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Ron LeMaster 2008 presentation "Alignment & Stance in High Performance Skiing"

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Did anyone attend/hear anything about Ron LeMaster's 2008 presentation ""Alignment & Stance in High Performance Skiing". We would enjoy a detailed summary of your takeaways from the presentation.

Also, if anyone has any contact with Ron LeMaster, please encourage him to post last year's 2007 presentation "New Faces on the World Cup" in the presentation section of his website like he has done in previous years. http://www.ronlemaster.com/presentations.html



http://www4.dailycamera.com/index.cf...tails/id/67377

Boulder Center for Sports Medicine Fall Lecture Series
Wednesday November 12, 2008

Ron LeMaster,ski technique author & US Ski Team consultant, presents "Alignment & Stance in High Performance Skiing". Good ski technique depends on optimally aligning body segments as well as boots & skis to enable the skier to move fluidly & effectively. The importance of alignment has increased with the revolution in ski design. Key elements of alignment and how they are reflected in a skier's stance will be presented.

Event details
Begins: 7:00 PM
Ends: 8:00 PM
Location: Boulder Center for Sports Medicine
Address: 311 Mapleton Ave., Boulder



An excellent example of the takeaways from the Ron LeMaster 2007 presentation "New Faces on the World Cup" by SkiRacer55 post #6 at http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?p=802194

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55
".....In addition, there's what Ron LeMaster calls "the Super Stivot", which he got into in an article last year in Ski Racing and talked about last night in Boulder in his presentation "New Faces on the World Cup." He showed video sequences of both Bode and Svindal booking toward a GS gate at more speed than was healthy, chucking them sideways (just like a hockey stop) to dump some speed, then actually starting a carving turn. So, in other words, I'm between turns, going like a bat in a straight line, and I realize I'm carrying way too much speed for the next turn, so I scrub some speed, then go straight again, then start the turn. The idea is that if you stivot then turn from the stivot...you have to start the stivot at exactly the right spot, otherwise you'll dump too much speed or not enough speed, and you have to end the stivot/start the carve at exactly the right spot, otherwise your turn will be too early or too late. If I just go straight line to stivot to straight line to turn, then I just dumped speed and it won't mess up the turn itself.

And Bode and Svindal are also masters of starting a carve, seeing that it's not the ideal arc, and doing stuff like increasing angulation, flexing more, increasing edge angle, and so forth, to reshape the arc.

So how are they able to perform this wizardry? Well, one of the things that LeMaster talked about last night was how the top WC racers have evolved as athletes. Killy was less than 6 feet, strong and wiry. Bode and Svindal are both big boys...Both 6' 2" or bigger, and weight 210 or more. In addition, they're great athletes. I'll bet that Svindal would be a great decathalete, and Bode's already proven that he could be, too, with his win in the Superstars and his exploits in tennis. So what Ron also said was that with this kind of athleticism, today's top WC racers distance themselves from the pack because the top dogs are agile, flexible, and strong enough to handle terrain better than the others. The top skiers are consistently more precise than the others in their ability to administer and adjust edge angle and pressure, for example, they're better able to improvise when they cross the red line, and they can handle bumps, changing snow conditions, and steep terrain better than the others.

So how do any of us mere mortals Aim High, like the WC stars? Ron always has some nuggets that I use throughout the season, and here's the stuff I took away from last night in terms of not just what the advances are but how to make them happen:

- Seek the apex of the turn. He said that the "apex of the turn" is maybe not the right terminology, but essentially it means that point of the turn where you really put the wood to the edged ski. So I release from the previous turn, transition to the new edges, start applying pressure, enter the fall line, and right about there is when I really want the ski to load up, and some of that is me settling onto the ski, and some of that is me managing the forces I have available to me. Ron talked about the old mantra of looking ahead and how important it is, not just to racers...works for bumpers, powder skiers, you name it. You're looking for that "moment of truth" spot where the turn really lights up.

So seeking the apex takes looking ahead...if you were standing still, it might be obvious where "the" apex of the turn was, but you're moving, the terrain is changing, and so forth, so you have to judge where the best apex is out of many options. So looking ahead is important, as Ron points out, but so is timing. Now that I've decided where the apex is, I need to seek it out and pounce on it via timing my moves from where I am now to the apex itself.

- Start carving early in the turn. I think we all know what this means, Ron attributed the first codification of this to John Loeffler, who came up with the idea of the "upside down traverse." You transition to the new edges and start applying pressure to them to start carving before you enter the fall line. Remember, the answer to "How do you stop skidding?" is "Don't start."

- Cut off the line. See Ron's article about line evolution. But this is for racers only, right? Not necessarily. Skiing a tighter line generally means you spend more time in or near the fall line. And all things being equal, staying in or near the fall line is a good thing because now you have gravity and momentum working more or less together, instead of fighting each other with you, the unwilling third party, in the middle trying to sort out the mess...."
post #2 of 21

Yeah, I was there...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkierScott View Post
Did anyone attend/hear anything about Ron LeMaster's 2008 presentation ""Alignment & Stance in High Performance Skiing". We would enjoy a detailed summary of your takeaways from the presentation.

Also, if anyone has any contact with Ron LeMaster, please encourage him to post last year's 2007 presentation "New Faces on the World Cup" in the presentation section of his website like he has done in previous years. http://www.ronlemaster.com/presentations.html



http://www4.dailycamera.com/index.cf...tails/id/67377

Boulder Center for Sports Medicine Fall Lecture Series
Wednesday November 12, 2008

Ron LeMaster,ski technique author & US Ski Team consultant, presents "Alignment & Stance in High Performance Skiing". Good ski technique depends on optimally aligning body segments as well as boots & skis to enable the skier to move fluidly & effectively. The importance of alignment has increased with the revolution in ski design. Key elements of alignment and how they are reflected in a skier's stance will be presented.

Event details
Begins: 7:00 PM
Ends: 8:00 PM
Location: Boulder Center for Sports Medicine
Address: 311 Mapleton Ave., Boulder



An excellent example of the takeaways from the Ron LeMaster 2007 presentation "New Faces on the World Cup" by SkiRacer55 post #6 at http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?p=802194
...and it was really good, as usual. I'm too tired tonight to recap it, but I will tomorrow....watch this space...
post #3 of 21

Okay, here goes...

...the presentation was "Alignment and Stance" and it's going to be an entire chapter in the update of The Skier's Edge, probably out in a year. Basic idea is that we pretty much know how to make today's skis carve with a combination of steering, edging, and pressure control. What all the WC coaches are increasingly concerned about is alignment and stance because (a) things happen so fast any more that if you're out of alignment or balance, you're out of the course and (b) with edge angles approaching 70 degrees in GS, racers are now carrying up to 3Gs of load...and if you're not aligned, you won't be able to resist/use that amount of force.

He talked a bunch about how boot/binding/plate setup is critical for alignment...no magic formula for everyone, because everyone is different, just pay attention to your setup, because if it ain't right, you won't be able to balance and align properly.

He did an interesting thing where he showed the three planes of reference for a skier, the lateral looking from the front, the lateral looking from the side, and a view of the skier from directly above. Those planes are what you use to figure out balance and alignment for the forces you will incur. The really interesting thing he did was show the difference between what those planes look like when you're standing up on a flat surface, and what they look like when you're inclined/angulated in a turn. It suddenly makes a whole lot more sense when you start looking at where the forces are and where the body is in skiing (as opposed to standing in your living room) in relation to the forces.

Ron talked a lot about how important it is to have a strong, flexible, loose lower back and hip area, which is required to...terminology from the past coming back again...separate the upper and lower body to align/balance properly.

From that base, he talked about some stuff that he's begun to rethink:

- No lead or lead change, tips must be on the same horizontal line. Not necessarily. Once again, if you're standing in your living room, no lead seems to make sense. Now go stand sideways on a set of stairs, one leg on a higher runner than the other. You'll naturally get a lead with the higher (inside) leg. So the moral is, let the lead happen naturally. Don't force a lead or a lead change, but don't inhibit it either.

- Similarly, must have parallel leg shafts at all times. Not necessarily. He showed some photo sequences of Lindsey Vonn where she clearly had more shaft angle in the outside leg...almost A framing...in the turn initiation. As he said last year "Early outside knee angulation." Bode does the same thing at initiation, then his shafts get more parallel as the turn progresses.

- Stay square, don't counter. Not necessarily. If you don't counter at all, it's hard to angulate. If you don't counter at all, you end up following your skis, which reduces quickness and a strong platform at the end of the turn. The counter is not really in the hips, but up higher today. Some people counter more than others. Bode and Hermann counter a lot, Daron very little...but they all use some countering.

- Wide stance. It depends. He showed a sequence of Markus Larsson, who Ron thinks (and I agree) is the best pure technician in the men's SL ranks. He uses about a medium width stance, whereas Mario Matt uses a super wide stance, and Schoenfelder uses a taller, relatively narrow stance.

A lot of it is personal preference, a fair amount of it is body type. Short wide guys (like yours truly) generally have wider stances, taller guys with narrower hips often have narrower stances. And good skiers vary their stances, where the general rule is wider on hard snow, narrower in soft snow, narrowest in big bumps...

There's more, but that's the important stuff that I took away...
post #4 of 21
Ron and I had a couple very interesting discussions about this stuff last winter. I'm encouraged to hear the way he's talking about things - getting people to question a lot of very silly 'absolutes'.
post #5 of 21
But LeMaster, great photographer, isn't a ski coach.

How does he explain these points---
*Steering tries to twist the ski (particularly push the tail) out of its railed carve. Riding the edge keeps it in the carve.

*With the inside foot out in front, its ability to tip on edge is restricted. Also, putting the inside foot in front puts some folks in the back seat. Pulling the inside foot back helps these problems.

*Is outside knee angulation a virtue or a result of trying to hold an edge? What he sees from a racer photo may not be what the racer is wishing they're doing.

*Counter brings the stronger central abdominal muscles into play rather than the relatively weaker obliques. Also, it removes some of the rotary range from the hip joint to help the ski tail hold grip.

*Mario Matt's wide stance

More:
http://images.google.com/images?q=ma...m=4&ct=titl e

*Aksel Svindal is a technically beautiful skier.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD_fAK8pvZM&fmt=18
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
But LeMaster, great photographer, isn't a ski coach.
SoftSnow, you just can't help yourself can you. Debate the points, not the man.

I would like to ask that we use this thread to just find out what LeMaster presented(for those of us that were not there), not a place to debate the points, and definitely not to debate the credibility of the man.

Please start other threads to debate specific points about skiing which may or may not have been brought up by Ron LeMaster.

Thanks
post #7 of 21
Ron is a club level ski coach.... And his points are solid.

FYI, he has a background in engineering, chemistry, and is currently working in a university position with a Nobel laureate re. pedagogy for physics. Taking pics and writing ski books is his passion and hobby, not his main profession.

Agree with starting another thread if you want to debate them (IMO a waste of time ).
post #8 of 21
skiracer, please tell me that you miss worded that; "things he's starting to rethink"

parallel leg shafts, no counter, no tip lead. These are misconceptions we've been throwing rocks at here on epic for years. Surely he meant "things he's currently shining a light on"?
post #9 of 21

True story...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdistefa View Post
Ron is a club level ski coach.... And his points are solid.

FYI, he has a background in engineering, chemistry, and is currently working in a university position with a Nobel laureate re. pedagogy for physics. Taking pics and writing ski books is his passion and hobby, not his main profession.

Agree with starting another thread if you want to debate them (IMO a waste of time ).
...I had an interesting discussion with, of all people, Harold Harb, with whom I had a couple of clinics worth with back about 10 or 15 years ago. Like everyone else I've skied with, he had some good stuff to tell me (you're skiing really well, but your alignment is off...here try this...and it worked!) but is also, IMHO, Heavily Into, My Way...or the Highway...so I ran into Harold at Loveland and he seriously dissed Ron's understanding of skiing...okay, whatever. All I can tell you is that I've learned a whole lot from Ron, both in the lecture hall and on the hill...and one of the best things he ever told me was "I'm not an absolutist..." meaning that he learns as he goes, just like the [intelligent members of the] rest of us....
post #10 of 21

Okay, you win...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
skiracer, please tell me that you miss worded that; "things he's starting to rethink"

parallel leg shafts, no counter, no tip lead. These are misconceptions we've been throwing rocks at here on epic for years. Surely he meant "things he's currently shining a light on"?

...you got there first, but because he's more capable than us of "currently shining a light on", I think it's significant to note his contribution...
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post
...I had an interesting discussion with, of all people, Harold Harb, with whom I had a couple of clinics worth with back about 10 or 15 years ago. Like everyone else I've skied with, he had some good stuff to tell me (you're skiing really well, but your alignment is off...here try this...and it worked!) but is also, IMHO, Heavily Into, My Way...or the Highway...so I ran into Harold at Loveland and he seriously dissed Ron's understanding of skiing...okay, whatever. All I can tell you is that I've learned a whole lot from Ron, both in the lecture hall and on the hill...and one of the best things he ever told me was "I'm not an absolutist..." meaning that he learns as he goes, just like the [intelligent members of the] rest of us....
Harald is a good guy - and knowledgeable - but IMO he is selling a methodology and protecting his turf. Ron approaches things like a scientist - studying, observing, thinking, and just trying to sort things out as he goes along. He's open to ideas, open to change, willing to challenge others and himself.
post #12 of 21
I attended Ron's talk also. My background is in Aerospace Engineering and Physics (I originally planned to go into bio-physics). Most of Ron's talk made good sense from both from a physics and a physiological perspective. As a skier (although not a high level one) I thought his analysis was credible. Also as my masters coach says "the video dosen't lie" (if enough data is taken and the results are consistent). Ron has obviously spent a lot of time analyzing data and then checking it out on the hill and has developed a good model for how skiing works. He shows the characteristics of any good researcher in that he refines his models with new data. The important point I left with was that there are certain basic principles that you need to be aware of and develop, adapt them to your body type, but don't spend inordinate amounts of effort in trying to conform to rigid form.
post #13 of 21
I don't know anything about Ron, but he is basically right there with counter, lead sort of and width of the stance. Do you know what his position is on Inclination? That would really interest me the most.

Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
skiracer, please tell me that you miss worded that; "things he's starting to rethink"

parallel leg shafts, no counter, no tip lead. These are misconceptions we've been throwing rocks at here on epic for years. Surely he meant "things he's currently shining a light on"?
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the informative replies so far.

What videos did Ron LeMaster show this year in his 2008 presentation "Alignment & Stance in High Performance Skiing" - who was featured in which type of courses (SL, GS, SG, or DH) and what point(s) was he trying to illustrate?

Was there any discussion of the stivot move or other high level ski racing tactics?
post #15 of 21

I don't remember everything...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkierScott View Post
Thanks for the informative replies so far.

What videos did Ron LeMaster show this year in his 2008 presentation "Alignment & Stance in High Performance Skiing" - who was featured in which type of courses (SL, GS, SG, or DH) and what point(s) was he trying to illustrate?

Was there any discussion of the stivot move or other high level ski racing tactics?
...but the stuff that stood out was a photo sequence of Lindsey Vonn in Super G (parallel shafts isn't always the answer) and a video of Markus Larson (uses a medium stance, super wide stance isn't always the answer).

Ron talked about the stivot last year, and he generally builds on, but does not repeat, what he said. Last year, when he was showing Bode and Aksel doing the stivot, his point was that they do it as a speed control thing between turns, not at the initiation of the turn...last year, he also talked about cutting off the line, which was the same speech as his article in Ski Racing, which you can also find on his site...
post #16 of 21

Not sure...

Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyfast View Post
I don't know anything about Ron, but he is basically right there with counter, lead sort of and width of the stance. Do you know what his position is on Inclination? That would really interest me the most.

Thanks.
...but it's probably like my thinking. People get really hung up, IMHO, about whether inclination is a good thing or not. To start with, the basic concept of inclination is pretty simple. To "incline" just means to tip. The slope itself helps create your edge angle, once you get out of the fall line, but to increase your edge angle, you have to tip something to the inside of the turn. What I think happens is that at the end of the turn, you're in a somewhat countered/angulated stance. So, in effect your hip is inclined but your upper body is angulated to keep you against the outside ski. If you tip the whole body in at the end of the turn, you end up on the inside ski.

Okay, time to start the next turn. So you flatten the skis, go to a neutral stance, retract the feet so you can get a crossunder. So there's a point at which you come out of angulation that you're pretty straight, and I think it makes sense to talk about inclining the whole body...with the caveat that you're moving your CM down the hill toward the center of the new turn...to get the upper body inside the turn and the feet on the outside of the turn. As the ski hooks up and you come around the corner, time to angulate/counter in the other direction. Repeat, as necessary, until you go through the finish line...
post #17 of 21
[quote=SoftSnowGuy;1003177]How does he explain these points---
*Steering tries to twist the ski (particularly push the tail) out of its railed carve. Riding the edge keeps it in the carve.
[quote]
He defines steering to be bad kind of skidding and tail push and carving not to be arced-edgelock-carving but rather something like brushing-feathering-steering . Rons statement is ok IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
*With the inside foot out in front, its ability to tip on edge is restricted. Also, putting the inside foot in front puts some folks in the back seat. Pulling the inside foot back helps these problems.
Its logical. If you push the inside foot forwards harder to tip since you have pressure on your back of the foot insted of the shin. Also, putting the inside foot in front puts shifts the CoM aft to the base of support. Depending on how much weight you have on your inside foot offcourse. If there is no weight on it then it doesent matter but if there is some like there typically is especially as you relese the outside ski then its quite severe. Ron statement is ok IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
*Is outside knee angulation a virtue or a result of trying to hold an edge? What he sees from a racer photo may not be what the racer is wishing they're doing.
Racers are doing whatever they need to do and what is pretty is not always fast. Check out how WC guys practise at slower speeds to see movements that lie as foundations. Eccessive and femour rotation at the end of a turn is usually causing an A-frame. This movement can be found in every WC skiers SL run. Rons statement is ok IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
*Counter brings the stronger central abdominal muscles into play rather than the relatively weaker obliques. Also, it removes some of the rotary range from the hip joint to help the ski tail hold grip.
Dont know english well enough to comment on the first sentance but when you move your hips into the turn you tip your skis on edge at the same time. Counter is the opposite of rotary as in hip-rotation. Rons statement is ok IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
This is what I hate about stance width discussions, one snapshot and there you go. Living proof . However, that is not part of my rant here even though it is a dumb remark. Primarily it shows your little understanding of what stance width is. Let me ask you, at that particular turn that required that much inclination HOW DO YOU SUGGEST ANYBODY COULD LOOK LIKE A COWBOY. Good lord.... His outside ski would be one meter off the snow! And Matt would not be the #1 SL skier in the world. If you would take the time and check out the photo a bit closer you would see that his inside boot is at the level of his outside knee. If he would be standing perpendicular to the snow, which he will a fraction of a second later, his legs would be wide apart. Remember he is a tall person. Long lower legs. Equals long distance between skis tracking rr-tracks in the snow. And also, Matt has been narrowing his stance from what it was before, that is no secret. Rons statement is ok IMHO.

Rons statements are ok, IMHO. Yours are not IMHO.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post
...but it's probably like my thinking. People get really hung up, IMHO, about whether inclination is a good thing or not. To start with, the basic concept of inclination is pretty simple. To "incline" just means to tip. The slope itself helps create your edge angle, once you get out of the fall line, but to increase your edge angle, you have to tip something to the inside of the turn. What I think happens is that at the end of the turn, you're in a somewhat countered/angulated stance. So, in effect your hip is inclined but your upper body is angulated to keep you against the outside ski. If you tip the whole body in at the end of the turn, you end up on the inside ski.

Okay, time to start the next turn. So you flatten the skis, go to a neutral stance, retract the feet so you can get a crossunder. So there's a point at which you come out of angulation that you're pretty straight, and I think it makes sense to talk about inclining the whole body...with the caveat that you're moving your CM down the hill toward the center of the new turn...to get the upper body inside the turn and the feet on the outside of the turn. As the ski hooks up and you come around the corner, time to angulate/counter in the other direction. Repeat, as necessary, until you go through the finish line...
Good posting Skiracer55. You are tangenting some of the issues that we have been discussing recently in other threads. IMO inclination in the early part of the turn is among other things a setup for high edge angles and aggressive and short pressure at apex and shortly after. This is achieved by dropping the hips towards the snow as apex is approached by angulation and upper body counter. This can also be referred to as the "pumping" we have been discussing. Angulating eraly on takes away some of this effect. I think that its a question of tactics.
post #19 of 21
That just sounds picture perfect. With that I have no longer a problem with "Inclination". Thanks for the english lesson.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post
...but it's probably like my thinking. People get really hung up, IMHO, about whether inclination is a good thing or not. To start with, the basic concept of inclination is pretty simple. To "incline" just means to tip. The slope itself helps create your edge angle, once you get out of the fall line, but to increase your edge angle, you have to tip something to the inside of the turn. What I think happens is that at the end of the turn, you're in a somewhat countered/angulated stance. So, in effect your hip is inclined but your upper body is angulated to keep you against the outside ski. If you tip the whole body in at the end of the turn, you end up on the inside ski.

Okay, time to start the next turn. So you flatten the skis, go to a neutral stance, retract the feet so you can get a crossunder. So there's a point at which you come out of angulation that you're pretty straight, and I think it makes sense to talk about inclining the whole body...with the caveat that you're moving your CM down the hill toward the center of the new turn...to get the upper body inside the turn and the feet on the outside of the turn. As the ski hooks up and you come around the corner, time to angulate/counter in the other direction. Repeat, as necessary, until you go through the finish line...
post #20 of 21

Thanks, all...

Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyfast View Post
That just sounds picture perfect. With that I have no longer a problem with "Inclination". Thanks for the english lesson.
...I have a B. A. in English, an Ms. in Technical Writing, and my (ahem) day job is software technical information, so maybe some of this is all starting to add up...and you're gonna laugh, but in that capacity, I actually worked with one of Sun/StorageTek's best contract software developers...Ron LeMaster, who is also a C++ guru, among other things...on one of our flagship products, VSM...but who cares about any of that lame happy jive? Instead, here, try this:


http://www.rmmskiracing.org/snownews...ws-2003Feb.pdf

http://www.rmmskiracing.org/articles...6-03-Goals.pdf

http://www.rmmskiracing.org/articles...-10-DayJob.pdf


http://www.rmmskiracing.org/articles...1-Speed101.pdf
post #21 of 21

We saw the same presentation over at Keystone recently. Although Ron added a segment with Annie Black, Jerry Burg, Bob Barnes, and a couple d-teamers. Mostly it reinforced the idea of moving up and down on the balance axis described so well by SR55. Although we somehow named the concept carousel horse movements because like one of those silly horses our body is moving vertical to the ski. When the CoM, femur end and the big toe edges are lined up we can still flex and extend that leg. Knee angulation upsets this, as does too much artificial angulation. It also included a little segment on arched backs and tucked tail stances. Neither are beneficial but I went away feeling that corrective coaching would be pretty ineffective without some off the snow PT work to strengthen the core and pelvis muscles.

 


Edited by justanotherskipro - 2/26/2009 at 03:43 am
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