Originally Posted by ChuckT
Chad, I understand and agree wholeheartedly with the general concept that the whole body is involved in an intricate way that the simplifying sequencing of our analytical brain in a rigid fashion would ultimately limits our skiing. A couple years ago,I wrote down a quote from someone here, a high level PSIA instructor if I recalled correctly, that in expert skiing "The "gifted" skiers use their core as the center of their skiing experience. Just like a WC racer- the goal is to manage the core in a way which promotes the most effective/ efficient achievement of whatever mission they set for themselves. The legs, feet, skis are used to support that mission, not the other way around!"
I like it a lot although it sounds on the surface a bit too metaphysical for my taste. When I watch Jerry Byrd (sp?) flying through the moguls or Harald Harb carving in the clips recently referenced here, I have the distinct impression that their core is indeed not the static mass attached to the legs but more like the boss in the spirit of the quote! (I don't think anyone here is advocating a static core either). I don't know enough to say for sure but I would not be surprised that what you said is entirely true for expert skiing where it is no longer just the mechanical techniques but a special "flair" - I'm getting way too wishy-washy here.
But how do you teach that in a practical way to beginners and even intermediates like me? Push the hips in as in the videos by Foster and Butler (by necessarily pressing against the snow) or tip the feet (and start from there) are the practical and specific options for developing skiers. BTS and other feet first advocates clearly point out the advantage in economy and control of that option. They can speak for themselves, but I feel certain they do not discard the important role of the core or the whole body.
It is metaphysical Chuck, don't fight the power :)
Maybe it wasn't clear in my other ramblings, I never advocated that movement in the ankle was wasted effort, again, I can feel the benefits. While the awareness and control of the movement is a skill to develop it is merely one component of a larger system. BTS can speak for himself with regard to the core function as I still get the impression kinetic chain advocates see our movement as a series of events. I have tried to explain how that is not reality or how we move. A person learning to tilt their feet and feel what that does is still a whole person, and like physics tells us, what is happening in one portion of a system has some influence on the larger system as a whole.
The problem is we tell ourselves stories, we ski, we figure out ways to negotiate the terrain and when we can ski what we want we consider ourselves well developed. It is no different in our normal movement development and why most people never expand on their movement control past and adolescent stage, we are quite good then and that is good enough for fun. So while a person may very well be an expert in one context they are not in another potentially.
I like this definition of an expert, a person who can accomplish the same goal more than 3 different ways/choices. That will be balked at by anyone convinced there is only one good way to do anything, but on a number of levels they are wrong.
So back to your question. You can ski, negotiate variable terrain, are not a beginner in the sense of the functional definition. As Jamt pointed out to you though, you were under utilizing a basic fundamental skill of tipping at the ankle. While some would now claim victory that it was the ankle tipping that elevated you, the reality is your attention to using your ankles caused your nervous system to have to reorganize your whole self, whether you or I are aware of it, that is how it works. Thank goodness for that because otherwise we would be drowning in a sea of sensory information to have to act upon. IMO, note O is for opinion, the same awareness can be directed to the function of your spine and pelvis, you can have someone observe which patterns in your skiing sequence utilize this area with less interference and you can begin to feel how you can control and reorganize your self via its dynamics. If the body works is a complex recruitment pattern as another contributor stated, it works that way no matter where your attention is originating from. Just as tipping you ankle gave you a sensation and an improved efficiency, you could contrast the differences in how you use your trunk with and without the ankle motion, which I am sure supports what BTS has been proposing, I think. I believe the same application can be shifted to the spine and its control. Since your not a true beginner, you have built a skill set, your not learning to walk for the first time so to speak, you can use your giant neo cortex to assess your self. So if your ankle movement elevated you, why wouldn't the same work for refining your spine/pelvis/core coordination. Now you've expanded your control, you have built more control loops in that brain for it to select from while your whistling down the hill trying to keep up with your son.
So long winded rambling made short, go feel, ski tipping your ankles and feel what happens in your "core", ski without tipping to contrast, dial in what is happening in whatever part of your body you choose to shift your attention, modify it, rinse, repeat, ski from distal to proximal, proximal to distal, trim out the excess and enjoy how doing that increases your ability to absorb the energy skiing gives to us.
Mastery is being able to feel how the intention of movement at any point in your body changes your whole body and being able to refine those differences, to in fact have control. Now your not a person skiing around in 1 dimension in your mind, you can manipulate yourself more than 1 way, maybe more than 3, which is an expert in my book. Which is attainable for an learner with access to the upper portion of their brain.