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post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
In 1968 Warren Witherall set me up on cants for the 1st time. I was falling to the outside ski on straight runs while racing, particularly in the flats. It corrected the problem almost immediately. Now comes 1999 and Green Mt. Orthotic Lab @ Stratton Mt.Vt.and Scott Thompson. For over 30 yrs I skied with a 1% cant on one ski and a 2% cant on the other. Scott re-fit me from scratch and totally re-aligned each leg/knee laterally, while also adjusting foreward lean
properly. The process lasted 3hrs+ but the end result is that I have thrown away my cants and for the first time in my adult life I'm skiing with correctly fit and aligned boots. My point is that the first thing we look at with new instructors or students is their boots, how they appear to fit and what does their leg alignment and forward lean look like. In addition over the last five years I have pushed people to use softer flexing boots. Too many people have ended up either in the "old back seat" syndrome or can't flex their boots adequately, therefore they end up making some extraneous movement to counteract the inefficient movement they were forced to make due to skiing in excessively stiff boots. THANK YOU SCOTT.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 16, 2001 08:49 PM: Message edited 1 time, by whtmt ]</font>
post #2 of 25

I was quite suprised when I went to have an alignment done the other day and the fitter requested a note from my doctor. Is this common?
post #3 of 25
Now go to another alignment expert, and see if you don't get an entirely different correction. Then do it again with another expert. Repeat until you run out of money. Then play checkers instead of skiing.
post #4 of 25
Or you could just go get a PMTS correction. PMTS has just one answer for everybody so it is simple, right?? :
post #5 of 25
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by milesb:
Now go to another alignment expert, and see if you don't get an entirely different correction. Then do it again with another expert. Repeat until you run out of money. Then play checkers instead of skiing.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Totaly agree milesb,

I was told 10 years ago in England that my leg lengths were significantly different 1 cm+ and I would have back problems later in life. But this guy could help me (at a cost).

Last season I had my hips X-rayed and there was only 2-3 mm difference. I was a bit hesitant at first but a very attractive Austrian nurse said "go into that room and get your trousers off, I will be there in a minute to sort you out" how could I refuse? :

I am sure there are a lot of good alignmemnt people out there but from past experience I would only trust X-ray's and an independent professional assessment. The doctor gave me a note to take to the guy that fitted the Strolz boots.
post #6 of 25
Come on DB.......... what about the nurse? Once again half a story...... I sense a pattern here! :
post #7 of 25

Your imagination is better than

1. the real story

2. What I could get away with on this Forum.

So I guess we will leave it at that.

PS Customer service is not the same over here and she handled me a bit rough but I didn't complain
post #8 of 25
DB, Tell me about the legendary Strolz boots. Have you skied them for awhile?
post #9 of 25

I have only used the boots for around 10 days but they transformed my skiing (for the better) overnight. The boots are built to last, very comfortable but fit like a glove and give excellent recreational performance. Strolz are similar to Dale and also make boots for 'difficult' feet.

Strolz (distributed by Donovan, George D., and Sons), (508) 475-5062
post #10 of 25
Ahh the alignment issue. Probaly the most missunderstood aspect in skiing today.

To realy understand the subject of alingment you need clear understading of skiing first. Unfortunatly much of the information we recieve in the skiing world is hand me down info from the podorthists of the world. Not bad info but not relivant to skiing much of the time. These people study the foot and how it works for walking. In a ski boot we are restricted to 15% of our nomal range of motion. Maybe we should look at things differently?

I work in the alignment world in aspen Vail and soon in the front range areas. I believe that there is an angle tha no one has considered in alignment. Muscular interation to the skeletal positions that we create. : Everyone that I have watched and learned from looks at the skeleton and its position relative to equipment. Has anyone besideds myself looked at muscle tension and the ankle position inside the boot. Many people that are leading this arena talk about foot beds that provide sub taylor neutral position but is the foot still in sub taylor inside the boot or not?

My company is called The Foot Foundation, and we do just this. The skier balancing system is incorporating much more into the assesment of students situations. The new idea is easy fast and makes sence from a skiing point of view. If anyone is interested in hearing more about it let me know at I would love to tell you all about it.
post #11 of 25
There sure is a lot going on with alignment. I just hope people don't think alignment is "it".

Sure, you can't be wacked. But I think good movments are far more important.
post #12 of 25
I agree.
post #13 of 25
Now that I think about it, I'm wondering if all this talk about alignment is scaring people off. I mean, to the untrained eye it may appear that they need to haul around an alignment guru with them, which is not what we're saying.

It's not rocket science fer cryin out loud!
Here's my simple formula:

Make sure you have good footbeds. Ask trusted sources. Then, make sure you stand in the neutral position while in your skis. Again, find a trusted source. From there, that's about as far as alignment can go or needs to go. Footbeds should last about 200 days. When they wear out, get new ones. Use one pair of footbeds for your ski boots, golf shoes and running shoes. Footbeds are footbeds fer cying out loud!

Great footbeds and alignment will not make up for poor technique. And, as long as your feet are comfortable and warm, skiing success will be due to proper technique more than anything.
post #14 of 25
I hate to say it, but is scary what a difference good alignment makes. True, most people can go pretty far with agood footbed, decent bootfit, and adjusting the upper cuff. But some people will never progress past intermediate skiing without getting balanced. In the last couple years, I have aligned probably a dozen of our new instructors at Mammoth, and the changes it made were often gigantic. Something they had been working on for years, might fall in place in a run. Last year, I pulled a heel lift out of one of our Level 2's boot's. Some idiot at one of America's top ski shops (let's call it Loosefoot) put it there for fit reasons, and it had been screwing up here skiing for two years. Her skiing improved dramaticly on the next run. Yea, she is pretty good skier heel lift or not, but I hate to have equipment holding people back, and I see it constantly. If you are serious about this sport, get your stance looked at. And we wonder why people go snowboarding.
post #15 of 25
If you read the article in the latest Professional Skier by the "other" Bob Barnes he concludes that with proper alignment changes occur WITHOUT instruction. In otherwords good skiing is natural when the alignment is correct.
BTW. One of my athletes went to a HH alignment clinic(I wasn't invited) and came back with marks on her boots about 1 cm outside the center seam. She and an instructor who was there, couldn't tell me what they meant.(hopefully not where her knee is) Can anyone enlighten me? :
post #16 of 25

That alignment clinic must have been in the mid-west, right? Yes, you were invited. All you would have to have done is contact HH.

Ask him about your questions just to be sure. His email is
post #17 of 25
I certainly agree that proper alignment can bring about improvements without instruction.

I do believe there are limitations to how far one can actually go (depending on the individual) without instruction or coaching.

Conversely, I believe that there are limits to how far one can go(depending on the individual) WITH instruction and coaching without proper alignment.

Furthermore. I believe good coaching and instruction take alignment issues into account and address them.
post #18 of 25
On the comparison to car alignment, the inside wheel/ski makes a tighter radius turn. Cars compensate for this in their steering geometry with "toe-out on turns". How do you create that on skiis?(I have my own ideas)
When you carve "railroad tracks" 360 degrees, you get 2 circles with different radii. Why does it work?(I know there's never a "perfect carve" but both tracks are equally clean/skidded)
post #19 of 25
Glad to see all the action on this string. Alingment means the same in skiing that it does in race car driving.

Geting the tires running streight does not mean you know how to drive, but it sure makes learning a lot easier.

By the way foot beds are not foot beds. as was stated earlier. and what is "The Neutral Position" how do you know that you are there?

There are some things that do not get adressed when people regurgitate what they have been told about alignment. If you take some time to understand for yourself some things about what is happening here you will see some simple things have been overlooked.

Firstly the body is not made of only bones. There are muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and sompthing called proprioceptors. All equaly important. YOu will rarly find prople dealing with all of these aspects in alignment.

Most foot beds are what you call acomodative foot beds. which means that they are shaped like your foot but have not capacity to improve much other than distribute pressure a bit more effectivly. Leaving the foot traped inside an exoskeleton in a position that is usualy far from where it works best.

Where does the foot work best?

I am so glad you asked that. Well what if skiing was the kind of sport that requierd the skier to balance on one foot for a while. Maybe create this balance and sustain this balance for a while under extreme presure. If this was the case would you test peple and make foot beds and watch how they stand on two feet? or one. WHile you do this test what would you watch for? would you look at the knee first or the ankle first. Which came first? Which is the cause and which is the effect?

What about the muscles and ligament? How do these affect skiing and what can we learn from them? Can they tell us anything about the effectivness of the position of the bones that are trapped inside the boot. Personaly I have to say absolutly.

: :
Oh yeah what is a proprioceptor and what does it do?

Sory for creating all this confusion but I hope it starts some curiosity. and a functonal exchange of useful info.

Thanks Eric Ward
The Foot Foundation
Ps sorry about the spelling I am a ski instructor not a writer.
post #20 of 25

Interesting idea regarding toe-in on skis.

Last season my wife got some foot beds, alignment and balancing for herself. She was/ is a fun subject for the boot dudes. (Hal, and others, Northern Ski Works, Killington, VT) She wore leg braces as a young child. Her right foot wants to point slightly to the outside. He made her foot beds, instaprint, and then set about getting her aligned and balanced. He tried shims under the foot bed to better align her, but this caused pain in her hip. There was no way in he** she could ski all day, let alone two runs in pain. It was too painful just standing statically in the shop. As a suggestion, after conferring, one of the others said she could experiment by mounting her right binding slightly askew to the right. This would place her neutral on her skis and hopefully allow her initiate her turns easier, while eliminating the pain. Thus, Toe-in.

We weren’t willing to re-drill her skis just to try at that point. She is getting new skis this winter and we will try the “Toe-in” on her old skis before we mount her new boards. If I remember I will post back the results.

post #21 of 25
Alignment schmelignment!

There's always buzz words floating around to label some fabulous new concept that somehow changes the face of the entire industry it's attached to. How the hell did we exist before people came up with the idea of things like "shaped technology", " moisture management", "Jehovas Witness's", etc? I mean, aren't most of the concepts now-a-days just repackaged ways to market a product?

Now we have "proper alignment". I actually don't know what it is exactly... but question why everyone on this forum seems to think it so imperitive when all of us existed without it happily for years. Why don't waterskiers need to be aligned? Or runners, or bikers, or figure skaters, or tennis players, or cross country skiers, or what about Golf? I mean many people play golf so why don't they have shims put in their gloves to adjust for each individuals grip deficiencies, or wedges to adjust stance for better swing performance??

I have a friend who is incredibly bow-legged and duck-footed but doesn't have cants, wedges or offsets of any type. He tried them once and lasted half a day before tearing them all off, claiming they were just a bunch of hoopla mumbo jumbo. "I've got better things to waste my money on", he said. And I have to agree. The xxx's that I bought last year were mounted without a jig and the moronic technician didn't even get close to mounting them parallel to the cord of the ski. I noticed it the minute I saw them at the shop counter, but instead of being without the things for a month while a new pair was ordered, I just learned to ski with them angled slightly off-center to the line of my feet... just like I learned to adjust to the relatively flat ramp from the fritschi binding rather than the much higher ramp angle of typical alpine bindings. No Problem!

That's what's so cool about the human body - we can articulate our joints and adapt!

But of course there's always the person who buys into this marketing crap, and are truely convinced that they have to be "properly aligned". Egads!!! Please stop blaming your equipment and just go learn to ski!
post #22 of 25
Pre-alignment 18 years ago = swelling in the left knee, plenty of pain, unable to walk down stairs. Doctor told me to stop skiing for 3 weeks. I was a full time pro at the time.

Post-alignment 18 years ago= knee returned to normal size, pain was gone, stairs were my friends again, and I didn’t need to take time off and was able to continue earning $.

This is one form of voodoo that worked for me. I’m still a believer in making life a little easier.
post #23 of 25
In 1971 Warren Witherall described "canting" in How The Racers Ski. It is now called "alignment". It wasn't new then and has always been practiced by top skiers. I remember reading about it in the 60s.
As skiis and boots become more sensitive it becomes more critical. You can get along without it but it's a lot easier with it. Skiing is a much more "technology" oriented sport than most and while virtuosity remains an art technology can't be ignored.
post #24 of 25
It's because unlike the other sports you mentioned, we are not using the best tool for the job. What was the original purpose of skis? So the Norweigan Fred Flintstone could get over to Norweigan Betty Rubble's cave for a little BAM BAM. Now we expect them to carve perfect arcs down steep icy pitches. Fred would say "Now who is the Neanderthal?"
post #25 of 25
I deffinatly did not stop teaching to make foot beds because I would rather be indoors sniffin stanky toes. There is a need, I started two years ago and never marketed anything. I wanted to prove the product would survive on its own. Now I have little time to teach much any more, with no marketing. The bottom line here is that canting is not a marketing ploy!

In the beginning,canting did make a difference and improved skiers connection to the ski. Now with shaped skis the need has gone off the charts. Has anyone ever heard people say that the first time they skied on shaped skis that they felt "squirly". They might have had less than perfect moves but these skis are made to turn. If you cant get the bloddy things to just go streight How will they be able to control them when things get hairy.
you could compare this to how much energy does it take to keep a poorly aligned car on the road. Especialy after an all day drive.

Can we adapt? absolutly but why waste your time being medeocre when you could be crackin open a brand new can of whuuup asss out there with those brand new skis that were made for arcin fattys.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 17, 2001 03:57 PM: Message edited 1 time, by mosh ]</font>
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