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"CAS" Certified Alignment Specialist

post #1 of 88
Thread Starter 
Help me brainstorm here!

To help bridge the gap between the need for boot alignment and the big "L" liability that paralyzes and thwarts any efforts to address this topic in ski school lessons, I would like to propose the creation of a certification program administered through PSIA and endorsed by binding manufacturers that would indemnify instructors to use approved methodology, materials, and tolerances to assess clients alignment needs in an on hill environment.

A "CAS" certified instructor or shop technician would be able to safely assess clients on hill using approved tools to determine their alignment needs then refer them to a qualified boot technician who can perform the neccesary permanent modifications and return the boots to DIN and ASTM specifications for the client.

I believe the different entities need to come together to make boot balancing a viable and acceptable mainstream practice. Developing a certification program would bring Ski Schools, ski shops, and manufacturers together on the same page and create a viable service to help kindle skier retention and growth as well as reduce injuries as a result of less stress placed on skiers' joints as a result of properly aligned euipment.

In this thread I would like to:

-Poll boot alignment experts who view this forum for their thoughts and criteria they believe should be part of this educational material and certification process.

-Develop a tactical approach for presenting the concept to Binding Manufacturers, Ski Schools, PSIA, and resort Risk Management.

-Develop an agreed upon linear methodology for conducting on hill assessments.

-Develop a list of symptoms for each end of the imbalance spectrum for fore/aft and lateral planes.

-Define optimum stance.

-Define and compile list of all current binding "stand heights" for reference. List all manufacturer's optional shims available for their bindings to allow stand height adjustments.

-Compile list of all tool suppliers who offer calipers, cant strips, shims, lifts, specialty tools specific to boot balancing.

Any other "constructive" thoughts or suggestions are appreciated however; Please remember you are either "part of the solution or part of the problem!" Please be part of the solution here.
post #2 of 88
Bud,

I think it’s a great idea, very few people have a solid knowledge and understanding in this area. This type of training could really help our students and other instructors.

I don’t think the big “L” is the main reason this is not addressed. I think it is lack of knowledge. I always try to look for equipment issues, if nothing else to rule them out.

There is no an existing methodology for diagnosing these issues. Something similar to the guide to ineffective and effective movements might help. Movement analysis should include spotting potential equipment problems.

One area where this breaks down is there is no communication between instructors and boot fitters. It becomes a game of telephone where the bootfitter ends up with garbled information. Doctors and other professionals use referrals to make sure information passes smoothly from one to another, perhaps some sort of referral would be helpful.

I was lucky enough to have my group leader, Megan Harvey and bootfitter Jim Lindsay both work with me at National Academy. Jim had us play with hard plastic shims that changed the canting by three degrees. Jim and Megan consulted with each other, they made a diagnosis all three of us agreed with. I walked away understanding what needed to be adjusted why and was very happy to get consistent advice.

Good luck, I’m happy to help if needed
post #3 of 88
Bud, I think you're onto something here. PSIA-NRM has offered a boot alignment course each fall at its examiner training and general education event the past 10 years at least. The school at Bridger Bowl has provided alignment training opportunities (elective, requiring a nominal charge) to its instructors as well. But these are informational classes with the intent of improving instructors' diagnostic skills. These courses are helpful, but they don't take one to the next level of confidence to actually cut and grind.

I would sign up for an in-depth prep course/certification in a second.
post #4 of 88
I think a good start would just to get pictures and guidelines established for the simplest of things to be put up around ski school desks and rental shops, something such as reminders, put the left boot on the left foot and right boot on the right foot and do not tuck pant legs into boots, preferably wear one pair of socks, boots should be snug but not so tight as to cut off circulation (about a finger or two in the boot when buckled), etc, would elivaiate many issues that I often encounter on the hill.
post #5 of 88
Bud,
Great idea!
I've been frustrated ever sense reading " The Athletic Skier" by a lack of information on this topic. I know enough to know that I don't know enough about this. Greater understanding of the biomechanics/equipment interface would help us all. Currently it seems to be "learn through trail and error". And there's way more error or misunderstanding then accurate learning. Some are able to "figure it out" while most don't have a clue.

I know a school AD that believes foot beds are unimportant except for severly deformed feet.

For 15 years I've been told "your in the back seat". Even through the process of clinics and exams to level III certification, NO ONE ever suggested that boot modification would help me. Last fall, toe lifts solved the problem. No amount of coaching, lessons, practice, could overcome what two small pieces of plastic did.
I sat in Jim Lindsays presentation at the 2004 National Academy. Jim presented more info in 1 hour then I could ever find on my own. Maybe we could ask Jim to write the book.
post #6 of 88
Thread Starter 
I would certainly like to get Jim Lindsey's input and ideas and he would certainly be a good source for content in the manual. Know any risk managers for binding manufacturers? I would love to get in touch with Jim and Jeff burgeron sp? to talk more about this if anyone knows how I can contact them. I think
Arcmeister would be an excellent source for writing the manual too!? How about it Roger?.....interested?
post #7 of 88
Thread Starter 
Who are the movers and shakers in the boot alignment world? I would like to compile a list of names and contact information for anyone who has extensive experience with balancing boots!!

Here in Tahoe area I know of Jim Schaffner and myself
Colorado I know of Jeff Bergeron but no contact info
Jim Lindsey but no contact info

who else?

I would like to send a proposal to this list of alignment specialist to get the ball rolling and maybe come up with a strong argument for the equipment manufacturers to get involved then present the concept to PSIA education committee. Who knows maybe by SIA next year all the entities could be having a pow wow to make it happen? that would be something!
post #8 of 88

Alignment info

Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman
-Develop a tactical approach for presenting the concept to Binding Manufacturers, Ski Schools, PSIA, and resort Risk Management.

-Develop an agreed upon linear methodology for conducting on hill assessments.

-Develop a list of symptoms for each end of the imbalance spectrum for fore/aft and lateral planes.

-Define optimum stance.

-Define and compile list of all current binding "stand heights" for reference. List all manufacturer's optional shims available for their bindings to allow stand height adjustments.

-Compile list of all tool suppliers who offer calipers, cant strips, shims, lifts, specialty tools specific to boot balancing.
I am in no way saying this to discourage or say anything bad about the intent of the thread, but I am offering this as another resource, rather than completely reinventing the wheel. However, with this said there are also serious differences of theory, approach, and application among the various self proclaimed alignment specialists and also issues of intellectual and material property, ego, etc. etc.. But, anyway, my comment:

Much what is on the above list has already been available in the Harb Ski Systems Alignment Technician Training courses for the past 4 or 5 years.

Much of the material in the basic 40-50 hour course was derived from data and experience from thousands of alignments (in which about 30 measurments are made and kept, as well as on snow videos). They have also collected data on joint related injury rates before and after alignment of a subset of racers they have aligned. They will be analyzing data this to present at the next International Congress of Skiing and Science.

The on snow protocal for alignment done by technicians and instructors is also covered in a one day alignment recognition course available during the PMTS fall instructors training camp.

In addition, Harb Ski Systems did several empirical studies on fore/aft issues in which they looked at the interplay between different categories of anatomy types and specific adjustments. They took lots of anotomical measurements (tibia and femur length, hip measurements, torso measurements, weights, etc.,), took static stance measurements before and after and looked at video-ed skiing performance before and after.

The conclusions and recommendations are available in the training materials.
For the use of Dalbello boots in the studies, Dalbello also used the results and recommendations of the studies for in-house training and development and for a while had them available to dealers.

HSS have also published a logic plan for research addressing these issues -- as a set of key questions for future research.

They have also presented some of this to their insurance carrier to address coverage of services they provide. And since Harald had been approached by someone from the USSA coaches assoc. to possibly do alignment training for them as well as three new books almost ready to release, there is probably a lot more that I don't know about what is going on.

Just offering this up to possibly follow up on if it seems useful.
post #9 of 88
The guy NRM and BBSS have been contracting with is Brent Amsbury, who has a shop in Park City now, after years in the Seattle area. He's very good 1-1 and with groups.
post #10 of 88
Bud- your PM box is full- could not send you a message.

Jeff's shop is called Boot Fixation and is located inside the Norway Haus, 127 S. Main St, Breckenridge, CO 80424 Tel: 970-453-8546, email bootfix@comcast.net. He has been away for the past few weeks; I'm not sure when he will be back.
post #11 of 88
Thread Starter 
Great info guys, I actually planned on attending the Harb boot camp thing in the fall to check it out. sounds like Harb is way ahead of me but,

I BELIEVE THE GOAL IS TO ESTABLISH A CRITERIA AND CERTIFICATION FOR DOING ON HILL ASSESSMENTS FOR INSTRUCTORS/COACHES THAT WILL PROTECT THEM WITH INDEMNIFICATION FROM ALL BINDING/BOOT MANUFACTURERS AGAINST LIABILITY.

Once this happens the whole thing will be a huge benefit to all skiers' safety and performance potential.


Sorry I am not to up on PMTS. visited the sight a few times and felt it a little unfriendly and unwelcoming so have not been back.
post #12 of 88

Extended hello to Bud

Bud.

Ya the forums can sometimes not be friendly for all sorts of silly reasons.

If you are ever around Mt. Hood, just Look me up. I am up at Timberline a lot during the summer. I'd be glad to ski, drink beer, or talk anytime.

There are some good new products for alignment stuff coming out soon. I'll PM you my cell number, so sometime we can talk.
post #13 of 88

Shims

Bud,
An Aspen company called the foot foundation has come up with an innovative idea. Placing a full length shim between the liner and the shell allows adjustment without changing the DIN plate of the boot and it works with custom insoles quite well. If you are like me and have a very snug shell, this approach means even more grinding and shell work. However for the vast majority of skiers their is no volume issue. While we have a ski school clinic as part of our optional training, I would imagine Eric Ward would gladly discuss training and liability with your ski school managers. You can visit his web site thefootfoundation.com to get more details.
post #14 of 88
Bud - here's my starting contribution....

Quote:
-Poll boot alignment experts who view this forum for their thoughts and criteria they believe should be part of this educational material and certification process.
Not sure we can get them all onto this forum, but we can certainly chase after them. Some have even posted enough material on their websites to have some insite into their approach.

Quote:
Who are the movers and shakers in the boot alignment world? I would like to compile a list of names and contact information for anyone who has extensive experience with balancing boots!!
Some of my nominations...
Greg Hoffmann of Green Mountain Orthotics has a close relationship with PSIA-E.
Brian Eardley of DC Ski center is well respected in the Washington DC area.
Here's a ski center web page on bootfitting
Surefoot has fair piece of the market.
Harb has already been mentioned.

Quote:
-Develop a tactical approach for presenting the concept to Binding Manufacturers, Ski Schools, PSIA, and resort Risk Management.
The first key is that every CAS will need standard binding certification. That's a must do. We're going to need buy in from boot manufacturers too (yes most are the same, but I'll bet there are different people to work with). The boot people probably have the most to gain out of this. It might be possible to extend the binding indemnification program to cover boot alignment.

The overall approach should be similar to what Harb has already put out there. Better Alignment=More Fun=More skiers skiing more often; putting alignment specialists on snow will get more people to get aligned. But we need to add a team effort angle to the pitch: this in the guests and the industry's best interests - let's find a way to make this happen instead of finding reasons why it can't. NSAA, NSP and PSIA have already established an all friends in the same tent working together concept with the Model for Growth. We should be able to leverage this.

Getting bootfitters to agree on a common methodology will be tough. Limiting the CAS to on snow analysis and temporary fixes, and leaving the permanent fix stuff to bootfitters may help.

Getting insurance companies to buy into this is a 50-50 thing. Getting the manufacturers to believe that this idea can increase sales will be the key to overcoming any insurance company objections. If the manufacturers want to do this, the insurance companies will find a way to let it happen. Getting injury and lawsuit stats and combining this with expert advice from bootfitters and binding manufacturers will appear to be the critical argument, but this will only impact the price of insuring this effort. There will be a price to cover liability. Getting manufacturers to believe this will increase sales will be a matter of faith.

If PSIA and the manufacturers buy off on this, resort management will support it, if there is no cost to them.

Quote:
-Develop an agreed upon linear methodology for conducting on hill assessments.
Although there are some on snow drills that can highlight alignment problems, I suspect that there are some who would argue that indoor analysis is most effective. We also may need to do work indoors in order to get buy off on indemnification. Nonetheless, I believe on snow experience is critical to the guest seeing the benefit of this and for other parties to see the need for this program. Would we consider a methodology that combines indoor and outdoor analysis, remediation and testing (e.g. start outdoors, come indoors for specific measurements and remediation, go outdoors for testing)?

Quote:
-Develop a list of symptoms for each end of the imbalance spectrum for fore/aft and lateral planes.
PSIA has done a good pass at this with their visual cues for effective and ineffective skiing, especially with the section on balance/stance. But we need to add more.

Quote:
-Define optimum stance.
I'll start with the hips and shoulders are located between the front of the toes and the back of the heels. But I expect that to get chewed on. Does anyone have a starter definition for optimum lateral stance?

Quote:
-Define and compile list of all current binding "stand heights" for reference. List all manufacturer's optional shims available for their bindings to allow stand height adjustments.
Whoa - that's going to take some homework!
Salomon has binding specs on their web site like this for the 912 model:

Adj range us 3
Adj_range_mm 24
DIN Scale 4-12
Dynamic Response 0
Height 20
Lateral 48
Vertical TOE 10
Weight_1_2_pair 1170

Is this what you were looking for?

Quote:
-Compile list of all tool suppliers who offer calipers, cant strips, shims, lifts, specialty tools specific to boot balancing.
I'll bet we are going to need to develop an "approved" or "recommended" list of tools and supplies beyond just listing all the vendors.
Here's one vendor for you:
Tognar
post #15 of 88
I want to make a point here. Bootfitting and alignment are not the same thing. Most of the bootfitters out there haven't a clue about alignment issues. Unfortunately, even many shops that do alignment follow a rote static alignment procedure that includes no on hill evaluation or follow-up. Finally, I am convinced that fore/aft alignment is more critical than lateral alignment but it is even less understood and accepted than lateral alignment.

As to the topic of this thread. I think that a CAS is a great idea but on the practical side of things most instructors don't even bother to get themselves properly aligned so I wonder just how many of them would go to the trouble of learning enough about the process to work effectively with their students. Yes, most of the instructors who post here would love to add something like this to their student offerings but remember there are over 29,000 PSIA instructors out there and a couple dozen that post here on Epic.

Sorry to come across as such a wet blanket but I get depressed when I can't teach,

yd
post #16 of 88
Yd,

I think your points only strengthen the case why we ought to pursue this. But we're past the point of whether we ought to do it or not. We're going to try to do it. Here's where we need your help. Let's start getting some answers to Bud's questions.

I'm especially interested in the Harb Ski System/PMTS trained alignment pros. Do you have any experiences you can share on this subject?
post #17 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
Bud,
An Aspen company called the foot foundation has come up with an innovative idea. Placing a full length shim between the liner and the shell allows adjustment without changing the DIN plate of the boot and it works with custom insoles quite well. If you are like me and have a very snug shell, this approach means even more grinding and shell work. However for the vast majority of skiers their is no volume issue. While we have a ski school clinic as part of our optional training, I would imagine Eric Ward would gladly discuss training and liability with your ski school managers. You can visit his web site thefootfoundation.com to get more details.
Am aware of Eric's foot foundation and his philosophy. My primary interest is to create a program to certify instructors and provide industry backed indemnification so that instructors can perform very basic on hill evaluations using ASTM approved shims and tolerances and be free from worry of liability. I do not need dicussion with ski school managers about training and liability, what we need is to present a solid concept to the ski industry to make acceptable the practice of evaluating skiers' stances on hill and intigrate this practice into ski schools and race programs! Any ideas you have toward this goal would be greatly appreciated! With Eric's degree in biomechanics he would be an asset to help sell the concept to the binding and boot manufacturers. thanks for your help!!
post #18 of 88
Unfortunately, the modification of the DIN sole plate makes binding techs and manufacturers nervous because they cannot guarantee the performance of their product without a standard boot sole. Adding an external shim is just one type of modification that makes these people nervous. Try taking boots with a worn out sole to any shop when you mount and calibrate your bindings. They won't do it because of all the liability problems.
While I agree that external shims would be more convenient during a lesson, Eric's system is the only one I have seen that could possibly become S.O.P. because it does nothing to the outside of the boot. Since most of us work for a ski area their legal staff would also have plenty to say about the issue. Which is why any program would have to include them. I would like to share my experience with several different ski schools that I have work in.
Some areas are strictly against us doing anything to a student's skis, boots, or bindings. Preferring us to send our students back to a shop employee who is certified to do binding/boot adjustments.
Others are more open minded but would still insist on controlling all aspects of their ski school training. Changing a release setting or using external shims is frowned upon.
In so far as identifying and suggesting alignment work, I have done so for many years. In cooperation with a certified bootfitter and alignment tech, I have had huge success solving all kinds of performance issues. Sometime overnight, sometimes not, but the only one that is same day (usually a half hour) is Eric's.
Our program is getting a lot of positive feedback because of the way we avoid wasting the other student's lesson time. We usually have another certified staff member do the actual boot work and they rejoin the lesson when ready. The fix is can be permanent or temporary but once the shims are cut to size the student owns them($10 charge). We have a lot of really well known boot people here in Aspen and by working with them, we can usually find a way to eliminate alignment issues. They also can help you develop a program for identifying alignment problems. I do not have all of their contact numbers but I will get them if you like. Give me a couple days to make some calls.
post #19 of 88
Here is a link to Jim Lindsay's site. I am a customer and think he does a great job.

http://www.bootech.net/

I first want to endorse Bud's idea.

I then want to second a few things other's have said. In my experience it is very difficult to get two "bootfitters" to agree. Simply take the topic of posted vs. non-posted footbeds or weighted vs non weighted footbeds. You will get a myriad of opinions.

As someone stated, go to any ski school and look at how the various pros are set up in their boots. Take the matter to the next step and query a group about ramp angle, delta angles, etc. More than likely you'll get a blank stare.

As someone mentioned I think this is precisely the rational for something along the lines of what Bud has proposed. I would also argue it should play a greater role in the certification process.

I see a couple additional issues. Take a large resort in a metro area. What role does alignment play in the average customers game plan? Not much. Folks take an LTS lesson and as someone mentioned their wearing five pairs of socks and have their nylon gym pants tucked into a rental boot. Does that mean alignment should not be a core concept withen a certification curriculum? Of course it should.

I can also count on one hand the number of private clients that I have who might listen to my plea to get work done on their boots. Those who actually make an appointment and spend the money? Fewer still.
post #20 of 88

My two cents

I think this is a good idea...in theory...but I fail to see any real benefit. A good boot fitter can get a pretty good alingment done in the shop, using simple measurments. I just dont think you could make the adjustments on the hill. How would you adjust forward lean? Ramp angle? Foot bed? Cuff alignment? lateral alignment (which is the one I think you are going for)? It would be very difficult.

I agree that there is no better way to do stuff then to acutally try it on the hill, but I think you get 85%-90% there with measurments. Fixing beyond that, I would suggest is only worth it once everything else is perfect....hence the only people who would really benefit from this would be WC racers, and frankly they already do, what you suggest. The skiing public, right upto top instructors would probably do better spending their time working on skiing basics or just tuning their skis.

Having said that...I believe it was Bill Gates himself who in 1984 said, "A modern computer has 128k of ram, plans are in the works to go to 256, but no one would ever need that much"...so perahps I am wrong.

Cheers!
post #21 of 88
I have become a pretty good boot fitter. Certainly the best anywhere around this area. I went and learned the trade because no one in this area was doing even close to a decent job. Let me add my two cents worth.

Recognizing that there is an alignment issue verses a technique issue takes some training but it is realitively straight forward once you learn it.

The correction of the problem is anything but straight forward. The problem with symptoms as viewed on the slopes is that there can be dramatically different causes for similar symtoms.

I am therefore not in favor of using little wedges under the boots in the bindings or anything else without a history and an evaluation using measurments. With appropriate training you can learn to spot these problems without doing all of that stuff.

Through my direction this year we have several instructors who are pretty good at spotting issues that are alignment related verses technique related. These instructors get in touch with me for a second opinion and then we formulate a plan of action that is acceptable to the student. This arrangement worked pretty good this year and was not overused.
post #22 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre
I am therefore not in favor of using little wedges under the boots in the bindings or anything else without a history and an evaluation using measurments. With appropriate training you can learn to spot these problems without doing all of that stuff.
What kind of history? Can you give us some examples of "appropriate" training? Do you favor using wedges first before making permanent boot modifications?

This sounds like Pierre is in favor of an "on snow analysis, indoors measurement and remediation, outdoor test" approach.
post #23 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
I see a couple additional issues. Take a large resort in a metro area. What role does alignment play in the average customers game plan? Not much. Folks take an LTS lesson and as someone mentioned their wearing five pairs of socks and have their nylon gym pants tucked into a rental boot. Does that mean alignment should not be a core concept withen a certification curriculum? Of course it should.

I can also count on one hand the number of private clients that I have who might listen to my plea to get work done on their boots. Those who actually make an appointment and spend the money? Fewer still.
Rusty - would it be unreasonable to say that the goal of this effort is to grow skier days by 1/2 to 1%?

Here are some stats from my home (large resort in a metro area) area:
15% of skier visits included a lesson
58% of lessons were for first time students

Targetting the 7% (eliminating the beginner lesson takers) of visits/advanced skier lesson takers won't get us anywhere significant, especially because that includes boarders. If we bump that number down to 4.5% (to get skiers only), that gives us a target market that is more likely to buy into this service (purportedly because they are already paying for lessons). If we could get 1 in 20 of those to buy in to the program, that would give us .25%. Not much but it's a start.

Going after the 85% of skier visits that did not take lessons, take out 40% for snowboarders (I'd bet the number is closer to 30-35%, but let's be conservative for now). That gives us 34%. If we could get one in 100 of those to buy in, then our total customer base gets to .59%.

If we can get the customers who go through this to increase their skier visits by 50%, that gives us only a .3% increase in skier visits. But we'd also probably get a hit by reducing the drop out rate. (Does the NSAA model for growth have a drop out rate identified?) Let's assume the drop out rate is higher among misaligned people. I'll pick a 1 in 8 drop out rate for now. If my math is right, that would add .075% to the .3% increase. This gives us a conservative boost to the industry of 0.375%.

One big flaw in my analysis is that repeat visits are not accounted for. My guess is that our average is 3 visits per season per person. So to stay conservative, this kind of program could easily generate a .1% industry growth. The final factor is industry adoption. Let's figure it takes 3 years to get off the ground (not counting pilot efforts) and 10 years to ramp up industry wide (i.e. every school does this).

Whether or not the above analysis is correct, it will be helpful to have some kind of analysis like this to help get this effort supported. So let's chew on this approach to get something that everyone can believe in (I did leave one inconsistency in on purpose).

I think we can easily get that 0.1% number to 1% if we go to a sponsorship model that pays for events where the on snow analysis is free.

Where's Harvard Tiger? Somebody is bound to gig me for using my Holiday Inn Express marketing degree. Help!
post #24 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty
What kind of history? Can you give us some examples of "appropriate" training? Do you favor using wedges first before making permanent boot modifications?

This sounds like Pierre is in favor of an "on snow analysis, indoors measurement and remediation, outdoor test" approach.
There are a few things to keep in mind here. You can flatten someone's skis on the slope by putting wedges under the bindings but "THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE BONES ARE SKELETALLY ALIGNED". You can add trail maps under the skiers soles to affect a shift in CM but "THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY ARE SKELETALLY ALIGNED".

Flattening skis and shifting CM's allow a skier to increase forces in the turn through increased balance but "IF THE PERSON IS NOT SKELETALLY ALIGNED THE INCEASED FORCES CAN SCREW A PERSONS BACK, KNEES, HIPS AND ANKLES UP".

A simple history can reveal many problems. Questions such as "Do you have back problems or do you know of any scoliosis?" "Do you have one leg shorter than the other?" "Do you have flat feet?" "Where do you experience pain or numbness?" These are all questions that can point to potential problems that may be better addressed by a specialist rather than a boot fitter. Heaven forbid that you would put wedges under a binding with a yes to any one of these questions.

Let me introduce the 90% rule. In my area 90% of all skiers would benefit from custom footbeds. 90% of all custom footbeds built in this area are built wrong. 90% of skiers will improve with canting coupled with incorrectly built footbeds or no footbeds at all. 90% of all canting situations can be eliminated with properly built footbeds. It therefore reasons that 90% of all skiers will see improvement in edging with the use of under boot wedges but that 90% of them are following the wrong path. If the suspension is wrong, canting is the wrong fix.

Here is a little on slope test for footbeds and canting. Have your student ski a traverse on one ski but test all four edges. On green terrain (west) blue(midwest) have the skier ski towards a target so that the traverse is a straight line and not following the arc of the ski. If the skier cannot balance or maintain an edge and wobbles all over the skier likely has footbed problems or a canting situation.

Fore and Aft: Please note this is the only area that you have some control over in rental equipment. The most common problem with fore and aft issues is oversize boots. Anyone with a straight back, upright arms and the rear end sticking out is likely in boots that are to large. Other fore aft problems are the inability to get forward for the start of a turn.

If you are past boots that are to large then some evaluation should be done before just arbitraily stuffing in trail maps or something. Does the person have very flexible ankles or very inflexible ankles. The symptoms are similar but the fix is usually different. Are there medical problems like arthritis or a previous break or ACL injury? Does the person have narrow heels or short tibias?

I never carry wedges on the slopes with me but I do carry a pocket full of heel lifts. Fore aft is fairly easy to evaluate and do something about in lodge. Footbeds and canting should always be refered to a bootfitter.

Please note that I still do not put in heel lifts without a fair amount of consultation, measuments and possible side effects and risks explained to the skier in question. I always do an on slope check after any slopeside adjustment. Slopeside fore aft adjustments are almost always done for heel fit or inflexible ankles and not to correct other problems such as short/long leg, pain or boots that are to large.

Since I believe that 90% of all canting situations can be corrected in the footbed and can negatively affect skeletal alignment I am not in favor of using wedges on the slopes. Using wedges gives a false sense or correction and leads to expensive dead ends as the student self convinces themselves that cant is the problem. The shops around here are all to willing to put expensive cants under the bindings.

This is just my two cents worth.
post #25 of 88
Pierre,

That's good stuff. It sounds like your position is that there is only a small chance that wedges could be helpful even for temporary use only.

I wish there was a way that we could show the guest what a permanent fix would feel like, then they would be more inclined to follow up.
post #26 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty
Rusty - would it be unreasonable to say that the goal of this effort is to grow skier days by 1/2 to 1%?
I'm not smart enough to follow your math, however, I suppose I first put forth the idea that only a half dozen or so of my students in the past five years listened to my plea to get issues mitigated in their boots and perhaps one person made an appointment and/or spent the cash.

I still support Bud's idea and again suggest it should play a bigger role in certification.

Perhaps Mike Wilson can check in here with the similarities between golf and skiing. Mike is a level III cert and PGA class A member.

Thirty years ago few golfers had their PGA pro assess loft/lie angles of their irons. One company (Ping) came along and made an iron that was "custom fit" based upon individual morphology. Everyone then followed Ping. An interesting aside is that prior to Ping making a "cast" iron, forged irons could be adjusted (read fit/aligned) in a loft lie machine. Ping irons were constructed of a material and via a process that made bending or adjusting an iron touchy. Bend too hard and they broke.

For the past twenty years average golfers sought to cure a slice or hook via lie adjustments. Custom fitting of golf clubs is now very much the norm.

A friend of mine named Bob Booker who is a nordic and alpine level III cert at Loveland has just invested in the equipment to grind boot soles. I am often tinkering with shims, cants, stand heights, mounting points, and am certain the change can be profound.

I quit playing golf years ago, however, was always tinkering with clubs. Now I do it with boots and ski bevels!
post #27 of 88
I think Bud's idea has merit. Imagine providing a higher level of customer satisfaction by having this service available. Not everyone will use it but as word get around, the idea will gain momentum. Setting up our students for success is the bottom line here. I think developing a good working relationship with a couple shops and bootfitters is the key. Since we already have a corrective shim program in place, I can say without reservation that it works well.
post #28 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72
I think this is a good idea...in theory...but I fail to see any real benefit. A good boot fitter can get a pretty good alingment done in the shop, using simple measurments. I just dont think you could make the adjustments on the hill. How would you adjust forward lean? Ramp angle? Foot bed? Cuff alignment? lateral alignment (which is the one I think you are going for)? It would be very difficult.

I agree that there is no better way to do stuff then to acutally try it on the hill, but I think you get 85%-90% there with measurments. Fixing beyond that, I would suggest is only worth it once everything else is perfect....hence the only people who would really benefit from this would be WC racers, and frankly they already do, what you suggest. The skiing public, right upto top instructors would probably do better spending their time working on skiing basics or just tuning their skis.
I think this last paragraph is backwards! and I can show you race results to prove it!

You are correct that a good boot guy can do it in the shop. The point that is trying to made is the time has come for instructors and coaches to get with the program 1) to understand and know how to affect canting and fore/aft issues 2) have the ability to do simple experimentation on hill (and yes it is EASY) with the backing of the ski industry indemnification (which is the focus of this thread).

These adjustments for canting and fore/aft are simple and take little time on hill to change! Let's use some common sense too....we are not advocating instructors and coaches become orthodic makers or boot planers, just that they are able to recognize, analyze, and perscribe basic reccommendations and guide them to the experts. Should time pass and the need for the instructor or coach to go to the next level and actually do the work then yippee!

THE POINT IS TO CREATE AN INDUSTRY SUPPORTED CERTIFICATION PROGRAM SO THAT RESORTS WILL NOT HAVE ISSUE WITH ON HILL TESTING! WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT CHANGING RELEASE VALUES OR FORWARD PRESSURE ADJUSTMENTS TO THE BINDINGS!

Here is an example: Today a mother of a J3 racer came into my shop with her son referred to me by Franz Weber to look at his boots. He skied the whole season on the race team and none of the coaches ever eluded to boot issues that may have been problematic for him. After talking with the mother and looking at his boots she was not happy with the lack of knowledge the coaches had about alignment issues and asked me to ski with her son to work on boot alignment and then technique. My point is there is a gap here that has much room for bridging!

There is a gap that needs to be bridged! Let's "get'r done"!

There are those who say "I can't" then there are those who say "I think I can" ...Who's team would you want to be on?
post #29 of 88
[quote=Rusty Guy]
Perhaps Mike Wilson can check in here with the similarities between golf and skiing. Mike is a level III cert and PGA class A member.

Thirty years ago few golfers had their PGA pro assess loft/lie angles of their irons. One company (Ping) came along and made an iron that was "custom fit" based upon individual morphology. Everyone then followed Ping. An interesting aside is that prior to Ping making a "cast" iron, forged irons could be adjusted (read fit/aligned) in a loft lie machine. Ping irons were constructed of a material and via a process that made bending or adjusting an iron touchy. Bend too hard and they broke.

For the past twenty years average golfers sought to cure a slice or hook via lie adjustments. Custom fitting of golf clubs is now very much the norm.
QUOTE]

Rusty,

No doubt club fitting is growing in importance. More and more golfers are becoming aware of it's importance. There have been a few shows on the Golf Channel discussing fitting. It is also a required part of our PGA training.

Lie angle is one critical component. Using myself as an example a few years back I spent time with a master clubfitter and saw immense changes in my game when my custom fit clubs arrived and I adapted to them. When a club is too "flat", i.e., the shaft leans back at too great an angle when the clubhead is soled properly the tendency is too hit the ball more off the toe and to the right (RH golfers). Conversely a club that is too upright will tend to hit the ball toward the heel and go left. In my case my "stock" clubs were 4 degrees to flat (that is immense)-I am 6'1" and long in the torso and arms not my lower body.

Equally important is the shaft flex both in overall flex and where the bend point on the shaft is. I fall right on the borderline between stiff and regular so I opted for the regular shaft so I'm not trying to "jump" the ball for performance. Probably our biggest problem here is "ego". Two seasons ago I had to "trick" a 70 plus year old ski instructor into a senior shaft-he believed he could still hit a stiff shaft.

What is interesting is how we determine the students requirements. Luckily for us the laws of physics govern ball flight and we can work backwards from ball flight to determine what happened at impact and start to assess the golfer's needs. From there we have the student hit a variety of clubs with differing lie angles and shafts (usually off a lie board we ensure is perfectly flat) to hone in on the optimal point. We also tape the sole and clubface to see the strike points. New computer technology has helped quantify the process even more. Then you add in the infinite number of ways humans try to hit the little white pellet and oh boy-every see Charles Barkley swing? (If you could call it a swing)

Heck we're even fitting putters these days.

Experienced golfers are usually the easiest to fit because they are consistent just like experienced skiers usually don't have the variety of movement patterns

Luckily as golf professionals we can do this process on the range or a fitting station. One stop shopping so to speak. In our skiing world we would have to go on the hill and evaluate the entire equipment package plus the students movement patterns; not just alignment but skis, binding and boots. Then we would have to add in performance in variable snow conditions. Now that could be an interesting market opportunity.
post #30 of 88
Thread Starter 
Mikewil,
good analogy, like it! Like a novice golfer, a novice skier is probably not going to be able to detect or feel the benefits of properly fitted clubs or ski boots but the benefits are still there and will expedite their progress up the success ladder!

Doing on hill alignment assessments is not work for level II instructors with limited knowledge and understanding but once one has passed level III they may begin to understand and apply the benefits. Certainly the more experience one has teaching and the higher level of technical knowledge and proficiency one gains the more value they bring to critiquing alignment issues.
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