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Who benefits most from alignment?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I’ve been to two adult ski camps. At both camps I listened to discussions between instructors about their boot set-up. Boot sole cant, internal cant, footbeds, insoles and stiffness were all discussed in some detail. Friends and family who have skied for decades and who ski frequently don’t know anything about alignment and think it’s something only for racers. They just ski!
My question is who’s skiing really benefits the most from alignment work, the avid amateur or the professional instructor/ski patroller? I assume not everyone needs alignment work so I’ll limit my question to those who need something more than simple boot salesman set up.
Will most amateurs, who need some alignment work, be more likely to find it a minor tweak or a magic bullet?
post #2 of 10
IMO [and based on your question as to who would benifit MOST recreational skiers will benefit most, the pros will of course benefit but many have used their skills to compensate for inadequecies in their alignment, technical skills that recreational skiers do not yet have

these recreational skiers need more help to get them to do what is required to make the best turns
post #3 of 10
Who benefits most from alignment?
What a great question!
The assumption you make that 'not everyone needs alignment work' is not true. I have yet to see any skier who would not benefit from proper alignment work, from a day one beginner to a World Cup racer!

The results of alignment work, only if done properly, is very much on the magic bullet end of that continuum. The lack of understanding of this fact by the ski industry is ( imho ) the largest contributing reason that less than 15 out of every 100 people who go through the difficulties of actually getting on snow, to try the most wonderful sport of skiing, become skiers. 50 of the 100 don't even get to day two. What you see on the hill skiing is already only the 'cream of the crop'!

The common denominator, in this selection process, is the plastic ski boot, that is, when someone's leg shape and function is confined by the ski boot and causes sufficient balance impairment resulting in a sufficient lack of control then reasonable people give up on skiing.

Does anyone wonder why the sport of skiing is not growing?

What if properly aligning the 85 of the 100 who 'give it up' could increase that 15% retention rate to let's say 22%, what effect would that have on the growth rate of skiing over a 10 year period?
Maybe someone with a math background could run the numbers for us.

I would purpose that this is what belongs at the top of the list of what Ski Education Research needs to be done.

The first thing, that is needed, is to use Proper Scientific Method to determine the true facts from the overwhelming number of unsupportable, as well as, false opinions and theories that cloud this issue and that many blindly accept as true.

Any scientists here?
post #4 of 10
I agree with Ray! I have seen the light, in fact, the year I saw the light and what a difference it made in my skiing I became a disciple of boot balancing. I have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get a ski school to incorporate this service into their lesson offerings. I am getting closer but it has been over twenty years of trying.

Proper alignment removes impediments to skiing success. Unfortunately many who have managed to adapt their skiing styles to compensate for misalignment issues don't realize they are off unless they blindly trust one of us to look at them and make some changes, or they happen to have the opportunity to test and feel that the grass could be greener!

Though it is pretty far fetched, it would be nice to get every first time skier properly aligned before they ever tried skiing. As Rancantu suggests, skier retention would sore!!!!
post #5 of 10
I agree 100% with what these guys have said. Everyone can benefit, but I agree with CEM that average rec skiers can benefit the most.

Skiing can be a tough sport to learn, lots of terrain variables, speed, fear and changing balance. When equipment makes it that much harder people cannot progress easily.

Expert skiers and racers have enough time on snow to compensate in many instances although they still work with alignment. But for average skiers it can be magic.

post #6 of 10
It's kinda like asking who would benefit most from having their car aligned .
post #7 of 10
Steveturner, thanks for posting this question here! It's nice to hear only actual boot fitters comment on this question. Jdistefa's analogy above is pretty spot on!

If your car's caster, camber, toe in, is out of wack you can certainly still drive it and control it but it is more difficult and hard on your car's parts. You certainly would not want to test it's limits in a poorly aligned state. In fact your car's limits would be much lower in a poorly aligned state.

All this is also true in skiing. Poorly aligned boots can create plateaus in your skiing progress. Eliminating these imbalances will make balancing easier and movements more productive rather than compensatory.

Though a lessor skier may not be able to detect the benefits of properly aligned boots the benefits are there.

As a skier's skills progress and the skier becomes more in tune with their feet and body, smaller and smaller changes to these angles will be noticed.
post #8 of 10
If less than 15 out of every 100 people who go through the difficulties of actually getting on snow become skiers and 50 of the 100 don't even get to day two makes me wonder..........How many of the 85% of those that don't become skiers have alignment so far out of range that they can't even (switching to car analogy) drive the car safely enough to get it to the shop?

Would they keep trying to drive or would they (switching back to skiing) just give up skiing?

It should be obvious that there is more profit potential to the "ski industry" in the 85% who give up driving than there is in the 15% who continue to drive whether their car is aligned or not.

If the "bean counters" would wake up to that fact I think funding for the study of alignment would be a "no brainer".

Any thoughts on how to get their noses out of the balance sheets and help us grow our sport?

I think most of the "bean counters" fall into the 85% who park their cars and give up driving. Maybe it would be worth our while to get them in ski boots that are properly aligned and their butts on a chair lift!

Any ideas on how we can do that?
post #9 of 10
If you are serious yes I have an idea and we can discuss it inside. I am president of a ski research foundation for exactly the purposes you propose.

post #10 of 10
Yes, I am serious and very interested in finding a way to open the eyes of the ski industry to what I know to be true.

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