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Getting out of the back seat....

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I can't seem to get myself out of the back seat when skiing. I feel that I have real trouble getting my hips forward: my torso wants to dive down while my butt goes back. I have to work really hard to get the hips up over the binding toepiece, and I can not keep it there, even when running the skis flat. When I am standing in a pair of shoes, my weight is all on my toes, and I naturally fall forward if I let myself. With the skis up on edge at the apex of a turn, I am just not forward enough to have a straight outside leg: it seems to always be bent, indicating that I am in the back seat. More or less, I ski the sidecut, without really getting forward with the hips in the crossover. As a result, I always feel the weight under my heels mid-turn and after, which seems to me too early in the turn.

Currently, I am skiing in boots with about a 12-degree forward lean, and a 3mm lift under the toe. This seems to keep me more upright than a boot with more forward lean (which puts me in the backseat even more).

Any ideas on how to fix this? I am pretty sure it is an alignment issue. I more or less know how to make the right moves, I just have trouble staying neutral with my hips. Thanks!
post #2 of 18
why a toe lift? i was skiing tails for yrs what i do now is a constant check...i lift my foot "start of every run" and i always have the shovel down so i know i am over tops of skis
post #3 of 18
You don't want locked-knee straight outside legs. You just want the outside leg structurally straight, so the bones are carrying the load and the muscles are not stressed.

What do you do to start turns? If you're starting turns by pressuring the outside ski, that's the old inside ski, which was a bit ahead in the previous turn, so you're starting from a more rearward position.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by skidbump
i was skiing tails for yrs what i do now is a constant check...i lift my foot "start of every run" and i always have the shovel down so i know i am over tops of skis
That's actually a good/simple sanity check.

Scott, I used to have the same problems many years ago and it was frustrating. Some general (and simple) things that changed are that I stand up straighter now with good upper body posture (no slumping), I have softer boots that allow me to find a neutral/natural stance and flex around it, I maintain a confident forward "attitude" down the fall line, and I project my gaze further downhill. When you're doing this stuff, it's real hard to be in the backseat. I am sure this is an oversimplification that will make the experts cringe, but I honestly think that mentally visualizing a natural skiing stance is easier than mentally fighting an un-natural backseat stance.

Also, are you feeling the backs of the boots pressuring your calves? If so, this may indicate that your boots are too stiff and/or aligned wrong. Unfortunately, I think many expert skiers are in boots that are too stiff. I know I was, and I made huge strides when I got into more flexible boots. One sanity check here would be to carefully ski with your boots a little loose. Does this improve the situation? What sensation does it give?

Good luck! By the way, I phoned a binding order into your shop this afternoon, and appreciate the great deal and service.

Craig
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching
I have to work really hard to get the hips up over the binding toepiece, and I can not keep it there, even when running the skis flat.
Hips over toepiece? Really? I think that's overdoing it a bit. My personal focus is toes, knees and shoulders aligned in the front and the butt (which is really the hips) aligned with or slightly in front of the ankle. (If you are thinking about the hip bone it's a bit more in front, if you are thinking about the butt it with...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching
I am just not forward enough to have a straight outside leg: it seems to always be bent, indicating that I am in the back seat.
Not necessarily . Overall I'd say the our position forward and aft is more regulated by the ankle joint than the knee joint. Think about it, it's the closest joint to the snow, so it has the biggest effect on our center of mass. You can flex you knees and be back, and then flex your ankles and be back forward or neutral again. I think one reason you can't get where you want to is your focus is on the wrong joint....
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching
...Currently, I am skiing in boots with about a 12-degree forward lean, and a 3mm lift under the toe. This seems to keep me more upright than a boot with more forward lean (which puts me in the backseat even more).

Any ideas on how to fix this? I am pretty sure it is an alignment issue.
dawgcatching,

Could still be too much forward lean, who can tell over the internet though! I gather from posts on this board you have a shop and sell ski equipment. Do you have the ability to adjust the delta angle on your bindings (or a test pair of skis)? Maybe try adding different lifts under the toe piece to experiment a bit.

Chris
post #7 of 18
1. Definitely get your fore/aft alignment checked if you can. When Bud Heishman did this at ESA he had everyone put on their boots and skis on a flat floor indoors. Then he checked that the front of the knee was aligned over the toes in a neutral stance (he said that he normally uses a plumb bob off the knee for this). If available the best thing to do is get on a Campbell Dynamic Balancer.

2. Great tip from ssh - close the ankle / open the knee. Instead of thinking about getting your upper body forward, just flex your ankles and open your knees (straighten your legs) - this instantly brings your hips back under your body.

3. My mental key - pull your feet back. I don't think at all about getting forward - I concentrate on pulling my feet back and keeping them under me (got this from a mogul clinic). For me it works much better since many people who attempt to "get forward" tend to hunch over with their shoulders and stick out their butt.

There is a simple check of your boots' ramp+forrward lean that I learned a few seasons ago (and it really seems to work). Put on your boots and stand on a flat hard floor (no carpet). You should be able to do a SLOW squat getting your femurs parallel to the floor (or futher) WITHOUT falling backwards or having your heels lift off the floor. If you fall backwards you need additional forward lean and/or ramp. If your heels are lifting (or you're falling forward) you have too much forward lean and/or ramp.

I've used this squat method to double check my boot stance and it seems to work for me.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler
2. Great tip from ssh - close the ankle / open the knee. Instead of thinking about getting your upper body forward, just flex your ankles and open your knees (straighten your legs) - this instantly brings your hips back under your body.

3. My mental key - pull your feet back. I don't think at all about getting forward - I concentrate on pulling my feet back and keeping them under me (got this from a mogul clinic). For me it works much better since many people who attempt to "get forward" tend to hunch over with their shoulders and stick out their butt.
Thanks Noodler, those are two great ones, especially #3. I think fore/aft control of foot position gets under-rated, but it's a really easy way to make adjustments.
post #9 of 18
Dawg,

I went to see the boot guy in Seattle you reccomended. I saw him yesterday. By the way, HE WAS GREAT! I highly reccomend you find a way to work with him on your boots. I can't comment too much about your skiing without seeing some video.

Some general comments about my own boots..

Jim had me do all kinds of crazy things like stand in a rectangle and jump up and down 5 times and stand in my boots and jump up and down 5 times, etc.. other stuff too. One of the things we found out right away was that the guys who did my boots originally, deconstructed the boot in order to make it more upright. this was neccessary for me because of my achilles tendon which pushes my leg forward into a flexed position in nearly all boots. He would have solve the problem a different way, but that's another story. In any case, they probably got my relaxed position in the boot about right...but the rivots they used to put the boot back together pretty much eliminated 90% of the forward flex characteristcs of the boot.

Suffice it to say, that I have had a hell of a time getting my hips forward. my hips drop back, i bend at my waist...I manage to stay centered, but not the right way...and its been killing me since i got the boots. He's going to cut a V cut in the shell which is going to enable the boot to flex forward...which quite likely is going to have a dramatic impact on my ability to do all kinds of things properly.

Moral of the story, if your boot is too upright...and/or if it won't flex forward easily...your hips ARE going to drop back and its gonna be hard to get them forward anytime you do any flexing at all....which of course you do..and every time you do you're fighting against falling in the rear. In my case, he had me jump up and down in my boots and after 5 jumps I was 2 feet back from where I started. My boots simply would not forward flex enough to allow me to stay centered without crazy bending forward at the waist.

turns out my legs aren't as crazy unaligned as I thought. My footbeds, however, were not posted which was allowing my ankle to pronate and colapse inward without edging...also a bit of cant on the outside is going to really free up my ankles to roll..it was pretty remarkable the difference just experimenting in his shop. Getting my boots back thurs...very excited...

Anyway, I strongly suggest you get someone good to check out your books, like Jim...and make sure that issue is resolved. I wasted 2 years trying to fix myself after I got these boots and noticed some of these problems creeping into my skiing. Turns out, I was fighting against bad boots....a waste of time. fix the boots first. I suspect you already know how to get your hips forward.
post #10 of 18
Dawg,

I'd check out that toe lift to see if its really necessary. I'm assuming that it is under the toepiece of the binding, and to do a self-test all you need to do is try another pair of skis without the lift.

Jim
post #11 of 18
It isn't so much the forward lean of the boot to be looked at but the forward lean of you in the boot. Flaring of the boot back/spoiler can give room for your calf if it is down in there. What is your height and are your lower and upper leg and upper lower body proportions fairly average? Other things to check, dorsi flexion of your ankle. What is the ramp angle of your bindings or at least height off snow at toe vs heel? What is your boot sole length? Is the toe lift on the boot or under the binding?
post #12 of 18

Hands in view

Just took a lesson sat. morn. in part to help with this - I have the same issue. Good tip the instructor gave me was to try to always make sure both my hands were in my field of vision at all times. Not necessarily directly in front, but in view, even if peripherally (they're still pretty far forward then).

This seemde to help me project my body forward from my hips - I'm looking forward to trying it more.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie
Hips over toepiece? Really? I think that's overdoing it a bit.
Seconded.
post #14 of 18
gmolfoot.com has a good piece on fore/aft alignment. One excellent skier I was with found that for his body structure shims under the boot toes was just right to get pressure on his toes while maintaining a correct skiing posture.

After you get your equipment corrected, here's a very good ski tip...at the very beginning of every turn, and all the way through the turn, pull your inside foot back under your hip. Way back--you can't pull it too far back. This gets your feet under your hips and, by reducing the inside ski tip lead, permits the body to angulate more.


Ken
post #15 of 18
Dawg,

I'll also say that Jim Mates was also talking about the forward lean in many plates and bindings and how many people have them too far forward. I guess maybe you were trying to compensate for something similar in your own setup? Anyway, to answer other people, that's why you would need to put a shim under the toe.
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the advice. The toe shim came at the advice of Jim: it was due to my stance his board, which he said I was stuck on the ball of my foot, pushing my hips back in order to counter. But, I have yet to ski with him, which will likely make it easier for him to determine how it is affecting my skiing. I have another pair of boots (Dolomite Z 130's) which have more forward lean and no toe lift: I will ski in those boots when I get back in 2 weeks and see if I can make out a difference. Before,I always felt more in the back seat with those boots, due to the slightly more aggressive forward lean. When I get back, I will just ski very slowly around the flattest bunny hill I can find, and try to determine how I am balancing in each boot.
post #17 of 18
One simple thing I like to do, and have had students really feel the difference in their body is to teach them to drop into a pipe or a windlip, or other such feature. While stance alignment is key, often times people don't think about driving the shoulders down the hill. By having people feel rolling the shoulders forward to stay on top of the skis while dropping in, it has had great effect when back on a pitch, the sensation of constantly moving the shoulders down the hill has helped many a student of mine get out of the backseat (just thinking how sometimes people over-analyze issues and neglect to see the easy possible solution).

Something else to consider is that the ramp angle and forward lean are increased in higher end boots because those boots are designed to ski more aggressively. Therfore, when someone has a high-end boot, but wants to ski mellow turns, often times balance can become issue because of a mismatch of style/design.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manus
Something else to consider is that the ramp angle and forward lean are increased in higher end boots because those boots are designed to ski more aggressively. Therfore, when someone has a high-end boot, but wants to ski mellow turns, often times balance can become issue because of a mismatch of style/design.
For sure! They are designed after race boots to be skied in a tuck or lowered position. Thus, the lean allows the knee forwards and the butt back, hands forwards, all the while keeping the CM above the feet.
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