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Ankle power

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
When needed, you can juice up the speed of the transition by using a leveraging of the inside leg against the outside cuff of the inside boot to help drive the CM quickly over the skis and into the new turn. Really, it's the same tactic that can be used during a relaxation of the outside leg transition to speed up the edge change.
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA
Rick, people here usually pester you so well for details on everything that I'm content to lurk in the shrubberies but on the statement below no one asked the obvious, so...

All earlier discussion was on how pressure is directed/managed to drive our CM into a new direction. The statement above seems to imply an inward boot-tilting effort designed to quickly and sharply decrease the Old-Inside ski's turn radius at the last moment, not at pressure management.

The effect of that move (if the old inside-ski is well-engaged) would be to quickly shift our Base-of-Support further uphill rather than actively 'driving' the CM downhill. True, the CM would then be in a better relationship with our BoS to be driven more quickly downhill (by gravity, or by effort) but it seems like yanking the carpet out from under someone isn't quite the same thing as pushing them over.

I also don't see it as the "...Same tactic that can be used during a relaxation of the outside leg..." since that tactic provides no active shift of either the CM or BoS.
Good questions, Michael. As always, your insights are excellent.

You're very correct, the discussions you referred to were all about pressure management being used as the tool that commanded lateral/downhill movement of the CM into the new turn. Upper level skiing is all about efficiency of action and economy of movement and effort. The more we can harness and use to our benefit the power of the natural external forces we encounter while skiing, the more we begin experience that sought after harmony of man and mountain that we see being exhibited by expert skier who seem to flow effortless down the slope.

In the recent discussion of ILE I discussed at length the methodology this transition technique uses to manage the forces of gravity and momentum to facilitate the movement of the CM across the skis and into the new turn. With just a simple, subtle extension of the inside leg the CM is sent into motion, powered by those external forces. All we need to do is passively let it happen.

Same thing can be done with a relaxation of the outside leg. Just so everyone is clear as to how this works, I'll explain it in detail. To do that I'll have to explain the concept of the Point of Balance.

Gravity and momentum combine to attempt to drive our CM in a particular direction, to a particular point on the ground. That point is referred to as the Point of Balance. To be in some state of balance while skiing, the Point of Balance must be located somewhere at or between our feet. We can adjust where our Point of Balance is by simply moving our CM laterally toward the direction we want to move our Point of Balance. When we make a turn we resist the external forces. If we were to relax our leg resistance to those forces our CM is not driven across our skis, it's driven to the ground location of our Point of Balance somewhere between our feet.

So,,, if relaxation of the legs drives our CM toward the ground between our feet, what moves our CM across our feet and into the new turn when we relax our outside leg? Very simple. When we relax the outside leg the inside leg takes over and bears the entirety of the force load. The resistance from the inside leg is what keeps our CM from being driven into the snow between our feet.

But this creates a balance problem. By removing the outside foot from the picture we've reduced our base of support from both our feet and everywhere in between, to only the inside foot,,, and it does not correspond with the Point of Balance, which resides somewhere between our feet. Presto, we've created the state of imbalance we need to drive our CM across our feet. By maintaining inside leg resistance to the external forces we deflect the intent of the forces. Rather than driving the CM straight to the ground the inside leg simply tips toward (and past) the Point of Balance and pulls the CM into the new turn. Timberrrrrrrr.

Does the process sound familiar? It should, it's the same formula that takes place in ILE. Just a different initiation tool. With ILE the extension of the inside leg transfers total pressure to the inside ski. Outside leg relaxation creates the same transfer. Then, after the pressure transfer has taken place, the process is the same.

So,,, those are ideal situations that involve little muscular input to facilitate the transition. They're primarily powered by gravity and momentum. But what if the speed at which that force driven transition takes place is not what we desire? Do we have a means to modify our transition speed to suit a particular desire or need? You bet we do. We engage the power of our ankles.

In my response to Greg I introduced this idea. Greg shared with us his trouble with using ILE in a course, feeling pressed for time. I suggested ankle involvement to help power the CM across his skis at a faster rate than Gravity and momentum can do by themselves, and thus get the new turn initiated quicker.

It's really pretty simple. By aggressively driving off the outside aspect of the inside foot and rolling the ankle toward the big ball of that foot the CM can be quickly driven across the skis and into the new turn. As this is done the tipping of the foot and shin will lead the movement of the CM. This puts pressure on the outside of the inside boot cuff, which can be used as a lever to help pull the CM across the skis.

Through this method we have introduced extra muscle involvement to accomplish something gravity and momentum can't do by themselves. Often when freeskiing this ankle driving tactic is unnecessary, and we have the flexibility to just wait for the external forces to do their thing. But when the situation calls for it, when we have to make things happen on schedule, we have the option to crank up the muscle involvement and speed up the process via this ankle driving tactic.

In fact this can be a transition technique all its own. With no leg extension or relaxation at all we can simply ankle drive our CM across our skis and into the new turn. A very quick option, but more muscle involvement intensive. While effective, it doesn't provide that effortless flow sensation of the external force driven transitions.

So,,, can we do the opposite of speeding up the transition process? Can we slow things down? Sometimes we want to do that too. Well, you bet we can.

If our Point of Balance is way towards the outside ski, transferring total pressure to the inside ski through the use of ILE or outside leg relaxation (I should use OLR for that term) can create a pretty severe state of imbalance that may create a rate of tipping that's faster than we desire. In those cases the ankles can be used to move the CM closer to the inside ski before extension or relaxation begins. Doing that brings the CM and inside foot more into alignment, which slows the rate of tip, and thus the rate of CM cross over. It's like a tree falling; if it's standing pretty straight and it's cut it will start it's fall very slowly, and will speed up as it gets more tipped. If its very tipped before cutting starts it will fall rapidly and aggressively once severed.

As we become more experienced at this tip rate reduction skill we start to instinctively know where we need to locate the CM to produce the tip rate we desire for any particular transition, and we employ that needed CM location without even thinking about it.
post #2 of 16
Wow, that’s a quite the brain spanner. For the sake of clarity could you run this one by me again:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
It's really pretty simple. By aggressively driving off the outside aspect of the inside foot and rolling the ankle toward the big ball of that foot the CM can be quickly driven across the skis and into the new turn. As this is done the tipping of the foot and shin will lead the movement of the CM. This puts pressure on the outside of the inside boot cuff, which can be used as a lever to help pull the CM across the skis.
Late in the turn I can make a directly lateral movement of my feet (perhaps using hip muscles). My upper body will move sideways, away from the given slope surface (hey, I did say -directly lateral-) where my feet were formerly positioned nicely on either side of the ‘balance point of the moment’.

Doing this will leave me out of lateral balance toward the outside of the Old turn. Any extension of my legs from here on will also exaggerate the imbalance in my CM/Base-of-Support relationship and increase transition speed.

Since Inertia wants to drag my upper body along the tangent to the turn, said upper body will be drawn out of the old turn and toward a new… opportunity. Once the imbalance is already started, any added effort on my part to move my feet further (laterally) would certainly ‘drive’ my CM further away from the old balance point and provide inertia a greater advantage in leverage. I note that I can thrust sideways just fine - even against the sidewall of the ski to accomplish this.

Assuming this is what you meant by "…driving off the outside aspect of the inside foot…" then Cool, got that part of it. (Not sure since the context of -direction- for the -drive- in your statement wasn’t explained)

On the ‘outside aspect’ boot thing I’m not sure I quite followed along, so using really Loose Boots as a visual aid:

Rolling my Old-Inside ankle toward the Outside of the Old Turn causes my Inside-Foot’s ankle bone to actively thrust up against the Big-Toe-Side (BTS) of that boot’s Cuff - not the Little-Toe-Side ('outside') of that boot - though the upper part of that boot’s Cuff would flop over and bump up against the Little-Toe-Side of that shin. (The same seems true for tight boots - just not as easily visualized)

Does the ‘Driving’ that you refer to (of the Old-Inside-et al) originate in the form of a direct lateral thrust of the foot, or from some form of ‘leverage’ off something else? (Something I’m not perceiving from the description)

Edit: I also note that 'rolling' an ankle within a ski boot effectively tilts the boot because of other biomechanical gyrations - which produces a bit of a 'thrust' to the side.

.ma
PS: Geeze, watch out for handedness-terminology on this one - “The inside of the outside of the inside-ski boot is the square root of the hypotenuse…”
post #3 of 16
As you near your transition (assuming an ILE transition/turn) instead of waiting for your CM to move to the point where it engages your new outside, you hurry it up by speeding up the transition. You do this by taking your "downhill" shin and tipping that ski onto your LTE. The other ski will follow, as will your CM. This will allow you to engage the new turn much faster, with less straight time in the transition (the distance traveled while both skis are flat on the snow will be less than the length of your skis). Essentially, what it allows you to do in a course, is carve a much cleaner arc around the gate by engaging your outside ski earlier in the turn, thus there is less time waiting for your edges to catch. It also allows you carry your speed gained in each turn, through the transisition, into the next turn. Think of it in your head by looking at the bases of the skis, and never having a time when they arent starting, currently in, or exiting a turn. In your mind it should look like all one fluid motion, where it is hard to distinguish where one turn starts and another turn ends. Hope that didn't throw off you teaching session too much Rick, but I thought I would help translate what you said into "normal skier english."
Later
GREG
post #4 of 16
Aw nuts Now I'm either bipolar, or Rick and HeluvaSkier are talking about two different parts of two different feet.

Rick seems to be saying something about the Old-Inside foot and the squirming ankle within it, and HeluvaSkier has me using my 'Downhill Shin' to lure my other foot into tipping its own boot.
- Guys my boots don't have WiFi (yet).

To be fair, John Mason once put up a nicely logical post regarding all that PMTS Phantom stuff. From it I derived the idea that 'Any form of mechanical movement which directly or indirectly causes 'pelvic tilt' will end up causing some degree of edge reorientation'.

OK maybe not quite what he was saying back then but that's what I perceived as a valid point from it.

So, a lateral effort applied at either foot can translate through the pelvis to the other foot to some degree or another. If I augment this linkage-induced mutual movement with intentional encouragement (simultaneously) I end up with the best of both ...feet...

Yup going Bipolar, but still negotiating with myself.

.ma
post #5 of 16
Sorry, I may have added to the confusion. I think we said close to the same thing... Just in a different way. I'll let Rick deal with it though, since I really don't want to confuse you any more.
Later
GREG
post #6 of 16
I like how heluvaskier describes tipping the weighted outside foot to the lte to begin the edge change and allowing the inside to follow. As the foot is tipped and the leg starts to flex (deflate), the new outside leg is extended moving the CM in the new direction. It is a roling action of the bottom of the foot by the ankle, little toe down and big toe up. There is more to it than that , but combining that with Rick's tipping the other foot and extending to move the CM is a very strong and direct turn entry.

RW
post #7 of 16
Got to poking around a bit more on the ankle-power thing and did some testing of the lateral-thrust idea. Tried to emulate the position of a skier at turn transition in a flexed position.

Sitting in an office chair with my knees bent at 90 degrees and both feet flat on the floor…

Keeping my ankles passive, I can -rotate- my hip joints to swing my knees back and forth. My feet needn’t move from their current spot on the floor. Even if my chair has castors on it, it doesn’t move side to side because I’m passive with all those other muscles hanging out around the hips.

If I engage ‘some muscle’ higher up (little help here anyone?) I can swivel the whole chair back and forth rather than just my knees.

If I firm up a few more muscles, I can impart a lateral movement to the whole chair along the floor (it’s on castors).

So far I’ve just used static (stiff) ankles. Trying to impart a lateral movement to the chair by just rolling my ankles didn’t seem to work very well for me. It did move my chair a tiny bit but without some added hip activity (in this case - hip rotation) the chair only moves a wee little bit.

From this I got to wondering just how much lateral movement my ski boot might produce from an internal ankle-roll alone so I went and got them out of the closet. With boot on and leg held up, I rolled my ankle severely to either side. Nada. The boot merely twitched. My lower leg did some cool morphing but that was about it.

Where did this leave me? Well, going way out on a limb I’ll put it on the record: I agree that our ankles play a major role in Fore/Aft balance and a big role in lateral … um, confidence… but I’m not convinced there’s much ‘power’ (nor range) available from our ankles as applied to actual lateral movement…

I think our ‘ankle rolling’ just activates other biomechanical features higher up within us that lend the perception of power. I think it’s this ‘mechanical upper stuff’ that actually accomplishes the desired deed. Nope, I’m not slighting the ‘weight shift’ that an ankle-roll can bring about - I just don’t detect much lateral movement imparted to the skier due to ankle-rolling alone.

With modern ski boots so laterally stiff our lateral ankle movement is restricted to mere contortional morphing. We can reorient the distribution of our weight within our boot and the liner does give way a bit, but that’s it. If I were to put concrete in both boots of a good skier in place of their liners… …ok, never mind they’d probably just kill me for that. But you get the idea - they’d still ski great.

Hmm, better go get my Nomex bunny slippers on…

.ma
post #8 of 16

Left field

I've been bad. Have not had time to read this thread. Shouldn't be posting as this may have already been covered but in my slothfulness I will go ahead.

What's the thoughts on Supination as opposed to pronation of the outside ankle. When I was at Rossi having my boots built they pulled out a pair that were custom made from the "last" up for Bode where he had them create room around the ankle bones (actually molded to allow the ankle bone to move to the outside or inside) so he could supinate his ankle within the boot. At first I thought that if a racer is going to roll his femur in the hip socket (outside leg) and create knee flexion he would "have to" pronate that ankle. But with some experimentation I found it was possible to supinate the ankle while achieving good knee flexion.

What do you guys think, if anything, about this topic?
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Michael, you're absolutely right. This power move cannot be done independent of the leg muscles. It's a big kinetic chain event that starts at the feet. The legs are engines, the ankles are pilots.

The important thing to take away from this discussion is the concept of how we use muscular supplementation to control the rate of cross over during the transition, beyond that which gravity and momentum will provide on their own.

With ILE or OLR alone, the transition from the end of one turn to the start of the next is restricted to one speed. By supplementing it with the CM driving power move I described here that speed can be modified, either slower or faster. It's our control mechanism when auto pilot just won't due.
post #10 of 16
MichaelA,
Eventhough a very small amount of movement occurs as we move our ankles either to the inside or outside of our boots, because it is happining so close to the snow, it effects are large espicially when combined with other lateral tipping movements. It is like moving the short end of a lever a small amount, but the result on the long end is enormous. I feel like my lateral movements start from the bottom of my feet and ankles and are combined with leg and hip movements. The feet are also fine tuners for balance, the closer to the snow, the better the effect. It is the small muscle groupes that are the most articulate for balancing and fine tuning. Some of the muscles used in ankle angulation are located in the calf area, much like the muscle groupes for the wrist are located in the forarm. I think of the total effect I get and not isolated to just what happens inside my boot.
Gary and Rick seem to have a very good sence of how rocking the ankle inside the boot effects our edge control and edge change.

RW
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
If our Point of Balance is way towards the outside ski, transferring total pressure to the inside ski through the use of ILE or outside leg relaxation (I should use OLR for that term) can create a pretty severe state of imbalance that may create a rate of tipping that's faster than we desire. In those cases the ankles can be used to move the CM closer to the inside ski before extension or relaxation begins. Doing that brings the CM and inside foot more into alignment, which slows the rate of tip, and thus the rate of CM cross over. It's like a tree falling; if it's standing pretty straight and it's cut it will start it's fall very slowly, and will speed up as it gets more tipped. If its very tipped before cutting starts it will fall rapidly and aggressively once severed.

.
ooooo thankyou.... now I understand better what happens when I am too much one way or the other as I do the ILE stuff & how I can try to fix problems.... (now to play & see if I can do this stuff in real life.... may take me a couple of years to learn to move like that but....)
post #12 of 16
RW, I agree our ankles provide an excellent refinement mechanism just not that we get any real ‘power’ from them (at least not directly). A small angle change at our ankle can yield considerable lateral movement higher up on the body but I think it’s the contribution of external forces that bring about our perception of power.

A miniscule effort applied to release support on one side of our Base-of-Support permits these external forces to produce the dramatic results we see. The power we experience from onset of ankle roll seems directly proportional to the forces acting on us at the moment we initiate the roll. Much like relaxing our fingers to release an arrow from a long bow. The ‘power’ is stored earlier in the bow and is released by our finger action, not created by it. I don’t think this is in opposition to anything you or Rick have stated, just a clarification of my own take on it.

I certainly agree that finesse is a matter of refined ankle adjustment, and with your point that “Total effect…is not isolated to just what happens inside my boot.” I see this ‘Total Effect’ as mostly aftermath to the sudden imbalance created close to the key epicenter of support; our contact point with the snow.

A text segment quoted by disski from Rick’s initial post just caught my attention:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
If our Point of Balance is way towards the outside ski, transferring total pressure to the inside ski through the use of ILE or ...[OLR]... can create a pretty severe state of imbalance that may create a rate of tipping that's faster than we desire. In those cases the ankles can be used to move the CM closer to the inside ski before extension or relaxation begins. Doing that brings the CM and inside foot more into alignment, which slows the rate of tip, and thus the rate of CM cross over.
Rick, was this a reference to some kind of lateral displacement of the Base-of-Support or CM? I’m guessing it’s a reference to creating a deliberate CM/BoS imbalance earlier in the turn which over time brings the CM and BoS closer - not that the move directly brings them closer.

.ma
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
ooooo thankyou.... now I understand better what happens when I am too much one way or the other as I do the ILE stuff & how I can try to fix problems.... (now to play & see if I can do this stuff in real life.... may take me a couple of years to learn to move like that but....)
Your welcome, Disski.

Remember though, this is only one method of moving our point of balance. To move your point of balance toward the inside foot when ILE'ing (to slow the transition) you can also just remove some of the counter and angulation. Just different ways to skin the cat. Play with both and you'll feel the differing effects.

When you get the Point of Pressure and Point of Balance closer together (by moving the CM uphill) during ILE you'll be surprised how much you can slow down the transition. It provides supreme feel of the edge development. A very in control sensation. When you need to get on with it, just leave the CM where it is and extend the inside leg, and the transition will be faster. If you want it even faster, add a downhill ankle drive with the extension (a very dynamic sensation of diving into the abyss. Work up to this gradually)
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA
A text segment quoted by disski from Rick’s initial post just caught my attention:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
If our Point of Balance is way towards the outside ski, transferring total pressure to the inside ski through the use of ILE or ...[OLR]... can create a pretty severe state of imbalance that may create a rate of tipping that's faster than we desire. In those cases the ankles can be used to move the CM closer to the inside ski before extension or relaxation begins. Doing that brings the CM and inside foot more into alignment, which slows the rate of tip, and thus the rate of CM cross over.
Rick, was this a reference to some kind of lateral displacement of the Base-of-Support or CM? I’m guessing it’s a reference to creating a deliberate CM/BoS imbalance earlier in the turn which over time brings the CM and BoS closer - not that the move directly brings them closer.

.ma
It's a combined movement (ILE combined with a move of the CM uphill) that lessens the state of imbalance as ILE is occurring. Meant to slow the transition.

Try it on a set of stairs. Stand sideways on the stairs with your feet on different steps, and your weight on the downhill foot. Now extend the uphill leg without moving your CM uphill, and feel how fast you descend down the steps. (note, don't do this at the top of the stair case!)

Next, do it again, only this time drive your CM uphill with an ankle thrust (yes, use your leg muscles to do it) as you begin your extension of the uphill leg, and notice how it slows you decent (transition).
post #15 of 16
I havre long thought the the key to good skiing is working from the pronation (outside)/supinastion(inside) aspects of the feet. But this requires patience to develop, ankle dorsiflexion, graded external rotation of the inner leg/ internal on the outter, bilateral knee / hip / trunk control..... and may look like what Gary has been talking about when stacked & done right

problem is it is always easier to "just ski" & forget this technique & it takes strength/endurance. I can rip the heck outa turns whenI concentrate, bet then get lazy "just skiing".

the more I become a student of the sport, the more I'm convinved the balanced feet & pronation/supination are the keys to getting your feet out away from your body & using the sidecut to the fullest...ala al hobart's carving turns series.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Next, do it again, only this time drive your CM uphill with an ankle thrust (yes, use your leg muscles to do it) as you begin your extension of the uphill leg, and notice how it slows you decent (transition).
Great, got it! Just looking for a translation.

Good method for getting Open Parallel'ers to make the transition to Dynamic Parallel. Really 'sets' the New Outside-Ski with a solid continuation of forward momentum. Largely prevents a student from executing the less desirable 'Twist to an edge' technique.

Never really thought about it as a delay technique, but I guess that's why it works so well to eliminate the Dive & Twist move.

.ma
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