New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

skiing into counter

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I heard it many times but it sounds like a myth to me. Can someone who can do it offer a detailed description of it and preferably with a vid? Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 25

I can't do a video, but I've always taken it to mean, you do not purposefully rotate your hips to face outside the turn, but you rotate you femur in the hip socket (turning your feet or absorbing the pressures of the arced ski, across the hill gradually or quicker depending on turn size).  You don't physically rotate your hip to a countered position as your skis move through the turn and start to turn across the hill your hips will be facing outside the turn in the direction your new turn will initiate by the time  you complete your first turn. 

 

Your hip will actually be pointing slightly out of the turn from some point in the fall line as your skis arc and you begin to rotate the femur and flex to absorb the pressure.  You will appear to be counter rotated once your hips face out of the turn, but you didn't turn them there, they get there through proper flexion/extension/absorption of the forces in the dynamic turn.

 

Now this is my take on it, and I'm not actively teaching and could view this wrong, so interesting question and I'll be watching for more answers and explanations.

 

 

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the detailed description. I tried to follow your description into mental skiing and it feels good. I ll try it out on real snow soon. Let's hope there will be more contributions.

post #4 of 25

carver - about 8 threads below yours is one I started with essentially the same question.  It contains a lot of info, to include the fact that there are a lot of theories and interpretations.

 

 

(T-Square - Link added for ease of finding the thread discussed.)


Edited by T-Square - 3/6/2009 at 01:32 pm
post #5 of 25

Stand on a hard floor wearing sox (no shoes). Rotate the legs inward (toe in/heel out) to get the feel of the feet pivoting on the floor. Now instead of turning the feet inward/outward turn them both to the left and then to the right. Notice as you do this how the feet stay beneath the hips. The lead that happens is where a countered stance/position comes from. Imagine the skis are now on the snow and the same move happens. If the skis are sliding along their length the body wouldn't be facing the same direction. Even though it didn't turn left / right.

Carver, another mental image is to run into the kitchen counter. BLAMMO!

Like what happened in the other thread, using the term without defining the context a little more can be confusing. Which is why I call it a countered stance/position, not just counter. BTS would call it anticipation to avoid this confusion. Others might think turning the shoulders/pelvis outward is what is meant (it is a form of countering movement). Many forms exist and IMO to keep them seperated we need to define them a little more than just using the word counter.


Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/7/2009 at 12:42 pm
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for reference to the other thread. Sure, I ll take a good look at it. Not sure if I can understand though.

When I start this thread what I have in mind is the other thread is more like a research into what is counter. This thread is more like how to achieve it with the specific technique 'ski into counter'.

post #7 of 25

Ironically getting there means using a movement pattern that allows the feet to stay under the hips (both) first. A steery pivot if you will. I focus on the feet / legs turning not on the body which just keeps moving and facing where it's heading. (Apex of the next turn)

The position that happens is just the outcome, it really isn't the focus. Which sounds like a cop out to say you need to know how to get there before you can get there. Try the socks drill and it should make more sense.

post #8 of 25

Face down the hill.  Point ski tips down the hill.  Gather speed.  Tip skis, but keep upper body facing down the hill. Skis turn across hill, allow feet and legs to follow, keep looking and pointing belly button straight down the hill.  Congratulations. You did it.  Flex outside leg and release cm so that you end up on the outside of the skis, tipping them in the other direction, all while keeping upper body facing down hill.  Skis will tip the other way and come around and cross under you, winding you up in counter in the other direction.  Repeat as needed.  Exaggerate it as a stretching and range of motion exercise; it's good for your skiing.

 

 



Edited by Ghost - 3/8/2009 at 01:35 am
post #9 of 25

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by carver_hk View Post

 

Thanks for reference to the other thread. Sure, I ll take a good look at it. Not sure if I can understand though.

When I start this thread what I have in mind is the other thread is more like a research into what is counter. This thread is more like how to achieve it with the specific technique 'ski into counter'.


 

Carver, it's coming in the next Building Blocks DVD.  Not really a difficult concept.  Just keep your body facing downhill as you make a series of turns and you'll be skiing into counter.  It's the polar opposite of manually creating early counter.  Try the "poles held in front" drill, always keeping them facing down the falline. 

 

www.YourSkiCoach.com

post #10 of 25

Rick and Ghost - I think I mentioned in the other thread that it appeared to me that those of us who ski with our upper bodies facing slightly downhill of the skis are accomplishing counter after the skis pass the fall line.  Does what you say here suggest that you don't recommend counter before your skis reach the fall line?  I think what I have read says that to achieve counter rotation prior to the fall line your upper body must face outside, which is not downhill until you reach the fall line.

post #11 of 25


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveE View Post

 

Rick and Ghost - I think I mentioned in the other thread that it appeared to me that those of us who ski with our upper bodies facing slightly downhill of the skis are accomplishing counter after the skis pass the fall line.  Does what you say here suggest that you don't recommend counter before your skis reach the fall line?  I think what I have read says that to achieve counter rotation prior to the fall line your upper body must face outside, which is not downhill until you reach the fall line.

Steve, Countered stances are as you describe in a general sense. However, there are other situations where you may feel the need to create a countered stance beyond the scope of "facing downhill".
 

post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 

Glad to see that there are more discussion on the movement to achieve 'skiing into counter'. Thanks all. I 'm especially happy to see that Rick will have a formal training video on this technique in his DVD learning set.

post #13 of 25


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveE View Post

 

Rick and Ghost - I think I mentioned in the other thread that it appeared to me that those of us who ski with our upper bodies facing slightly downhill of the skis are accomplishing counter after the skis pass the fall line.  Does what you say here suggest that you don't recommend counter before your skis reach the fall line?  I think what I have read says that to achieve counter rotation prior to the fall line your upper body must face outside, which is not downhill until you reach the fall line.


 

No, by describing what skiing into counter is I don't at all dismiss the values of manually creating early counter.  Horses for courses. 

 

Skiing into counter can provide quickness and flow to a series of turns.  You'll see it used in World Cup skiing quite a bit, but it does have it's shortcomings. 

 

- It introduces an aniticpated position during the transition that creates rotary torque in the body that tries to pivot the skis when the edges disengage from the snow.  In arc to arc skiing that pivot tendency must be resisted to keep the initation a clean and pivot free carve.  It can be done, but it requires some pretty good skills.  For that reason, if a pivot is desired, then skiing into counter fits the bill well,,, but if shedding a pivot in a recreational skier is the goal, then skiing into counter works against the cause. 

 

- In slow skiing on flatter terrain it makes lateral balance through the top of the turn harder.  One of the primary reasons for counter is to enhance the lateral balancing capabilities through angulation.  The need for that is higher in slow turns where centrifugal forces are low.  This can be compensated for, but it requires a greater use of knee angulation.  In higher speed turns forward momentum increases centrifugal force, and reduces the need to angulate early in the turn at the lower edge angles that commonly exist there.

 

- It delays the full pronation of the outside foot.  Counter, along with fore balance, serves to pronate the outside foot and direct pressure to the business side edge of that ski.  That's exactly what we want to happen, and one of the reasons creating early counter works and feels so good. 

 

The above points are the reasons I first teach early counter and driving the new inside hip forward though the transition to students.  It makes many good things happen, and makes learning the skills much easier.  Skiing into counter comes later, and then only with the guidance as to when and where to use it. 

 

www.YourSkiCoach.com

post #14 of 25

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveE View Post

 

Rick and Ghost - I think I mentioned in the other thread that it appeared to me that those of us who ski with our upper bodies facing slightly downhill of the skis are accomplishing counter after the skis pass the fall line.  Does what you say here suggest that you don't recommend counter before your skis reach the fall line?  I think what I have read says that to achieve counter rotation prior to the fall line your upper body must face outside, which is not downhill until you reach the fall line.

 

Not at all.  I was describing how to "ski into counter".  Meaning the directed (via tipping angle) path of the skis takes your lower body along for the ride with them (and if you are a good skier you move in harmony) and creates the counter action (not counter balance, but the counter makes the angulation that creates counter balance easier) or wound up feeling in your body.

 

There is a strong tendency among ski instructors that I had to realize existed before I understood what they were talking about in some threads, not being a ski instructor myself.  That is the tendency to have a model of a skier making turns at standard speed across the fall line while heading generally in that same direction as the fall line.  Being completely undisciplined, my turns are every which way, so I had to realize this tendency existed.  In reality turns are not always down and across the fall line and back.  Sometimes the fall line shifts and you are just following it.  Sometimes you are skiing uphill ( hopefully not in a blind spot where the code would forbid you stop; skiing uphill is worse than stopping in such a spot- just ask any German politician).  Generally speaking the skiing into counter applies with little loss of meaning if the upper body is facing the general direction of travel.  It is useful when skiing fast enough and also having a previous turn.

 

Creating counter without skiing into it is also useful.  I often deliberately create counter by turning my upper body to the opposite direction of the turn to achieve sufficient range of motion to create the angulation needed to achieve a high enough edge angle to carve tight turns at slow speeds.  One example that comes to mind is getting off the lift facing uphill to the slope and turning downhill pure-carve arcing without loosing any speed.  I'm sure there are other places where you would want to it.  Skiing into counter is usually the easiest way to get into counter, and good planning allows it.  Sometimes you need counter and haven't skied into it.

 

Edit: It is possible to need counter above the fall line even when skiing in the standard model above, if you are skiing slowly enough.   If you need a big enough tipping angle and are going slow enough that it requires more angulation than your hips can give you at the current speed, then you will need to get more counter rotation.

 

Long story short: If I need it, I get it, however best fits the situation.

 

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 

I have been experimenting with skiing into counter in learning short turns. What I found is that it takes a lot of core power to do the counter, which doesn't seem agree with physics. Because if we were to stay countered after the fall line it would mean our body is to face more downhill. But if we were to face downhill all the time, like the great skiers doing short turns, should we be just let go the rotation in the femur instead of doing the hard work with the core? Thanks in advance for any contribution.

post #16 of 25

 Carver, its difficult to explain exactly what muscle interactions are involved in maintaining an upper body focus facing down the fall line such as you might in short radius turns, skiing in to counter, so to speak.  IMHO, its just a lot easier to make visualizations about what you need to do and then do it.  Does it involve holding your upper body quiet?  Sure.  But actually you can't just "hold" your upper body quiet without pushing against something to do it.  So in reality there is more proactive stuff going on in terms of counter-acting movements, femur rotation, etc.  Its a blending of a number of different things.  THINKING about concepts like skiing into counter, or holding your upper body square to the fall line, etc..these concepts will help you do this complex coordination of movements in your body to accomplish it.  But its not so much that its all one thing or all the other.

 

 

 

post #17 of 25

A good exercise for developing the femur rotation used in skiing into counter is to stand on something that raises your skis off the snow (here, we have a 4X4 we try to sink slightly into the snow on one edge so the opposite edge is what you stand on) with the support being centered under the middle of your boots and your poles out front far enough to provide sufficient clearance to swing your ski tips back and forth.  Slowly rotate your femurs so the skis turn side to side without your hips twisting.  If necessary, have someone stand behind so they can hold your hips steady.  Then go do the same slow twisting on an easy slope.  Blending the pivoting and edging Ghost described allows "normal" turning that includes skiing into counter. 

post #18 of 25

I'm still hunting for the reason why the Alpine Technical Manual and all the clinic leaders I've skied with insist the one must ski into counter, not make counter happen early.  I haven't gotten a coherent answer yet.

 

In short radius turns there isn't time to do much except to keep the body facing downhill, the old expression of anticipation.

 

In bigger radius turns, assuming that one has their body square with the skis at the turn transition, one can (should?) ski into counter before the skis reach the fall line.  Some folks say that their body should be square with the skis until the fall line and then begin to counter, but they don't have a coherent reason for that, either.

 

Counter has a couple of benefits...it brings the stronger frontal abdominal muscles into the angulation effort instead of the weaker obliques, and it takes up most of the rotation range of the femur joint to help maintain ski tail grip on the snow. 

 

Why not counter intentionally all the time if there is time to do so? 

 

By the way, countering does not mean getting a big tip lead.  The tip lead can be very small (and should be small) while pushing the inside hip forward and pulling the outside hip back.  Tip lead is not a virtue; it is an artifact of the way we bend wearing stiff boots.  Excessive tip lead prevents adequate inversion of the inside foot and puts many folks into the back seat.

 

I think Rick is confusing pronation with eversion.  Pronation is the way most of us have ankles that collapse to the inside...not a problem for most, excessive and a problem for some.  Eversion is the muscular effort to tip the foot to its big toe edge (which causes its own problems).

post #19 of 25

Maybe if you look at the bigger picture of what you do after skiing into a countered stance, all of this would make more sense. It's not that you should try to get square to the skis as much as release, or uncoil from the countered stance at some point. Although I am suspecting you think of a countered stance and square as a destinations and not as outcomes. We end up there when we use leg steering and allow the legs to turn underneath the torso / pelvis that is relatively stable (rotationally). In that context (yes everything needs context) Square is sort of like neutral is for tipping and a countered stance is like tipping the skis to a high edge angle. They are places we pass through but not really final destinations. Hope that helps...


Edited by justanotherskipro - 3/27/2009 at 07:32 pm
post #20 of 25


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post

 

I think Rick is confusing pronation with eversion.  Pronation is the way most of us have ankles that collapse to the inside...not a problem for most, excessive and a problem for some.  Eversion is the muscular effort to tip the foot to its big toe edge (which causes its own problems).


 

Hi SoftSnowGuy.  No, not confused about this.  Eversion is in fact a component of pronation, along with abduction and dorsiflexion.  Pronation is just what happens when your moving and balancing properly.  Some associate it with gait mechanics, where pronation happens naturally.  The comparison to skiing is actually quite legit, and highly useful. 

post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 

Again there are so much to learn from u guys discussion. Thanks all. I particularly like what BTS said. My latest finding experimenting with counter is that it does affect the gripping in turn initiations. And visualizations on the fly helps me to check the effect of counter vs gripping.

post #22 of 25

Stretching.

 

There is a stretch where, while sitting on the floor with your legs in a certain position you turn your body around and look behind you twisting far (how far is a topic for another day).

 

There is a stetch for sidekick where someone else is holding your kicking leg up and you do various things, like shape the foot for kick with heel, kick with blade of foot (hitch-hiking symbol with big toe sticking up), thrust hip, bend down and touch other toe, twist other way, etc.

 

There are many stretches in karate where you let someone else manipulates your legs and you just relax.

 

There is a stretching that goes on where you just keep facing down the hill and your skis wrap your legs around, first one way and then the other.  Holding skipoles in front as left and right picture frames, or holding ski poles horizontal in front while doing this helps.  Feel the stretch.

post #23 of 25

Good thought Ghost. A regimine without stretching only leads to short muscles with a very limited amount of flexibility. A stronger focus on strength and RoM helps us avoid muscle pulls in those adductor / abductors.

post #24 of 25


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by carver_hk View Post

 

 My latest finding experimenting with counter is that it does affect the gripping in turn initiations. And visualizations on the fly helps me to check the effect of counter vs gripping.


 

Yep,,, that's the byproduct of pronation (as long as you're moving forward early), and the extra ability to move the balance point toward the new outside foot.  That's what properly exectuted counter does for you. 

post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 

Ghost, JASP - sure, stretching is a great idea.  Thanks.

 

Rick - Thanks for the confirmation. Actually I also did a bit of single leg balancing drill following your instructional DVD and experimented with counter this time. I think you have described exactly why I get much better control in single leg carve initiation with the condition as you described

 

Quote:

that's the byproduct of pronation (as long as you're moving forward early)

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching