Ken

post #44 of 75
As a L3 instructor I think lateral issues get most of the focus. A simple way to check for proper fit fore aft is to have the client hop on one leg on a flat surface and see if the are landing flat or on the toe or heel. A great deal of skiers me included have too little Dorsi flexion to match to the excessive forward lean built into most boots.

This is easy to fix with a simple heel lift and getting rid of the rear spoiler on most high end boots.

When they hop also check to see if they are able to flex their ankles and soften the boot if needed.
post #45 of 75

Thank you, I was wondering how to check that!

post #46 of 75
Not sure I understand the landing. Is it SUPPOSED to be flat? I know without a boot, I'd land on the toe end, the ball of my foot. With a boot, I'd land on my ass.
Edited by sibhusky - 11/2/13 at 10:57am
post #47 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Not sure I understand the landing. Is it SUPPOSED to be flat? I know without a boot, I'd land on my toe. With a boot, I'd land on my ass.

 

I've been wondering the same thing.  It takes re-training to land flat-footed, with skis flat, onto snow.   I've been working on this in the basement this summer, skis and boots on, hopping in front of mirrors. (Yeah, I know I know.....)

 

My natural inclination, barefooted in the house or in sneakers hopping up and down, box jumping, etc., is to land on the ball of foot and absorb from there.  I don't think that's odd, but it might be.

post #48 of 75
You're right, should have said ball of foot.
post #49 of 75
You want to be landing flat on the boot sole

If you lack Dorsi flexion add heal lifts until flat landing

The rare super flexible person would need to add toe lifts to land flat

If you lack flexion the boots forward lean is more than you have flex you will have a hard time achieving proper range of flex and extend.
post #50 of 75
Let me rephrase that

Te goal for good fore aft position in the boot The person hopping should as if they are landing on te ball of e foot but because a ski boot sole does not bend like a shoe would the observer old see the boot landing flat

Ideally you need to observe and ask where they feel the landing
post #51 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach Z View Post

You want to be landing flat on the boot sole

If you lack Dorsi flexion add heal lifts until flat landing

The rare super flexible person would need to add toe lifts to land flat

If you lack flexion the boots forward lean is more than you have flex you will have a hard time achieving proper range of flex and extend.

So Coach, I've got boots with a lot of forward lean, and I have super dooper dorsiflexion.  I can almost get my knee to the floor.

I land tips to the floor every time.  I have to work real hard to land with skis flat.  

When I jump and land without ski boots and skis, I also land on the balls of my feet.

 

What would you propose for this?   Practice with determination and resolve until flat-footed landings are ingrained? Or boot adjustments from my (very capable) bootfitter, with whom I will have an annaul appt sometime in late Dec?

post #52 of 75
If you have a lot of dorsiflection get stiffer boots which will not allow you to bend your ankles that much.
post #53 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

So Coach, I've got boots with a lot of forward lean, and I have super dooper dorsiflexion.  I can almost get my knee to the floor.

I land tips to the floor every time.  I have to work real hard to land with skis flat.  

When I jump and land without ski boots and skis, I also land on the balls of my feet.

 

What would you propose for this?   Practice with determination and resolve until flat-footed landings are ingrained? Or boot adjustments from my (very capable) bootfitter, with whom I will have an annaul appt sometime in late Dec?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach Z View Post

You want to be landing flat on the boot sole

If you lack Dorsi flexion add heal lifts until flat landing

The rare super flexible person would need to add toe lifts to land flat

If you lack flexion the boots forward lean is more than you have flex you will have a hard time achieving proper range of flex and extend.

 

My youngest daughter has this same issue (hyper dorsiflexion) and gets toe lifts.

post #54 of 75
I would go with toe lifts

Look for boots with lots of forward lean too

Stiffer boats within reason as long as you have heft to fed them also would work
post #55 of 75
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks for all the thoughtful replies! I think I'll avoid doing on-snow adjustments myself--just being able to detect issues is probably a good starting point. 

 

I appreciate the thoughts as well on considering the ski and its tune. I see a lot of people on dull skis with dried out bases. The result is skiers have less confidence, particularly on ice, a tendency to fight the equipment (e.g. if bases don't glide), and consequent limitations in development potential (the fight with the gear shifts focus away from getting the benefits of a development activity). 

 

So basically, I see equipment and alignment as a prerequisite for (or at least impacting) technique and tactic development.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Speeder View Post
 

Reputable boot fitter in Toronto? I'd like to have the name of that person!

 

I've been away for 4 years, but I remember having success with Norm at Sign of the Skier. Before the season starts, I'm going to check with other instructors for opinions on staff at Corbetts and Skiis & Biikes as well, and then meet up with the bootfitters to work out the particulars of how to apply on-snow assessments (or if they can even come to the hill on some days). 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

But boots are so integral to skiing that unless there's a reason based on the instructor's observations, checking someone's buckles at any level beyond five is pretty superfluous.

 

I see your concern about patronizing your learners. While people are fully capable of buckling their own boots, it's possible to be a good skier yet still ski with loose cuffs  -- I did so through to step 7/8. It wasn't until several hundred lessons/sessions that a course conductor checked our boots for performance fits. By snugging up the cuff, you can leverage more force through the boot. That change was necessary for me to manage the forces at higher speeds. So if I was able to ski for years without a performance fit, I suspect a lot of other skiers do too. I just want to take them to the next level of performance. That's how I intend to frame it, anyway :) It's also maybe a 2-5 minute discussion during the warm-up.

post #56 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach Z View Post

As a L3 instructor I think lateral issues get most of the focus. A simple way to check for proper fit fore aft is to have the client hop on one leg on a flat surface and see if the are landing flat or on the toe or heel. A great deal of skiers me included have too little Dorsi flexion to match to the excessive forward lean built into most boots.

This is easy to fix with a simple heel lift and getting rid of the rear spoiler on most high end boots.

When they hop also check to see if they are able to flex their ankles and soften the boot if needed.

Not buying this methodolgy, sorry.  

 

Also you have not even considered the affect of the binding delta or mount position in your conclusion.  They both affect fore/aft balance.


Edited by bud heishman - 11/2/13 at 9:23pm
post #57 of 75

 The common methodology for assessing and adjusting fore/aft balance is to first assess ankle dorsiflexion.  If it is on the limited side we open the net forward lean angle of the boot by increasing the ramp angle and or reducing the cuff forward lean angle to open the ankle joint.  If it is on the hyper mobile side we close the ankle joint by increasing the forward lean of the cuff and perhaps dropping the ramp angle slightly to close the ankle joint.  Changing the internal angles of the boot is done first before assessing and modifying the lower leg angle.

   The delta angle is then adjusted to modify lower leg angle and where the knees plumb over the toes when the skier is clicked into the bindings.  In general the goal here is to match lower leg angle and spine angle in dynamic motion.  If the knees are too far forward, in front of the toes, the skier will be unable to pressure the tips effectively and unable to extend fully, and ski in a hips aft manner to counter balance.  Conversely, if the lower leg angle is too vertical the skier will be unable to flex the ankles effectively and need to compensate by flexing excessively from the waist to find balance.  Optimally, I look for a starting static alignment with knees plumbing over the tip of the boots when standing cuff neutral, then go test dynamically with small shims between binding and boot before making final tweaks.  Remember the delta angle is affected by boot sole length and binding stand height differentials.

   Remember lifting the heels or toes inside the boot vs. outside the boot affect different parameters and are not interchangeable.  Inside the boot we affect opening or closing the ankle joint, outside the boot lifting the toes or heels affects lower leg angle and where the knee plumbs, affecting body position.   

   Lastly, the binding mount position has noticeable affects on fore/aft balance.  To illustrate this point consider some of the mounting positions on todays powder specific skis vs. the center mounted park n pipe skis which are set up to ski switch as affectively as skiing forward.  Have you ever noticed how the park rats ski in a very upright spine position with their hands by their sides?  At first glance this may seem like a "cool" statement or chosen style but upon closer scrutiny we realize the center mounted skis move the sweet spot aft which is why these skiers assume this body position.  They are simply subconsciously balancing over the sweet spot of their skis.  Conversely, powder mounts are behind the sweet spot to allow more tip floatation without the need to sit back.  This permits the skier to stand more neutrally in powder but on firmer snow the ski will require more tip pressure to initiate turning.

   So again we must consider four parameters, (ramp, forward lean, delta, and binding mount position), when assessing and adjusting fore/aft balance.  Using this methodology in this order seems to achieve the best results for me.

post #58 of 75

Bud I think you were a bit hard on Coach Z there.  I clearly understand your desire to stamp out the harmful myths that pervade quick fix alignments.  I consider any quick fixes to be for demonstration purposes and improving the current lesson only. I am very clear about temporary fixes being temporary.

 

Coach Z may very well get some improvements with his approach but, I will fault Coach Z for making blanket statements without clarification or caution.

 

I am not sure his jump test really shows anything definitive other than gross balance although I am going to play with that one.

 

Both ankle joint and external leg angles can be affected by putting in heel lifts in the case where there is a substantial wedge shape to the leg at the top of the boot cuff such as having part of the calf muscle down in rear cuff area.  Heel lift can raise the calf muscle and reduce the effective forward lean.  Because heel lifts affect  ramp, fit and ankle range of motion a good working knowledge is needed.

 

Removing spoilers can effect external and to a small degree internal ankle angles if the leg is wedge shaped around the spoiler area.

 

Coach Z does make single point use statements about heel lifts without a clarification of when to use them.  The primary use of a heel lift is not to affect forward lean.   Although Coach Z might know more than what he has written, the problem with blanket use of heel lifts when trying to effect external angles is, the possibility of unlocking the midfoot in some skiers with undesirable results. The wrong application of heel lifts may improve he eye look of a skiers stance and might even improve the jump test while at the same time, substantially decreasing edge control and dynamic balance. Negative feedback from the skier you are trying to help is a good indication that you blew it.

 

Bottom line, unless you have a good working knowledge of the effects of the temporary changes that you are thinking about. it is best not to give quick temporary fix advice. When you toss in delta and binding mount position it makes it tough for anyone to assess someone's fore/aft stance purely by external angles and muscle fatigue First rule is do no harm to yourself or the person you are trying to help.

 

I would like to clarify one point from Bud's response that may not be clear to some.  Adjustment of the forward lean angle of the boot cuff effects both the angle of the ankle joint and the external angles of the leg as well as boot fit. All have to be considered when making that adjustment.

post #59 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speeder View Post

Reputable boot fitter in Toronto? I'd like to have the name of that person!
I remember one guy about 5 years ago but he's gone now.
Please share the name Metaphor. You are talking about a real person right?
Arnold at Gates and Boards in Barrie. Just spent one hour and a half fitting myself and older son on new boots, aligning, punching, footbeds and all.
post #60 of 75

I agree with both Bud and Pierre that i did in fact over simplfy the issue.  We could get together for a beer and bore everyone else around us to tears talking about this stuff.  The reason I did simplfy is that the thread is about taking this topic out on the hill in your teaching.  Mounting changes and measuring delta and other angles are really inside topics that are not well suited to a 2 or 3 hour private lesson.  I assume that most of my clients skis are mounted with the mid sole mark over the skis mid mark especially since the vast majority of eastern skiers are skiing on system bindings today which can me confirmed just by looking at what they are skiing on.

 

Figure 1 and 2 is a great diagram in the below link on this topic for newbies to it.  This was written by Greg Hoffman

http://www.32degreesmagazine.org/32degrees/fall2010?pg=62&search_term=ramp angle&doc_id=-1&search_term=ramp angle#pg64

 

There was a much more detailed article in the older back issues of Professional Skeir that talked about how to technically measre the angles.  I had those used on me for boot fitting in the past.  More recently I have used a different boot fitter that introduced me to the hopping method as a check once the heal lift is installed to make sure the degree of lift is correct and feel right to the skier.  I have used this in lessons I know its a simplification and not a substitute for a proper boot fitting but it does work well on the snow for me.  From there I refer my clients to my bootfitter or ask them to find one in the area where they live.

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