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Uphill Ski Lead

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
g'day all.

I had a private lesson on the second last day of my last ski trip with a lovely European young woman instructor did well to modify my old school feet locked together technique to feet, knees, hips equal distance. She was so young she had never seen anyone ski well that way. What intrigues me is that she had me NOT leading with the uphill ski.

I nailed this after a couple of hours practice and have been looking forward to getting back on a hill ever since but have been wondering if the no lead with uphill ski was just an excercise to get more weight on this ski for the changeover or weather I should always now ski this way.

Hope this makes some sense and that someone will enlighten me.

Thanks
post #2 of 45
A little pull back does help keep some pressure on the inside ski, However; having some counter is neccessary to good angulation so I would temper the concept with moderation. Perhaps pulling it back enough to have a little "functional tension" is sufficient. To delve into this more you may want to look into Harold Harb's philosophies and teachings where this is one of the movements his system emphasizes.

b
post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 

Thanks

thanks Bob, I will do a bit of research into this area.

Geoff
post #4 of 45
Thread Starter 

Wow

this Harold Harb makes sense, thanks for the intro!
post #5 of 45
geoff, there was a thread here two years ago where Atomicman wrote to Ron LeMasters to get an explanation about tip lead. The answer by Lemasters is still one of the best I have seen (LINK TO THREAD):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
Hi Ron,
My name is Cliff. I have two teenage racers a J1 & a J2 boys who have experienced a fair amount of success racing. Our home Mt. is Crystal Mountain, WA & obviously ski fro PNSA. Their coach is Alan Lauba. You probably already know our program is where, Scott McCartney, Libby Ludlow, Tatum Skoglund and last years Collegiate slalom champ Paul McDonald all were trained.
I belong to a ski forum called epicski.com. I have been having an ongoing discussion about the need to pull your inside foot back in order to keep your skis parallel through out the turn. I have really stirred the bee's nest with this as many of the participants on the forum are skeptical of this technique.
I looekd through your "On Snow" 2004 Presentation and you have a slide under Teaching Methodology where you mention pulling the inside foot back. Of course, without you speaking with the slide, these bullet points are left open for interpretation.
Could you shed some light on lead change, parallel shins and skis and pulling the inside footback in the turn. I might use your response on the forum to support my position that pulling the inside foot back is an important part of modern technique.
Look forward to hearing from you and I thought your site is fabulous!
Best Wishes,
Cliff Weiss

Ron’s Response, Unedited!

Cliff,
Pulling the inside foot back and lead change are often though of as contradictory, but I don't see it that way at all. In the 1960s and 70s I used to hear instructors talk about deliberately advancing the new inside ski as you went into a turn, and called it "lead change". Today, you don't hear people talk about actively advancing the ski, but it is clear that when a skier is deeply inclined into a turn, the inside ski must be ahead of the outside ski. This is simply a matter of geometry: If the inside and outside ankles are bent to the same degree, the inside foot will be ahead of the outside foot because the inside leg will be bent more than the outside leg. I had an article in Ski Racing last spring describing this along with pictures that I believe show it pretty clearly.

Even if you pull your inside foot back, you can't bring it even with your outside foot. (Unless, that is, you're not inclined very far, which means you're not making much of a turn.) So there is, indeed a "lead change" when you go from one turn to another.

That having been said, some very good coaches report having a lot of success with telling racers to pull their inside foot back so there is no lead change. What this does, I believe, is gets the skier to keep pressure on the front of the inside boot, which in turn puts pressure on the forebody of the inside ski, helping it carve better. The skier may *feel* like the tips of his skis are even, but they aren't.

So, "pulling the inside foot back" is an effective coaching method for some racers, but it is not contradictory to saying that there is a "lead change" going from one turn to another.

The notions of "parallel shins" and "parallel skis" are somewhat similar. There is no questions that we see less of an angle between the lower legs of the best skiers of today than we saw twenty years ago, and that we see lest converging and diverging angles between their skis at certain points in the turn. I think this is due to better skis, which allow for using the inside to carve at times, and perhaps a general use of more lateral canting in ski boots. (The second point is purely unconfirmed conjecture on my part.) As with pulling the inside foot back, telling skiers to keep their shins parallel seems to have a generally positive effect on their skiing. I've got several ideas as to what is really going on, but won't get into it here. But there are plenty of excellent skiers, Bode Miller for example, whose shins are often not parallel at critical points in the turn where he is carving the hardest.

I hope this was not too long-winded or hard to understand.

Regards, Ron
I think the idea that your instructor was advocating you actually pull the inside ski back behind the outside ski was illusory. The sense of retracting the leg can make for a more powerfully engaged edge and better balance in carving a turn, but the objective is not to create a Telemark turn. In the next post of that thread Snowdog says:
Quote:
Ron points out well the conflict between promoted ideals and the on-snow realities of tip lead and parallel shins. Instructional prompts to pull the inside foot back are not designed to eliminate tip lead, they're meant to eliminate the poor body and balance positions that result from excessive tip lead.
This really gets to the crux of what your instructor was doing. Unfortunately it seems it wasn't completely explained, and the ability of an instructor to communicate the goal is often a problem. I hope this helps, and may even start some new dialogue.
post #6 of 45

To pull or not to pull

I have a simple thought. Different ideas certainly work for certain people. Pull the foot back, has never really worked for me. When I do that I feel as if I'm blocking my desired motion, which is to go forward (not backward), and usually travel along an arc.

I usually share an idea that I started playing with around 1994. I raise my forefoot, specifically the big toe and its neighbor or the inside half, up, then in direction of my turn. This creates dorsiflexion with that ankle, it also starts a "kinetic chain" of movements which flexes joints in the leg and brings the foot 'under' the hips.

So, instead of pulling it back with the hamstrings and stabalizing movements with the quads. The movement I have described with the foot offers a more supple and accurate way of accomplishing this goal. It also allows the bigger muscles in the leg to flex and extend with less effort.

I find it also allows the skier to focus on moving through in the turn, rather than getting to "internally focused" and less able to anticipate upcoming terrain and situations.

all the best,
Jon L.
www.mysnowpro.com/jonathanlawson
post #7 of 45
I simply always make sure my down hill, or outside of the turn, knee is behind the other. I never even think about where my skis are unless I'm in tight trees.
post #8 of 45
breckview: I simply always make sure my down hill, or outside of the turn, knee is behind the other.

Have you ever given a thought as to why you would do that with modern shaped skis? What purpose does it serve?
post #9 of 45
Xcellent snowpro. Another movement I focus on is looking/moving across/down the hill which seems to keep that inside foot underneath me were I can use it in a balanced/powerful early edge engagment.
post #10 of 45
Last season I played with drawing the foot back. I was pleased with the results.
What works for me is feeling or pressure, not displacement. That is, the effort is made to draw back the leading ski, but other influences, such as my geometry and the nature of skiing, pretty much prevent the skis from ever coming together. Pressure not displacement. The effort does assure that the lead never gets exessive or enven sloppy.

Works for me!

CalG
post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB View Post
Have you ever given a thought as to why you would do that with modern shaped skis?
Never really cared about how "modern shaped skis" react or "should be" skied. I can't remember if I skied differently on straights. It's been a while.

Quote:
What purpose does it serve?
It's a very simple way to stay out of the backseat and be able to react very quickly in moguls or trees. It also a safe way to make sure you keep a really firm edge in extremely steep exposed terrain.
post #12 of 45
Here is a video on the topic of tip lead from 2003:

http://media.putfile.com/Tiplead

A little pull back will not hurt but you cannot eliminate tip lead on high level skiing.
post #13 of 45
My thought on tip lead is it occurs, as Ron said, but it should not be made to occur.

I prefer to think about flexing what's going to be my inside ankle during the edge change rather than "pulling it back" a bit later. If I focus on the flexing at edge change, the foot never advances enough for me to lose contact between that shin and the boot cuff.

The big problem with a substantial tip lead is that your center of mass is then behind the center of that ski, so when you begin the next turn, you're too far back in relation to that foot and have to make a big movement to get ahead again.
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
My thought on tip lead is it occurs, as Ron said, but it should not be made to occur.

I prefer to think about flexing what's going to be my inside ankle during the edge change rather than "pulling it back" a bit later. If I focus on the flexing at edge change, the foot never advances enough for me to lose contact between that shin and the boot cuff.

The big problem with a substantial tip lead is that your center of mass is then behind the center of that ski, so when you begin the next turn, you're too far back in relation to that foot and have to make a big movement to get ahead again.
The thing is that you dont have to pull back your old outside ski and push the new inside ski forward. That happens naturally all by itself due to human anatomy, modern gear and level of inclination. As your hipps pass over your skis (or your skis pass under your hipps) your tips are even.
post #15 of 45
I see this move in the same light that I see rotation of the skis during a turn. If you are to get the most speed out of your skis (a pet hobby of mine for a few decades) then you "help" the move along a little bit, not to the point where you are forcing the skis to make the move, but just enough so that you don't resist the motion of the skis.

Pulling back a ski is imho a "trick" that forces some weight onto the tip to make help engage. Some people cannot get forward on a ski, but for some reason they can get the ski back under them. Strange but true:.
post #16 of 45
Here's a concept that might help explain why too much tip lead is unwanted.
Think of a time line. If you are balancing over both skis, the skis, hips, and core are working together in the present(same time). If you push the inside ski forward it is now in the future and everything on that side of the body is in the past (relative to the ski). So they cannot work together as well.
The slope will cause tip lead even if we are pulling back the inside foot, so in general it is a good way to keep tip lead to a minimum.
post #17 of 45
How about this for a consept: inclination causes tip lead and there is nothing you can do about it in the light of past to present downhill skiing.

The closest we have ever come to no tip lead is monoski. I suggest you take at Batman and deside for yourselfe:

http://www.eurosport.fr/watts/mc_vid24115.shtml
post #18 of 45

Tip Lead: cause or effect

I think what may be missing is a distinction regarding _why_ the tip has the lead in the first place:
to my way of thinking a small amount due to geometry is fine. this is (in my opionion) the equal shins / 5 sames type of skiing. (the straightline distance from inside ankle to inside ankle is largely constant, as our the width of the ski tracks)

what i see quite often is a tip lead due to a sequential movement into the turn. for concreteness, imagine a skier moving to their left, and on the downlill edges of both skis. MANY skiers will then drive their right foot forward (into the future as another poster said). In my opionion they do this to help start the turn back across the hill to the right. if you ski behind these skiers, you see the tails converge, while in front the tips diverge. this makes the inside ski easier to turn: the diverging tips tell you that the skier has turned that ski (inside, right foot) more than the other ski.

it (in my opinion) also makes it easier to move the CM inside the path of the skis as the skiers passes the fall line - ie when both skis are directly down the slope.

At this point the skier is now moving to the right, but their right ski is "ahead" of their left. A (active) move to pull it back would bring the feet more under the hips whille no move means they now need to make a larger move to get the CM inside and downhill of the skis once the pass "neutral" (ie the point at which they go from uphill edges to downlill edges)

so, while i wont argue the lead change due to geometry, i dont think pushing one ski ahead and then pulling it back makes for good recreational skiing. (the fact that racers do this tells me they have different goals)

now, if it wanst 55 degrees in lower michigan i might get some skiing in
brad
post #19 of 45
Become a supporter and check out the supporter discussion on gait mechanics for some more good info on the lead change of the feet.
post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
How about this for a consept: inclination causes tip lead and there is nothing you can do about it in the light of past to present downhill skiing.

So does this mean I am inclined when I am standing across the fall line in a 45 degree chute? cause I definitely have a lead ski!
post #21 of 45
I'd be interested to see what the waist steering crew has to say about this...
post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
So does this mean I am inclined when I am standing across the fall line in a 45 degree chute? cause I definitely have a lead ski!

Um, surely the answer is yes you are inclined - at 45 degrees!
post #23 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by docbrad66 View Post
what i see quite often is a tip lead due to a sequential movement into the turn. for concreteness, imagine a skier moving to their left, and on the downlill edges of both skis. MANY skiers will then drive their right foot forward (into the future as another poster said). In my opionion they do this to help start the turn back across the hill to the right. if you ski behind these skiers, you see the tails converge, while in front the tips diverge. this makes the inside ski easier to turn: the diverging tips tell you that the skier has turned that ski (inside, right foot) more than the other ski.

brad
As often as not, what I see here in advanced midwest skiers is upper body rotation into the turn that causes the inside ski to diverge and tip lead to increase. The inside ski divergence goes all the way to the shoulders.

That would be my nemesis when I feel some divergence.
post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
So does this mean I am inclined when I am standing across the fall line in a 45 degree chute? cause I definitely have a lead ski!
Yes, you are inclined in reference to the hill and your upphill ski will have a tip lead.
post #25 of 45

Pulling it back

We've got to remember that the concept of pulling the foot back may be necessary for some and not for others. When it is necessary, in my opinion, is when it leads to excessive counter and a stance that is not functional or powerful.

Depending on whether people are thinkers, feelers, or doers, I offer these three things that might help keep the feet more properly aligned:
  • As mentioned above, think about pulling the big toe toward the top of the boot and closing the ankle. The geeks call this dorsiflection.
  • Think about riding a bike with clipless peddles. When you do that on the upstroke you pull your ankle up (close it) and then open it up. Do a few short turns with this in mind and it will help your stance considerably.
  • Just think about pulling your foot back and do it.
I did this in a DCL clinic last year with a dozen people. I asked them which of the prompts they preferred when after they had played around with all three and 7 said pulling the toe up worked best, 3 liked the bike metaphor and 2 the "just do it".

Hopefully, one of these will work for you. Try them out.
post #26 of 45
Hmmm, I guess my understanding of inclination is not the same as some?

So, is a tree not inclined when it grows on a flat field, but inclined when it grows on a hill side?

b
post #27 of 45
Sorta you are inclined. Yea, inclined relative to the slope, but we don't normally think of that in skiing as inclination. We normally think of inclination is being towards the center of a turn and the inclination is more like relative to gravity... But that being said, if you stand sideways on a steep slope you can "mimic" the inclinated body position which you would find yourself in if you were making a big edge angle turn (and truly inclinated). When you stand sideways on a steep hill your downhill leg will be extended and your uphill leg will be flexed(vertical separation) and your upper body will not be standing 90 degrees out from the slope, but your uphill shoulder will be closer to the snow, in the same more or less position as if you were in that high G turn and inclinated. However the effects of centripital force are not equal, so some aspects related to angulation and counter which normally would need to be present in a turn would not be present in this example.

Regarding tip lead, I think people get way too obsessed over this. If you are countering in your turns, you're going to have some inside tip lead. Big deal. The reason for pulling back the inside foot is to keep from falling in the back seat when you transition your weight onto that ski for the next turn. IMHO, if a skier has too much tip lead..which definitely can happen, its symptomatic of any one of a number of other problems and it should not be solved by telling the skier to pull that foot back. Even boot fit issues can cause things like this. Too much counter, ok. But some tip lead is going to happen.

Maybe someone can explain exactly what is wrong with tip lead? It works for telemarkers, why not us? How exactly does tip lead in and of itself hurt you? IMHO, people obsess over it because it is symptomatic of other issues which need to be fixed. The correct fix is to find and fix those issues, not try to hide it by keeping the tips even.
post #28 of 45
Tip lead, as I understand it, is a natural occurance to equalize ankle bend created by the relationship between the angle of slope to the angle of our legs. This could be caused by the slope pitch, or by inclination created from balancing against turning forces, or a combination of the two.

Inclination in my mind is a deviation from perpendicular to gravity or plumb. So when I am standing still on the side of a slope I am NOT inclined the slope is. If the slope is pitched 25 degrees and I am in a phase of a turn where I am perpendicular to the slope pitch then I am inclined.

b
post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
Tip lead, as I understand it, is a natural occurance to equalize ankle bend created by the relationship between the angle of slope to the angle of our legs. This could be caused by the slope pitch, or by inclination created from balancing against turning forces, or a combination of the two.

Inclination in my mind is a deviation from perpendicular to gravity or plumb. So when I am standing still on the side of a slope I am NOT inclined the slope is. If the slope is pitched 25 degrees and I am in a phase of a turn where I am perpendicular to the slope pitch then I am inclined.

b
If the slope is pitched 25 degrees and I am in a phase of a turn where I am perpendicular to the slope pitch then I am not inclined (in reference to the slope) and therefore there will be no tip lead.

The tree grows inclined on a hill. If it was leaning 25degrees on flat soil then it would be banked .

Check out my video on tip lead in post # 12.
post #30 of 45

Excellent post

Quote:
Originally Posted by borntoski683 View Post
Sorta you are inclined. Yea, inclined relative to the slope, but we don't normally think of that in skiing as inclination. We normally think of inclination is being towards the center of a turn and the inclination is more like relative to gravity... But that being said, if you stand sideways on a steep slope you can "mimic" the inclinated body position which you would find yourself in if you were making a big edge angle turn (and truly inclinated). When you stand sideways on a steep hill your downhill leg will be extended and your uphill leg will be flexed(vertical separation) and your upper body will not be standing 90 degrees out from the slope, but your uphill shoulder will be closer to the snow, in the same more or less position as if you were in that high G turn and inclinated. However the effects of centripital force are not equal, so some aspects related to angulation and counter which normally would need to be present in a turn would not be present in this example.

Regarding tip lead, I think people get way too obsessed over this. If you are countering in your turns, you're going to have some inside tip lead. Big deal. The reason for pulling back the inside foot is to keep from falling in the back seat when you transition your weight onto that ski for the next turn. IMHO, if a skier has too much tip lead..which definitely can happen, its symptomatic of any one of a number of other problems and it should not be solved by telling the skier to pull that foot back. Even boot fit issues can cause things like this. Too much counter, ok. But some tip lead is going to happen.

Maybe someone can explain exactly what is wrong with tip lead? It works for telemarkers, why not us? How exactly does tip lead in and of itself hurt you? IMHO, people obsess over it because it is symptomatic of other issues which need to be fixed. The correct fix is to find and fix those issues, not try to hide it by keeping the tips even.
Q: Maybe someone can explain exactly what is wrong with tip lead?
A: Its a fashion phraise that makes you look like a GOD standing in front of ten 8year old jr racers
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