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Developing Angles - HELP

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I have an upper level skier having major problems developing angulation in the legs hips etc. I think I have tried everyting but I am getting no where. Consistancy is a major issue. Angulation is fleeting at best. Equipment i.e. boot stiffness and skis does not seem to be the issue. Skiing tall from hips up and shorter from hips down to allow for extention of the leg(s)has not helped on a consistant basis. Strong use of feet even seem to be a barrier for this skier. Looks like a bank but never falls inside the turn and tracks in the snow are excellent. Skis bumps with no problem. Skier appears to be hanging on the boot as though they can not bend the ankle and then sometimes bends moderately at the hip as though reaching to be forward. I can only get the skier there once in a while and then it leaves. Even ed staff personnel are in a quandry. Ideas please, the skier is now very disheartened.

Thanks

John
post #2 of 24
John, check this skiers ankle range of motion. The skier could have very tight ankles and be maxed out in the boots. Set them down in a chair with the femurs level. make a 90 degree angle to the floor with the tibia bone (ankle bone and knee bone ends). Have them dosiflex the ankle and use a straight edge under their feet and a dial protractor to measure the angle between the floor and the bottom on their foot. If they are less than 10 degrees they are probably maxed out in the boot and no amount of technique work will correct this. Heel lifts and/or straightening the boot cuff upright are the only solutions.

Beware if they are maxed out and you correct them they will experience dynamic balance for the first time. They may go from a level 6 skier to a level 2 skier instantly. It takes some convincing to get them to believe you are right about the changes.
post #3 of 24
If you have stiff or rigid ankles with a limited range of movement (fore and aft) is it better to ski in a stiff boot or a soft boot?
post #4 of 24
John,

Pierre's got the first focus: look for physical and equipment limitations.

Here's a couple of suggestions assuming the above has been checked/addressed. Do a static exercise (what's a name for this one?) standing across the hill on a pitched slope. You stand directly down hill from your student. They drop their poles. You hold both of yours together by the baskets while they hold the grips. You try to pull them down the hill. They try to resist. Be nice, just pull them a little bit, but do ask them to pull harder before you quit. Switch places and have them try to pull you down. Use counter, a wide stance and high edge angles (oops - I guess that means you're angulated too) and pull them up the hill. Switch places one more time, get them into the proper stance so they can easily resist your pulling and ask them to note the feeling in their feet and ankles (there should be a sense of "power"). For your student, you should also try to focus on the movement required to adjust from no pulling to pulling and back to no pulling.

Get on snow blades. Find a green/blue wide slope. Go fast. Widen the stance. Get high edge angles. I've never seen anyone bank doing this.
post #5 of 24

Arrow/Indian

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cole
I have an upper level skier having major problems developing angulation in the legs hips etc. I think I have tried everyting but I am getting no where. Consistancy is a major issue. Angulation is fleeting at best. Equipment i.e. boot stiffness and skis does not seem to be the issue.
What boot and what skiis does he have, by the way.... (check out our recent thread about boots and stance, etc...sorry, cant remember the name of if at the moment)

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cole
Skiing tall from hips up and shorter from hips down to allow for extention of the leg(s)has not helped on a consistant basis.
How does he flex from the hip down? (Are joints flexxing appropriately? When I was maxxed out in my boots, [ankles too far forward] the next joint in line to flex was my knee: straight back....)

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cole
Strong use of feet even seem to be a barrier for this skier.
So he is having trouble with side slips? You can (and probably have) tailored the task to add counter and angulation. I have seen many problems with stance really stand out here. working through them with this task can work some small miracles. Hey, Epic, Pivot slips, pivot slips, pivot slips, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cole
Looks like a bank but never falls inside the turn and tracks in the snow are excellent.
Huh? You mean he is railroad tracking ok at slow speed, but when required to add angulation at higher speed, is loosing it?

How far apart are his feet?, because you say in the next quote...

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cole
Skis bumps with no problem.
How old and set in their ways is this skier?
My buddy skis very fast, feet right together, ok in bumps, etc. but his feet are glued together, straight legs, banks, leans back.....you name it. Do I think he is a good skier, yes (dont quote/jump on this yet guys, I m not talking about modern tech here, he smiles alot and has a lot of fun, know what I mean). Is he making use of modern technique? No. Does he want to learn? Sometimes, but not usually. Your guy has at least signed up for lessons!

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cole
Skier appears to be hanging on the boot as though they can not bend the ankle and then sometimes bends moderately at the hip as though reaching to be forward. I can only get the skier there once in a while and then it leaves. Even ed staff personnel are in a quandry. Ideas please, the skier is now very disheartened.
Boots, boots boots. I agree 100% with Pierre about checking out range of motion here. have you had your tech director look in on this guy yet? I would suggest it! At least you can rule out or blame the arrow, know what I mean.

Best of luck with this skier! Let us know.
post #6 of 24
Have the guy ski some 45 deg stuff for a month - should help.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

It Is A Start - Keep It Coming Please

Thank you for your replys and I look forward to more input from anyone that wants to jump in. I agree with the equipment issue or at least I had not explored it in depth. I will move that direction and see what happens.

This is not a intermidiate skier but a level II instructor that can actually perform level III tasks probaly good enough to pass that portion of the exam. That being said, the skiing is not there except maybe in the bumps. Kind of weird isn't it! It has to be stance or equipment I believe but I don't want to get myself locked in to one way of thinking which is why I threw it out to the forum. The added problem I have now is one of our examiners, in a training session, approached the individual from the wrong way and destroyed their confidence. Now I have a bigger mountain to help them climb. I had their confidence strong until that happen. Amazing what an hour of stupidity can do to MY student! Also a couple of days in the mountains skiing the wrong way.

Be back to you when I get this solved. Probably have to work on the confidence 1st.

Thanks,

John
post #8 of 24
John, my thought (after following the physical/equipment recommendations already posted here) is to use pole drags (dragging both poles out to the sides, hands in normal position, both poles always touching the ground and actually angling out from the hands like antennae) for carved turns on moderate terrain. What I find is that when I don't get angles, my downhill pole comes off the snow. The nice thing about this is that you get both tactile and auditory feedback.

You've probably already tried this, but I'd like to know what happened if you did...
post #9 of 24
I have super-stiff ankles. I'd be lucky to get that 10 degree dorsiflexion. I fixed my balance issues by putting my podiatrist orthotics in my ski boots.

What I'm wondering is, what is this person like at doing railroad tracks? I can't imagine it'd be possible to do them, especially at speed, if they aren't counter-balancing their feet (angulating). Have they done some 2 footed railed arcs? Just a thought.
post #10 of 24
Try this,


Have him stand up hill from you, get him in a good open stance, take hold of his poles and point them at you. You then take hold of the other end of his poles and have him try to brace and pull you up the hill while you try to pull him down the hill. Does this put him in a good angulated position?


After all the equipment checks and if they don't fix it, maybe he just never "felt" the tug and feel of a high edge angle turn at high speeds.

If he can get into this highly anglulated position without getting in the back seat, then It's time to do some "feel this" drills. Try some out rigger turns at high speed. Or RR tracks down a wide steep pitch and tell him to really ride those skis around. I know we don't like "park and ride" but maybe you need to have him try some of them in a "park and Ride" stance to get the feel.

just some more ideas.

I have a cousin (we skied with ric a few days) who never really played with the G-forces and angles. He can ski bumps all day long, incredibly smooth skier, Steeps, powder, trees are all no problem he would easily pass the LII skiing exam if we ran the tasks by him and had him practice them but really building angles to hold those skis on an edge were a revelation.

DC
post #11 of 24

oh, I see more clearly, now

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cole
This is not a intermidiate skier but a level II instructor that can actually perform level III tasks probaly good enough to pass that portion of the exam.
Well that describes me to a tee. Something is holding him back. Is it the indian or the arrow or both. maybe if we knew more about the skier we could get a better picture.

also, there has been some really interesting posts here that show video clips. Even a series (more than one,please) of photos may help us help you. Any possibility of that?

I know you know this, but most inefficient moves come from fear, intimidation or superstition. Are his moves defensive at all? Is he over doing it trying to get on the offensive and being held back by equipment?


Good luck with this one. now I know how our tech director feels when he takes me out with him!!
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant
I have super-stiff ankles. I'd be lucky to get that 10 degree dorsiflexion. I fixed my balance issues by putting my podiatrist orthotics in my ski boots.
.
Yep - looks like I will need to do the same... at the moment I am told to work flat out to get some range of motion in achilles & calves - because they are shocking... (Oh well feet have been walking stupid for years so i suppose they are allowed)
then orthotics & more work
post #13 of 24
John,
I think it can be fixed.

I believe I had the same problem with my daughter. Does the skier's body position sort of resemble an old man walking with a bent back and almost straight legs, leaning out over a cane? Perhaps it could be described as a lot of hunching with almost straight legs?

I had come to the conclusion that she was using her upper body mass and hanging it out forward (the bend at the waist - haunching) to get pressure on her tips through her almost straight legs. On moderate terrain she could bet enough pressure to the tips to get the skis turning in a skid.

I worked on her pushing into the fronts of her boots statically which didn't even work very well. She had back entry boots, so I got some new boots... didn't help (immediately). I showed her correct body position and had her mimic it statically. Worked on traverses with her having an angle between the ski and the knee. I had her do partial turns only concentrating on having her shin pushing into the boot tongue. I had her concentrate on straigtening her back to a more upright position and driving with the knee (ankle). I demonstrated, demonstrated, demonstrated. There were some fleeting signs of improvement, as you state. But I then found out that she was afraid of speed.

So I brought her to steeper terrain to work on transitions using fall line hops. This also made the gentler terrain look less frightening when we got there. It also gave her a way to deal with steeper stuff. I also did this because I did not want to keep harping on the same thing all the time. I also did this because she plays soccer and it would be good for explosive acceleration on the soccer field. Her slight over-rotation became evident when she tried to do fast transitions, so she would get a little twisted around. Mix that up with pressuring with a bent back through straight legs and you can see where quick turns would impossible. But I kept on having her try and she did. Explanation about shoulders... listen, look, mimic. Some wipeouts and some improvement.

When we would get to gentler terrain, I would start on the ankle rolling and knee drive. Then I'm starting to see improvement on the flatter terrain... real improvement. Then after several repetions of a run that included fast turns on the steep and long turns on the flats she stunned me. In the terrain in between the steep and the gentle stuff, still fast for long turns, I looked up the hill after a demo and down she came, skis carving in a long radius turn right through the fall line... still carving into a 45 degree across the hill and then another turn with skis carving on edge and lo and behold, an ANGLE BETWEEN THE SKIS AND THE KNEES.

I said to her... HEY THAT'S IT. I guess you're getting used to the speed, huh?

She said, "yup".

The whole process took about 15 hours of me skiing with her and as many hours of her on her own. It ended last week. And I know it's not completely over yet.
post #14 of 24
Get them onto snowblades. Ask them to see how far out they can get them. Try while keeping shoulders level.... The angles should happen.
post #15 of 24
I'm assuming this L2 (almost L3) instructor can do some fairly decent RR tracks?

Take him out on a beginner run and get him doing quick linked RRTs right down the fall line. Quick enough that he's just rolling from edge to edge with his feet and knees and being a pendulum from the hips down. His CM should not deviate from the fall line at all. Do a few runs and a LOT of these quick little RRTs. Then start to open the turns up just a bit so that the CM deviates out of the fall line a very little bit. The angles from the little turns should still be there (starting turns with only a roll of the feet and knees). Then, as he continues to "get it" with those larger turns, keep going to slightly larger turns each time.

This should take up a lot of laps and very little talking, just to ingrain the feelings as he goes to larger and larger turns. But keep that feeling of being a pendulum from the waist down. He needs to become comfortable with this feeling and accept it as normal/proper.

Obviously, as the CM goes further and further out of the fall line, you may need to go to slightly steeper hills or just try and carry more speed on the smaller hill.
If you haven't already, it may be a benefit to put him on camera so that he can see what the feelings he's getting are producing. Have him ski direcly at and away from the camera so that you can see if the jacket zipper remains more or less vertical.

If you want, as the turns get bigger, incorporate the outside or double pole drag.
post #16 of 24
Oh yeah, another thought. But since you have Ed Staff looking at this guy, this may have already been checked.

Rotating will lead to banking a lot of times. It's very hard to angulate properly without proper counter rotation. Make sure he is leading with the inside hip and is in a position that is condusive to angulation.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 

What I Did & Results

OK, so here is what I did to get rid of the "Ole Man & The Cane" look.

I checked the natural ankle flex of the skier and it was minimal. I assumed tight hamstrings. I pulled to (2) screw pins out of the rear of the cuffs in both boots to soften the boot. I pulled out the foam liners, made special by a company out West which shall remain nameless and they never could get to fit them correctly in the toe box anyway, and put (2) neutral 1/8" heel lifts under the liner. This allowed a drastic change and I could pull an 1/8" out for subtraction if need be and add a little less etc. The boots now fit better than they ever have and the "Ole Man & The Cane" look, except for habit, is pretty much gone.

Now only time will tell if we can move the skier up to the next level but angles are happening!

Thanks all,

John
post #18 of 24
John, probably more like tight calves than tight hamstrings. Stretching (over time) can help if it's not the result of injury. Yoga is probably the best approach.

Good work!

I think we can all guess the boot company. At least, I think I can. Although, I might be wrong...
post #19 of 24
John,
You mentioned the skier's image "looks like a bank".

When a skier has a habit of first moving inside with the upper body, a lot of balancing leverage is established early from that high weight movement. The resulting posture requires engagement of more of the larger torso muscles to keep everything lined up, which reduces flexibility as well. From the body's balancing mechanism perspective this discourages moving any middle/lower body weight to the inside (that would result from creating angles). So the body might be in some internal conflict between balancing needs and the minds intent.

For starters I'd suggest statically standing across the slope and exploring "counter balancing" by allowing the upper body to tip out over the feet in response to rolling the feet/ski up onto high really high edge (and leg) angles (without poles in the snow). The skier should establish a "shaped" posture from the feet up with which they can easily pick up either foot and remain balanced on a high edge angle. Ask them to identify some internal "cue" for how the relationship of their upper and lower body feels and adopt that reference to reinforce their focus later on. This should be somewhat of a stretching exercise that they can be encouraged to practice at home.

Move this across the slope in edged traverse while rolling the feet/skis on/off their edges progressively to create a coordinated shaping and releasing of the whole body 's coordinated angles. Reinforce the relaxing of the upper body so it can respond to the needs of the feet/lower legs to create angles. Encourage them to feel the “stretch”.

Then traverse to carving uphill with progressive rolling of feet to maximize body shaping (with angles) while slowly lifting alternate feet so as to balance on one at a time. Reinforce their internal "cue" to produce the coordinated upper/lower relationship.

To apply the counter balancing, body shaping movements through transitions, use railroad track turns in the falline with frequent edge changes to develop a feel for the transitional movement of the upper body being coordinated to support the intent for the feet/lower legs/skis. Here it helps to reinforce the relaxing of the upper body.

Round'em out with mileage on terrain that will not induce upper body in habits. Hope this helps.
post #20 of 24

whtmt

John: A couple of thoughts come to mind. First I would check out the boot stiffness, alignment, and ramp angle as was noted earlier to eliminate those items. Then I would do an assessment of his non-ski related sports activities to see if something comes over to lead you so solve this problem.

Next I would like to see him filmed (if possible), to really watch him in slow motion. Sometimes the naked eye can't see well enough what the camera can and at slow motion speed you may see what you couldn't see on the hill. I had mis-diagnosed one of my coach's problems on the hill, thinking it was one thing, only to try the wrong fix until I watched it at slow motion speed. When I saw it in slow motion I was able to correctly diagnose it and find suitable corrective exercises.

Then I would start to re-assess his movement patterns through some basic drills and exercises. For instance you said he's a high level skier who can ski the bumps well but when he tries to do higher speed RR Tracks his insufficient or inconsistent angulation is weak or "fleating at best". What this sounds like to me is that he is able to pivot his skis for his bump skiing OK, but he can't tip and steer his feet well during RR Tracks.

In bumps you don't need much angulation, due to the steepness of the bump's sides as opposed to RR tracks where tipping the feet and ankles and moving the hips to the inside of the turn are required at higher speeds. So I detect good rotary skills, but weak edge control and pressure control skills.

For instance, to be efficient in performing solid RR Tracks a skier must develop a strong inside half, (ie-the skier must lead turns with the inside foot, knee, hip, shoulder, & arm, to manage the forces of higher speed turns using a higher edge angle. If you see little or no strong inside half development, then his problem may be that his hip is rotating to the outside of each turn where he loses the outside ski's edge engagement. This causes the "A"-Frame look. In RR tracks, a hip rotation to the outside will reduce or prevent the amount of hip angulation that can occur since the body's joints can't bend sufficiently to assist the higher edge angles and forces required / desired for RR Tracks.

Therefore, I would work on tipping activities with both the feet and then add the knees and then move up to the hip getting to the inside of the turn. Next I would use Bob Barne's "pole boxes" to work the angulation into the movements to assist the development of the inside half I spoke of earlier. Thanks Bob.

One exercise I like to use for a number of movement corrections is the 1000 steps turn. The reason is simple. It allows me to watch many movement patterns all in one exercise line, which I can then select to work on. Foot to foot movements, weight transfer, CM directional movement, angulation at higher speeds, flow, and rhythm all come into play here. Frequently skiers show some deficiencies within this demo so it's an easy place to start.

Best of luck. whtmt & Mackenzie 911
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
John, probably more like tight calves than tight hamstrings. Stretching (over time) can help if it's not the result of injury. Yoga is probably the best approach.

Good work!

I think we can all guess the boot company. At least, I think I can. Although, I might be wrong...
I miss spoke and meant to say acheles but I could also see where the calves need stretched out.

John
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
Oh yeah, another thought. But since you have Ed Staff looking at this guy, this may have already been checked.

Rotating will lead to banking a lot of times. It's very hard to angulate properly without proper counter rotation. Make sure he is leading with the inside hip and is in a position that is condusive to angulation.
My thought as well........
Is this person square to his skis all the time? If so, I would suspect upper body rotation is in play to the exclusion of leg rotation. While leg rotation may not be the primary ski turning/guiding mechanisn at this speed that it often is at lower speeds, the turning of the legs is essential to producing the countered position necessary to significant hip angulation. The familiar sensation of tension between legs and torso provides important feedback to gauge the amount of force developed and balancing angulation required.

Oddly enough the best medecine to dial into this person the upper/lower body separation required for upper level skiing might be to take him right back to the gliding wedge or open parallel and work on active two footed steering/ guidance and work progressions of this right up through to the kind of carving technique he is seeking. I would doubt that this person's problem is simply an inability to acheive certain positions in his skiing. I would guess he also has difficulty varying turn radius at slower speeds. Simply asking him to place his body in certain ways does not address the underlying problem.
post #23 of 24
No No - not the dreaded wedge
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
No No - not the dreaded wedge
I would just have him skiing very slowly on flat skis and emphasize active 2 footed steering and gradually amp it up from there. That's pretty much the progression I use in my own skiing at the beginning of the season. Whether or not you use a wedge or not (I do) is up to you.
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