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Countersteering 101

post #1 of 135
Thread Starter 
A spinn off from the "steering" thread.... take a look at this video:



Are there any countersteering movements in skiing?
post #2 of 135
Yes.
post #3 of 135
To decide, we have to figure out what we use for handle bars. In other words, on a bike/cycle a simple turn of the handle bars sends the bike off in a direction that disrupts balance and sends the rider tipping the opposite direction. What mechanism can be used in skiing?

Talk amoungst yourselves.
post #4 of 135
Typical cross-under move into a sharp turn in the other direction.
post #5 of 135


This is not a discussion about skiing...it is about motorcycles or bicycles.

A few key things to understand...countersteering as showin the video is about using momentum to assist you getting somthing very heavy and very stable to just lean a long way over.

This does not apply to skiing.

Reason 1: Skis/bindings, boots, and Poles and not that heavy....probably about 1/100 of a typical motor bike.

Reason 2 (and most important): Skiers dont have 2 giant wheels spinning at full tilt, acting as gyroscopes...or stabilisers to overcome.


Hence skiers can simply lean in....just like a runner.


Where is Physics Man when you need him?
post #6 of 135
Nice video find Tdk6.

Yes, we can do a version of 'counter-steering' when skiing. We also do a lot of 'over-steering' in order to abandon the old turn.

A while back this all came up in a thread on "Movement During A Turn". In that thread I was a proponent of the idea and suggested an experiment to demonstrate it: here. Running into some contrary headwinds I got more elaborate in my descriptions here and finally tried my hand at some descriptive graphics here.

With Over-Steering I think we can easily bypass the need for either ILE or OLR.

The idea here is simply to make no change to our current state of Lateral Balance while suddenly angulating a little bit more. what happens is that our skis (being tipped just a bit more) are now on a tighter radius than our current state of Lateral Balance can accommodate - and we start to fall to the outside of the old turn. This initiates crossover.

In effect, we've 'Turned more Left in order to go Right'. Over-Steering is the same concept as Counter-Steering, slightly re-applied.

I think I should add that most skiers probably never consider this because we have both ILE and OLR at our disposal when we have two feet on the snow. If skiing on only one ski, we may now need counter-steering or over-steering to effect a turn - just as with a bike.

.ma
post #7 of 135
Thread Starter 

Great work Ghost!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
Typical cross-under move into a sharp turn in the other direction.
Ghost, this is the exact kind of open mind out of the box input Im looking for . You are perfectly right that when the skis cross under our body lets say left it offsets our CoM in the opposite right direction. The result is tipping and by bringing the skis arround we regain balance as centrifugal forces kick in turing right. However, this is nothing new and probably does not qualify as "countersteering" as a stand alone movement but if we start the whole move with a small "pre turn", a quick "edge jabb" in the opposite direction? Dont you think that would qualify as "countersteering"? I see near perfect similarity.
post #8 of 135
Thread Starter 

Nice work!

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post
Nice video find Tdk6.

Yes, we can do a version of 'counter-steering' when skiing. We also do a lot of 'over-steering' in order to abandon the old turn.

A while back this all came up in a thread on "Movement During A Turn". In that thread I was a proponent of the idea and suggested an experiment to demonstrate it: here. Running into some contrary headwinds I got more elaborate in my descriptions here and finally tried my hand at some descriptive graphics here.

With Over-Steering I think we can easily bypass the need for either ILE or OLR.

The idea here is simply to make no change to our current state of Lateral Balance while suddenly angulating a little bit more. what happens is that our skis (being tipped just a bit more) are now on a tighter radius than our current state of Lateral Balance can accommodate - and we start to fall to the outside of the old turn. This initiates crossover.

In effect, we've 'Turned more Left in order to go Right'. Over-Steering is the same concept as Counter-Steering, slightly re-applied.

I think I should add that most skiers probably never consider this because we have both ILE and OLR at our disposal when we have two feet on the snow. If skiing on only one ski, we may now need counter-steering or over-steering to effect a turn - just as with a bike.

.ma
Great posting and thanks for the links. Yes I agree, your definition of "oversteering" (OS) is one form of "countersteering" (CS) as I define it with "preturn" (PT) and Ghost with "crossunder" (CU). When we link turns OS/CU is exactly what happens. When we need to make a turn without momentum we need to PT in order to turn using the CS consept. Great input, thanks.

I never thaught about OS as "overturning". I allways thaught of it as having the tail of my car tracking wide. Think snow, rear weel drive car with lots of hp and sideways skidding through a turn. I think that happens in skiing every time we drift/skidd/brush (non carving) our tails. As with so many other definitions it has a double meaning. To me now anyway.

[BTW, you apply pressure on the BTE of your right foot and tip your upper body to the right in order to quickly offset your CoM to the left.]
post #9 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post


This is not a discussion about skiing...it is about motorcycles or bicycles.

A few key things to understand...countersteering as showin the video is about using momentum to assist you getting somthing very heavy and very stable to just lean a long way over.

This does not apply to skiing.

Reason 1: Skis/bindings, boots, and Poles and not that heavy....probably about 1/100 of a typical motor bike.

Reason 2 (and most important): Skiers dont have 2 giant wheels spinning at full tilt, acting as gyroscopes...or stabilisers to overcome.


Hence skiers can simply lean in....just like a runner.


Where is Physics Man when you need him?
I agree with you that there are many differences between motorbikes and skiing but there are also similarities. I have seen skiing manuals using motorbikes as references. An austrian coach of mine years ago was a devoted motocross biker and he allways spoke of the similarities. However, feel free to think otherwise.
post #10 of 135
I have no doubt there are similiarities.....I just dont think this is one of them.

If you are looking for similarities...fore/aft is a good one.
post #11 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post
I have no doubt there are similiarities.....I just dont think this is one of them.

If you are looking for similarities...fore/aft is a good one.
What do you mean?

Im not really looking for similarities but I think one of the major differences is that a biker cannot flex through the transition. Its allways vaulting over.
post #12 of 135
Just one point. Inline two wheeled cycles require a countersteering move because they have a single linear base of support. Skiers don't require this move because they have a twin, independently acting base of support. Countersteering type moves can be made by a skier but they aren't necessary.

fom
post #13 of 135
Well that is not a major difference at all.....a skier vaults too, in high performance turns, the skier has no choice but to vault a certain amount.

Other similarities are the way the bikes suspension works to smooth out bumps and hollows, like the legs of a skier.

Both turn by employing a steering angle.
Similiar concepts of line for racing.


Fore/aft is bit more involved...but basically (and this works for cars too) by applying the brakes hard coming to a corner, pressure is applied to the front wheel, this allows the bike or car to turn sharper...the bike or car then accelerates out of the turn, this takes pressure off the front and puts it on the back, thus helping the bike or car exit the turn,

A skier does the same by moving forward to start the turn, and back to end it....there was actually a whole article on that written I believe by Steve Mahre, appeared in Ski magazine years ago.

I am sure someone has it, I am no car/bike driving expert, but that is my understanding....maybe ask Riche Rich or Dranow, I believe they both race cars.

Here is some wiki articles that explain it abit:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_braking

fwiw, here is one on countersteering...note the diagram shows the braking...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countersteering
post #14 of 135
I use to ride motorcycles and still ride a bike. Countersteering works because you momentarily steer inwards or away from your intended path. This builds up a tipping force (couple or moment) to tip the bike outwards into the direction of the new turn. Then you steer into the turn to balance the forces and steer around the turn.

There is a countersteer analogy in skiing. Instead of turning into the turn to create the tipping force, you release tension in the outside leg; push with the inside leg; or a combination of both. This unbalances the forces momentarily and allows centrifugal force to "pull" you into the next turn. Once you "move" across your skis, you edge them, balance out the forces, and go around the turn.

So do you have to countersteer in skiing? No, in fact I would consider countersteering to be a negative movement. However, you could countersteer to start a turn. I just don't think it would be as efficient.



BTW tdk6, excellent video on countersteering. It describes and shows it beautifully.
post #15 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post
The idea here is simply to make no change to our current state of Lateral Balance while suddenly angulating a little bit more. what happens is that our skis (being tipped just a bit more) are now on a tighter radius than our current state of Lateral Balance can accommodate - and we start to fall to the outside of the old turn. This initiates crossover.

Michael,,,

That's the very steering wheel mechanism I was thinking of when I posted my thought tickler post above. Add some edge angle, while leaving your CM where it is (yes, as you say, by angulating more) and balance is disrupted, just as it is when you countersteer a bike, and you tip into the turn.

I think T-Square has a good point too;

Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Square
So do you have to countersteer in skiing? No, in fact I would consider countersteering to be a negative movement. However, you could countersteer to start a turn. I just don't think it would be as efficient.
On a bike/cycle it's more necessary to countersteer. The 2 wheels of a bike are on the same lateral plane. Essentially, it's like skiing on one foot. You don't have a second foot to manage pressure, so as to disrupt balance and cause a cross over into the new turn, as you do with ILE or OLR in skiing.

Countersteering compensates for having a base of support only as wide as a tire tread across which to manage lateral balance. In skiing you don't have to compensate. You have a potentially very wide base of support, and because so you have more options for creating the balance disruption that causes your body to tip into the new turn so it's in the right place to provide balance when the skis tip onto their opposite edges, and the new turn begins.

I can kind of see T-Square's point when he says it's a negative move. It's causing the skis to rapidly turn away from the coming desired direction of travel, for the purpose of getting the body to move into the new turn, when it's really not necessary. When a simple pressure distribution change between the feet would do the same thing.

But with that said, you guys know me well enough by now to know that I'm not going to condemn it. On the contrary, there are times and circumstances when every option carries value, and they should therefor be developed and pocketed for a time when it might come in handy.

And I can actually think of one of those times when it would serve very well, and might even be a best option. Think about skiing on one ski. When you do that you are kind of simulating what happens on a bike. You have no second foot to use to manage pressure and balance. Very similar to what you have to work with on a bike. Counter steering in this case could be a valuable alternative tool for creating imbalance and causing the body to rapidly tip into the new turn, and tip the ski onto it's opposite edge. In fact, now that I think of it, I may be doing that instinctively when one foot skiing. I'll have to pay attention when I'm skiing next time.
post #16 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
And I can actually think of one of those times when it would serve very well, and might even be a best option. Think about skiing on one ski. When you do that you are kind of simulating what happens on a bike. You have no second foot to use to manage pressure and balance. Very similar to what you have to work with on a bike. Counter steering in this case could be a valuable alternative tool for creating imbalance and causing the body to rapidly tip into the new turn, and tip the ski onto it's opposite edge. In fact, now that I think of it, I may be doing that instinctively when one foot skiing. I'll have to pay attention when I'm skiing next time.
I was going to comment on this in your 1 and 2 footed thread but you beat me to it. Better this way . Thats exactly what I do in order to turn on my inside ski if Im not carving.

I think countersteering comes in handy on other occations as well. Like in bumps. Countersteering coupled with terrain features can vastly help you out reducing pressure on skis during transition and also make your turns tighter.
post #17 of 135
There is another counter-steer that clearly happens.

Tip your foot.
What direction does it move?
When I roll my ankle the foot actually moves in the opposite direction of the newly engaged edge. Not that I actually think this works physically in the same way as countersteering a motorcycle. I tend to agree with Skidude that the motorcycle example is all about gyroscopic motion. We deal with angular momentum in skiing, but we aren't using a spinning wheel to counter it or stabilize direction. Countersteering a race bike will tip you into the turn, but pros know that actively moving to the inside with your weight is faster. That's why those guys are hanging half-off the inside of the bike and draging their knees. They can't get those turns out of handlebar pressure alone.
post #18 of 135
Countersteering sounds like old school preturns. Maybe useful to set up a new line or recovery to realign your mass under you.
post #19 of 135
A related example of a counter-movement

Suppose I'm standing in front of you balancing a broom on the palm of my hand, bristles in the air. If I now take a step toward you, what happens to the broom? I and the bottom of the broomhandle move toward you, but the top of the broom stays where it is, with the result that the broom falls toward me and hits me in the head.

So to move toward you, what do I need to do? That's right, I first move the bottom of the broom away from you. That gets the broom tilted in the right direction, and once the tilt is established, then I can move myself and the entire broom in your direction.

Here are the important points:
  • The bottom of the broom must first move in the opposite direction of the final intended movement.
  • This establishes the lean in the intended direction.
  • This happens quickly. If you blink, you'll miss it.
Could this be the phantom move?
post #20 of 135
The last paragraph in my post above shows I'm right there with you guys on both One-Ski-skiing thoughts and the ILE/OLR thing. Still, might be worth a more elaborate look at the possibilities.

First, while I see the point, I'm admittedly not in the camp of considering movements to be Negative just because they're not in my next intended direction of travel. From a purely mechanical point of view, when I initiate a forward reach to the left with my left arm (to plant/touch that pole) I frequently counterbalance that reaching movement by slightly lifting my right arm/elbow upward and to the right. Should I only ever move my right arm to the left at that point? Heck no, that wouldn't work to counterbalance my reaching left with the other arm.


I'm also not in the camp of wanting to ski only with an absolute perfection of efficiency. I ski for fun so once my efficiency gets into the ball park of where I'd like it to be then it's off to something new & equally fun to explore.


---
It occurs to me that two very different methods of turning might be equally efficient. Each (in its own way) may yield the same basic result while having equal efficiency at getting there, just through a different path. ILE vs OLR is kinda like this, each having its own merits and issues. I think over-steering is in that same boat: An equivalent and pervasive mechanism having its own up & downsides.

Pervasive? Yep, in fact I'd go so far at to bet good money we use over-steering in nearly every Dynamic Parallel turn without even realizing it.

In particular: Each time we come carving into turn-finish on (say) a 15-degree slope the slope-angle vs our ski's edge-angle is automatically increasing past the fall line based on the inherent geometry of the situation. If our edge-angle is increasing then the ski is automatically 'over-steering' by itself (creating a tighter radius) unless we are actively decreasing (releasing) edge-angle to a compensatory amount.

If the skier implements flexing into finish from an angulated state then this also increases the degree of automatic-over-steering since flexing while angulated tends to tip our skis even more.

The more I think about it, I suspect ILE and OLR simply augment the unnoticed automatic over-steering that occurs as a built-in component in most turns but it's probably goes unnoticed because of everything else that holds our attention. Perhaps this is what Ghost was alluding to when he said, "Typical cross-under move into a sharp turn in the other direction."?

.ma
post #21 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
There is another counter-steer that clearly happens.

Tip your foot.
What direction does it move?
When I roll my ankle the foot actually moves in the opposite direction of the newly engaged edge. Not that I actually think this works physically in the same way as countersteering a motorcycle. I tend to agree with Skidude that the motorcycle example is all about gyroscopic motion. We deal with angular momentum in skiing, but we aren't using a spinning wheel to counter it or stabilize direction. Countersteering a race bike will tip you into the turn, but pros know that actively moving to the inside with your weight is faster. That's why those guys are hanging half-off the inside of the bike and draging their knees. They can't get those turns out of handlebar pressure alone.
They actually do. And its faster than moving your body. You get a much quicker response. Check this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8M_7fBR63Y
post #22 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ View Post
Countersteering sounds like old school preturns. Maybe useful to set up a new line or recovery to realign your mass under you.
Exactly.... be it old school or not. Thats not really up for debate.
post #23 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post
Well that is not a major difference at all.....a skier vaults too, in high performance turns, the skier has no choice but to vault a certain amount.
But a biker can never flex through the transition. They allways have to lift their CoM up and then drop it down again. Thats one major reason they countersteer.
post #24 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
A related example of a counter-movement

Suppose I'm standing in front of you balancing a broom on the palm of my hand, bristles in the air. If I now take a step toward you, what happens to the broom? I and the bottom of the broomhandle move toward you, but the top of the broom stays where it is, with the result that the broom falls toward me and hits me in the head.

So to move toward you, what do I need to do? That's right, I first move the bottom of the broom away from you. That gets the broom tilted in the right direction, and once the tilt is established, then I can move myself and the entire broom in your direction.

Here are the important points:
  • The bottom of the broom must first move in the opposite direction of the final intended movement.
  • This establishes the lean in the intended direction.
  • This happens quickly. If you blink, you'll miss it.
Could this be the phantom move?
There are other forms of countersteering movements. For instance when you stand upright, in order not to fall towards your left you move to your left. Not right. Same forward and aft. These are actually not countersteering movements but countermoovements. Anyway, your broom example is a good one.

Watching small kids fall in the lift for years and years I have notissed that the reason they fall is that when they start falling left they try to counter by leaning right. Thats why they keep on loosing their balance while fighting back in vein and finally fall. Correct is to lean left if you loose your balance to the left. This is countersteering as they ride the lift up and want to go straight ahead. Just like with a bike at slow speed a lot of countermoovements are being used all the time.
post #25 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post
First, while I see the point, I'm admittedly not in the camp of considering movements to be Negative just because they're not in my next intended direction of travel.....

I'm also not in the camp of wanting to ski only with an absolute perfection of efficiency. I ski for fun so once my efficiency gets into the ball park of where I'd like it to be then it's off to something new & equally fun to explore.
Excellent!
post #26 of 135
Hey Cirque! That's a great example (the broom analogy) and I think I'm going to steal it for future use...

I think it worth noting that Gyroscopic Motion doesn't really supply any stability in until you achieve a reasonably high degree of angular momentum. A bicycle traveling at 10 mph simply doesn't do it. Even with heavy (Massive) tires a motorcycle still needs a good bit of speed before this effect kicks in to an effective degree.

Interestingly, when the effect does kick in any twisting force that steers the front tire to the Left causes that tire to try and tip the bike to the Right. Essentially, Steering Left translates into a force tipping the cyclist to the outside of the attempted Left turn.

This means that a counter-steering move made to the Right actually helps the cyclist tip the bike to the Left. (another one of those Negative Movements I don't mind so much )

.ma
post #27 of 135
Well, for clarity, I use countersteering all the time driving this behemoth.



I thought I had seen something where racing bikers were focusing on getting physically inside their turns, but admittedly, that is not my current focus or experience. I suspect they initiate and control through steering movements which have much greater effect on a bike. I will say, I have come across the unfortunate rider who failed to maintain lean angle in a turn, and high-sided, with the expected bumps, road rash and worse.

Back to skiing.
post #28 of 135
Out of curiosity, about what speed do you begin to notice resistance in steering attributable to angular momentum and at what speed does it start to play a big role in stability and turning?

Go'wan, take it out for a spin (to get some data) and we'll wait.
(don't forget the helmet cam)

.ma
post #29 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
There is another counter-steer that clearly happens.

Tip your foot.
What direction does it move?
When I roll my ankle the foot actually moves in the opposite direction of the newly engaged edge. Not that I actually think this works physically in the same way as countersteering a motorcycle. I tend to agree with Skidude that the motorcycle example is all about gyroscopic motion. We deal with angular momentum in skiing, but we aren't using a spinning wheel to counter it or stabilize direction. Countersteering a race bike will tip you into the turn, but pros know that actively moving to the inside with your weight is faster. That's why those guys are hanging half-off the inside of the bike and draging their knees. They can't get those turns out of handlebar pressure alone.
Exactly! I think there was a whole thread about "Twist n Tip" which highlighted this biomechanical fact. This movement helps the skis diverge from the path of the com setting up the inclination for the top of the turn.
post #30 of 135
Bud, rolling the ankle holds up to countersteering because it provides the power that will initiate a turn fastest. Nothing gets you on edge and moving in the right direction, like starting at the feet.

Michael, experiment is complete. 18 to 20 MPH is where counter steering starts to become effective, and at high speeds, subtle handlebar pressure has a very positive effect in the opposite direction of the pressure. OTOH, I went out on some really remote roads I haven't done before, and ended up doing a 10 mile X-country trek on a 4X4 unpaved road through dry washes, over jagged shale and cobbled stream beds. That 700 lb bike is not a dirt bike, so most of that distance was direct steered with a ton of body english. Took a couple hits to the frame cross-member, but kept all my oil.
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