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Pedaling

post #1 of 95
Thread Starter 
There's nothing older than the bicycle analogy and skiing, but like many ideas that have been around a long time, this one may be overlooked for being so homely and familiar. Years ago, I think it was 1996, I helped organize a PSIA event called the National Teaching Seminar. Jerry Warren did a cycling segment that nicely explored the similarities between cycling and skiing movements, particularly the need to have the outside pedal down (inside pedal up) to maintain balance in a turn. I remember thinking that was a cool similarity, but never really exploited it with a ski class until this season.

This season my mantra was "Balance is Everything," taking off on the D-Team's technical statement that one can't perform the skiing skills properly unless one is in balance. Balance therefore promotes skills.

As the season progressed we worked on dorsiflexing the inside ankle to position the inside hip over the outside foot. We became aware that as we dorsiflex (close) the inside ankle, we are simultaneously opening the outside ankle to plantar flex the outside foot and drive the inside edge into the snow. We did Telemark turns, falling leaf with a turn (the waltz), pivot slips, skid-steer loader turns in bumps, etc. etc.

Then a couple of weeks ago I tried something that really clicked with people in an amazing way: I tied all the movements we'd been exploring as pedaling movements. I asked my students to think of the skis as pedals, and the boot as the toe clip. First we focused un pulling up the inside pedal and noticed that this released the old turn. Second we focused on pressing down the outside pedal and noticed that this caused the outside ski to turn. Third we focused on pulling up while pressing down, with special attention to making the transition happen earlier in the turn. The earlier in the turn the new outside ski was pressed into service, the more connected the turn felt.

One student said, "This is weird. This morning the song "I want to ride my bicycle" was running through my head, and now here we are, riding bicycles!"

We took the pedaling action into bumps and steeps and wow: no more hopping, stepping the inside ski around, and other acts of forcing the turn. Pedaling without poles (look ma, no hands!) in bumps was a revelation--the more active the lower body, the quieter and more stable the upper body became.

I did a search of past threads and found this: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...light=pedaling
I see that Weems calls this the mother analogy. (It's always reassuring to have Weems on my side.)
post #2 of 95
I use the sensation of pedaling frequently, Nolo. I mention it and if it clicks, then we explore how you have a really large gear for large turns with generally slooooooow pedaling and a smaller one with more rapid pedaling action in short turns. But I've not had an opportunity to use this idea in bumps. Sounds like a good approach.
post #3 of 95
Use them all the time.

lots of times crossover skills are the only thing that click for kids.
post #4 of 95
This is weird. I took what you posted from the D team and followed the same thing in my skiing this winter. I have been very pleased with the results.
post #5 of 95
Thread Starter 
I think that's a good thing, Pierre. I neglected to add what may be the most critical cue for the pedaler, and that's the sensation of loading and compressing the arch of the outside foot while reaching for the top of the boot with the top of the inside foot (while not picking the ski up off the snow). I want to visualize and feel like my pedals are stacked vertically in the apex of the turn. Pressing down over the arch does three things for me: 1) requires me to be centered, 2) flattens the foot and causes it to pronate, and 3) instantly initiates a turn.
post #6 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
I think that's a good thing, Pierre. I neglected to add what may be the most critical cue for the pedaler, and that's the sensation of loading and compressing the arch of the outside foot while reaching for the top of the boot with the top of the inside foot (while not picking the ski up off the snow). I want to visualize and feel like my pedals are stacked vertically in the apex of the turn. Pressing down over the arch does three things for me: 1) requires me to be centered, 2) flattens the foot and causes it to pronate, and 3) instantly initiates a turn.
An active dosiflexion is required to ski a decent parallel turn on telemark gear. That is how you keep the heels down. I don't change when I go to alpine gear. (lifting the foot towards the shin)

What you are saying here, with the pedaling action, is exactly what I found. The pedaling action activates both feet during the process instead of having just a ride foot and a guide foot. I would be cautious about introducing this to intermedate skiers as I think they would likely twist the outside ski tail outwards in the process. There are many ways of doing it very inefficient.

I also found that activating both feet using pedaling introduces a bit of disconnect in the steering between the two active feet but also found out that if I activate and use the Tia Chi energy center, (just about the center of gravity) that I have perfect steering communication between the two feet. For the first time ever a sharp eyed PSIA staffer said my turn look like D-team. This stuff in your post is very powerful. I can thank you and RicB for our earlier discussions this fall on these subjects. My answers differed from yours then so I started asking myself why. That is when I pursued a remarkably parallel path with you.
post #7 of 95
I use the pedalling analogy frequently to initiate the weight transfer concept.

Sometimes I start with tapping the uphill ski or dragging the tip. Then I might try stepping uphill through the traverse. Then I usually will say "tap you uphill ski three times and on the third step up on it a steer it through the turn".

Sometimes this works really well. It helps to improve balance, too.

Doug
post #8 of 95
I am a serious mountain biker in the summer, so pedaling is something that I am very familiar with. I don't believe it translates to skiing quite as well as expressed here.

Personally I think pedaling promotes one footed skiing far more than it intends to. I think pedaling can activate both feet, but in opposite direction, thus eliminating a lazy guide foot, but inadvertantly enforcing one-footed skiing - especially for the less advanced skiers.

When I ski hard I never think of pedaling. My feet may end up in the stacked position similar to a pedal (because of my body's position relative to the ground), but both legs work together - both legs pressing through the apex of the turn, both legs retracting/relaxing towards the end and engaging early into the next turn.

Perhaps pedaling works for others, but I find it goes against my personal preference to have my feet work together (i.e. flexing/extending in unison).
post #9 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB
I am a serious mountain biker in the summer, so pedaling is something that I am very familiar with. I don't believe it translates to skiing quite as well as expressed here.
I agree with you, Tom. I am (was) also a serious mountain and now a road cyclist. I think the more serious you are, technically, into cycling, the less translation you feel between pedaling and skiing. For my own personal skiing, I don't feel any translation at all.

I still bring up the pedaling analogy sometimes in ski teaching situations. Many folks do find it a very useful visualization, but I am finding that these are the folks who are generally casual cyclists, if at all. Serious cyclists, in my experience, do not find this analogy very useful.

My wife is a serious equestrian, and I've been taking a few english riding lessons myself. Okay, okay... I did it to earn brownie points, but that's another story. From talking to my equestrian instructor and folks who are serious english riders, I am finding a heck of a lot of similarities between english riding and skiing - much more than bicycling. Body positioning, balance on stirrups, dorsiflexed ankles, movement and positioning of legs , hand positioning, etc etc.
post #10 of 95
I'm with Tom.... & I am certainly no cyclist - damn it I still have trouble turning on a bike & fall off regularly trying to stop....

but the sensation through my feet is totally different pedalling a bike to skiing.... I don't pronate/supinate my feet when I ride a bike.... etc etc

I find some of the jumping stuff my gym instructor had me try seems to feel closer (core activation, feet/hips work more similarly)....

Like Tom - my legs may end up in a similar position to pedalling a bike - but it is a result of how I ski - if I try to MAKE them go there then the skiing feels forced & not flowing at all....
post #11 of 95
I think part of the problem I have feeling a similarity between bicycling pedaling and skiing lies in the issue of balancing, and where the weight is beared.

In skiing, how one stands on feet is a critical parameter. In contrast, you use the pedals mainly as a weight bearing platform, not as something you need to balance upon.

In skiing, weight distribution should be flatly distributed over the entire bottom of the feet. In cycling, your preferred contact point is in front of your arch and behind your toes. If you apply bear weight this way on skis, it promotes opening of ankles and knock you back on your skis, as we all know.

Ankle angles, e.g. dorsiflexion, are basically non-issues in the ability to turn a bike pedal, except for some minor differences in efficiency of power transfer.

Finally, as Tom says, in cornering on a mountain bike, you raise the inside pedal mainly to get it out of the way. Your inside foot is not doing anything. In contrast, you need/want to be actively doing something (e.g. edging, balancing, etc) on your inside retracted leg.
post #12 of 95
Thread Starter 
I should have qualified the level of student I am teaching this to: level 8. The purpose is to help them ski steeper and more natural terrain.

See p. 90 of Eric & Rob DesLauriers' book, Ski the Whole Mountain:
Quote:
Steep skiing requires more of a "pedal" move in transition, mimicking the action of pedaling a bicycle...
They go on to provide a much better description than I did of this move and why it works.
post #13 of 95
Well guys since I don't bike that much I guess I can see the analogy. By the way I don't transfer weight in the same sense as what most skeirs think. What I do with the pedaling, is pedal to maintain a 50-50 feel between the feet. If I don't actively pedal, the pressue between the feet changes rapidly. I use pedaling to keep from jumping on the outside ski entirely, not the reverse. When the feet feel more even, the stance is better and the communication between the feet is much better.
post #14 of 95
Yeah Pierre - but for me it is easier to concentrate on keeping the pressure more even than to try to pedal
post #15 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
Yeah Pierre - but for me it is easier to concentrate on keeping the pressure more even than to try to pedal
At first yes disski but when it becomes natural you will switch to active instead of reactive.
post #16 of 95
So, Josseph, if you're not standing on your outside foot's arch, how are you edging? When I pressure the entire bottom of my foot, I skid a lot more.
post #17 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
So, Josseph, if you're not standing on your outside foot's arch, how are you edging? When I pressure the entire bottom of my foot, I skid a lot more.
Kneale, I did not say not to stand on foot's arch. I said one stand on bike pedals in front of the arch, e.g. balls of feet. When I roll onto an inside edge, I feel like I am flattening my arch. Does that make sense?
post #18 of 95
Here's what my question was based upon: "In skiing, weight distribution should be flatly distributed over the entire bottom of the feet"

Do you have a custom footbed? When I stand on my arch, I'm standing on a custom-molded support for the arch. I feel an increase in pressure on the arch itself, but not the arch going flat. Maybe that's because I have flat feet anyway. But what I don't feel is the entire bottom of the foot.
post #19 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
Here's what my question was based upon: "In skiing, weight distribution should be flatly distributed over the entire bottom of the feet"

Do you have a custom footbed? When I stand on my arch, I'm standing on a custom-molded support for the arch. I feel an increase in pressure on the arch itself, but not the arch going flat. Maybe that's because I have flat feet anyway. But what I don't feel is the entire bottom of the foot.
Kneale - when I stand on the inside edge of my foot & balance over it I feel the arch sort of get longer & flatter - even with my orthotic on this is so.... I also feel the weight transfer onto that side of my foot with the action of lifting the other foot (ie when I weight that foot I can feel weight roll from across my transverse arch, to the inside edge or the ball under my big toe so that the line my foot balances on is now my main arch from ankle to big toe rather than a triangle from ankle to both balls)

This is especially true when I am skiing & lengthen 1 leg while shortening the other....

It is not an extreme flattenning - but it is there - the foot drives into pronation as i weight it -
post #20 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
Here's what my question was based upon: "In skiing, weight distribution should be flatly distributed over the entire bottom of the feet"

Do you have a custom footbed? When I stand on my arch, I'm standing on a custom-molded support for the arch. I feel an increase in pressure on the arch itself, but not the arch going flat. Maybe that's because I have flat feet anyway. But what I don't feel is the entire bottom of the foot.
Kneale, I think we are arguing sementics here. When I say I stand with weight evenly distributed over the entire bottom of the feet, I really mean centered and not on my heels nor on the balls of my feet. You are right. I don't really feel the entire bottom of the foot. Getting back to the topic of drawing analogy between bicycle pedaling and skiing, the only point I was trying to make was that I have trouble visualizing how one stands on bike pedals can be similar to how one should stand on skis. Mileage varies with other folks, of course. As I said, some folks find the pedaling analogy extremely helpful. For me, I simply had a lot of trouble adapting it. In contrast, the english horse riding analogy works very well with me, but I am sure many would have problems with it.
post #21 of 95
nolo,

Skied today and played with some slow speed turns using the pedaling analogy and I must say...using the pedaling action AND actively tipping to LTE to release downhill edge together made for a very easy initiation! I did not lift the ski off the snow but made a fairly complete weight shift. Felt like a PMTS turn only more natural.

The key is probably to keep the cm. moving laterally and not vertically.
post #22 of 95
Thread Starter 
Bud, I'm glad to hear your experience was similar to mine (and that you were willing to give it a try!). Good point about CM--I found that removing poles stopped the infernal popping. Ultimately, I am trying to give students a tool for skiing steeps, but we have found it works great anywhere, any radius, any speed, any kind of snow. Well, we'll find out about the last today, with 30" and counting since Saturday at Bridger Bowl.

Suddenly we've got us a real winter.
post #23 of 95
I am convinced that at more advanced levels we are all doing similar things, but we feel those actions in a different way. In other words, the same analogy does not work for everyone. Clearly we all have to "pedal", epecially on steeper terrain, but the subtle difference would be in how you actually think about the process. Pierre said that he does it to try to maintain a two-footed approach. I said I would avoid it for the same reason.

Unfortunately, if you are a biker, you cannot possibly think of pedaling and maintaining two-footed pressure. In fact, good spinners would tell you that the retraction part is critical to a good spin. So from a biker's perspective, I have a hard time dealing with a pedal action that in fact promotes pulling the inside and pusing the outside. As Bud mentioned, it is close to PMTS.

Anyway, everyone should try it and see how they like it.
post #24 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB
I am convinced that at more advanced levels we are all doing similar things, but we feel those actions in a different way. In other words, the same analogy does not work for everyone. Clearly we all have to "pedal", epecially on steeper terrain, but the subtle difference would be in how you actually think about the process. Pierre said that he does it to try to maintain a two-footed approach. I said I would avoid it for the same reason.

Unfortunately, if you are a biker, you cannot possibly think of pedaling and maintaining two-footed pressure. In fact, good spinners would tell you that the retraction part is critical to a good spin. So from a biker's perspective, I have a hard time dealing with a pedal action that in fact promotes pulling the inside and pusing the outside. As Bud mentioned, it is close to PMTS.

Anyway, everyone should try it and see how they like it.
I can't agree more, Tom. The pedaling analogy really clicks with many folks. Equally evident, though, it goes completely over my head.

I gave this discrepancy much thought last night. What I came up with is this. To the casual cyclists, the foot motion of extension and retraction is how one generally associates with how to pedal a bicycle.

However, serious cyclists generally don't think about pushing down on pedals and retraction of the other leg. This leads to pedal mashing, or the "stomp-stomp-stomp" style, which is very energy inefficient. What serious cyclists strive for is to pedal in **circles**.

When I pedal my bikes, I don't think of pushing down on one pedal and pulling up of the other leg. Rather I think of maintaining power towards the top of the crank and when the crank is towards the bottom by pushing the pedal forward or pulling the pedal backwards, respectively. This focus has no translation to leg positioning and pressure application on skis.

I hope this clarifies things somewhat.
post #25 of 95
pedaling a bike is something I do without focus on the act

it's 2d nature because I've done so much of it

and I cannot for the life of me translate ANY pedaling sensation to skiing.

maybe what's needed is a pedaling image that is inefficient from a cyclist's perspective? less of the whole clockface, I mean.
post #26 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
less of the whole clockface, I mean.
I thought that too, but doesn't the thought of "pedaling" automatically activate both legs no matter how good a cyclist you are? While maintaining a given separation between them?

Granted, not the level of clinic nolo appears to have been teaching above.
post #27 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski

I am certainly no cyclist - damn it I still have trouble turning on a bike & fall off regularly trying to stop....
I suspect your bike is the wrong size for you.
post #28 of 95
One of the weird bits is that when you pedal a bike at some point you have a foot in front of the other foot - but same height..... where does this fit in the skiing cycle?
post #29 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchool
I suspect your bike is the wrong size for you.

Maybe - but I think me being a klutz is more the problem....

One of my instructors who works a lot with disabled skiers was talking to me about it.... seems his wife has exactly the same stopping problem & for the life of him he cannot work out why she does it.... I was trying to describe why it is SOOOOOO hard to stop.....
post #30 of 95
I use that part of the bike anoalogy that nolo is describing but I also use another bicycle type analogy. If you are riding a bike at very slow speeds and need to turn you use the handlebars to steer the bike where you want to go. When moving faster on a bike as in going down a hill and making turns how do you manuver the bike? I lean i.e. tip the bike, you can't turn the handlebars at speed or you will wipe out. Well take it into skiing, very slow turns be it wedge or open parrallel require a turning or steering motion of the femur (legs). You are not moving fast enough to just tip or lean, but at speed the preferred movment is to tip onto the edges with some gentle steering of the femur(legs) to shape the turn. At speed on skis if you try to steer with the femurs 1st without enough tipping of the femurs to get the skis on edge you get massive skidding. For advanced skiing tip first then turn, just like riding a bike at speed , tip to turn.
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