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The force under my feet.

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
When we ski we feel a force or pressure under our feet. Do you look at this force as something that you have to resist and fight against? Is there a different way to think of this force that will allow us to ski more positively? Epic turns are about going somewhere not about resisting going somewhere.

post #2 of 24
Gravity, not just a good idea, it's the law.

I have always looked at gravity as an opportunity to redirect the inertial forces and potential and kinetic energy, which are contained within the skis and me. Sometimes that requires tremendous counter force and sometimes it does not. It is the thought of playing with these extraordinary forces, which is so exciting. Nothing like dancing at the edge of the abyss to make you feel alive.

I don’t look at these forces as something to fight against, but as something to control or master. Small subtle movements can be powerful. But that does not mean that there will not be consequences. The rebound or compression may be very demanding, and require much strength. For me this is the whole attraction of skiing.

post #3 of 24
It is a force we want to control, that's why it's called pressure control. I anthropomorphise, but I like thinking of PC as dancing with the reaction force of the ground. It's my partner. I used to think the skis were my partner, but I'm coming to see the mountain as my partner, and the skis and boots are just the medium of communication. It changes the mountain from inert stone covered by frozen water (cold and oblivious of human efforts to make a good impression) into something that's actually collaborating with me and sharing important feedback. I make an offer and it responds. Weird, huh?
post #4 of 24

When the "new skis" came out, it was all the buzz that by using them, one could ski all day and not be tired at the days end.

My reply was " I would ski as hard as I could anyway" and so would be just as spent as I left the mountain.

My position has been rewarded with the fact that it is now easier to ski harder and still get just as much of a working over. :-}

What am I saying to your posting? I like the "G's", and they only come from resisting the forces of Inertia and gravity.

Balance against the pressure, may be a better image, for if we "fight to hard" we may stumble and fall into it, or jump away and release it to appear again in a new form.

What I don't wish to fight, are my own ineffective tensions.

Gravity is my friend!

post #5 of 24
Like Nolo said, it's pressure control, the consumate skill what takes the mechanics of edging and rotary and elivates them to an art form. Skiing is a gravitational dance, but I prefer a ballroom dancing theme to a slam dancing one.

I remember, back in more carefree times, the first time some D-Team guru has us ski most of a day with our boots unbuckled, how much more sensitive I became to subtle pressure changes. So I continued to ski with boots not cranked max tight. Next race I was at, up in the start, I reefed in that extra buckle notch (like racers do) and went: "Wow, I feel like I'm standing in the middle of a 40mph turn!". Going to the other extreem I noticed a major pre-load (overload?) of pressure sensors of my feet (proprioceptors(?) and felt that sensitivity was being lost. Since then I've made a good fit a priority, where buckles just close the boot and don't clamp it down against the bottom of it with more than normal body weight. I now prefer a tighter upper cuff and a mobile, but snug, forefoot.

It is a fine margin between flying on the face of the earth, and crashing into it.


[ November 27, 2002, 02:24 PM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #6 of 24
as yoda tells me,

"you WANT to feel that pressure building under your foot. it tells you that you are standing correctly on your ski."

believe it or not, that little point had more to do with my recent skills development than all the work I'd done until then.

it's all part of the conversation with the ski!
post #7 of 24

I used to think the conversation was with the ski, but now I see the ski as an appliance, like a telephone, and the significant party on the other end is the ground.
post #8 of 24
nolo --

you can use it as an appliance because you & the ski are beyond conversation, you can read each other's mind. I'm still learning how to get past the baby talk!

BTW, I'm really pyst at Dale Carnegie, all that money down the drain!
post #9 of 24
Ya, Gonz, TELL us about it!
post #10 of 24

Respect the mountain . . . become one with the mountain . . . thinking body, dancing mind . . . pressure is power.

post #11 of 24

How about on a bike? Same diff. Dorrance called it True Unity--feel, timing, and balance. It's the gold ring, well worth reaching for.
post #12 of 24
oboe - should I sue?

nolo - the 3-way unity I understand, and I'm always trying to achieve it. but I can't help feeling the differences in any different version of a tool (bike, ski, golf club, fly rod) and feeling a new need to learn something new.

for example, the switch to K2 Axis X from Salomon X-Scream Series showed me how slightly different ski geometries and flex patterns require different amounts of pressure in different sequences. until I learn every conceivable permutation or adaptation, I still need my conversations with the tool.

it's even odder with bikes. I have a road bike and 3 mtn bikes. each of my mtn bikes rides entirely differently, even though each one is fine-tuned to fit me perfectly. they have different frame materials, different suspension forks, one is full-suspension, they all run different tires. the permutations there are endless. even though I'm a fairly decent skier, I'm a much more skilled mtn biker, and I still have lots to learn.

until I've learned it all, I'll keep having my conversations. in mtn biking, usually I don't need an interpreter. but with skiing, I rely on yoda's wisdom to counter some of my bad intuitive responses.
post #13 of 24
Can you give an example or two of a bad intuitive response? Do you mean like fight or flight responses?
post #14 of 24
I'd like to share a bit from Stephen Mitchell's Introduction to the Tao Te Ching. This is on page viii.

"A good athlete can enter a state of body-awareness in which the right stroke or the right movement happens by itself, effortlessly, without any interference of the conscious will. This is a paradigm for non-action: the purest and most effective form of action. The game plays the game; the poem writes the poem; we can't tell the dancer from the dance."

From the Tao:

Less and less do you need to force things,
until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.

"Nothing is done because the doer has wholeheartedly vanished into the deed, the fuel has been completely transformed into flame."

Whattaya think: does THIS define the goal?
post #15 of 24
Don't stand against the ski. Stand on the ski.
post #16 of 24
Si si, Senorita! To my eyes that's a fine nutshell you've put that sticky-wicket in. Taoists tend to make fine nutshells. I've always liked "be the ball, Danny."(Caddyshack) I am not half the skier of many on this forum, but, it was always playing with that pressure and it's position in relation to me that I found the most fun and interesting. Feeling the snow, that force, and me has always been a prime attraction to me. As well as the sensation of speed and acceleration(sometimes achieved while going kind of slow)((certainly in relation to them crazy 90mph downhillers)) Fast in the right place and conditions is really fun to me. I slows my mind and gets me focused, which I've always enjoyed. I also like the knowledge that if I don't listen to my feet and body closely, or if I lose my sense of or connection to the snow, there can be real consequences. Same as Maddog's "dancin on the edge of the Abyss" example. That wil focus me too! Sometimes it makes me listen so hard my belly aches! I also try to make a point of breathing deeply and looking all around me intently right after something that has pushed me a bit, 'cause the world looks it's best to my eyes then, I think I see more too. [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

Cheers and a Happy Thanksgiving,
post #17 of 24
The ski is a paint brush; the hill the canvas. What you create is up to you. Change pressure, timing, color, and width of stroke, even change brushes - endless possibilities. The joy of creativity!
post #18 of 24
All this is, of course, very interesting to think about. Then there comes the experience: It was far more snowy at Smugglers' Notch today than even the weather folk predicted. skier_j and oboe met on the hill [actually, at the base lodge], and thereafter, using the one any only lift operating, went at it. There was not grooming today. There was natural snow, and there were important patches of ice in areas where a lot of skidding goes on. The natural snow was, throughout the day, in ever changing heaps.

As we skied, I watched skier_j and asked that he watch me. I also watched other skiers obviously far more accomplished than I.

It turns out that skier_j makes GS type turns and looks reasonably graceful while doing so. He said that he can only control his speed with long turns, and so short turns are not something I saw him doing. Just the opposite with me - there is no turn but a short turn, especially skiing among heaps of snow interspersed with important regions of ice. I tried - I really did, I tried to negotiate those hills of hummocks and heaps using those ever so graceful long turns, and for my reward I got a lot of bump-bump-bumpity-bump and nothing resembling speed control.

Does this have something to do with WHERE one skis in the space available? Is there a consideration of "strategy" that's not apparent to these apparently sightless eyes? Pressure, shmeshure!
What the hell is the answer?! Will this poor, sightless soul live long enough to see the light?!

Shine the light, damit! Shine the light!
post #19 of 24
Love this thread. Some great ideas and good teaching going on here. I'm with the majority, skiing in concert with the mountain is more about pressure management and line than anything else. Same on the bike. I ride a rigid singlespeed bike so that I eliminate the other noise and can just focus on the line and pressure managment.

Oboe's snow sounds like a pressure and line puzzle to be reckoned with. Where do you put your skis and when do you want to create pressure, when do you want to absorb pressure? This kindof goes back to weems idea, the tactic is the technique.

Thanks for the inspiration...

post #20 of 24
Having seen the concept of balance dissed based on an interpretation of physics (BobB - in another thread), an attempt to describe the "goal" by reference to Eastern philosophies (Nolo), and the association of Star Wars concept by mention of Master Yoda (Gonz), I now feel free to post my own application of Star Wars meta-physics on this topic of skiing and gravity.

I propose we view gravity as the FORCE. Our goal in skiing then becomes to become one with the FORCE. That means we position ourselves (in a flowing sense of course) both physcially and mentally in a position to always use the FORCE to achieve our true and honorable goals. We know that if we can achieve oneness with the FORCE in this fashion then we can make our world (the Planet Skiing in the Universe of Winter and Mountains) a near perfect place to live. But ....

There is a DARK SIDE to the FORCE to which many of our planetary citizens succomb. Instead of being one with the FORCE they use the FORCE by resisting it. To those of us who are enlightened, we recognize the evil of such use of the FORCE. However, to those who have gone over to the DARK SIDE they only revel in the power they feel from using the force in such a distorted and evil fashion. They often believe that their approach is the more powerful and scoff at our attempts to win them from the DARK SIDE.

In the end of course, the DARK SIDE will lose out and be extinguished. So to do my share, I am going to go out on the 3 or 4 runs that are open here at Solitude and try to advance my mastery of the FORCE. I know that the evil DARK SIDE may raise is spectre at times today but I vow to avoid such temptation the very best I can.

Best, Jeti Si

Oops, almost forgot - May the FORCE be with you! [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

[ December 01, 2002, 07:23 AM: Message edited by: Si ]
post #21 of 24
Originally posted by nolo:
Can you give an example or two of a bad intuitive response? Do you mean like fight or flight responses?
typical responses are leaning backward uphill, and tilting my head mid-turn as if driving a car on a high speed turn. those are my bugaboos.

Si, I'm sorry, I let an "insider" nickname creep in there. I should have clarified that "yoda" is nolo's nickname for the guy who helps me with my skiing technique. I really didn't mean any Star Wars reference, although I'm fond of that character's statement (paraphrased) --

Try? There is no "try," only DO.
post #22 of 24

skier_j sounds like me 3 years ago when yoda first saw me making turns. he said, "you have a beautiful turn, but it's only one turn, and you can't ski the whole mountain with only one turn."

apparently I'd spent my formative years (17-24, when I worked in a ski shop living in DC) emulating GS racers and thought that they were the pinnacle of all skiing - to the point of excluding every other type of turn. boy it's no wonder I had such a hard time in moguls... I'd never even given any thought to shorter turns.

anyway, in the context of responding to the varying snow conditions, we had an EXCELLENT thread on this topic last season. I offered some of yoda's observations about "driving the ski forward" and using a variable driving force with the skier ready to change the force as the snow's feel changed. I described the "driving force" as one in which you are trying to shear the binding's toe piece off the ski with a forward pressure. It's not a shin pressure, it's a muscular tension variable, hammies & quads & glutes in balance.

I don't recall the name of the thread. I'll try to dig it up.
post #23 of 24
Thanks, Gonz. I get the picture.
post #24 of 24
Originally posted by gonzostrike:
Si, I'm sorry, I let an "insider" nickname creep in there. I should have clarified that "yoda" is nolo's nickname for the guy who helps me with my skiing technique. I really didn't mean any Star Wars reference,
No worrie Gonz, I knew that. Just taking advantage of your nickname for him as an excuse for the Star Wars reference. This is, after all, an internet forum where you get to distort things any way you want isn't it?
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