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Steering in a tuck

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I've been lurking in the threads concerning steering, active inside leg, rotating the femur, tipping the small toe, etc. All of this is fine but I have a question about varying the turn radius while maintaining a tuck.

From personal experience, all I have found myself doing is lengthening the outside leg, countering, to add weight to the outside ski to decamber it further in order to tighten up the turn. Pivoting in the hip socket seems limited by the squat position and consequently the knees don't move much to the inside.

What else is there?
post #2 of 24
Warren,

Tipping/rolling the ankles.
post #3 of 24
Roll the ankles, GENTLY on the flats for practice, then move it over to the steeper trails with more speed, of course that changes the picture.
post #4 of 24
Jeepers Warren, what ever you do don't try steering in a tuck!!! Say again, DON'T TRY STEERING IN A TUCK!!

Tucking has one purpose; increasing speed. At high speeds in that position the last thing you want is a ski that's not cleanly carving. A sliding ski is an unstable ski, and with the legs that flexed it compromises the ability to manage that unstableness. It's just an accident waiting to happen, kind of like breaking into a wedge to slow down while traveling at high speed. NO, NO, NO!

Adjust turn shape through modification of edge angle while tucking, but if the desired turn shape calls for more than carving on higher edge angles will provide then stand up and pivot or steer. If speed is the goal, the better turn you make in a high position will more than make up for the aero dymamics sacrificed.

FASTMAN
post #5 of 24
Rolling the ankles works well on flatter terrain, but there are times when there needs to be a bit more involvement.

As the speeds increase and the slopes get steeper, a simple ankle roll won't cut it. I learned a tuck turn called the "outrigger," where you essentially allow your outside leg to become the steering leg by sticking it out to the side, making sure to keep your weight on your toes to allow the ski to bite and carve a clean turn. Some counter will occur naturally, and you'll be aerodynamic and stable doign tuck turns at higher speeds and on steeper terrain. This probably isn't the best description - I'll see if I can drum up a picture or two to illustrate.

Regardless, though, make sure you are keeping on your toes when you do tuck turns. You can often use your toes to master the subtleties: lift your little toe on the outside leg of your turn to get the ankle to start rolling the way you need to go. The most important part of turning in a tuck - as with all speed skiing - is to use as little edge and pressure as you can, so that you aren't scrubbing speed unless you absolutely need to.
post #6 of 24
Racers turn in a tuck a lot, on flats and in speed events. Some observations:

1. Counter works.

2. Knee angulation works.

3. Ankle angulation helps.

If you use a lot of counter and knee angulation, you can make very substantial turns in a tuck. The cover of Lisa Feinberg Densmore's book Ski Faster has a nice still photo on the cover of these working together.

In addition, getting the skis out to the side is typically more of a crossunder than a crossover that you'd see. There's a nice video clip showing this fluid crossunder by a U.S. ski team member in the USSA's Alpine Ski Fundamentals CD-ROM.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Adjust turn shape through modification of edge angle while tucking, but if the desired turn shape calls for more than carving on higher edge angles will provide then stand up and pivot or steer. If speed is the goal, the better turn you make in a high position will more than make up for the aero dymamics sacrificed.
Rick -

Amen to what you said! Steering in a tuck is bad juju. Sure, sometimes you'll see World Cup skiers' skis "swimming" around when they're in a tuck on the flats or in straight sections, but this is because they're riding a flat ski, where only the base is touching the snow, and they're letting the ski track (within reason).

And the "good turn before aerodynamics" is most important. Two examples:

1. In 1990 (I think), Marc Girardelli set the course record on the Lauberhorn DH in Wengen, Switzerland. He did so by skiing very clean turns, standing nearly upgright in places where all others were tucking. He beat the lot of 'em by over a second, and set a course record that stood for almost 10 years. Remember that Girarelli, at the time, was known as a SG, GS and SL skier, and that the Lauberhorn is known for its length and long, flat gliding sections.

2. Last weekend at Beaver Creek, Bode Miller stood in places where others strove to tuck. He concentrated on turns: efficient edging, clean carves, getting the line dialed in. From this, the speed will follow quite naturally.
post #8 of 24
Ok, I understand that "steering" means pivoting the ski about an axis perpendicular to the ski at your foot to some people, but for the moment let's pretend you mean "affect a change in the direction of your cm".
It's really very simple. You ski is wider at the tip and tail than at the centre. Approximate that shape with two circular cutouts, one on each side of the ski. When your ski is absolutely flat on the snow, the edges don't do any turning. Turn your skis on edge just a little and the edges cut a circle with the same radius as the circle cut out of your skis (off just a little). Try it out with a piece of paper cut in an hour-glass shape. Hold the paper on a table top and tip it. In order to have the paper touch the table along its entire edge, you have to bend the paper into a curve. The more you tip it the tighter the radius of the curve you have to bend it into. Your skis work the same way; the more you lean, the tighter the turn, just like riding a bike. Lean to turn. Lean more to turn tighter. (At the other limit you have 0 radius ofr 90 degrees; you can't get the entire edge to touch no matter how sharp you bend the paper/ski when it's at 90 degrees to the snow.)

You must lean your skis over more to make them turn tighter.
post #9 of 24
Songfta,

Your race references brought to mind one of my most vivid memories of quality of turn trumping aerodynamics: Franz Klammer's Olympic gold medal run in the DH in 1976 at Innsbruck. Arguably on one the most spectacular runs of all time. His body was flailing all over the mountain, but his turns were primo clean.

FASTMAN
post #10 of 24
Warren, you are right, the hips range of motion is compromised when it is so flexed, especialy lateraly, but the only way to get to higher edge angles in a tuck is to move the hips lateraly, and incorporate some long leg short leg into the movement to maintain outside ski engagement. Later, RicB.
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Basically what I'm hearing is that I've done all that I can do (I may not have articulated it precisely in the original post) without breaking the tuck. That's fine. I was just curious.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by songfta
And the "good turn before aerodynamics" is most important. Two examples:

1. In 1990 (I think), Marc Girardelli set the course record on the Lauberhorn DH in Wengen, Switzerland. He did so by skiing very clean turns, standing nearly upgright in places where all others were tucking. He beat the lot of 'em by over a second, and set a course record that stood for almost 10 years. Remember that Girarelli, at the time, was known as a SG, GS and SL skier, and that the Lauberhorn is known for its length and long, flat gliding sections.

2. Last weekend at Beaver Creek, Bode Miller stood in places where others strove to tuck. He concentrated on turns: efficient edging, clean carves, getting the line dialed in. From this, the speed will follow quite naturally.
It is racers' dogma (and absolutely true, as songfta points out) that you should "never sacrifice a turn for a tuck." Still, that rule comes with a corollary, and some counter examples: If you have a good tuck turn (for my level, which is not exactly elite, I have a _very_ good tuck turn, because of an excessive attachment to counter and an ability to create a lot of knee angulation) and can carve cleanly in a tuck, in speed events (and in the right places even technical events) a tuck turn is much, much faster aerodynamically, as long as you carve cleanly.

As a counter-example, look at Daron Rahlves: At 180 pounds, he has no business being anywhere near the podium in speed events, but he wins, and gets on the podium, because he can turn in a tuck where others stand up or even make "hands down" turns. As Ski Racing described his second place finish at Kitzbuehl last year:

"Smaller than most of his competitors [a profound understatement], Rahlves held a low tuck where no one else even tried. He tucked into the absurdly steep Steilhang section, while most of the earlier racers had been cranking out upright GS turns just to stay on line. "

In that race, Rahlves was a second faster than Hermann Maier (no slouch) and a second and a half faster than Bode Miller.

http://www.skiracing.com/finish_line.../newsArticles/

If you can't carve the turn cleanly in a tuck and stay on a high, early line, then--as songfta suggests--stand up and turn. But if you can carve the turn in a tuck and stay on line (or if it's at the end, in the flats, and the gates aren't too offset, making the straight at the gates low line the fastest) then turn in a tuck. At the club racing level, good tuck turns in the right situation (low straight line in the flats) give you a better than 1 second advantage on your otherwise better competitors--in GS. (Trust me: I've actually skied the math on this one, but in fairness ,the speed advantage is as much the quiet, straighter line as it is the aerodynamics.)
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by warren
Basically what I'm hearing is that I've done all that I can do (I may not have articulated it precisely in the original post) without breaking the tuck. That's fine. I was just curious.
Sorry, Warren--

To be slightly more responsive, to make a better tuck turn, even with this limited menu of techniques, there are probably things you can do, but many of them are off the hill.

Stand in the comfort of your home, with shoes on, with feet at your tuck width. Now, with counter, knee angulation and ankle roll, create a very high edge angle. I can get over 80 degrees (if I want to frighten my right knee and sink down, all the way to almost 90 degrees), but part of that's cheating, as I stand here with the side of my shoe on the floor and the sole pointing at the wall, because (A) the shoes naturally roll more than the foot once you put them on their side, and (B) if you were really doing this on a ski hill, making a turn, all the force would be resisting you by pushing against the bottom edge (inside edge of the outside ski) making it harder (impossible) to hold this position against the resistance with little ankle muscles. But something far, far short of that angle will create one fairly radical turn, especially with all that momentum bending the ski shovel.*

What coaches keep telling me about my counter habit (and is laid out here fairly persuasively in the thread on counter and forward boot pressure) is that counter is not as strong a position, skeletally, as the contemporary World Cup model of minimized inside tip lead, long outside leg, inside knee bent to chest. That's true, and it's especially true when you add knee angulation. Go back to that 90 degree edge angle, and look how your outside leg is bent--do you want someone jumping on your shoulders now? Do you have health insurance and a good orthopedic surgeon?

That's the first point--in order to use counter and knee angulation in a tuck turn, you need very, very strong legs. For me, that's warm up squats, heavy squats, then post-fatigue rythmic lighter squats, and lots of jumping exercises (box jumps, depth jumps, knee tuck jumps) that emphasize the eccentric (decelleration) phase, and hamstring curls to prevent muscle imbalance from over-developed quads.

But except for what I do in the gym, I've never seen anyone work specifically on the muscles (and--shudder--lets face it, on connective tissue, that happy family bundle of MCL, LCL and ACL that keeps you wax side down and out of the ER) that you use in knee angulation/de-angulation. That's the second point--do some exercise (if your knees can take it) that puts them in that extreme knee angulation position, under a load. My favorite is haybalers. Get a medicine ball or weight, and using counter and knee angulation (knees bending to the left; your right leg is the "outside" ski leg in the turn) lower the weight with both hands to the right of your right ankle, then straighten, standing tall with the weight held above and to the left of your left shoulder. That's one. Do 12 reps on one side, then twelve reps on the other side. Then do ankle rolls.

Of course, skiing is harder than that, because there's a balance component when you're under a load. That's the third point--so work up to adding a balance component, by doing the haybalers on a bosu (flat side up) or bongo board.

(Caveat: I'm not a doctor or personal trainer, and I don't even play one on the Internet, and you are only issued one knee for each leg at birth. Your mileage may vary, your body is different and you should listen to it, and that popping sound is to be avoided...)

Along with that, practice tuck turns free skiing, seeing how well you can carve while staying in a tuck. Good luck!

*Perversely, what a lot of us hack ski racers do is tuck the very worst part of the course, the first few turns, where our tuck does the least amount of good (lower starting speed means wind resistance isn't a major factor) and creates the most problems, because momentum isn't sufficient to bend the shovel of the ski, so we're even less effective at carving a turn than usual, making it impossible to stay on line if we try to tuck turn instead of standing up.
post #14 of 24
Here's a video of "turns in a tuck" drill, showing the outrigger and counter:

http://www.christinarisler.com/videos/zermatt-SG.wmv

The file's pretty big, and not tremendously interesting, so don't bother unless you've got a fast connection. You might also want to mute your sound to avoid the irrelevant music.
post #15 of 24
If I understand correctly you are trying to turn the ski in a tighter arc?

IF this is the case dump the counter first of all. Countering in the body will lock out your ability to guide the ski in the direction you want to go. Countering is soo over. Square is where it is at these days. Not to say there is not slight counter but no where near what it was once. So square up to the skis direction and be farther forward in the top half of the turn and when you want to squish the turn you will have the parts in the right place. Shortening turn radious is all about tip pressure at the top of the turn. The more you have the more the ski will cut in and bring you around faster.

The fore aft thing, teaching compared to coaching is two sepporate worlds. teaching is always focused on staying in the middle. Racing is all about making the tips hook up and bend the ski, you can only do this with lots and lots of forward movement at the top of the turn. This is why World cup racers are not getting their boots straightend up. Two different goals.
post #16 of 24
I have to go to the hill in just a few minutes and then I have ETU stuff this weekend, so I don't have time for a long reply, but I just wanted to say that yes, you can steer in a tuck, and it is desirable to be able to do so. I'll try to elaborate when I have the chance.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic
I have to go to the hill in just a few minutes and then I have ETU stuff this weekend, so I don't have time for a long reply, but I just wanted to say that yes, you can steer in a tuck, and it is desirable to be able to do so. I'll try to elaborate when I have the chance.
Man, I can't wait for this one! :

FASTMAN
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by mosh
... be farther forward in the top half of the turn and when you want to squish the turn you will have the parts in the right place. Shortening turn radious is all about tip pressure at the top of the turn. The more you have the more the ski will cut in and bring you around faster....
In a tuck? I'd be pretty careful about trying to put a ton of pressure on the tip while turning in a tuck. It's the sort of thing that can lead to scattering skis and various things across a wide expanse of snow. When you want to turn that sharply is a good time to come up out of the tuck.

The counter is pretty modest. Less, probably, than a lot of people's typical standing turns. But in a tuck, the slight counter is much more noticeable (to the skier and to an observer), because you've got your arms pointing out there like a big arrow, plus your elbows and shoulders somewhere in the vicinity of your knees.

Incidentally, I have (as, I think have some others) interpreted the subject as something more like "Turning in a Tuck."

I think the original poster about got it right when he said:

Quote:
Basically what I'm hearing is that I've done all that I can do (I may not have articulated it precisely in the original post) without breaking the tuck. That's fine. I was just curious.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston
Here's a video of "turns in a tuck" drill, showing the outrigger and counter:

http://www.christinarisler.com/videos/zermatt-SG.wmv

The file's pretty big, and not tremendously interesting, so don't bother unless you've got a fast connection. You might also want to mute your sound to avoid the irrelevant music.
Thanks for the video. That's what I thought. It all looks very familiar.

What I was getting at was: If I wanted to tighten up the turn without breaking the tuck (i.e. to choose a more favourable line, avoid an object, something unplanned and not set up at the top of the turn), what else can you do. Maybe there isn't anything, I don't know, and I would have to stand up...
post #20 of 24
Warren, there are two general types of tuck; low and high. Low tucks are for straight sections, or gradual turns, and smooth terrain. High tucks are for sharper turns and negotiating terrain that needs to be absorbed.

At high speeds moderate/high edge angle carves create big centrifugal forces. The severely flexed legs associated with a low tuck restrict the range of motion needed to create those edge angles, do not provide a strong support mechanism in the outside leg for resisting the forces those edge angles create, and compromise the legs ability to provide fine edge controll while under load.

Bottom line; when sharper turns are required rise into a higher tuck as you enter the top of the turn and allow the outside leg to extend; this will allow your legs to function efficiently for you. In this position the same principles of any carved turn apply, the only difference is the arms are kept in a tuck position. As the turn approaches completion return to a low tuck, allowing the outside leg to return to its previous state of flexion.

Take another look at the video. You will see this pattern of extending the outside leg for the turn, and flexing into the transition.

One last note; earlier in the thread someone suggested angulation of the outside leg to create a high edge angle. I hope you know not to do this at high speed. It's fosters a weak support leg and it puts the joint in big time jeopardy of injury. On the flats at slow speed to tweak a radius, well, sure. But at speed, again, this is another NO, NO, NO! Any needed angulation should be generated at the hip.

FASTMAN
post #21 of 24

Tuck

The thing that jumped at me looking at the video was that she was extending on the uphill leg to initiate her turns.
post #22 of 24
Yep, that's right Wolf. Good illustration of inside leg extension. Like I said to warren, all the principles of a carved turn remain the same.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Jeepers Warren, what ever you do don't try steering in a tuck!!! Say again, DON'T TRY STEERING IN A TUCK!!

Tucking has one purpose; increasing speed. At high speeds in that position the last thing you want is a ski that's not cleanly carving. A sliding ski is an unstable ski, and with the legs that flexed it compromises the ability to manage that unstableness. It's just an accident waiting to happen, kind of like breaking into a wedge to slow down while traveling at high speed. NO, NO, NO!

Adjust turn shape through modification of edge angle while tucking, but if the desired turn shape calls for more than carving on higher edge angles will provide then stand up and pivot or steer. If speed is the goal, the better turn you make in a high position will more than make up for the aero dymamics sacrificed.

FASTMAN
Well, I'm back at least for a few minutes anyway. The post above is the main one that I wanted to respond to. I don't think it's that clear cut. I think steering has a place even when in a tuck. I guess, first we have to decide what steering actually is.

Perhaps it's time for one of those car analogies. I did the Skip Barber Advanced Racing School down in WV this fall. Now obviously, as I get to the end of the breaking zone and start to turn in for turn one, I am steering the car into the turn, but what is happening before that? I am steering the car. As I come down the straight so fast that it feels like my helmet is going to get sucked off, I am steering the car to keep it going straight. If I stopped steering, just took my hands off the wheel, I'd probably lose my damage deposit.

So, the way I see it, steering isn't just turning, it can also be the same movements that would turn you, but applied to make you go straight. I've never gone 85 mph on the Hannenkahm, but I think they are probably using some steering movements to guide thier skis on the intended path, be it a straight line, or a curved one. Does steering have to mean a skidded ski? I think not. It's about the blend. I think someone in this thread used the term braucauge (probably spelled it wrong), I tried that myself this weekend, yes pivot slips in a tuck, just to see if I could, the range of motion is reduced no doubt, but some movement is still possible. Bottom line, I'm saying you can do more than just change edge angle to adjust your line through the gates even when in a tuck, and you'd probably be faster for it.
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic
* I think steering has a place even when in a tuck. I guess, first we have to decide what steering actually is.

* the way I see it, steering isn't just turning, it can also be the same movements that would turn you, but applied to make you go straight.
In a straight section of course a racer in a tuck will attempt to flatten out his skis. This provides the fastest possible glide/speed. That flattening also creates a lateral swimming effect in the skis, which requires a subtle level of muscle control to keep them tracking relatively straight. If you want to refer to that as steering, then I will agree that it does exist while tucking. But this is the only place it's appropriate.

Quote:
* I've never gone 85 mph on the Hannenkahm, but I think they are probably using some steering movements to guide thier skis on the intended path, be it a straight line, or a curved one.

* I tried that myself this weekend, yes pivot slips in a tuck, just to see if I could, the range of motion is reduced no doubt, but some movement is still possible.

* Bottom line, I'm saying you can do more than just change edge angle to adjust your line through the gates even when in a tuck, and you'd probably be faster for it.
Epic, I skied 80+ mph in FIS level DH's on both sides of the pond for multiple years, and I can tell you that the only thing you want to feel at those speeds is a razor clean carve. Any slop/wash/chatter/steer means speed is being dumped and time is being squandered. It also means your skis have lost their stability and control precision, and that's just not a nice feeling at 80mph.

At junior level races training runs are an opportunity for coaches to observe the field and identify any unsafe racers. It just makes us coaches shudder when we see a kid coming down the course with loose edges (skis not tracking clean) because we've seen first hand the dire results of such instability. We will sometimes pull such kids from the race for their own well being.

Do understand; downhills are almost exclusively set so that steering and pivoting is not required,,, for the saftey of the racer. When you do see those things going on it's because the racer made a mistake of some sort. That struggling racer will not be in a tuck while attempting to recover from his error, and he will not be on the podium once the the race is over.

And,,, you will see tucking in GS's too, but only in sections that allow pure carving at low to moderate edge angles. When anything else is required you'll see the racer stand up and make the cleanest turn possible, and with the least steering/pivoting possible.

And just a friendly piece of advice Epic; please, don't ever try a pivot slip at 60 mph.
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