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Connecting the CM to the ground - Page 2

post #31 of 52
I was thinking along the lines that "connected" meant having either inside edge engaged.
post #32 of 52
Thread Starter 
I agree with Bud: to change the edge you have to release the CM, and there's a sublime freefall moment where you are floating across the skis or suspended over them as they cross beneath you that is simply exquisite. I agree with Ric, Rick, and Ydnar: the transfer of pressure from the left edges to the right edges etc. can be accomplished without sacrificing connection of the CM to the ground. This is how I interpret Arc's
Quote:
“let go and flow”
post #33 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman
I guess to each his own. I like it both ways and do not like to limit my options. The same goes for other aspects in skiing like this whole steering vs. tipping thing. They both happen, they both work, and they are all in my repitoire.

When you have mastered balance it is fun to challenge it and tease it! If you are still searching for it your focus is limited to that. I remember training with some of my team mates in Mammoth years ago when we would go out on Spring mornings to a run called "Sunshine" on the East facing slope of Lincoln peak. There were always bumps there that had set up from the day before like sculptures of frozen coral heads. We would ski through them just to challenge our balance. The point being there were many moments where we were knocked off balance but by practicing and exposing ourselves to this type of challenge we were able to steadily improve. Trust me there wasn't much sense of an uninterrupted connection going on.
Bud, I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THAT,,,, bravo!!

Connection is stability, precision, fluidity, consistency, efficiency. Disconnection is dynamic, athletic, reactionary, spontaneous, fun.
The best skiers are masters at staying connected, but feel very comfortable disconnecting and can do so in some pretty spectacular ways.

No one should limit there technical parameters, or worse, fixate on one.

FASTMAN
post #34 of 52
I think maybe I have mistaken what is meant by "connection"? I was thinking nolo meant having one or the other inside edge engaged at all times (ie: always connected to the snow). I haven't quite grasped the concept. How do you define connection in this context.
post #35 of 52
I think you have it Bud.

We're referring to the period between turns; the transition. The time between when one arc is coming to an end, and a new one is beginning. We consider uninterrupted pressure during that period representative of an uninteruppted connection. Any unweighting move is a disconnecting move. Any strong retraction at the transition creates a disconnect because it lightens the skis. A pivoted top of the turn requires one to disconnect in the transition.

FASTMAN
post #36 of 52
thanks rick
post #37 of 52

the lowly pivot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I think you have it Bud.

We're referring to the period between turns; the transition. The time between when one arc is coming to an end, and a new one is beginning. . . . A pivoted top of the turn requires one to disconnect in the transition.

FASTMAN
Well I don`t want to re-kindle the ideological warfare between the pivot/steering faction and the edging/carving group BUT I do believe there are many advanced turns that have the dreaded pivot at the top of the turn. On page 87 of LeMaster`s book, The Skiers Edge there is a picture of Thomas Sykora initiating a slalom turn by pivoting them more that 40 degrees to create a new steering angle. Then the edges are engaged to carve and complete the turn. I`ll admit he is "disconnected" literally from the snow because he is in the air a bit, but I`m not sure that pivoting the skis to a new steering angle is a lesser form of technique that ought to be described as disconnected. I once saw a video of myself doing short radius turns down a steep pitch. Subjectively, I felt as if I was on my edges all the time. The video showed otherwise. In order to create the steering angle I needed to produce that turn shape, I had to pivot the skis a bit at the top of the turn. There was simply not enough time to wait for the ski to carve on its sidecut.

I do agree that the shape of modern skis provides a built in steering angle, and that you can simply roll the ski on to its edge and it will carve. Increased edging will bend the ski and tighten the arc further, all the while the tail following the tip-two pencil lines in the snow. But there are so many other situations where this won`t get the job done. Bumps, short radius turns on steep pitches, teaching low end intermediates where I would be hundereds of yards ahead of them if were I to carve my brains out!

So please-can`t we agree that there is a place for the lowly pivot in this big universe we call technique? Don`t want to start a fight. Just my two cents.

cdnguy
post #38 of 52
Totally agree cdnguy, as is apparent from this earlier post of mine:

Quote:
Connection is stability, precision, fluidity, consistency, efficiency.

Disconnection is dynamic, athletic, reactionary, spontaneous, fun.

The best skiers are masters at staying connected, but feel very comfortable disconnecting and can do so in some pretty spectacular ways.

No one should limit their technical parameters, or worse, fixate on one.
The purpose here is not to designate "disconnected" a dirty word, and to dismiss transitions that require a disconnect as universally improper. Disconnecting is a must skill to possess, and you describe good examples of situations its employment is necessary. The intent here is really just to draw a distinction between the two states, and to suggest that when disconnecting is NOT needed, or desired, there might be a better alternative; a continuous foot to ground connection.

FASTMAN
post #39 of 52
My goal was/is never to be "out of balance" but to challenge my balance. I was refering to the feeling you get when you give in to the pull that allows your cm to move into the new turn. When flexing abruptly and pulling the knees toward the chest to redirect your mass across the skis I feel a brief period of weightlessness, of letting go of a "connection", of my cm accellerating, until I begin extending off the new inside edge. I know this is very short in duration but as biomechanically detailed as some of these conversations get I was trying to be detailed in a sensory way. I don't think this has anything to do with being out of balance.
post #40 of 52
How much of a "connection" do you need to remain "connected"? Will anything less than 100% unweighted do? I was under the impression that the notion of connectedness was applicable at any point in the turn, thus I kept relating connectedness to functional tension, and wondering why that notion has not yet appeared in the thread.
post #41 of 52
All,

The inside leg extension move is indeed one of the best ways to stay connected to the ground. When done well there is never a loss of connection. But to do the move most effectively the inside ski must be connected to the ground before you begin the extension, it doesn't work as well if the first thing that the extension has to do is connect that ski to the ground.

Along this line. I think that all the rigimarole over two footed skiing and so called equal weighting sprang out of watching racers striving to keep the inside ski connected so that they were ready to use it when needed. It probably takes as little as ten or twenty pounds of pressure to establish this connection but because of the different image of a connected skier and the tracks they leave in the snow many instructors and coaches jumped to the conclusion that they were equally weighted.

Finally, when you know you are going to lose connection the last connected move has to be one that will set you up to reconnect effectively with the ground. The faster you are going the more important is is to set yourself for a smooth efficent reconnect.

yd
post #42 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Totally agree cdnguy, as is apparent from this earlier post of mine:


The purpose here is not to designate "disconnected" a dirty word, and to dismiss transitions that require a disconnect as universally improper. Disconnecting is a must skill to possess, and you describe good examples of situations its employment is necessary. The intent here is really just to draw a distinction between the two states, and to suggest that when disconnecting is NOT needed, or desired, there might be a better alternative; a continuous foot to ground connection.

FASTMAN
Very well said, Fastman. I see your point better now and I agree. (I love it when that happens!)

cdnguy


cdnguy
post #43 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I was under the impression that the notion of connectedness was applicable at any point in the turn, thus I kept relating connectedness to functional tension, and wondering why that notion has not yet appeared in the thread.
Please tell us your thoughts about how functional tension contributes to connectedness, BigE.
post #44 of 52
IMO, when I read "connected" I think of feeling the slope underfoot, and feelings of the body reacting to changes in terrain, as opposed to straining against those changes and being tossed about.

Even if your skis are riding on the snow, but with little pressure (eg. over a series of small rolls), but you will still feel connected, so long as you can absorb well. The agility you need to absorb well is enhanced by utilizing functional tension -- just tense enough. Any more, and you will feel a disconnect even if your skis are in contact throughout.

As you can tell, I believe that connecting is more than keeping your skis on the snow. Which means I can disconnect yet have my skiis on the snow. So what does disconnect mean? One can disconnect their CM from the snow by disabling their ability to assess and adjust it's position. It's sort of an "uncertaintly principle".

I posted this over at realskiers:

Suppose you are in a grocery store, and want to buy an apple. You pick one up, and raise it and lower it in one hand, gently relaxing and tensing the arm in an attempt to find one with just the right weight. The arm muscles move from concentric (raising the apple) to eccentric (lowering) contractions. At what point do you get enough information to determine it's weight? Exactly at the point where the muscles go from eccentric to concentric contraction (or vice-versa). At that point, more muscles are in use; the body has most feedback.

Contrast that to holding the apple with a death grip, and stock still -- really tense up! The weight almost vanishes!

So this analogy is all about eccentric/relaxing and contracting being able to provide more feedback about what the body is doing, than contration alone. So relaxing the quads will tell you much more about what you are doing (foot position/balance etc) than retracting the knees will tell you.

Also, since the retraction has momentarily stopped the feedback circuits in the body from working optimally, there is a momentary delay in reestablishing just what the body is doing after you begin to relax again.

This is what I like to think of as the uncertainty principle: The more certain you are of the bodies location, the less strongly you can move it.

Conversely,the more strongly you move the body, the less certain you are of it's location.

Smoothness and grace in movement is very desireable. Stiffness and force are not....

Here, post 50 of the following thread has more on functional vs dysfunctional tension.

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...tional+tension

Hope this helps clarify what I mean by connected and disconnected.
post #45 of 52
Thread Starter 
Your analysis is spot-on, BigE. From your description, I can tell that you understand and experience connectedness in your skiing.
post #46 of 52
Thread Starter 
Ydnar's got it too.
post #47 of 52
Thanks nolo. Yes I do "get it", but I don't know of to many exercises/drills on how to increase it.

Good stance demands good alignment. So boot customizations may be very important to some folks. For my skiing, it is of the utmost importance. As is the right ski. A hyper active ski on a timid skier will certainly cause a disconnect between skier and slope as they "lock up". Same with a too stiff boot on a weak/young skier.

Next, I'd look at physical conditioning. If they are doing everything they can just to remain upright, increasing strength is called for. Stiff folks need more flexibility to remain connected -- balancing movements being the key to make that happen.

Balancing movements originating lower in the body -- as opposed to lurching over top -- are important to remain connected. Balance trainers like bosus could help a lot. In the summer, we use a tube on the lake - the kind you pull behind a ski boat, only upside down, and then balance standing on one foot. If you can make the movements with ankle/knee movements you are more successful at standing longer. 10 seconds is very tough, you need a strong connection with the tube as the water is very slippery and the tube slides out quickly...

Third, I'd look at the fear factor. Disconnects from lock-up happen more on terrain that the skier fears. So, to get more connected, practice on easier hills. That actually works.

Fourth to increase connectedness, don't ski the most demanding line. I mean don't ski a line that requires you to turn the skis alot, or horse them around with hop turns. Let the skis do the work for you, while you focus on balance to improve the connection.

So, my 2 cents focuses completly on improvents to stance and balance, through equipment, fitness/flexibility, confidence and tactics....

Techniques like inside leg extension, come last. Polishing technique won't help you feel more connected if you don't feel connected already. IMO, feeling connected while learning to modulate pressure is way more critical.

Cheers!
post #48 of 52
Thread Starter 
Now you're onto something, BigE. How do we train connectedness, what are the preconditions (physical, mental, equipment), what does someone have to be able to do first?

An exercise I have found helpful is something I call hand dancing. Partners put their hands palm to palm, one person leads and the other follows. The only form of communication allowed is pressure. It is interesting how quickly people learn to offer and respond with pressure and soon they are leading and following like pros. This simple analogy to the dance between the skis and the snow can teach a lot about how pressure is the medium of communication with our skis.
post #49 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I don't know of to many exercises/drills on how to increase it.
I've been thinking about this a lot. Remember that guy Weems, he wrote a very good book recently titled THE SPORTS DIAMOND™ and in it he says something to the effect that learning is a process of remembering what you already knew. That's quite a concept to wrap our heads around, isn't it?

It occurs to me that remembering may be the key to teaching/training connectedness, not practicing an exercise. All newborn babies are put through a quick test battery called the Apgar and one of the tests is called the stretch reflex. The baby is held vertically above a flat surface (table) and lowered onto its feet until he or she responds to the pressure by pressing back: planting the feet and straightening the legs. It appears this is a movement/concept everybody already knows.
post #50 of 52
Still,,,,,, it all comes back to balance.

For the connection to be made the body has to attain a stance thats in harmony with the forces, and spontaneously alter that stance to maintain the harmony as those forces continuously change. This is not an innate skill. Baby knows to reach for the floor, but he must still learn how to walk. He knows instinctively to strive to walk, but he needs to develop the balance skills be able to do it.

We know what we seek; we don't yet know to get there in an environment of foreign forces. We still need training exercises to expedite learning.

FASTMAN
post #51 of 52
Thread Starter 
True, Rick. We're born to reach for a landing with our feet, and we need to learn how to do it on skis. Certainly we can cultivate an innate ability, but isn't it a comfort to know that our bodies can be trusted to do some things right?
post #52 of 52
Balance drills. But they aren't all that fun are they? How about mogul skiing instead? Even if you are just picking your way through, with many traverses, and sideslips, adding 3-D skiing to the mix makes the 2-D skiing far simpler because, it demands that you improve your balance skills.

Challenging your balance skills by sideslipping and traversing a steep mogul field is very useful. If it is a long mogul field, you will have to adapt and improve the efficiency of your moves -- you cannot remain locked up forever, it's way too tiring....

Once you get to the bottom, it should feel like you are skiing on rails. Now that's really getting connected!
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