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LeMaster's book

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I just want to say that I read Lemaster's book the past few days and really got a lot out of it. I have to say its the best book on skiing I've ever read. He explained some things in terms of physics that finally answered to me some "why" reasons that 99.99% of all ski instructors I have ever encountered have not really answered very well. Great book. I highly reccomend.
post #2 of 26
Which book was this?
post #3 of 26
dewdman:

Yeah, I love the book.

What did you think about LeMaster's "initial steering angle." Have you ever heard any discussion of this concept in a PSIA context?

When I first read the book, I was glad to get some validation of something that we all know--that we don't rely only on the ski's sidecut, because if we did, we would have no way to tactically alter turn shape unless we are on a friendly groomer which, by its width, slope, etc, is suited exactly to the ski's sidecut.

Unless I am mistaken (or my skiing is deficient, both of which are possible), it seems to me that we are nearly always creating some initial (skidded) steering angle, determined by our anticipated line, speed and terrain. LeMaster's sequence photos of racers are pretty compelling on this.

So I agree, it's a great book, especially for those of us who hunger for a little physics and are prone to (over)analysis. But I have been a little confused by the silence in PSIA on this, or maybe I have not been paying attention. Anyway, what was your reaction?

Thanks,
JoeB
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
I am not PSIA certified (yet), so I can't comment on their view vs LeMaster. I am CSIA certified level II, but I have many issues against CSIA skiing to be honest so let's not even bother to compare/contrast. I have been studying the controversial PMTS lately also to see what can be taken away from it.

As a whole, I think in recent years there is been a lot of deemphasis of leg steering pretty much across the board. The quest for the "pure carve". I think that is baloney myself. I don't race, but the fact that leMaster is showing World Cup racers using leg steering to set up the initial steering angle is very telling. For all-mountain skiing, I believe leg steering gets used even more than that...since we often find ourselves in tight situations, bumps, crud, junk and places we have to make the skis turn tighter than their sidecut radius and quite often we don't actually WANT to be going at the full speed that our skis are capable of going. To me, somewhere between massively skidded turns and pure carving is a combo type of turn that uses both carving and leg steering with a bit of "feathering".

I also note that in his book (and also on his website there are Powerpoint slides from fairly recent presentations), he notes that although Counter has reduced somewhat due to lifters and skinnier ski waists, its also not going away anytime soon.

his book was the first place to really give me a sensible explanation for why firm, early pole plants are so important in skiing. How many people have you heard say they are just for balance and timing? LeMaster has much more to say about it. Also, how many people have you heard talk about lifters as being needed to prevent "boot-out" from increasing edge angles. I actually had a guy at a shop tell me that if I got a mid-fat ski I probably would not need a lifted binding because the wider waist would keep my boot off the snow. HOGWASH. The real reason for lifters is to align the pressure being directed down the skier's leg closer to the actual edge of the ski rather than to the center of the base...which in turn allows them to counter and angulate a little less..and basically increases the amount of DOWNWARD pressure on the edge, which improves their holding power. A wider ski waist would in fact require MORE lifting if anything.

I don't have lifters on my skis right now and guess what just made my list by the way.

Also, this book had a great explanation on how to play around with canting in half a day and perhaps gain a lot of performance. I know from his explanations that I am undercanted. Can't wait to play with that.

Many other things..so well explained. Obviously there are many viewpoints on how to ski correctly and I take no one person as the all-powerful genius that has it all. But definitely this book provided clear bio-mechanical explanations for why all the various body movements are useful or needed. I feel like after having read this book I can read other books or take lessons and make a lot more sense (or nonsense) out of the things other people are saying about how to ski better.

In answer to the other poster, the book we are talking about is called "The Skiers Edge" by Ron LeMaster. Look for it on Amazon.
post #5 of 26
I too have read and reread the Skier's Edge. It is the best book on skiing I've read, and I've read a lot. I see a lot more from the stop frame images than I do from video, and his clear and thorough description of the different things you do with a ski - fore/aft, up/down, lateral, edging and so on are fantastic.
post #6 of 26

dog eared and thumb worn

My copy of the book is reread every season.

Everything is there.

There is one thing that gets me though. That is the single leg skiing theme. All the "modern carvers" talk about two footed load sharing. LeMaster speaks in a different direction. And then the photos of the racers in action show many frames where both skis are loaded to the max.

Would anyone care to comment regarding the effective use of a single edge fully loaded, versus two edges sharing the load when skiing firm surfaces. My experience suggests full committment to a single edge. Better bite and even if that one edge "lets go", you are still riding the same balance that you committed to. When two footed skiing on hard surfaces, if the down hill ski looses grip, the load (you) get upset.


Soft and deep is different. ;-)

CalG
post #7 of 26
it would be wrong to assume that in freeskiing you always encounter the same turn tactics used in racing.
post #8 of 26
Initial steering angle answered some questions I'd been chewing on for quite awhile. Like how the inside ski could make a tighter radius when leaving RR tracks.
Two footed loading has been around for a long time. In a very dynamic turn there's almost total transfer to the outside ski.
There are many solutions to any turn (racing or not) the racer tries to use the most efficient one for maintaining speed.
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cgrandy
There is one thing that gets me though. That is the single leg skiing theme. All the "modern carvers" talk about two footed load sharing. LeMaster speaks in a different direction. And then the photos of the racers in action show many frames where both skis are loaded to the max.

Would anyone care to comment regarding the effective use of a single edge fully loaded, versus two edges sharing the load when skiing firm surfaces. My experience suggests full committment to a single edge. Better bite and even if that one edge "lets go", you are still riding the same balance that you committed to. When two footed skiing on hard surfaces, if the down hill ski looses grip, the load (you) get upset.
CalG, remember that the book was published prior to the real emergence of shaped skis. Ron's current presentations show the shift. Note, too, that most coaches and teachers that I know talk about it more to help skiers know that they don't need to get 100% of their weight onto one ski, but can remain balanced between both skis. At higher speeds, the vast majority of your weight will be balanced over the inside edge of the outside ski, anyway.

Along these lines, Jim "Shanzy" Schanzenbaker mentioned during the coaches' panel at ESA balancing over the platform. He noted that our feet create a platform, and the object of solid skiing is to balance in the middle of that platform. The fore/aft, lateral, and vertical separation of our feet change the location and orientation of that platform. But, we still need to balance in the middle of it.
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeB
dewdman:

Yeah, I love the book.

What did you think about LeMaster's "initial steering angle." Have you ever heard any discussion of this concept in a PSIA context?

When I first read the book, I was glad to get some validation of something that we all know--that we don't rely only on the ski's sidecut, because if we did, we would have no way to tactically alter turn shape unless we are on a friendly groomer which, by its width, slope, etc, is suited exactly to the ski's sidecut.

Unless I am mistaken (or my skiing is deficient, both of which are possible), it seems to me that we are nearly always creating some initial (skidded) steering angle, determined by our anticipated line, speed and terrain. LeMaster's sequence photos of racers are pretty compelling on this.
It's pretty easy to start a turn on modern skis with no steering at all. The reason you see racers skid their turn entry so frequently is that the courses are deliberately set so that the skiers can't make all the gates if they perfectly carve their turns. Twenty years ago, they would sometimes do a skate step to change their line, but with the skis they have now, it's faster to slide the top of the turn a little. The really amazing thing is that they can slide sideways a little, and still hook up their edges cleanly, without chatter. I don't think that was possible with the skis we had even 10 years ago.
Generally, if you have room to make the turn, you don't need to steer to start your turn.

BK
post #11 of 26
Generally, if you have room to make the turn, you don't need to steer to start your turn.

BK[/quote]

Hey, BK, my point exactly. The thing that threw me from a PSIA standpoint is that I have never seen this officially acknowledged--that sole reliance on sidecut throughout the entire turn is only possible under certain terrain circumstances: i.e., if the trail is wide enough to accommodate the ski's radius.

The problem IMO, is that this tends to leave aspiring PSIA learners thinking that skidding at the top of the turn is forbidden. But if you watch racers (I agree with UC that this comparison must be made with care) as well as all very good skiers, this initial rotation is almost always present. This, as I see it, is validated by the little swoosh at the top of the turn in photos of someone cutting up new powder, or even fresh groom--RR tracks followed by a small swoosh, followed by RR tracks.

I agree also with your admiration for the way that a strong racer can precisely slide to a desired initial steering angle, then engage immediately with authority, precision and power. Beyond me.

JoeB
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeB
Hey, BK, my point exactly. The thing that threw me from a PSIA standpoint is that I have never seen this officially acknowledged--that sole reliance on sidecut throughout the entire turn is only possible under certain terrain circumstances: i.e., if the trail is wide enough to accommodate the ski's radius.
This is really funny to me, since this is what a lot of PMTS advocates won't acknowledge, either, and we've gone around in circles about this in PMTS threads.

A pivot at the top of the turn to get the skis aligned for a nice carved finish is, as demonstrated at the highest levels of racing, a very efficient movement for getting us moving downhill on the precise arc we want. It's not the only way to start, though. For example, you can change edges very early and ride them all the way around the turn ("getting upside down" or "early edge engagement") under the right circumstances. But, you can't always do that, either, especially since sometimes the force vectors don't line up correctly.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeB
Generally, if you have room to make the turn, you don't need to steer to start your turn.

BK
Hey, BK, my point exactly. The thing that threw me from a PSIA standpoint is that I have never seen this officially acknowledged--that sole reliance on sidecut throughout the entire turn is only possible under certain terrain circumstances: i.e., if the trail is wide enough to accommodate the ski's radius.
The problem IMO, is that this tends to leave aspiring PSIA learners thinking that skidding at the top of the turn is forbidden. But if you watch racers (I agree with UC that this comparison must be made with care) as well as all very good skiers, this initial rotation is almost always present. This, as I see it, is validated by the little swoosh at the top of the turn in photos of someone cutting up new powder, or even fresh groom--RR tracks followed by a small swoosh, followed by RR tracks.

JoeB[/quote]
All the manuals I have say that rotary is used to shape the turn. We do drills that require skidding all the time. I wouldn't say any effective movement is "forbidden."
That said, what you see WC racers doing and the skidding you see typical advanced skiers doing are 2 different things. Racers will release their edges smoothly, and redirect their skis down the fall line without engaging the edges until they are on the line they want. They don't even dump too much speed because a flat ski is fast, even sliding sideways. Recreatonal skiers commonly stem their uphill ski (push it uphill) before they release the edge of the downhill ski. This creates pressure and some edge engagement on the uphill (new outside) ski. It feels secure, but it's slow and tiring. They also commonly steer too much, then try to engage they edges too strongly and too late in the turn. We teach a patient turn entry, without any stemming, that gets to the new edges early with no steering. Sliding or carving the top of the turn becomes a choice that you make based on your intent.
If you see skidding at the turn transitioin, it's not RR tracks.

BK
post #14 of 26
Folks, let's be fair here. PMTS is not sidecut skiing.


Here is my hypothesis:
You can increase the edge angles anytime you want when things get tighter. And you can provide an initial steering angle too, via the strong rotary impulse of the "Phantom Move" (tm) followed by "pulling the foot back" (tm?)....

After all, we have been told that PMTS can be used to create a hockey stop. And you know that during transition the skis go flat.... so you should be able to create the initial steering angle by a using a "Phantom Move"(tm) and then strongly "pulling the foot back"(tm?) just when the skis go flat to apply the rotation.

Does that sound about right? Or is that maximum BS?
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLATZ
Initial steering angle answered some questions I'd been chewing on for quite awhile. Like how the inside ski could make a tighter radius when leaving RR tracks.
Two footed loading has been around for a long time. In a very dynamic turn there's almost total transfer to the outside ski.
There are many solutions to any turn (racing or not) the racer tries to use the most efficient one for maintaining speed.
If you are doing any "initial steering," you're not doing RR tracks. The reason your skis don't cross in RR tracks is that either you don't stay with the turn long enough that the arcs would cross, or there is so much pressure redistributed to the outside ski that you easily steer the inside ski. The whole apparent mystery about why your skis don't cross is based on over-thinking the whole problem. On the snow, it just never happens.
"Two footed loading" has been misunderstood for so long that no one talks about it anymore. On straight skis, we had to aggressively weight the new outside ski as we released the edges of the old turn. On shape skis, it's more possible and often more effective to release the edges before adding pressure to the new outside ski. That's all "two footed carving" meant, but people developed this whole wrong idea that you should keep equal weight on both skis throughout the turn. Anyone who ever did that found that it was pretty much impossible to do dynamic turns that way.

BK
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
Folks, let's be fair here. PMTS is not sidecut skiing.


Here is my hypothesis:
You can increase the edge angles anytime you want when things get tighter. And you can provide an initial steering angle too, via the strong rotary impulse of the "Phantom Move" (tm) followed by "pulling the foot back" (tm?)....

After all, we have been told that PMTS can be used to create a hockey stop. And you know that during transition the skis go flat.... so you should be able to create the initial steering angle by a using a "Phantom Move"(tm) and then strongly "pulling the foot back"(tm?) just when the skis go flat to apply the rotation.

Does that sound about right? Or is that maximum BS?
That sounds to me like the mechanics of PMTS is just ordinary effective movements, described in an alternate vocabulary. So it sound's right, but the maximum BS is the obnoxious cult-like devotion of the Kool-Ade drinkers.

BK
post #17 of 26
IMO, what's new outside of the packaging, is emphasis on a very small set of coordinated moves. That's what is brilliant: simplified and stripped to the bare essentials.

I mean why teach anything more than a small number of moves?

Most folks don't have the time to learn all the tricks, and if you can physically/mentally handle it, and have the space to practice it, it'll probably work just fine.
post #18 of 26

edge

I really like Ron's explanation about edge grip.

It's all about the angles, forces and resultants.



Ice is great if you angulate!

Regards

CalG
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
IMO, what's new outside of the packaging, is emphasis on a very small set of coordinated moves. That's what is brilliant: simplified and stripped to the bare essentials.

I mean why teach anything more than a small number of moves?

Most folks don't have the time to learn all the tricks, and if you can physically/mentally handle it, and have the space to practice it, it'll probably work just fine.
That's the limitation that HH can never acknowledge. Some of his insights are correct, like the emphasis on balance and movements that begin from the feet, and on mastering basis skills before moving on to advanced skills (that was the approach the Austrians who forst taught me took, but most Americans are too impatient for that). But the PMTS approach never allows the use of rotary without linking it to edging. Even its descriptions (counter, passive rotation) are designed to prevent the independent use of any rotary skill. For a lot of intermediates, stopping their dysfunctional rotary is a step forward, but to develop versatilty, you need to be able to apply all your skills (balance, pressure control, edging and rotary) independently in whatever blend is most effective at any particular time.
I'l give you an example from my own experience. I struggled first time I skied deep powder: every time I tried to turn, I would press my outside ski (a K2 VO Slalom) into the snow and the other would float to the surface and I would crash. My friend (a full cert instructor) told me to point them down the hill, and plant my poles without turning. Every time I planted my right pole, I would bury my left ski. I had to "unlearn" the connection between pole plant and weight transfer. In the same way, PMTS is training skiers only to use rotary linked to edging, without ever learning to use rotary independently. They can't even talk about using rotary independently.
The PSIA approach is to develop independent skills and to apply them as the situation requires. It may take longer (or not) but it results in a more versatile skier. The PMTS approach is to learn specific movements. There are not enough years left in your life to learn and practice every specific movement you will need to ski the entire mountain in all conditions. As you recognized, for the 10 day a year skier content to stay on the groomers, the PMTS approach may be better, but their claim is that it will make you a better skier in every way, and they practically claim that learning the PSIA way will prevent you from learning any other way.
That's probably what got HH dropped from the Demo team.

BK
post #20 of 26
how did a discussion of LeMaster's book become another anti-PMTS and anti-Harb rant?

sheesh!:
post #21 of 26
Bode K:
Have you read the book? (I got my autographed copy from Ron at the 2001 USSCA Acadamy) "Initial Steering Angle" is a charachteristic of the ski, not a rotary move to begin the turn.
I had a conversation with Harald, a couple weeks ago, about how racers (like Rocca) seem to pivot at the top of the turn. His question was, "is it intent or result?". This caused me to spend quite a bit of time looking at videos of Rocca and other WC slalom racers. My conclusion is that it very often is result. Of course there is always the tactical issue of cutting off the top of the line to be faster by covering a shorter distance. (Ron covered this in detail in his presentation at the Acadamy) I have one racer who is stalled at about 80 FIS points because he finishes the turn high and early and rides the sidecut arc through the top of his turns. Getting him to run "straight and late" is a big challenge.
The clinics I've done with Harald have been skiing clinics, not PMTS clinics. I haven't heard him say anything that I disagree with, nor has he told me I'm wrong about anything. Other coaches that I know respect him and his views. The one who disagrees with him on one thing is missing the "intent or result" idea. I'm sure that if the two of them sat down with a video they'd agree.
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cgrandy
My copy of the book is reread every season.

Everything is there.

There is one thing that gets me though. That is the single leg skiing theme. All the "modern carvers" talk about two footed load sharing. LeMaster speaks in a different direction. And then the photos of the racers in action show many frames where both skis are loaded to the max.
CalG
If you go to Ron LeMaster's website, you can download some power point slides from presentations he gave in the last year or so (the book is older). In one of those power point presentations he suggests that racers are currently starting to "experiment" with riding both skiis since new skis are so much better at holding. His inference is that the only reason they can even get away with this is because of new technology and its still kind of a new thing for them.

There are actually a few points in those slides which seem to indicate a few changes in technique since the writing of the book. I can't remember the others right now, off hand...one is a change in approach with regards to lead change. Anyway, that point did stand out to me that he thought current WC racers are experimenting with spreading their weight around to both skis.

Me personally, when carving on firm snow...I find the amount of edge grip to be so much better when I get on my outside ski, counter and lean out over that outside ski to put as much downward pressure on it as I can. its like magic glue. There might be some subtle advantages to spreading the weight across both skis, so long as the skis have enough holding power to work well enough that way. I'm not sure what those advantages would be right now...perhaps just a more even balance or perhaps quicker in transition..

As you pointed out..it all changes for free skiing in soft snow..
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLATZ
Bode K:
Have you read the book? (I got my autographed copy from Ron at the 2001 USSCA Acadamy) "Initial Steering Angle" is a charachteristic of the ski, not a rotary move to begin the turn.
He actually talks about both concepts...the steering angle that is built into the sidecut of the tip of the ski....and also increased steering angle which is often required if the racer has to get on a tighter arc then what the ski is built to do. He actually has diagrams showing the C shape ending and an abrupt change in direction towards the fall line to get on a new turn shape that will be where they need to be...aka...a leg steering action at turn initiation so that the remainder of the turn can be as close as possible to a pure carve.

Regarding all the comments about absolute RR turns vs something else... Its kind of silly to think that doing perfect RR turns is the ultimate perfect skiing. Its a good thing to learn how to do and know how to do it. Although with new skiis, to me it starts to seem like riding on the rails is too easy and not the real skill. The real skill is how to use these easy to carve skis and manage different sized arces, different speeds, etc...all with as much of nice S shaped turns as possible and as little abrupt skidding for sudden braking as possible. To me, that includes carving, steering and even a little edge feathering.

A friend of mine just got a pair of Scrambler Hot's. He was on Xscreams before and his carving left a lot to be desired. Strap on the new skis and all of a sudden he is doing high C turns, carving through the bumps and ripping fast on groomers doing RR track turns. Too easy. However, he has little or no ability whatsoever to execute small leg steering movements to start his turns, nor can he seem to control his speed without chattering his skiis. He has two modes...super duper fast on rails...or super slow tight turns and never let them run. Obviously, the thing he has to learn is how to combine his edging skills (which are monumentally easier on the new skis) with other skills to finese these skis through different situations. It seems to me that is what we're talking about here.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLATZ
Bode K:
Have you read the book? (I got my autographed copy from Ron at the 2001 USSCA Acadamy) "Initial Steering Angle" is a characteristic of the ski, not a rotary move to begin the turn.
.
SLATZ, you are misreading it. My copy ISBN 0-88011-982-9 copyright 1999 page 42:

"The skier starts by pivoting the ski to an initial steering angle from which the ski is make to carve an arc of its natural radius. This is, in fact, how the vast majority of carved turns are made, both by recreational skiers and World Cup racers."

He continues:

"Note that the angle between the ski and the fall line is not the issue here. It is the angle between the ski and your direction of travel, your momentum, that counts. If you are traveling in a shallow traverse, the ski can have a significant steering angle well before it reaches the fall line, and so can generate a useful turning force......

How you go about establishing that initial steering angle is a key element of every learning progression"

My bolding says it all. It is NOT a property of the ski.

Cheers!
post #25 of 26
OK I'll reread it. It's been awhile since I've looked at it.
Thanks
post #26 of 26
dewdman42 points out that "he talks about both". I was confusing local steering angle (a characteristic of the ski) with initial steering angle (a "pivot" move actually described in the text much like a "stivot")
The statement that put on the "lightbulb" for me five years ago is on page 23. "Assuming the ski is edged, the snow exerts a greater force against the edge of the forebody than the tail, because the forebody's steering angle is greater".
Thanks again BigE for getting me to open the book again. Now I'm going to have to "rechew" the result-intent thing I talked about with Harald. Creating an initial steering angle is obviously an "intent".
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