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I had a lesson recently and although I benefited from other portions of the lesson (and the instructor was wonderful and very fun) I ended up being confused about tip lead. Assuming for this discussion that one is carving turns on moderaterately steep blue or groomed black terrain, can someone explain the technical details (ie., how, when, why) of tip lead as it relates to linking turns?
bmillar,

There have been some very lenghty threads on tip lead. Your inside ski tip will lead the outside ski tip at some point after the turn developes. If you are involving (and balancing over ) the inside ski, the amount of tip lead will be minimal. At turn iniation, the inside ankle flexes toward the outside of the tongue of the boot (left side of the tongue on left turns and right side of the tongue on right turns). To be able to flex into the boot in this manner, the foot has to be more under the skier and it minimzes the amount the tip of that ski will lead the outside ski. If the ankle and boot is not flexed, the ski is not engaged and it tends to move ahead to a usless position which makes it difficult to directionally move into the new turn.

This is a slightly simplified detail, but I think it answeres your question without getting confusing. That will follow as more discussion is posted.

RW
Thanks Ron. I have read some (I hope most) of what has been written here about tip lead, and your post is helpful. I guess I am just a bit slow. I think my technique is correct, as I am told that my hips are in the correct position when I initiate the turn. I am just having a hard time connecting the concept with my actual skiing.

Has anyone illustrated from an overhead position how the skis move in relation to each other. That is, where the tips should ideally be at, for example 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, etc.?
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 Originally Posted by bmillar Has anyone illustrated from an overhead position how the skis move in relation to each other. That is, where the tips should ideally be at, for example 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, etc.?
Might find what you're looking for here:

bmillar,
Is it Bodie??
I am shure someone has illustrated an overhead view, but maybe the best answer is the tip lead might be 1/3 of the length of the boot either way, no more. With the inside used in a disiclipened manner, it is not alowed to wander too far ahead.

RW
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 Originally Posted by Ron White bmillar, Is it Bodie?? RW
SHHHHH!!!! don't tell anyone.

cgeib-- thanks. that's some cool stuff.
bmillar,

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 I am just having a hard time connecting the concept with my actual skiing.
Here's an exercise starting on easy terrain to help you determine where your inside foot should be. After your turn transition, step from foot to foot around the turn with the task being able to leave clean lines in the snow. Your inside foot has to be in the correct relationship with your hips to be able to do it. Next, take it to more difficult terrain. If you are unable to step from foot to foot (equal time on each foot), your inside foot is too far forward and hip too far back. Only work on this exercise on a wide trail with little traffic, it takes a lot of room and takes you across the hill as you step around the turn.
Next, while turning, you should be able to lift your outside ski at any point through the turn and still be able to maintain the turn (thus, involving the inside foot). This should help you connect the concept with your actual skiing.

RW
It is this easy...pull your inside foot back all the time. This will help you maintain correct fore/aft balance. There is no good reason for the inside ski to lead the outside ski.

I was speaking with the ski school director last week about this. He showed me a photo of himself skiing hard and pointed out his parallel shins. Pull your inside foot back and keep pulling it back. Having the inside foot forward on purpose is old, outdated technique.

You do want your inside hip, shoulder, and arm forward. This sounds contradictory, but when all put together, works very well.

Ken

### Tip lead results from proper technique

My advice is ... Do not try to force tip lead. Work on your technique/mechanics. When your technique is refined, the right amount of tip lead will occurr depending on the type of turn, speed, and terrain your skiing.

But we are certainly not doing the Stein Erickson type of skiing anymore.

So work on proper mechanics and balance and tip lead will result.
BMillar--As others have mentioned, we've had some good and detailed discussion about tip lead and related movements here in the past--a good search should pull them up. And you're getting some good advice here as well. It is true that many skiers get too much tip lead, and could benefit from either pushing the outside ski forward or pulling the inside ski back.

But this kind of general advice can be dangerous. SoftSnowGuy--I must take exception to your blanket statement about pulling the inside ski back all the time. It's great advice for anyone who has too much tip lead. But it's lousy advice for those skiers--and there are many--who are too square (too little tip lead).

Some tip lead results inevitably from good basic skiing movements--particularly the rotation of the legs (femurs) in the hip sockets and the "long leg-short leg" phenomenon where the inside or uphill leg is flexed more deeply than the other leg. Trying to eliminate all tip lead would prevent you from making these fundamental and critical movements. So you must give yourself permission to have some tip lead.

How much? That depends on several things--how wide is your basic stance? How tight a turn are you making? How steep is it? How fast are you going? All these factors will affect tip lead.

Think about a car. Does a car have "tip" (inside front wheel) lead? Of course it does! Although the wheels do not move forward and back, a lead change happens when you turn the steering wheel. When you turn the wheels to the right, the right wheel leads, and vice-versa, due to the independent rotation of the wheels on their steering axes. How much lead and lead change there is depends on how far you turn the wheels with the steering wheel, which is determined by how tight a turn you need to make--right? The same is true in skiing, as the legs rotate independently beneath the pelvis.

So it is almost always a mistake to push the inside ski forward, but not allowing any tip lead is equally an error.

Check out the animations in the thread CGeib linked to, and you can see varying degrees of tip lead depending on the situation and the task of the skier.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
Well...If I pull my inside foot back all the time, I'm in balance and skiing very well. If I push my outside foot forward, I'm back on my heels. My ski school director promotes skiing with shins parallel, i.e., very little tip lead. The best skiers in the world ski with very little tip lead...here, here, here, and more.

I don't know who skis too square IF their body is in the correct position. My feeling is that the body position should be independent of the tip lead as I stated above, not tip lead causing body position. Even your animation shows the tip lead to be just an inch or two, no more, just the length of the shovel from the wide spot to the tip, about the same distance as the racers are showing.

Ken
Glad you find it working for you, SSG. If it really does (and it well may), that means that you are one who needs it.

The photographs you linked to are interesting. First, inside tip lead is clearly evident in every single photograph, although it may be somewhat hard to see in those photos where the skiers come directly toward the camera. And second, most of these skiers have rotated their upper bodies significantly into the turn in these photographs--note the inside hands and often shoulders pulled back. This is not an uncommon situational move in racing, but it is not a fundamentally optimal stance in general. And if anything, it tends to reduce inside tip lead as it pulls the outside half of the body forward and squares up the pelvis. So any tip lead here at all is significant!

Be careful about reading too much into any video, photograph or photosequence of one particular turn, even when looking at several racers in the same turn. Many movements of great skiers are situational, not fundamental or generally "correct"--great skiers have tons of skill and break the "rules" freely, whenever needed! If you had images of the whole run, you could easily find photographs of these same skiers in very different positions in other turns--often with much more tip lead.

In any case, clearly some tip lead "happens" in most good turns, as these images show. We MUST give ourselves permission for that, or else we inhibit some critically important movements.

You are right that excessive lead is always a problem--as is excessive anything. I would assume that that goes without saying!

It is worth noting too that "parallel shins" does not necessarily imply anything about tip lead. Nor do many of these skiers exhibit parallel shins in these photographs (Hosp and Schild of the women, and Benni Raich of the men, come closest.)

Understand the things that affect tip lead--leg rotation (varies from turn to turn), differential leg flexing (results from inclination into turns and/or from skiing across the slope), upper body discipline (rotation into the turn tends to square things up; "countering" away from the turn tends to increase lead), stance width (the wider, the more tip lead from the above causes), and fore-aft movements of the feet (ie. pulling the inside foot back or pushing it forward).

With this understanding of the many variables involved, it is as over-simplified to say it should be "a couple inches" (or any other arbitrary description) as to say "the optimal edge angle in turns is 45 degrees." Neither of these would be advice I'd want to implement!

Best regards,
Bob
Quote:
 Originally Posted by bmillar I had a lesson recently and although I benefited from other portions of the lesson (and the instructor was wonderful and very fun) I ended up being confused about tip lead. Assuming for this discussion that one is carving turns on moderaterately steep blue or groomed black terrain, can someone explain the technical details (ie., how, when, why) of tip lead as it relates to linking turns?
i'll approach from a slightly different angle withen the context of the turn you describe.

watch skiers carve turns on the terrain you describe. often you will see a pronounced pushing of the inside foot forward. i once heard burt skall, a psia-rm examiner and ssd at a-basin say, "if the inside foot is sliding forward it isn't tipping".

so........i would suggest you experiment with accurate movements. don't try to create tip lead by pushing a foot forward or eliminate by pulling a foot back. either example can create issues.

if carving is the goal. tip the ski.
Here is a short video I have made of tip lead a few years back:
I teach sliding the inside ski (2 - 3 inches) forward to any student reluctant to cross over their skis. I teach it as an exercise, not as a way to ski.

I teach sliding the inside ski forward to students who are unable to steer their skis to a match after the fall line. It allows them to skid on "like edges"

I teach sliding the inside ski forward to students with difficult alignment issues ie: pronation

I teach sliding the inside ski as an intro to carving, usually out of skating steps.

I teach sliding the inside ski forward to some of my older clients as a relaxing technique to utilize as they begin to tire.

Sliding the inside ski forward as part of a lesson promotes accurate hip placement and an earlier edge change. In short order the skier projects the hip through diagonol extension rather that by advancing the ski.

In my personal skiing, I raise the toes of my inside foot and when necessary, pull back my inside ski.

As instructors we use "tricks" to create sensations, or experiences that the student has yet to feel. We all use something that does not conform to traditional teaching methods. That doesn't make them wrong.

You are right on about leading with the inside half of your body in most situations; consequently, you make the inside ski lead. We pull the inside ski back to firm up the ankle joint (dorsi flex), and to keep our shins in contact with the tongue.

Usually when an instructor refers to parallel shins they are refering to creating complimentary edge angles, or simultaneous movements (both shins tipping at the same time).
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 Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy It is this easy...pull your inside foot back all the time. This will help you maintain correct fore/aft balance. There is no good reason for the inside ski to lead the outside ski. I was speaking with the ski school director last week about this. He showed me a photo of himself skiing hard and pointed out his parallel shins. Pull your inside foot back and keep pulling it back. Having the inside foot forward on purpose is old, outdated technique. You do want your inside hip, shoulder, and arm forward. This sounds contradictory, but when all put together, works very well. Ken
Here we go again. if you are creating high edge angles & your hips are properly staggered you must have inside tip lead and you cannot ski without it. Additiopanly. you cannot create effective high edge angle roperly inclinated skiing without tip lead. Yor tips should be even the top of the turn, but as you progressively increase edge angle your tip lead will progressively increase as well. You also must get your foot out of the way of your outside foot & boot!

Can there be too much inside tip lead, of course. But in high level, high angle inclinated skiing you cannot ski properly without inside tip lead.

whan folks talk about pulling the inside footback, it is more of a tension applied to the inside ski when rolled to the little toe side..
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