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Assorted beginner questions(stance, boot alignment, turn size)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I have been lurking (mostly just reading) these forums for a while now and have gained a plethora of information to help out my skiing, so thank you all very much; but I would like to post some clarifying questions on a lot of the information that I just could not find the answer to.

1) Stance
Most everyone advocates a weight-forward, not in the backseat stance; with hips over your feet. I have also read that in order to apply cuff pressure to the boot one should bend at the ankles and sort of shift the whole body weight forward while maintaining relatively straight (but not locked) legs.
My question is how far forward to go with this stance?
Is it possible to assume this stance without boots on and not fall over forward?
What about with boots on a hardwood floor without skis?

2) Boot cuff alignment
I have a pair of Lange Banshee 9 size 25.5 boots which seem to fit me perfectly after I traded in my overly big Salomon Performa 4.0 size 27.5 :P
I have started fooling around with the upper cuff alignment (the instruction guide with the book calls it canting but i have learned most people refer to true canting as sole grindng etc, so i dont know quite what to call it).
The book suggested that to adjust the upper cuff properly, one should remove the back support screws (this simply makes the boot softer and easier to flex), unscrew the canting adjustment to allow the boot cuff to pivot, then put the boots on, buckle up and "flex forward energetically 5-6 times"

My question is do you do this with skis on or off? Also the first time I did it, i did the flexing from the knees, then after i read a little more about proper stance(see #1) i went back and did the flexing with the boot locked onto my skis and flexing from the ankles. My concern is that when i do this the upper cuff goes to one extreme of the range of adjustment (it is at the straightest position possible) am i doing this right?

3) Last time i skiid im pretty sure i finally managed to perform a pure carved turn, and the feeling of being held up by just your ski edges was phenomenal , but the only turn size I could perform was huge GS style (in my snowboarder friend's opinion) turns. As soon as i tried to tighten them up into short radius turns I felt off balance. My skis are Rossignol Open 100 XPI 170 cm with a turn radius of 18m. I am 5'11" weight around 165. I had also read the harald harb books and was attempting to perform the turns with a very narrow stance (boots touching) thru little or no rotation and mostly tipping the LTE. Any suggestions for exercises in order to tighten up my turns?

Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to express myself as clearly as possible.
post #2 of 14
Loaded question and I hope the lawyers are not listening.

A long time ago when .... anyway, we used to demonstrate (demo only, not have the class do it!) ... leaning way forward in the boots with arms outstretched till we were about 45 degrees, so you would get the idea that you could be forward and the skis and bindings do a wonderful job oh holding you in.

That said, the emphasis is on forward because so many have a tendency to sit back and it's a battle with beginners. Eventually, you become more centered over the skis.

No .... don't try it with the skis off ... for that matter, you don't need to do it at all, trust me on this one.

Take the boots back to the shop and have a tech tweek the flex while you are in the boots, all of the adjustments can be off when they are "out of the box" ... just keep in mind that things change when the boot stiffens from the cold.

Toss the books ... any books .. ski more, get your feet apart (be comfortable, don't go nuts), and most importantly .... ski more and take a lesson.

Would you "learn to fly an airplane" from a book and then jump in?
post #3 of 14
Regarding stance, I used to aspire to have my shins firmly pressured against the front of the boot. It was not really helpful (though it would be better than feeling pressure on the back of the boot). I made breakthroughs when I got softer (more flexible) boots and found a comfortable natural neutral/forward position that didn't require a conscious effort to maintain. From that position I can still apply more forward pressure if needed, but it's not an absolute requirement to maintain my posture.

For a basic canting adjustment, you're pretty much doing it right. As long as the boots are flat to the floor when you flex, it should work out. The flex exercise is just required to loosen up friction in the boot cuff so it settles into the right place. As this happens, you're also homing in on your natural stance. This is not an ideal/perfect cant adjustment, but it does OK. Whatever settles out from that exercise, it ought to feel more natural/comfortable to you than the un-tuned adjustment. Make sure you have a helper tighten the screw back up to preserve the right angle -- if you try to do it yourself, it will mess up the setting.
post #4 of 14
Shin pressure should not be "in front" of the boot literally. Think of pressuring the "front areas of the boot" in the direction of the turn.

Think of it as the hands of a clock. The pressure should be at (relative) 10 or 11 o' clock for a turn to the left. To really rack em' over pressure would be closer to the 9 ...
post #5 of 14
You can tighten up your turns by "pointing the way" with the big toe of the outside foot. This applies pressure to the inside front of the boot and encourages the ski into a tighter turn without skidding the tails.
post #6 of 14
Hi ... I'll address your questions one by one:

1. Stance: must be centered and balanced - too far back is bad, and too far forward is bad as well. Don't use the skis to keep you from falling over. IF the only thing keeping from falling on your face is the skis then you are not balanced. The idea for skiing is to roll the skis on edge (to varying degrees), you do this by pressing against the sides of your boots, not really the front or back - try it - with skis on push as hard as you can on the front of your boots, does the angle of your skis on the snow/ground change? NO, therefore it will little effect on getting the skis on edge.

2. Boot Cuff: I think on the Lange boots, you loosen the screws on the back and the ones on the outside to adjust the cant. This compensates a little for people who are slightly knock-kneed or bow-legged - It does adjust forward lean and degree of flex. Some boots have a spoiler that goes into the back of the boot, between the shell and liner. If your boot has one, get rid of it. Your boots should be as straight in the cuff as you can get them - the Lange's generally have a pretty agressive forward lean position, so you don't need to increase it.

3. Carving: You were probably simply riding the sidecut of the ski. As you said your ski is designed to do an 18 m radius, so if you get them on edge and go along for the ride, you probably do that size of turn, which I'd consider fairly large. You need to develop the skills to change the radius of the turn. Some people call this steering or pressuring the ski to get it to change, and there are many approaches to do this. It's hard to offer advice without really seeing your skill level and how you ski. You may have to get off the edges and guide the ski around into a smaller turn - if you're too much on the edges it's difficult to get the skis to change radius unless your at a higher level of skiing.

that's all for now .... hope this helps a little.
post #7 of 14
Take a lesson, take two lessons, take three lessons. Now that I have that off my chest......

1. Stance: You want to be in a comfortable atheletic stance. The easiest way to help with this is to put on your boots, jump up, and then note how you are when you land. You feet should be approximately shoulder width. You should have equally flexed ankles and knees, with moderate pressure against the tounges of your boots. Your back and shins should be approximately parallel. You hands should be about belly button height and a little wider than your shoulders with your elbows in line with the side of your body. You need to stand on your skeleton and not hold yourself up using raw muscle power. (The stacked position everyone talks about.) Above all you should feel comfortable. This is the stance you move into and out of as you make your turns. If you have a good stance, you will be able to ski for hours without major fatigue.

2. Allignment: I agree with having a boot tech set your cuffs for you. Once you get into skiing you will probably want to have footbeds and all the boot alignment bells and whistles. Just use the search function here to find all the great threads about this. However, if you do not have a major alignment issue (extremely knock kneed or bowlegged) then alignment should not be a big deal yet.

3. Carving: Yup, feels great, wonderful, etc. Changing the radius from the natural radius takes a blending of the skills you will learn as you progress (balance, edging, pressure, rotation, intensity, etc.) Drive your knees and the ski will flex more and the radius will shorten, there are a ton of different things that will work. We really need to see you ski to give good tips in this area.

Oh, by the way did I mention, take a lesson????: (And try to get a good coach.)

Good luck, you are on the way to discovering more about skiing and yourself. I have a ton of books and use them to help improve and pick up teaching ideas.
post #8 of 14

T-Square ..

I think you forgot something.

Remind him to take a lesson or three.
post #9 of 14
Yuki - I'd say ten.... but then again... maybe I am a tad zealous!
post #10 of 14
1) The only time you ever want to sit back is when you're in really heavy snow and might not reach the bottom of the run. Sometimes in breakable crust. Other than that, never sit back. The stance should be balanced with your hips over your skis. GMOLfoot.com has a good pic of that. The relative height of the boot's internal heel & toe matter, as does the relative height of the binding heel & toe. These all work together with the forward angle of the boot cuff, and one adjustment cannot counteract incorrect settings in another spot. You generally want your weight balanced in the center of the ski. During the first 2/3 rds of a turn you many put weight on the boot tongue for more bend in the ski and tighter turns. If you need to press forward all the time to get your ski to bite into the snow several things could be wrong...the bindings might be too far aft on the ski (regardless of the markings), the boot might need alignment to you, or the tips of your skis might have been de-tuned too much. (Dulling the edges at the tips & tails used to be very important. It is much less important with modern equipment. Skidders want more detuning, and carvers want none at all.)

2) The purpose of the boot cuff alignment is just one thing...match the angle of the boot cuff to the angle of your lower leg--and don't assume any of us has two legs that are indentical. The way you mention is good for setting the boot cuff alignment. For those where the side aligning screw adjusts but doesn't come loose for the multi-flex routine, remove the liner and set the cuff so you have equal space from the cuff to both sides of your lower leg.

3) PMTS works great for me. I recommend it highly. If anyone calls it hokum, ask them if they've given it a try. Usually the answer is something like, "I don't need to...I just know it won't work." The loss is theirs. The ability to carve depends greatly on your equipment. To carve tighter turns, you need more weight on the ski to bend it more...try putting more weight on just the outside ski to cause it to bend more. You also need to counter balance and counter-face...drop your hips well inside the turn and tilt your shoulders downhill to counterbalance. This puts your skis on more edge. And, those skis are not made for very tight carved turns. My 12 meter radius skis are made to turn sharply. There is much more to good carved turns than I've described...here's a mini-lesson http://www.harbskisystems.com/olk1.htm

post #11 of 14
Here's an easy way to look at balance. If the skis weren't there, would you still be standing?
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by epic
Here's an easy way to look at balance. If the skis weren't there, would you still be standing?
That was exactly one of my first questions, so I take it then that at this optimal centered position everyone speaks of is one that can be maintained without skis. I find however that if I do this and try to carve a turn it just wont work, but when i apply lots of forward pressure at the very start of the turn and get the skis carving, I can then assume this position and ride it through the rest of the turn. Is this correct?

Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy
1) You also need to counter balance and counter-face...drop your hips well inside the turn and tilt your shoulders downhill to counterbalance. This puts your skis on more edge.
I dont quite understand what drop your hips well inside the turn means, is it the same as angulating? also a question about angulating, i remember in another post reading something about hip vs waist angulating and the person was saying that the first is preferable. I think that I am doing waist angulating because when I turn I can totally feel little fat rolls on my sides, is this normal?
post #13 of 14
Nobody does it better than Rocca
Here's Katrin Zettel
Darren Rahlevs in GS turns

Yes, you want to compress the ribs on one side. The point about dropping the hips to the inside of the turn is that we do not want to press the knees to the inside of the turn. The knees are not rotary joints and do not want to bend that way. The hips are rotary joints and do bend well that way. As the Rocca pics show, bend the knees without side bending. Drop the hips into the hill, tilt the shoulders down the hill, and pinch the ribs on the inside of the turn. Look at the #6 shot of Rocca and the #3 shot of Zettel.

post #14 of 14
Originally Posted by epic
Here's an easy way to look at balance. If the skis weren't there, would you still be standing?

That is one of the best descriptions I've heard. As is often the case, the simplest answer is the best. It is so damn obvious, wish I had said it first. Hell, I wish I had even thunk of it.: Thanks, I will use it in the future.
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