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Poll: Toes- Pull up or Push Down? - Page 2

Poll Results: When you ski do you pull your toes up or push them down?

 
  • 59% (13)
    I push my toes down to help pressure the fronts of the skis.
  • 40% (9)
    I pull my toes up to engage the ball (and/or heel) of my foot.
22 Total Votes  
post #31 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom View Post
 

the danger of saying "toes down" to someone or thinking "toes down" is that unless you are really well balanced over your feet, it will make you "open" your ankle and that will put you way in the back seat. Think about it. Push the gas pedal down and your shin moves back relative to the imaginary angle of the slope. Instead of toes up, you can think "heel down and shin moving forward" or closing the ankle joint. Look at most skiers who are in the back seat and you will see they are not flexing their ankles. Toes down exacerbates this.

If you are teaching someone you must always make judicious calls on what you tell them.  I usually don't tell people what to do with their toes, particularly beginners. Everyone's physiology is different and I think they tend to do things with their toes fairly naturally without being told, depending on how they approach balance, pressure and edging. Once you get thru the beginning stages of skiing if you add momentum and inertia into the equation pushing down with the toes is unlikely to push anyone into the back seat.  There are many reasons why people get in the back seat, but I don't think pressing of toes is one of them. 

post #32 of 49

I do both. Depends on what I'm trying to accomplish. I'm not one to limit myself to one thing when more than one thing works. 

post #33 of 49

Both are a bad move.  The muscles connected to the toes can not pull larger parts of the body.  When the toes are pulled up or down, the muscles in the feet tense, and we do not ski better with tense feet.  Relax the toes & feet.  Ski with strong, large muscles.  If one wants to close the ankle joint, use the large, strong hamstrings to pull the feet back under the body.

post #34 of 49
In general I agree with that. I've always heard people talk about lifting the toes and i think it's mildly crazy.

Pushing toes down does not necessarily put you back seat. That's thinking straight run. If the skis are out to the side say at top of turn and you're going downhill, like an upside down turn, ankle is open and you're not backseat.

Over a mogul one might push toes down to match the slope while pulling feet back, then pushing them forward in the trough.
post #35 of 49

I agree with soft snow guy.  Relaxed feet are the way to go.  In heavy, low angle powder I might lift toes more as a byproduct of weighting heels to raise tips a bit while still pressuring the boot tongues, but that's about it.  

post #36 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
 

Both are a bad move.  The muscles connected to the toes can not pull larger parts of the body.  When the toes are pulled up or down, the muscles in the feet tense, and we do not ski better with tense feet.  Relax the toes & feet.  Ski with strong, large muscles.  If one wants to close the ankle joint, use the large, strong hamstrings to pull the feet back under the body.

I'm not sure I agree with this entirely. Could be semantics?  I don't know to what extent "relaxed" means in SSG's statement.  I lot of guys don't talk about the feet at all and say "just ski with your feet relaxed". Is "relaxed" unengaged? 

 

I am a "bottom up" skier.  I find that I tend to engage everything first with the feet and let everything else up the movement chain engage in due time with good flow, balance and positioning. I find that most of my large muscular engagement is dedicated to managing the energy coming out of the ski, rather than using my musculature to put energy in. I won't say that my feet are "tense" but they are perpetually engaged and can react extremely quickly.  I find that continuous foot engagement creates a ton of stability and excellent foot/snow communication. 

 

I am, however, rethinking how I use my toes.  I'll be back on snow on Saturday and will do some experimentation and focus on the issue. 

post #37 of 49
In a recent lesson, the instructor suggested trying to "lift your toes" while working on some soft snow/crud skiing. I first I wasn't too sure about this, but he said it was more about trying to get my stance more erect and forward "subconsciously". Being 6'7", I tend to crouch over when I get forward, but this suggestion did have the desired effect. I still have to think about it when I ski as there is no muscle memory yet. So perhaps its not about using the toes to turn, but to get you in a posture that lets you more effectively use your COM and large leg muscles to turn?
post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLTL View Post

So perhaps its not about using the toes to turn, but to get you in a posture that lets you more effectively use your COM and large leg muscles to turn?

Thumbs Up Better said than how I tried. Thank you XLTL.

post #39 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLTL View Post

 So perhaps its not about using the toes to turn, but to get you in a posture that lets you more effectively use your COM and large leg muscles to turn?

I think that is a pretty astute observation.  When I say I push my toes down,  perhaps what I am meaning is that I use my toes as an extension of my foot (as opposed to pulling them up, shortening the lever arm). And perhaps I'm not using them to pressure the skis as much as I am using them as a stabilizing force as I try to keep forward on my skis.

 

I know there is some sort of connection with how use my toes and how I pressure the tongues of my boots. I would like to think I have a very light touch on the tongues, especially compared to many years ago when I could destroy a pair of boots in a season.  I'm going to have to put up my antennae tomorrow and focus on how I actually use my feet inside my boots. 

 

Great comments guys. Y'all have got me thinking and rethinking. 

post #40 of 49

I notice few people have commented on whether their base of support is ahead of or behind their CoM when they push their toes down or up. There's a pretty big difference. Assuming we're talking about the top of the turn here: 

 

If my BoS is forward and I push toes down, I'm engaging shovels. (I'm presently attempting not to ski this way, but it's better than being forward and pulling toes up.)

 

If I'm back and pull toes up, I'm recruiting the leg muscles to create powerful steering. (I prefer this approach.)

 

In all cases I'm aiming to spread the pressure through leg movement throughout the entire turn rather than hammering at the beginning. 

post #41 of 49
I don't see how tipping the ski on edge or moving my upper body to pressure the boots/tips has to do with my toes, so I don't know. I mainly pay attention to what my upper body is doing these days.
post #42 of 49

I skied all day saturday, hard! Fis 188/30 Gs ski and Race Stock 165 Slaloms each 1/2 the day.

 

I don't use my toes as a separate component to change fore/aft balance. All about the ankle 

post #43 of 49
Lifting the toed can buy someone one very important thing that a lot of upper intermediate/aspiring expert: cuff contact.
post #44 of 49
Thread Starter 

UPDATE

 

I skied this weekend trying to be sensitive and aware to what my toes were doing when I skied.  I don' t know that I was surprised, but I now believe I wasn't fully aware of how they were functioning for me. A couple of observations:

 

My toes were, for the most part, more neutral than I originally thought. The toe area on my orothotics (in a previously posted photo) is supported/enhanced by a few tape layers. As there is zero gap between my orthotic and toes minimal effort or motion is required to engage the toe area. I think that explains why I might have thought I was pushing down.  It was a matter of contact rather than pressure.  I think I use the toe area, not so much to add pressure, but to provide fine tuning of my balance point, helping me keep from getting too far forward on my balance point.  I found myself at time MOMENTARILY engaging my toes, but I think ever so briefly. It was not a constant pressure.  I think it is important to convey that the balance between foot support and shin support is finely tuned so that they work together and don't rely on either one exclusively. I don't like or need exceptionally stiff boots.  FWIW I use Booster straps, not so much for extra support, but more  for shock absorption. 

 

I was working with a L3 candidate on Saturday and I now believe that some of her issues are directly related to less than optimal foot support. Her orthotic was made by Famous Amos. It was semi-rigid and offered little metatarsal support. Next weekend I'm going to break out my roll of tape to see what happens. 

 

I'm starting to understand why my (adult, ski instructor) daughter pulls up her toes.  It exposes the ball of her foot that she rolls onto as her ankle engages the front sidewall of her boot. I'll have to take a photo of her arch with toes pulled up...

 

From a mechanical standpoint, we often speak of "lifting the little toe edge" of the ski.  Though that's what appears to happen, I think of it a bit differently.  As my metatarsal is well supported, it acts as a pseudo fulcrum, where I press it lightly, roll onto the ball of my foot, causing my ankle to roll and pressure the front-most side of my boot, just above my ankle. By maintaining pressure on the bottom of my foot while I'm rolled into the boot wall I get a tremendous amount of stability. Because I have resistance that originates at the snow, the larger muscles in my legs have an opposing force to turn against.  I have an anecdote about this, but I'll save it for later. 

 

Just thought I'd share my ongoing thoughts after the weekend. 

post #45 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
 

I skied all day saturday, hard! Fis 188/30 Gs ski and Race Stock 165 Slaloms each 1/2 the day.

 

I don't use my toes as a separate component to change fore/aft balance. All about the ankle 


Got out on the weekend and reviewed what I was doing and I must agree, its about the ankle and how you use it.

 

It was difficult to answer at first because unless being aware of it while doing it, it was difficult to determine the what the actual action was.

post #46 of 49

My $0.02

 

Toes up, but still feel whole foot pressure

 engages the tibialis anterior, a tiny but hugely important muscle in skiing

 better "ready position" with regard to terrain changes, especially fore/aft

 

Also, toes up / toes down is not exactly the same as close the ankle / open the ankle or lift the gas pedal / push the gas pedal

post #47 of 49

I thought about this thread when I was skiing on Sunday.  I realized I only think about my toes when they are cold or in pain. Not up or down.

post #48 of 49

I think sometimes we over think this and take it too far as well.

 

for some people a little bit of plantar flexion would be toes down. For others they would interpret it as ankle focus. Same with Dorsi flexion.

 

as instructors we have to determine by working with our students and talking to them to find out how they "think" so we can address the proper body part.

post #49 of 49

Whoa, I like docbrad66's post

 

Balance fore aft is my primary focus even at my almost III level (okay I have another season to go if I'm lucky :( )

 

I ask students to feel and regulate shin pressure (not hang off the boot front). Ball down and they bruise their toes, toes down and they unweight the arch and tense the calf.

 

Then after shin pressure is felt/appreciated maybe they feel their foot working (foot beds, good boot fit?).

 

Oh yeah and I ask the student are you having fun? I also look and listen for happiness indicators (some people don't answer truthfully.)

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