Originally Posted by nolo
How do you explain the roles of the two skis in a parallel turn? Is one more active and the other more passive, are both passive, are both active, or what? What makes the inside ski become the outside ski and vice versa? Does it happen simultaneously?
This smells like a trap where I dig a hole and jump in it. The two big touchy feely techies are not puting their toes in yet.
I am currently working on this from the perspective of equipment and stance/balance. I believe the ability to have active feet is very closely related to maintenance of stance and to some degree equipment.
If a skier is out of alignment fore/aft or side to side enough that stance and balance are compromised then active feet is impossible. The other thing I am finding is that many people although reasonably balanced are near maxed out on ankle flex or are in oversize boots. Both make active ankles very unlikely.
Here is something interesting. On Friday I played around with skiing on skis of different lengths and skis where the bindings were mounted in a centered balanced position and skis where the bindings were aft a bit.
On longer skis I needed to have much more of an outside ski dominance where the outside ski was used more for balance and activated passively by an active inside ski.
On skis where the bindings were aft I needed much more forward motion of the CM to engage the tips. As a result I tended to shut down my ankles with flex to a much higher degree. Increasing the speed helped to restore some of that motion. The motion tended to come back in more gross movements rather than fine movements but that could be due to the forces involved.
When I was on skis where the bindings were mounted forward, I had much more activity in my ankles at all speeds. Keep in mind, all speeds was less that what you would experience in racing gates for high speed. My intent was to build power not hit a gate at the correct line. Forward mounted bindings also let me pressure the skis more evenly in a lateral sense.
I also went out and played with movement patterns and activity in one foot or the other and both feet.
I used a wide wedge stance on steeper terrain for my work. The movement patterns I was working with were bring the hips forward, edge the ski then steer. The feedback from this stance and terrain is great as the tracks are easy to see and slight changes in movement patterns produce dramatically different results.
If I dosiflexed the ankles, opened the knees and brought the hips up over the feet I could then activate the ankle laterally and steer both feet actively into the turn to produce ski tracks that were similar for both feet. This told me that both feet were actively steering.
If I let the inside hip drop back even slightly the inside skis track would narrow and the outside track would widen. Not much movement of the inside hip back and down was needed before the inside ski was leaving a noticable edge/carve in the snow. This told me that not keeping the inside hip up and forward has a dramatic effect on shutting down steering on the inside foot and allowing the outside foot to over steer.
With the hip back, a compensating move of moving laterally inside produced a higher edge and less steering on the outside ski but speed increased and I could no longer maintain a wedge at all. In addition this move shut down what little pedalling action I had. Park and ride so to speak.
What all this translates to is that keeping the inside hip up and over the feet has a dramatic effect on how active our feet can be and what foot we can activate.
A second point to is that gravity is better at providing lateral movment than is anatomical movement. You sabatoge your pedalling action, stance and foot activity if you move laterally with your body as opposed to forward. Let gravity and centrifugal force do the lateral part to produce diagonal CM movement and you do the moving forward part.
Back to parallel stance, during the last third of the turns I put back the active inside leg extension (active dorsiflex and opening the knee) and the active outside leg retraction (passive dorsiflex and closing the knee) or a pedaling action that produces a movement of hips forward without lateral movement in relation to the feet). If I pedal with those movement patterns I maintain the hips laterally over both feet and my hips move up over my feet with the inside hip moving into the power position. I feel the power connection right through neutral and both feet are active in that situation. Oh boy do I love that feeling.
If I do everything right I can produce two thin scarvy tracks that are equal on both skis in short radius turns. You can't do that without two active feet steering.