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"CAS" Certified Alignment Specialist - Page 3

post #61 of 88
Thread Starter 
jasp,
Good point about who will pay for this!...The certification I have envisioned is not a week long intense course infact this certification could be addendum to some other PSIA course or done via a written mail in test that would cost very little!

The crux of this certification would not validate ones knowledge or lack of (kinda like current binding certification now, if you have a pulse you will pass....but that doesn't mean you or I would let that kid mount our new skis now would it?) It would be up to PSIA to somehow incorporate into their curriculum the knowledge and meat of the methodology.

This certification would merely set standards to be used for the materials and tolerances to be used. An "industry standard" that if followed would protect and serve the certified. PSIA and USSA would have to determine the certification level (II, III, clinician, examiner) that must be attained before their members would be eligible for this simple certification. Does this make sense? The basic knowledge needs to be there first and could be taught during teaching certification process as part of the curriculum.

I look forward to reading harold harb's manual because I here it covers in detail alignment criteria, though it sounds in excess of what would be needed for basic on hill assessments it could be boiled down to a usable methodology.

GIVE'M A TASTE OF "GREENER GRASS" "WET THEIR WHISTLE" "TICKLE THEIR CURIOSITY" HECK "ROCK THEIR WORLD" ON HILL ....THEN SEND THEM TO THE NEXT STAGE FOR PERMANENT ADJUSTMENTS! this is the idea. and to make it acceptable to do it in the eyes of ski resorts and ski schools across the country.
post #62 of 88
Thread Starter 
therusty, very good points in post #54! hadn't really given that aspect any thought. I can tell you that I have not established any formal program at my shop for instructors' referrals though there are a few who send me lots of business and they never get charged for boot fitting, ski tuning or any service they may need. Scratch my back I scratch yours. Interestingly these same instructors are some of the most requested instructors at their respective areas, probably in part do to the extra mile they go for their clients and the service they provide. I would imagine when their clients return to ski with them after alignment and their skiing improves there are always the TIPS that follow and the reccommendations they receive from clients?
post #63 of 88
Now you are getting somewhere that makes sense.....I am lot more comfortable with this idea provided it is being done by top pros. However, I will just throw out these two points:
  1. I agree with all the comments, that the ultimate goal here is to improve peoples level of enjoyment of the sport. But keep in mind that I am willing to bet that on any given day you could improve 15 to 20% of peoples enjoyment by simply getting them a proper pair of ski socks, instead of the three pairs of cotton or knitted wool ones that you often see. You could also improve 40 to 50% of peoples enjoyment by simply getting them in a pair of ski boots that arent 2 sizes too big. AND I am willing to bet you could improve 80% of peoples enjoyment by simply getting a good ski tune. I still think we need to fix these issues before we put all this effort into CAS.
  2. As someone who also has done some sideline work as an expert witness in civil cases regarding ski injuries/accidents, certification has NEVER come up. In this regard, if you are CAS certified, but someone gets hurt, you would be no less liable then if you didnt have CAS certification, and someone got hurt. I understand the idea of CAS is to do it so you dont hurt someone....but that is different to liability...you will still be liable.
Cheers!
post #64 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriponsnow
There is a reason that there are so few folks capable of doing this hi-end boot stuff. I would rather see a listing of experts compiled than a training program for every shop tech or instructor.
How could this be done objectively?.....Unfortunately, there are no certifications for this service and the one we are proposing here has nothing to do with this end of the knowledge spectrum. again not advocating in depth knowledge just standardization for testing materials and tolerances for shimming bindings. The knowledge would have to come from somewhere else.

These proposed TEMPORARY adjustments will not endanger anyone's safety while skiing a few runs. As I pointed out in another post, there is such a range of ramp angles and lateral angles created by different boots and bindings on the market now that moving skiers around with shims would probably not deviate outside of the possible ranges possible by mating different brand boots and bindings on the market now.

Maybe since I have been doing this for so long I have a better comfort level with making these on hill adjustments, but I can assure you the world will not come to an end if an unqualified instructors puts a shim on the wrong side of a binding, in fact part of the whole experimentation process is to go to either side of the spectrum to experience the sensations and evaluate them. NO SKIERS WILL BE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS MOVIE!
post #65 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72
Now you are getting somewhere that makes sense.....I am lot more comfortable with this idea provided it is being done by top pros. However, I will just throw out these two points:
  1. I agree with all the comments, that the ultimate goal here is to improve peoples level of enjoyment of the sport. But keep in mind that I am willing to bet that on any given day you could improve 15 to 20% of peoples enjoyment by simply getting them a proper pair of ski socks, instead of the three pairs of cotton or knitted wool ones that you often see. You could also improve 40 to 50% of peoples enjoyment by simply getting them in a pair of ski boots that arent 2 sizes too big. AND I am willing to bet you could improve 80% of peoples enjoyment by simply getting a good ski tune. I still think we need to fix these issues before we put all this effort into CAS.
  2. As someone who also has done some sideline work as an expert witness in civil cases regarding ski injuries/accidents, certification has NEVER come up. In this regard, if you are CAS certified, but someone gets hurt, you would be no less liable then if you didnt have CAS certification, and someone got hurt. I understand the idea of CAS is to do it so you dont hurt someone....but that is different to liability...you will still be liable.
Cheers!
check out "indemnification"....This means the entity that indemnifies someone will provide the legal representation in case of a law suite. To me that means no costs incurred to me in case legal action is taken against me. This is what the certification purpose is.
post #66 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman
check out "indemnification"....This means the entity that indemnifies someone will provide the legal representation in case of a law suite. To me that means no costs incurred to me in case legal action is taken against me. This is what the certification purpose is.
Sure...but the Mountain will still get sued and incur costs...your risk of being sued personally for this type of thing is very low, since lawyers go for the money. In all of my cases...(I have just done my ninth) never have I seen an instructor pursued...they always go for a corporation with deep pockets. Further you will only be "indeminfied" by the mountain if they hire you as a CAS. You will not covered if you were hired as a PSIA III, then took it upon yourself to use your CAS certification.

So I say again your CAS certification would not make you less liable. Having said that...I agree that what you propose is not overly dangerous, and that the very notion of ithis does not risk life and limb...I only mention this, as you raised the liability issue in your first post, and in a few since then.

Cheers!
post #67 of 88
Ski Dude,

You're right. We don't need a program to do proper socks and boot sizes and wax and edge care. But if we do an on hill evaluation, we certainly ought to include these things in it because they are low hanging fruit. Thank you.

You're right on the liability too, but that's not the point. It is my understanding that when there is a lawsuit related to a shop employee's work on a binding, the shop is covered by the indemnification program of the manufacturer (i.e. the resort/shop does not pay). This is because shop employees go through training and have rigidly defined criteria for what is right and wrong. Because instructors are not covered by indemnification, the only way for a resort to not pay IF there is a lawsuit is to prohibit the activity that could cause a lawsuit. The CAS program proposes to define an industry accepted set of rules so that instructors can also be covered under the indemnifcation policy. So although certification does not factor much into the fate of a lawsuit, it can matter a great deal in the management of costs of lawsuits. The idea is that if a resort is indemnified, they can not object to instructors performing alignment work because of the cost of managing liability. There is no reason for us to expect indemnification to be extended to pros without rigidly defined rules.
post #68 of 88
Thread Starter 
Agree with therusty on this point! It's not about making instructors less liable it's about the resorts being covered by indemnification from binding and boot comapanies. If resorts did not have to foot the bill for legal costs they would breath easier allowing the procedures to be performed by their certified staff. As long as the instructor used the approved materials and tolerances (thickness) of shims they would be protected in case of litigation by manufacturers.

The trick is going to be convincing manufacturers of the benefits to them to take on this extra exposure that has never been addressed before! To this point my best arguement would be:

SAFETY: proving that better aligned skiers are safer from injuries related to joint stress

RETENTION: helping skiers overcome impediments to progress or enjoyment of the sport will certainly have positive affects on the return and retention of skiers which will in turn sell more equipment.

INCREASED SALES: The magic words....companies want to see increased sales and though difficult to quantify, bringing boot balancing to the forefront will increase not only ski school offerings for the resorts but increase equipment sales for manufacturers.
post #69 of 88
Hmmm.....ok I am starting to come around here. I like that we got to the point where we agree this would be aimed at high end instructors/coaches, your indemnity idea is correct, the hill indemnfies the instructor, the binding companies indemnify the hill (this may be easier said then done thou). The only point remaining that I would ask that you consider is one I made earlier, (admittedly with a bit of sarcasim but a whole lot of truth) that we can do alot to improve the enjoyment of people, and thus improve sales, by just addressing issues as simple as ski socks.

I know (at least hope) that all instructors know how do detect socks, boot size and if skis need a tune...but the fact remains, dare I say it, the majority of people on the hill still miss these basic points. If we are truly to improve the sport, and we struggle to solve these issues, how can we make CAS work on the scale you are talking about. Are we putting the cart before the horse? The only people I think that would benefit from this are the skiers who are in the "know" and as such are real keen anyway.

The real issue I think, and perhaps this is a whole new thread...but how do you get the public to recogonise the value that a good ski instructor can offer. How do you get around the CSIA/PSIA politics such that we can promote to the public the different levels of certification, what each level means and value that comes from higher end instructors. I could go on about this forever, but I wont.

However if you have ideas here, please share them.

Cheers.
post #70 of 88
Thread Starter 
I will begin torque testing shims in different thicknesses and different cant strips to see how far we can go and still test out within standards. Initially I will stay with Salomon and Marker bindings and get back here with results as to what I think would be easily inside acceptable tolerances to those companies.

The next question I am almost afraid to ask is: How much do we need to include in this VERY BASIC CERTIFICATION TEST as far as methodology?

rough draft:

This certification will educate you in the accepted materials and applications for performing on hill skiing experimentation with lateral and fore/aft angles to better identify a skier's alignment needs and open and awareness to the benefits of boot balancing. It is your job as an instructor/coach/shop tech to explain to your client how the importance of proper alignment will affect their SAFETY and ENJOYMENT of the sport. The knowledge to perscribe permanent modifications to equipment for the purpose of proper alignment is not provided in the scope of this certification. This kind of knowledge will require your own educational pursuit on the subject. The sole purpose of this certification test is to provide the accepted materials to be used for on hill, under boot experimentation and indemnify you while performing these tests as directed here. This certification in no way certifies any level of competence in the art/science of alignment and it is understood that the intent is merely to provide safe materials and standards for on hill testing. In no way does this certification permit the recipient to alter a binding's forward pressure adjustments or the release value adjustments and doing so will void the indemnification.

shimming to be done with ASTM approved shim material:

This material can be purchased from the following known suppliers:

The maximum of 3 degree shim may be applied to the heel only.
The maximum of 4mm flat shim may be applied to toe or heel.
It is NOT acceptable to stack shims (ie: a 2 degree cant with a 3mm lift)
for/aft and lateral testing should be done independantly.


The reccommended testing procedure includes:
1)
2)
3)
4)
post #71 of 88
Thread Starter 
Skidude,
I don't know what ski area you are from but here in the West boot balancing has been prominant for awhile and the demand is strong. This is not aimed at the beginners and should not be. Although admittedly if I were teaching a beginner class and saw a gross problem, I would pull out some shims and make his/her day go better and maybe retain a skier to the sport. Initially by offering indemnification and lifting the risk management department's hesitations with on hill testing we would open the door for education of the masses. Soon ski magazines would be touting the latest trend in skiing performance (though it's been around for many years) and articles on the benefits and makeover of peoples skiing would abound. Lists of the best places to go in the country for this service would appear and skiers would flock to participating ski schools looking for this service. Instructors and coaches would now have the freedom to take customers out skiing and demonstrate how adjusting these angles can have profound improvements in their skiing instantly. The world will be a better place to ski!! ha ha

Then....once this happens the next task is creating a certification and training for boot alignment specialist that actually do the bench assessments, footbed building, boot planing and plating, etc.. There are no standards now but there could be?? I would seriously be skeptical of a certification like ABB America's Best Bootfitters because this is merely a marketing ploy for Mr. @!#* to make money by charging shops $7000 per year to be on his list of ABB. I was offered the title "honor" without even attending a course by merely sending him a check for $7000. I respectfully declined and would rather not associate with such a group of suckers. Earning a reputation is more honorable I think.
post #72 of 88
Bud - while I like the general idea I have found that the limitation is in people having "some" training then thinking they know ALL the answers....

I have had so much trouble with my feet - 2 sets of footbeds made - both not good....

My instructor (who has bad alignment issues) was suspicious of more alignment issues - but boot fitters (grrr to sorefoot) insisted I was fine.... (NOT!)

Similarly bootfitters who keep insisting they can make footbeds for problem feet with weighted/semi-weighted casting of same feet... DESPITE my questioning of this - because ALL the podiatrists insisted that corrective orthotics(footbeds) need to be cast on an unweighted foot.

I am very dubious as to how people who do a 1 week (or 1 weekend!) "intensive course" manage to acquire the knowledge that takes a podiatrist years to learn (or even more as they think they know better)

So far the best "guesses" all came from my (untrained) instructor who has had alignment issues(severe) and was working from "eye" - no measurements - just what he could watch me doing & what ranges of movement I had with & without ski boots/skis attached to me. His guesses were upheld pretty much by the podiatrist/physiotherapist.... but dumped all over by the bootfitters who insisted I had no alignment issues....
post #73 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72
...but how do you get the public to recogonise the value that a good ski instructor can offer. How do you get around the CSIA/PSIA politics such that we can promote to the public the different levels of certification, what each level means and value that comes from higher end instructors. I could go on about this forever, but I wont.
Ditch the middleman - get rid of ski school

That way you can have the unqualified instructors that have been sacked 3 times by the same ski school (& rehired by the ski school) go personally up against those that have LARGE numbers of happy clients but that ski school is not rehiring (because they are too expensive due to multiple certs & years of experience?)

Once the "who is my buddy" situation is removed then the instructors will have to compete on service provided - instead of who they are friends with in the ski school.

Lets see the instructors who are totally incapable of recognising they have spoken to the same person everyday for 3-4 weeks try to earn a living then!
Or the ones that turn up drunk & vomit in their lessons (yes they get rehired - not the experienced, qualified, GOOD ones)
post #74 of 88
Bud,

The rought draft is good progress. Here are 3 contributions:
1) the program should include on snow exercises to test the skier (e.g. straight run viewed head on and from the side, traverse in both directions and tests for ankle, knee and hip flexibility and range of motion and straight run to a stop [warning this is a trick exercise])
2) the first step in the testing process should be getting a history per Pierre's suggestion ( oyeah and getting a liability waiver signed too)
3) The second step should be an equipment check (per skidude's suggestion) including the performance characteristics of the skis/boot/bindings, the age and condition of the skis/boots/bindings (checking the condition and bevel of the edges and bases), proper pole length, socks, etc.
post #75 of 88
Thread Starter 
skidude72, I am officially putting you in charge of ski sock certification! ha ha

diski,
Understand and empathise with your dilemna. Unfortunately, this is true with many fields, even doctors have good and not so good. Education is never a bad thing. A little knowledge will hopefully kindle a fire to learn more but to ignore the benefits is ludacris. After all I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night!! ha

I would like to make this observation:BOOT FITTING AND BOOT BALANCING ARE TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT AREAS AND A GOOD BOOT FITTER MAY NOT HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT GOOD ALIGNMENT IS!

BOOT FITTING: is for comfort
BOOT BALANCING: is all about angles and performance.

The only place I see crossover is with footbeds because they certainly affect comfort and alignment. This being said, I would search out the alignment specialist because generally they already have a strong base of knowledge as a boot "fitter".
post #76 of 88
Thread Starter 
therusty,
I used to do my own two day "Synergy Camps" that included on hill assessments and indoor assessments and permanent adjustments to equipment. I would use a sequence on snow that included experimenting first with fore/aft adjustments with 3mm shims on toes then heels. We would evaluate and discuss what sensations they were feeling while skiing with the shims. Notes were taken. We would make adjustments inside boots to if obviously needed. Then the lateral range would be experimented with by shimming first over canted then undercanted and evaluations and discussions and notes. This process would take 1/2 day with group of 4-6. We would then head to shop for further bench assessments where I would weight what I saw for lateral readings there more than on hill. The fore/aft results from on hill testing would weight heavier than in shop. I would then plane, lift, shim bindings, correct for leg length differences and have their boots ready for them the next morning. We would meet on hill and warm up and find our new edges. Then the rest of the day we would work on technique and fluid turn transitions. then we went inside to view the before and after video that was shot the first morning and second afternoon, and compare.

Certainly this could be condensed and video eliminated (or offer it as an extra).

We can offer specific exercises to be included for traverses, and straight runs. Specific vantage points to view from as skiers are performing exercises.
specific symptoms to look for and their causes.
specifics on where and how to place shims.
shims should be made of hard plastic to avoid unneccessary friction and no greater than say 3mm thick. (to be determined)
*Client given "suggested" course of action based on observations

*this is where the educational knowledge comes into play and should be determined what level of knowledge is acceptable to make "suggestions" not permanent mods.

I personally don't think the knowledge base needs to be that great and as instructors experiment with this among themselves and their ski school. Their knowledge will improve quickly based on their own conclusions and the help of their technical director.

Certainly the more they know the more affective and conclusive their findings will be but the idea is to open an awareness then send them to someone who really knows and can do bench assessments, check or build footbeds, etc.. This could be a great marketing tool for ski school business and qualified shops alike. The big winners though will be the clients who will remove the impediments to improvement and find their potential in skiing performance.
post #77 of 88
Bud - how about getting a physio to give them a talk on body alignment issues that physios deal with regularly & so make them aware of how much apparent "alignment" problems can simply be things that the person needs to work on fixing, soft tissue issues?
post #78 of 88

Re: Caat

[QUOTE This is not aimed at the beginners and should not be. Although admittedly if I were teaching a beginner class and saw a gross problem, I would pull out some shims and make his/her day go better and maybe retain a skier to the sport. [/quote]
Bud, You would be surprised by how many SBS shims we go through in the beginner area. In fact, due to the success with our TLC guests, we are being encouraged to experiment as soon as we suspect it would help. Like you pointed out, gross problems are the main focus. While further boot work is encouraged, part of the fear factor is eliminated by better performance/higher confidence. Obviously my opinion is, deal with it today while they are still here and before they invent compensory muscle patterns. That said, I hope that no one gets the impression that every beginner goes through this, they don't. Our TLC pro of the day makes that determination after verbal and visual assessments. As a whole, we all rotate through nevers and TLC but it is usually our most experienced pros doing this. I can say it surprised me at first to see d-teamers working side by side in the nevers corral but not anymore.
Anyway, sharing how one working model works might help you set up yours, Bud. BTY, I would love to see the data on shims, tolerances. etc...


Dis, I am sorry to hear about all of the negative experiences but having the school on board is the key to all of this. Without their active promotion and participation the whole thing would die quickly.
post #79 of 88
Not negative experiences - I am learning a LOT through my progression..... even thinking about becoming a physiotherapist (it will only take me 2 years I think) just so I can REALLY know how to deal with this stuff & help others .....

I understand the instructors need to be on board with it - I am simply suggesting some precautionary steps be added....

ie "Needing those shims indicates you may need soem alignment work. Have you considered having a physiotherapy assessment tocheck your basic alignment?" beofre telling them to go get boots ground - which is pretty permanent solution to what may be a temporary problem
post #80 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
Bud - how about getting a physio to give them a talk on body alignment issues that physios deal with regularly & so make them aware of how much apparent "alignment" problems can simply be things that the person needs to work on fixing, soft tissue issues?
Our division (NRM) has held a day long seminar in the fall with this in mind for the last two years. This years was far enough away and other things were happening that I didn't attend. The one I did attend was given by a chiro/PT/sports physician. Very interesting. He made a very strong case for us instructors to develope the ability to identify and help correct soft tissue misalignments and muscle imbalances off the snow to help our students improve functionaly and thus skill levels on the snow. Later, RicB.
post #81 of 88
This post and accompanying discussion make a lot of sense. It strikes me that everyone in this post agrees that skeletal alignment is paramount and that work with an alignment specialist is central. But, I would like to point out that alignment can also be changed through exercise, movement training and imagery. 1) In his book "Athletic Body in Balance," Gray Cook explains the use of a functional movement screen can help someone develop a training program around an individual athlete that makes him or her more efficient and effective. Cook warns against prepackaged exercise programs in cookbook format and stresses that a functional movement screen takes time and experience to use properly. He works with athletes in the NFL, NBA, NHL, etc. 2) In his book "Pelvic Power for Men and Women," Eric Franklin explains a series of mind/body exercises for stength, flexibility, posture and balance. Franklin, who has an extensive practice based in Zurich, talks about a deep body awareness that can assist in rewiring posture and movement patterns. Both of these guys are talking about taking months, or longer, to make corrections, which means most people won't even begin to do what they advise. But the benefits would go well beyond skiing. A lot of weaker skiers, golfers, tennis players and runners don't know their bodies are out of balance. They also don't know how to move. So, they struggle against themselves, having to always overcompensate with one set of muscles that work against the others doing the motion. They end up being slugglish, awkward and frustrated. The problem is, generally only elite athletes have the time, money and access to this kind of body reeducation. The average person ends up thinking they were born with the wrong stuff, which isn't the case.
post #82 of 88
Good point Nightcat,
Taking that one step further would include the training effects of skiing. All of which makes CAAT work more important. All alignment is temporary and even if it doesn't change much, it is always changing and evolving.
post #83 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
Bud - how about getting a physio to give them a talk on body alignment issues that physios deal with regularly & so make them aware of how much apparent "alignment" problems can simply be things that the person needs to work on fixing, soft tissue issues?
good luck! I will let this one to someone else. I think Americans in general want a quick fix! Your suggestion requires alot of commitment from someone who can experience instant improvement with what I propose.
post #84 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
Bud, You would be surprised by how many SBS shims we go through in the beginner area. In fact, due to the success with our TLC guests, we are being encouraged to experiment as soon as we suspect it would help. Like you pointed out, gross problems are the main focus. While further boot work is encouraged, part of the fear factor is eliminated by better performance/higher confidence. Obviously my opinion is, deal with it today while they are still here and before they invent compensory muscle patterns. That said, I hope that no one gets the impression that every beginner goes through this, they don't. Our TLC pro of the day makes that determination after verbal and visual assessments. As a whole, we all rotate through nevers and TLC but it is usually our most experienced pros doing this. I can say it surprised me at first to see d-teamers working side by side in the nevers corral but not anymore.
Anyway, sharing how one working model works might help you set up yours, Bud. BTY, I would love to see the data on shims, tolerances. etc...
This sounds like an awesome program you have set up! What resort is this? It's nice to see! I deduce that the TLC guy is and experienced pro who floats around classes looking for ways to help students progress quicker or more comfortably??? I would like to learn more of this program and it's successes!
post #85 of 88
Bud,

My guess would be one of the Aspen resorts. He's from Basalt (just up the road from Aspen). SBS is described on the footfoundation.com website. Footfoundation is in Aspen. Eric Ward should be on your contact list.

Justanotherskipro: Is Vic Gerdin somewhere behind all this?
post #86 of 88
Nightcat, Grey Cooks book, "Atheltic Body in Balance" is an awesome book. I view it as a must read by anyone interested in balance, alignment, and skill performance. try the Human Kinetics web site for a huge list of very good publications. Two others that come to mind are "Optimal Muscle Training", and ProBodX, by Marv Marinovich and Edythe Heus. Later, RicB.
post #87 of 88
Bud, I'm based out of Snowmass but we are all over the valley, depending on our clients. The adult division managers are who actively promote the shim shack as an additional customer service.
Although Mosh might be who to ask for all of these details, I would encourage you to come out to see the program in action.

The rusty,
I'm not sure about Victor's part but I can ask him.
post #88 of 88
Thread Starter 
My friends Jonathon and Judy Jenkins retired temporarily so my Aspen contacts are gone on a troller boat somewhere in the Southeastern waterways sipping margaritas. As I have said before, when I was in Aspen a few years ago I watch Eric do an assessment and make foot beds for a client. Intrigued by his concept and the device he used to determine the angle I would have loved to have had some footbeds made but did not have the time. I am hopeful that one day soon I have the opportunity to talk more with him and have a set made for me to test. I think his method and canting would work well together but have reservations about the inside the boot shimming eliminating the need for canting.
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