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On skiing in the Canadian crouch

post #1 of 94
Thread Starter 

I took a clinic at Tremblant the other day with some other instructors. I was a bit mystified by a few things. The biggest shocker was the course conductor insisted that the Canadian crouch is the strongest skiing stance. Not just crouch, but practically butt in the air and doubled over at the waist. I initially commented that I disagreed. The conductor demonstrated his theory by having us all take our skis off, stand in our boots, close our eyes, and then push us from different directions. His logic was he couldn't push anybody over--so the stance must be the strongest for skiing! 

 

I didn't want to be perceived as difficult, so I didn't comment further. But I see issues with this premise: 

  • When we're skiing, our base of support is already huge! We can move our skis back and forth under our body to manage any tugging that happens. So herculean stability isn't necessary, but adaptability is. I'm actually envisioning that this stance could limit our range of motion fore-aft since now there's very little room to bring the skis backwards. 
  • This pushing exercise didn't take into account the need for pressure control. If your butt's practically in the air, and you hit a bump, you're gone.
  • Chest over knees is bad news for our knees. 
  • When you're doubled over, your lower back is now absorbing all the shock from your upper body. 

 

So... am I crazy? I could understand if the advice was to explore moving through this stance, but that's not what the course conductor was saying. He was literally touting the Canadian crouch as the optimum stance for skiing. The idea was not open for negotiation or reinterpretation. I also do see a lot of lower level instructors doubled over at the waist out here. What in the world was going on? I'm open to integrating new knowledge, but the idea that the crouch should be our go-to stance just seems alien to me. 

post #2 of 94

Not an instructor here, but you've got me intrigued.  I Googled "Canadian crouch" and the only reference to skiing that came up was this thread.  What is this "crouch?"

post #3 of 94

The beauty of crazy stuff that is just plain wrong is that there is usually some truth buried in there somewhere. It is bad form to make your clinician look bad so you did good. The reason PSIA likes a tall skiing stance is that it uses the skeleton for support more than muscles. Using muscles for support works and may be "stronger". But it takes more energy. If you are looking for a workout, using more energy is a good thing. To each his own. Now, hunched over is also more aerodynamic. That's faster. If faster is better, then there you go. If you ask me, I say that there is a reason downhill skiers hunch over (i.e. the tuck position) and slalom skiers don't. If hunched is the optimum stance for skiing, they'd both ski that way, I wonder why your coach did not try to disrupt your balance in the vertical plane? I've never seen a pro bump skier ski bumps in a crouch. Go figure, huh?

 

Now I've always seen the Canadian crouch as "hunched shoulders" vs bent over at the waist. This means the line of the back starts to curve forward around the shoulder blades instead of a perfectly straight back. My first reaction to this is that the difference is so slight that it shouldn't make a big difference. It might be a significant difference in racing where hundredths of a second can matter. My second reaction is that rolling those shoulder might slightly increase forward pressure and slightly improve aerodynamics at a cost of some muscular effort. 

 

So on the slopes I'd listen to what your coach said and try to find the elements of truth in it. And in the bar, I'd ask your friend to share what he's been smoking, because it appears to be really powerful stuff. And if I needed some cash, I'd bet against him in a mogul comp (as long as head to ski the bumps hunched over).

post #4 of 94

What about something like left side of chest to left thigh while turning left? 

post #5 of 94
Thread Starter 

rusty, yeah, I've misrepresented the Canadian crouch with my description, as that's usually just described as the rolling of the shoulders and a bit of a "punch to the gut". I'm not opposed to a gentle curving as the theory is it helps distribute the load over joints rather than creating one hinge point. However, this crouch was extreme and, now that you mention it, did look more like a tuck. It was also unusual for a clinic leader to tell participants to ski in a specific position. The only possibility I can come up with is we had some stiff guys in the group, and perhaps exaggerating the stance was the only way the clinic leader felt he could start to get them to round out. Were that the case, it would have been fair to say "we're doing this so that some folks get a feel for one extremity of a range of motion".  :dunno

 

I can see that situationally even a good skier could wind up doubled over... but as a go-to stance for skiing dynamic turns? erm

post #6 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

The beauty of crazy stuff that is just plain wrong is that there is usually some truth buried in there somewhere. It is bad form to make your clinician look bad so you did good. The reason PSIA likes a tall skiing stance is that it uses the skeleton for support more than muscles. Using muscles for support works and may be "stronger". But it takes more energy. If you are looking for a workout, using more energy is a good thing. To each his own. Now, hunched over is also more aerodynamic. That's faster. If faster is better, then there you go. If you ask me, I say that there is a reason downhill skiers hunch over (i.e. the tuck position) and slalom skiers don't. If hunched is the optimum stance for skiing, they'd both ski that way, I wonder why your coach did not try to disrupt your balance in the vertical plane? I've never seen a pro bump skier ski bumps in a crouch. Go figure, huh?

 

Now I've always seen the Canadian crouch as "hunched shoulders" vs bent over at the waist. This means the line of the back starts to curve forward around the shoulder blades instead of a perfectly straight back. My first reaction to this is that the difference is so slight that it shouldn't make a big difference. It might be a significant difference in racing where hundredths of a second can matter. My second reaction is that rolling those shoulder might slightly increase forward pressure and slightly improve aerodynamics at a cost of some muscular effort. 

 

So on the slopes I'd listen to what your coach said and try to find the elements of truth in it. And in the bar, I'd ask your friend to share what he's been smoking, because it appears to be really powerful stuff. And if I needed some cash, I'd bet against him in a mogul comp (as long as head to ski the bumps hunched over).

what about new skier who ski hunched over, are they trying to go faster?

 

I am still trying to figure out how someone skis with their skeleton and without muscles?

post #7 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by chad View Post
 

I am still trying to figure out how someone skis with their skeleton and without muscles?

I suppose if you ski hunched enough you are supporting yourself with the spine, not the muscles. kind of like a teenager sitting like a sack of potatoes on a chair. In an athletic stance you use the muscles to stabilize the spine but you are still using both for support. 

 

I have never believed in overly hunched stances. 

post #8 of 94
This sounds very odd and not in keeping with CSIA coaches I've come across who are generally very open to individualism whilst advocating the fundamentals of the Canadian approach. I'm sure you've seen many videos of CSIA instructors and this video is fairly typical: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1IXMk6uSAU Note at about 1:14 how upright the skier is; lower speed, less dynamic turning. The hunch is distinctly Canadian but is also functional and very strong and dynamic. I've never come across anyone skiing with their butt in the air etc. Very strange experience!
post #9 of 94

I was CSIA Level III back in the 70's and 80's and they never advocated any such form and described in the beginning of this tread.  However, they did encourage a slight rounding of the shoulders and an aggressive upper body position in high end dynamic skiing.  So, the Canadian "hunch" as you call it, is no different than what PSIA is talking about these days where the upper body angle is in line with the lower angle.  We were doing that in Canada back in the 70's

post #10 of 94

It's why we have the best abs in the ski business...the Canadian Crunch.


I would imagine it was just a development tactic, as the way we as conductors are looking at things, is function and form. If the requirement is for a strong athletic position and the snow conditions are firm, then maybe a 'crouch' might be better suited, if I'm skiing snowplugh turns, my use of joints changes...think about your 'functional' use of all joints, what is the function he wanted you to perform and then was the way he changed the 'form' helping the group get closer to that function. 

post #11 of 94

How dynamic can the extensors be when someone is told to hold their trunk flexors tight all the time?

post #12 of 94

As a general rule, expert Canadian instructors tend to ski a bit lower and emphasize flex a bit more consistently than their American counterparts.  Both "home bases" are functional.  The Canadian style may be more effective in heavy crud-type snow.   The technique advocated in this clinic, however, does not sound functional if it is being suggested as good fundamental skiing.


Edited by mike_m - 12/10/13 at 9:46pm
post #13 of 94
Quote:
 So... am I crazy?

Yes.  You were crazy to stick with that clinic after something that bad was demonstrated.  If it happens again, just say goodbye and ski away.

post #14 of 94

Cool, can we go off-topic now? My question for you is how does language work when doing a CSIA clinic in Quebec? Do you guys split your groups by language, or just pick one and everybody has to (try to) understand and be understood, or are the clinicians all bilingual and do the clinic in French and English? Better have some great demos I guess.

post #15 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

Cool, can we go off-topic now? My question for you is how does language work when doing a CSIA clinic in Quebec? Do you guys split your groups by language, or just pick one and everybody has to (try to) understand and be understood, or are the clinicians all bilingual and do the clinic in French and English? Better have some great demos I guess.

 

English clinics for anglophones, French clinics for francophones, and never the twain shall meet. (Bilingual folks get the best of both worlds. There are a number of bilingual instructors at Tremblant who can teach English or French lessons.) Clinics organized by the CSIA in Quebec are specified as one language or the other, though I gather they're basically French outside of the ones at Mont Tremblant. Lessons can be hard to get in English outside of the big mountains, as jzmtl has experienced. 

post #16 of 94
He should not be allowed to conduct courses. He either truly believes that or couldn't explain what he meant.

The reason beginners and.... I guess some course conductors... bend excessively at the hips is because they have not yet discovered counter-rotation / separation. It is explained in that physics of skiing book. The stuff about stability is made up explanation. Unless he is a downhiller going over some rolls or rough, he should try to balance dynamically on the skis, not be stable in one place.

Try to think back - did he show good counter in his skiing? Or, more interesting, was he truly skiing like a sumo wrestler? That would be a youtube moment...

It is really annoying - I see a lot of people preaching stuff they themselves would never do!!! Oh, be wide, but look at me, my feet are glued!

Edit: here is the book i mentioned: http://www.racerkidz.com/wiki/Blog:Razie_Ski_Blog/Post:The_Physics_of_Skiing find it at the local library.
Edited by razie - 12/10/13 at 7:08pm
post #17 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by razie View Post

He should not be allowed to conduct courses. He either truly believes that or couldn't explain what he meant.

The reason beginners and.... I guess some course conductors... bend over at the hips is because they have not yet discovered counter-rotation / separation. It is explained in that physics of skiing book. The stuff about stability is made up explanation. Unless he is a downhiller going over some rolls or rough, he should try to balance dynamically on the skis, not be stable in one place.

Try to think back - did he show good counter in his skiing? Or, more interesting, was he truly skiing like a sumo wrestler? That would be a youtube moment...

It is really annoying - I see a lot of people preaching stuff they themselves would never do!!! Oh, be wide, but look at me, my feet are glued!

wow.

post #18 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo87 View Post

wow.
He is in a position to spread this "Sumo" virus... He is actively doing it... How do you stop an epidemic?
post #19 of 94
For instance, a level 4 http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HksUKdwdT4Y

He never actually skis as wide as he shows it to be when static, in the entire clip. I do appreciate his tips, i like his skiing - i wish i was close, but he does the same thing: show it wider in a static demo than he himself ever skis - it is possible it is done for effect? By the way, related - does he seem to ever bend much at the hips?

And his static demo is decent, quite ok, it is not really sumo or some wide or canadian crouch resisting being pushed sideways by someone.

Also related: notice the A frame as soon as he opens it up early?

Edit: just a note - slalom skiers do not open up for stability, they open up so the skis don't get in the way as they get out of balance. A slalom skier probably never has anything close to 50-50 weight distribution while weighting the skis - what does stability even mean in that context?
Edited by razie - 12/10/13 at 8:24pm
post #20 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by razie View Post

For instance, a level 4 http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HksUKdwdT4Y

He never actually skis as wide as he shows it to be when static, in the entire clip. I do appreciate his tips, i like his skiing - i wish i was close, but he does the same thing: show it wider in a static demo than he himself ever skis - it is possible it is done for effect? By the way, related - does he seem to ever bend much at the hips?

And his static demo is decent, quite ok, it is not really sumo or some wide or canadian crouch resisting being pushed sideways by someone.

Also related: notice the A frame as soon as he opens it up early?

Edit: just a note - slalom skiers do not open up for stability, they open up so the skis don't get in the way as they get out of balance. A slalom skier probably never has anything close to 50-50 weight distribution while weighting the skis - what does stability even mean in that context?

Maybe not, but that doesn't mean you don't try to keep some pressure on both skis and transfer it back and forth.  At times you may need to put 100% on one foot, but you will have to transfer pressure to the other ski at some point.  I think 80/20 and that gives me a 20% leeway to adapt. 

post #21 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrudBuster View Post

Nope, but that doesn't mean you don't try to keep some pressure on both skis and transfer it back and forth.  At times you may need to put 100% on one foot, but will have to transfer pressure to the other ski at some point.  I think 80/20 and that gives me a 20% leeway to adapt. 
question was: What does stability mean in the context of even an extreme 80/20? Is someone going to push you sideways? At what moment in the turn are you stable? For how long? What does it mean "stable" ?
post #22 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by razie View Post


question was: What does stability mean in the context of even an extreme 80/20? Is someone going to push you sideways? At what moment in the turn are you stable? For how long? What does it mean "stable" ?

I thought I was over thinking things.  haha

It gives you more options. 

That someone pushing is you.  Perfect balance in dynamic skiing is fleeting. 

post #23 of 94

I just had another thought.  It could mean being progressive.  My intent overrides this often.

post #24 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamt View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chad View Post
 

I am still trying to figure out how someone skis with their skeleton and without muscles?

I suppose if you ski hunched enough you are supporting yourself with the spine, not the muscles. kind of like a teenager sitting like a sack of potatoes on a chair. In an athletic stance you use the muscles to stabilize the spine but you are still using both for support. 

 

Not even close.

 

Here's the idea: if the skeleton is "stacked", then weight on the bones will be supported in the same manner that a bridge rests on the supports in the middle vs a bridge with no middle support, If the body is hunched over at the waist, then muscles need to work to keep the upper body from falling to the ground because the spine is not resting atop the bones in the lower body. To the extent that the skeleton supports weight, the muscles are doing less work. To the extent that the teenager's weight is supported by the chair (instead of the skeleton), the teenager is doing even less work. Does this give new insight into the phrase "carrying your own weight"?

 

Quote:
 
I have never believed in overly hunched stances. 

Right on the money.

post #25 of 94
I would have thought jamt will quote Newton... I will: "A joint that is bent requires more muscle force to maintain the body load than a joint that is more straitened, especially when skiing" I am sure sir Isaac said,that,or aluded to it.

as it happens, I am skiing 20cm of chopped up powder right now and I am most in balance with a lot of early counter-rotation and all weight on the outside ski. Something else I should try, to be more "stable"? I tried the Sumo stance and had trouble keeping both skis under me...
post #26 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by razie View Post

as it happens, I am skiing 20cm of chopped up powder right now and I am most in balance with a lot of early counter-rotation and all weight on the outside ski. Something else I should try, to be more "stable"? I tried the Sumo stance and had trouble keeping both skis under me...

Function vs form.

Sumo stance form is not for the function of skiing 20cm of chopped pow. This is why you won't see anyone using it, and why you would have struggled. 

If Bode wants to go faster through a super G turn, he has his leg long and strong, the bending of the joints is proportional for the desired outcome. As is his stance width (wide)

If he's skiing a bump course he needs to have more knee bend, and perhaps less ankle. Bending is proportionate for the desired outcome, as is he stance width (narrow).

Skiing is dynamic, you are consistently changing and making adjustments, to point blank say that the 'sumo' stance is wrong is just short sighted.

The sumo stance is wrong for: Bumps, Powder, Snot, Gentle slopes, steep slopes, etc, but is correct for the type of turn the course conductor was aiming for in his drill/feeling for his students, who we incidentally have not seen ski, so have no idea what their stances look like, and furthermore what the overall goal or performance on snow was going to be. 

There is no one stance, as there is no one condition, one steepness and one turn size. Look outside the box, and realize this.

If you can bear it, watch this video around the 1:00 mark, and the discussion of stance is explained well by a CSIA examiner, who I'm sure ski's a 'sumo' stance when the time is right:

post #27 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Not even close.

 

Here's the idea: if the skeleton is "stacked", then weight on the bones will be supported in the same manner that a bridge rests on the supports in the middle vs a bridge with no middle support, If the body is hunched over at the waist, then muscles need to work to keep the upper body from falling to the ground because the spine is not resting atop the bones in the lower body. To the extent that the skeleton supports weight, the muscles are doing less work. To the extent that the teenager's weight is supported by the chair (instead of the skeleton), the teenager is doing even less work. Does this give new insight into the phrase "carrying your own weight"?

 

Right on the money.

Which is really my point, the muscles always work. Why aren't they spending time teaching people how to self assess where and how they can reduce tone. a person can ski stick straight and still be using excessive effort.  It is funny because the bones don't even touch, well, they can, but that is what most people are trying to avoid

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo87 View Post
 

Function vs form.

Sumo stance form is not for the function of skiing 20cm of chopped pow. This is why you won't see anyone using it, and why you would have struggled. 

If Bode wants to go faster through a super G turn, he has his leg long and strong, the bending of the joints is proportional for the desired outcome. As is his stance width (wide)

If he's skiing a bump course he needs to have more knee bend, and perhaps less ankle. Bending is proportionate for the desired outcome, as is he stance width (narrow).

Skiing is dynamic, you are consistently changing and making adjustments, to point blank say that the 'sumo' stance is wrong is just short sighted.

The sumo stance is wrong for: Bumps, Powder, Snot, Gentle slopes, steep slopes, etc, but is correct for the type of turn the course conductor was aiming for in his drill/feeling for his students, who we incidentally have not seen ski, so have no idea what their stances look like, and furthermore what the overall goal or performance on snow was going to be. 

There is no one stance, as there is no one condition, one steepness and one turn size. Look outside the box, and realize this.

If you can bear it, watch this video around the 1:00 mark, and the discussion of stance is explained well by a CSIA examiner, who I'm sure ski's a 'sumo' stance when the time is right:

 

 why dictate a "canadian crunch" or any other fixed posture for that matter, why intend to activate something that may or may not need excessive tone, to stay dynamic it would seem to make more sense to not have to shut something off before I need to activate something else.

post #28 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Not even close.

 

Here's the idea: if the skeleton is "stacked", then weight on the bones will be supported in the same manner that a bridge rests on the supports in the middle vs a bridge with no middle support, If the body is hunched over at the waist, then muscles need to work to keep the upper body from falling to the ground because the spine is not resting atop the bones in the lower body. To the extent that the skeleton supports weight, the muscles are doing less work. To the extent that the teenager's weight is supported by the chair (instead of the skeleton), the teenager is doing even less work. Does this give new insight into the phrase "carrying your own weight"?

 

Right on the money.

less, yes.  so its a measure of tone that matters.  the bones don't even touch, so why not re orient to training people how to assess what more or less tone feels like

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo87 View Post
 

Function vs form.

Sumo stance form is not for the function of skiing 20cm of chopped pow. This is why you won't see anyone using it, and why you would have struggled. 

If Bode wants to go faster through a super G turn, he has his leg long and strong, the bending of the joints is proportional for the desired outcome. As is his stance width (wide)

If he's skiing a bump course he needs to have more knee bend, and perhaps less ankle. Bending is proportionate for the desired outcome, as is he stance width (narrow).

Skiing is dynamic, you are consistently changing and making adjustments, to point blank say that the 'sumo' stance is wrong is just short sighted.

The sumo stance is wrong for: Bumps, Powder, Snot, Gentle slopes, steep slopes, etc, but is correct for the type of turn the course conductor was aiming for in his drill/feeling for his students, who we incidentally have not seen ski, so have no idea what their stances look like, and furthermore what the overall goal or performance on snow was going to be. 

There is no one stance, as there is no one condition, one steepness and one turn size. Look outside the box, and realize this.

If you can bear it, watch this video around the 1:00 mark, and the discussion of stance is explained well by a CSIA examiner, who I'm sure ski's a 'sumo' stance when the time is right:

so it would seem that any over effort would be a detriment to this fact above. including skiing around in a crunch.

post #29 of 94
Rolo, i hear you. Dynamic is the keyword. However, here is what Metafor said:
Quote:
He was literally touting the Canadian crouch as the optimum stance for skiing. The idea was not open for negotiation or reinterpretation. I also do see a lot of lower level instructors doubled over at the waist out here. What in the world was going on? I'm open to integrating new knowledge, but the idea that the crouch should be our go-to stance just seems alien to me.
you can read my comments again, in that context.

I still disagree - the sumo stance should not even be mentioned, let alone preached.

Speed, meaning super g and faster is a different beast. I have my DL speed coaching certification, no serious experience though, for completeness.

Cheers

Efit: hey, you are a level 4, maybe find out who that was and have a 'friendly' chat with him...
post #30 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

I took a clinic at Tremblant the other day with some other instructors. I was a bit mystified by a few things. The biggest shocker was the course conductor insisted that the Canadian crouch is the strongest skiing stance. Not just crouch, but practically butt in the air and doubled over at the waist. I initially commented that I disagreed. The conductor demonstrated his theory by having us all take our skis off, stand in our boots, close our eyes, and then push us from different directions. His logic was he couldn't push anybody over--so the stance must be the strongest for skiing! 

 

I didn't want to be perceived as difficult, so I didn't comment further. But I see issues with this premise: 

  • When we're skiing, our base of support is already huge! We can move our skis back and forth under our body to manage any tugging that happens. So herculean stability isn't necessary, but adaptability is. I'm actually envisioning that this stance could limit our range of motion fore-aft since now there's very little room to bring the skis backwards. 
  • This pushing exercise didn't take into account the need for pressure control. If your butt's practically in the air, and you hit a bump, you're gone.
  • Chest over knees is bad news for our knees. 
  • When you're doubled over, your lower back is now absorbing all the shock from your upper body. 

 

So... am I crazy? I could understand if the advice was to explore moving through this stance, but that's not what the course conductor was saying. He was literally touting the Canadian crouch as the optimum stance for skiing. The idea was not open for negotiation or reinterpretation. I also do see a lot of lower level instructors doubled over at the waist out here. What in the world was going on? I'm open to integrating new knowledge, but the idea that the crouch should be our go-to stance just seems alien to me. 

 

It's an interesting one.  None of my L4 friends actually ski like that but as soon as they don that CSIA course conductor jacket down they go...

 

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