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Versatility in movement patterns

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
In the very popular thread "video of PMTS student", there was a sideline about having a variety of movement patterns that i found interesting.

I must admit that I have tended to err on the side of simplicity... if there's one set of movements that allow the skier to get the desired result in the largest variety of terrain, turns and snow conditions, then go with it. I've spent a lot of time teaching what i think is the most versatile of movement patterns in natural snow, which is similiar to PMTS and what Eric D, myself and others teach with All Mountain Ski Pros.

That said, I still believe in having more options and that really came home to roost for me monday and tuesday. after skiing hard in new snow, thursday, friday, saturday(just a backcountry run) and sunday,
i went into the amazing pow day on monday a little sore. the snow was amazing as many here know, ranking top 10 in my life, and i needed to ski hard. after realizing my lactic acid was winning, i made a technique transition to a very tall, almost leisurely cross over move from my "go to" retraction/relaxion release. that tall diagaonal move was such a savior and provided many smiles that day. so, once again, i say, skiing is play and there isn't a right or wrong. there are sensations and having more in your bag of tricks isn't a bad thing.

Anyway, just a definite moment where versatility proved key. I skied until 4pm, which i havn't done very often recently. i usually ski 9 to noon unless i'm getting paid, and skiing until 4 in pow, verstatililty was needed. Then tuesday came, and it was amazing again, and i was on my short skiinnier skis, so I needed another way to make it work. i found myself mixing up movement patterns and turn shapes sometimes every few turns to make things feel good...

So, is it great that you can use one set of movement patterns to ski a huge variety of terrain and conditions... YES. does it mean you should forget about any other variations.... i think, No.

cheers,
holiday
post #2 of 19
This makes a good deal of sense. Your adapted your style because you were tired. That adaptation was based on the same movement principles as your normal skiing. One of the nice things about boarding is because it's relatively new and relatively free, people experiment and do what works for them. By contrast, skiers seem to be looking for "the" answer (myself included). However, that may be because more skiers are struggling to become competent than boarders. That may be because there may not be as many struggling boarders as there are skiers because the learning curve in boarding can be really painful and lot of people understandably quit boarding early on. The only ones who stick with it either get it quickly or are young enough to survive the pain while they "get it." I mean, I'm a decent boarder, still have a hand in race coaching, but I took one hell of a fall crossing a long flat the other day while I mistakenly looked up to admire the beautiful snow and trees. Caught a heelside edge and the painful body slam made me wonder if I should be boarding, you know. One of my racers told me to stick with it. Nice to have friends in the sport, which may be the most important thing....
post #3 of 19
It sounds like you and I live in parallel universes, Holiday. I skied hard the past three days in powder (12"), deep powder (30"+) and deep consolidated powder. Today I pretty much started out exhausted so I had to find the least energetic way possible to ski with the same companions on the same type of terrain as we had been skiing all week and in tougher conditions because the snow had set up a bit and each hour became a bit more set. My movement cue was to 1) tip both skis to the same approximate angle and 2) relax and let the skis do the work. I'm sure glad I have skis with a good work ethic!

Back to your topic, I think that there is such a thing as "skiing fundamentals" that all ski instructional programs worth their admission price espouse and teach and once these have been learned a skier should be encouraged to experiment and improvise and grow and not allow technique to become fossilized. I love how Weems says he reinvents his skiing every year--which is not a statement to be taken literally. but more in the sense of consciously challenging all of his precepts about skiing every season, which refreshes his passion for the sport and the profession of it. If there's only one way to ski, then where's the sport?
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiday View Post
after realizing my lactic acid was winning, i made a technique transition to a very tall, almost leisurely cross over move from my "go to" retraction/relaxion release. that tall diagaonal move was such a savior and provided many smiles that day. so, once again, i say, skiing is play and there isn't a right or wrong. there are sensations and having more in your bag of tricks isn't a bad thing.
Holiday,

I don't doubt that was an awsome time. I have to say though, that being tired will eventually win. You won't retract and activley flex, you'll just kind of stop flexing and go up/over to the new turn. I don't think you have to learn this movement pattern. Its just there, isn't it? I mean I know this move, precisely because I'm a lazy SOB, and don't want to give the effort to "ski right" all the time. I don't call that reaching into my "bag of tricks", I just call that gettin' lazy.....

It's fun!

EDIT": BTW, I'm betting that with your solid foundations, even when you get lazy, and ski easy, you still don't find the back seat. Cheers!
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
glad to hear your enjoying some great snow, too, Nolo... as usual, i appreciate you perceptions. Weems reminds me of an old ski school director i worked with for many years, every year, he liked to play with different ideas and ways to create sensations he enjoyed on the snow. in some ways recreating his skiing, but really just mixing the blends. kinda like a good bartender .

Big E, i can't say that a dynamic diagonal move across the skis is innate in skiers. maybe you've seen some, but i'd have to say getting in the back seat, leaning inside and defensively straightening the downhill leg is more of a reaction.

Also, i find that many skiers (even good skiers) don't ever find a real long tall place in their range of motion. it takes belief in your ankles, feet and balance. many skiers i work with up to about level 8 have a very limited range of motion and if they find the full range, everything gets easier...

that said, i understand where you're coming from. we all have our lazy turn, the question is will it work in the conditions your skiing and still allow you to ski the terrain and conditions presented.
post #6 of 19
For me it becomes as much about changing movement patterns and the range my movements are using rather than reducing movements. Sometimes this takes a very focused will to overcome the tension that comes with fatigue. Something I have come accustomed to with my teaching schedule, which has me finishing the last three days of my work week with hiking classes at 2:00. February was particularly tiring because of the great snow we have had.

Quote:
i can't say that a dynamic diagonal move across the skis is innate in skiers.
I totally agree with this. My experience also bears out your observations in that back and lateral into the hill is where most exhausted folks tend to go. This really shows up in hiking classes where many will expend to much of their energy just getting to the top of the hike and the ride down becomes one of tired recovery's from turn to turn. The first time of the season is the real killer.

Quote:
i find that many skiers (even good skiers) don't ever find a real long tall place in their range motion
I agree with this too. Forgetting about boot alignment for the moment, my own take on this (as yours) is because the taller we get the more we rely on the ankle for our balance down through the bottom of the foot, and less on the support of the boot cuff to leverage against.

We had a small debate in our clinicians clinic about efficiency of the cross over versus cross under (or through). My own take on this is that simply identifying whether the Com movement is up or not should not be the only criteria. The ability to support the com with our structure versus muscle effort, and the duration of the muscle effort required to maintain constant Com tracking in the vertical plane need to considered.

Other things to be considered are the ranges in which our muscles work most efficiently based on the leverage they have. This will vary from person to person as will how effectively they can incorporate this into their technique.

For me more continuous sustained movement usually equates to less fatigue, and simply changing the range of movement I am using will often allow my body to sustain effective technique. there are certainly times when BigE's Lazy turns are all I have left. Sometimes you just "git er done" with whatever you have left that is working for you.
post #7 of 19
I'm a bit jealous of you folks if you can really switch to a more "stacked" stance and movement patterns with reduced range (and muscular activity) at will when you are tired. BTW, as I talk of this I am almost exclusively thinking of off-piste skiing.

It is only in the last couple of seasons that I have started to get a glimpse of what you are talking about. My "progression" when I am still trying to convince myself the the most efficient movement pattern is my basic "ideal" pattern of flexion/retraction and tipping and I am really too fatigued to do so is: Make a few solid turns, get back for a few turns with the quads starting to feel it, stand taller and more forward and make bigger turns with more stacked riding of the edged ski (as I think Nolo described well). The biggest advance I've made is that I am now getting to the 3rd stage listed, at times, without having to ride out a final, nearly lost turn in the back seat to a stop or near stop before regrouping.

However, I still find myself a bit limited in this respect. This tends only to work on moderate slopes let's say 25 degrees plus or minus a few. When I get into steeper terrain with narrow chutes or crux's of some sort it is much less frequent that I can find a reasonably balance stance that is efficient enough for the fatigued state.

This is something I'm really working on (in the non-fatigued state as well) where I am trying to use shorter radius, pedal and pedal hop turns, instead of trying to just retract and tip which often results in picking up enough speed through the fall line that I tend to lean back, put the breaks on, and not be able to make the next required short turn. Of course this happens to a much greater extent as the fatigue level increases. I do find it a bit counter-intuitive that a pedal or pedal-hop turn (which I don't even execute all that well) seems to take less effort than the stance and movements that are required to connect short turns using simple retraction and tipping in steeper, narrow, crux filled terrain. I suspect it is the interaction of fatigue and the perceived need to control speed that makes this so.
post #8 of 19
It isn't easy is it? staying tall and still getting your skis to come around in a ski to two ski length is no small feat. I have been trying to force myself to be taller in these situations and letting the calves do the work normally reserved for the quads. But this requires that I extend much more out and away from the hill to allow the steering to be started on light skis when my legs are still quite long. Those tight steeps are a real challenge for anyone. Bridger has many of "transition areas" that require the mind set of a billy goat. It is a practice in versatility and humility.

Scott Schmidt learned the schmear turn here at bridger, as the story goes, to deal with the speed generated by straight lining tight spots. I find myself using these after straight lining a short, tight, steep section, or maybe because of I just didn't control my speed enough.

Like I said earlier, some fatigue seems to be a part my world these days, but I know I'm doing okay when those half my age have the same complaints, and I see my students sucking way more air than I am.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB View Post
Like I said earlier, some fatigue seems to be a part my world these days, but I know I'm doing okay when those half my age have the same complaints, and I see my students sucking way more air than I am.
Well Rick, I am probably not close to your league BUT I certainly am not half your age (I think I'm older than you) and to boot I've got a couple of hip replacements. Finally, I can always try and use the excuse of altitude accommodation (although no one I ski with seems to ever want to give me anything for that). So you definitely can NOT take away that feeling from my comments.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Si View Post
Well Rick, I am probably not close to your league BUT I certainly am not half your age (I think I'm older than you) and to boot I've got a couple of hip replacements. Finally, I can always try and use the excuse of altitude accommodation (although no one I ski with seems to ever want to give me anything for that). So you definitely can NOT take away that feeling from my comments.
Hope I didn't leave that impression. There is something to be said for the efficiency you develope as you get older isn't there? Hopping boulders with double hip replacements? SI, you rock!
post #11 of 19
So true about increasing the dynamic range of movements. Kind of like skiing the slow line fast. When condtions become taxing on your technoque then the mental issues come into play,yes. Overcoming that fear or reservations in your movement patterns only inhibits your true potential.
post #12 of 19
Ric,

Don't get the wrong impression. The snow was so plentiful this past week you could hop off the boulders without any worry about making the landing (the goal most of the time). There weren't many consequenses to be had.

BTW, I'm still searching for that efficiency you find when you get older as I didn't really start skiing until 40.
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for picking this idea up and running with it RicB, It sounds like we're playing with a similar idea and i really enjoyed how you expressed it.

Si, regarding your comment
"I do find it a bit counter-intuitive that a pedal or pedal-hop turn (which I don't even execute all that well) seems to take less effort than the stance and movements that are required to connect short turns using simple retraction and tipping in steeper, narrow, crux filled terrain"
my quick take on this (and it ties into the idea on teh 25 degree terrain as well is that with the pedal turna nd pedal hop, you are off your skis for a little while. I believe in pmts verbage, you aren't carving or shaping the high C, but floating through it. because of that, your legs are getting a rest. it of course doesn't work as well in bumps, where ski snow contact and early shaping are key, but in steeps and crud, it can be life saver. in the longer tall turn i started this thread with, similar instances apply, you can float through the top of the turn with very little weight on the skis and therefore, the legs, so rest...
gotta run.

cheers,
holiday
post #14 of 19
Isn't it just less effort to skid, providing you are well balanced, than it is to set and maintain the edge using pressure control skills?
post #15 of 19
OK Holiday, after a great dinner (my girlfriend and I made) and a very nice bottle of wine, I am finally thinking straight (I think that's what it takes at my age). In addition to the short relaxation period you talked about, what I would guess is happening is that in going from flexion/retraction/cross under (my primary attempted approach) to pedal or pedal hop/cross over, it's NOW clear to me that I switch from a lot of leg flexion with some extension to primarily leg extensors BOTH for initiation and completion of a turn. Obviously if you've skied most of the day trying to mostly use flexion/retraction you've still got extensors left. I am guessing that if I went the other way I could use flexion/retraction at the end of the day after having mostly used extensors for the bulk of it. However, I doubt most people who have an idea about how to use both would ever go that direction.
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm just finishing off a glass of wine myself...

big E, i'm not usually disagreeable, and the point of this thread is versatility, so skidding is always an option.
that said, i don't thing skidding takes less energy, but more. espacially trying to skid in 2 feet of tracked out pow, which is the condition i started this thread with. is just sideslipping a groomed slope less tiring then skiing it with mroe edge engagement? I think not. I don't think you do either, maybe you are just the chosen devils advocate for this topic i chose?

Cheers,
holiday
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
Isn't it just less effort to skid, providing you are well balanced, than it is to set and maintain the edge using pressure control skills?
I don't know BigE. Anytime I am standing over a ski I am using pressure control. The difference in a skidding ski is that I am directing my pressure less to the edge and more to the base. Also as I reduce the amount of edge I must put in more energy in steering to effect turn shape. On the other hand on open groomers you might be right. Ambassador turns come to mind here, but these are certainly performed at the exspense of versatility.

I guess for me a tall stance uses less muscle to maintain position, but that over the long haul, more movement will equate to less energy and increased versatility because for half the time we are reducing our effort, and using gravity and the forces generated. I present this to my students by asking do you want to do isometric exercises all day long or do you want to have continual movement?

For me though, the whole notion that is so popular these days that maintaining our CoM a set distance from the surface is more efficient from a muscular effort standpoint is suspect. Gravity is not the only force we have to deal with. Alot of this will depend on our own personal morphology though.

Understanding how our muscles work and are put together along with the muscles response to loading will shed some light on this. Over a period of time they adapt and structure themselves to the range of motion we use and to the type of contraction we ask of them. As they say in pilates, the movements we want out of our bodies are the movements we need to put into our bodies.

Bottom line for me is that the easiest way to combat fatigue is to change tactics. Change my turn shape, change my movement patterns and range of motion, and be more conciously precise to increase my effectiveness. Slowing down helps too. Big lazy skidded turns only work in certain conditions.
post #18 of 19
In combating too much pow-pow syndrome fatigue I have come to rely on skills I learned in Lamaze class--disciplined relaxation, you might call it, or how to get that one glass of wine feeling when you are in the middle of a turn. Seriously, how much of fatigue is simply lack of oxygen?
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiday View Post
I'm just finishing off a glass of wine myself...

big E, i'm not usually disagreeable, and the point of this thread is versatility, so skidding is always an option.
that said, i don't thing skidding takes less energy, but more. espacially trying to skid in 2 feet of tracked out pow, which is the condition i started this thread with. is just sideslipping a groomed slope less tiring then skiing it with mroe edge engagement? I think not. I don't think you do either, maybe you are just the chosen devils advocate for this topic i chose?

Cheers,
holiday
For sure, 2 feet of tracked out is a different story than the "snow" we're exposed to here. We almost never see boot-top powder, more often it's just edge-top pow.

I'm not entirely being devils advocate here, let me explain.

There is a huge benefit to allowing a skid or drift on the entry to the turn, in certain conditions. What I mean is instead of always trying to manage complete round turns, let yourself drift a little at the top, while in balance. It's ok, if the cut-up is not heavy or sloppy. It gives you the benefit that the cut-up is not playing havoc with your edges and your balance, as you resist the cut-up trying to change the direction of the skis. That struggle to balance and keep the skis running in the direction you're pointing them can be quite difficult and tiring! Especially if your pushing your feet fore and aft to anticipate the changes of friction in the cut up.

Yes, RicB, it's sort of like the ambassador turn, but with more pressue post fall-line. Just as Cannonball said in his short turns, "I think balance, then pressure" we can change the DIRT (in particular the rate -- think slow and lazy ) of blending the skills and still come out still thinking "balance then pressure". You'll create a longer, non-C shaped turn. It's all about being lazy and not creating that edge-set at the top of the turn that the cut up wants to play with.

There is no need to always be showing your bases to the top of the hill. At this lower pressure point in the turn, orienting your skis so that their edges don't want to auto-steer for you in the cut-up snow will make skiing lighter cut-up snow a lot easier.

And aren't we supposed to make skiing easier?
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