Try this, if you would. Stand (barefoot in shorts) in a position approximating the end of a turn, feet a little edged and body appropriately twisted slightly toward a new turn. First trigger with intent to move your knee, that would become the new inside one, toward the new turn as you lighten its passive foot. Notice how the foot wants to turn in the direction of the knee movement, from the rotary adduction of the femur turns (unless you artificially hold it back, which would be chaotic to do while skiing). Second, from same setup, trigger with intent to roll over that same foot while lightening it (inversion, not suppination, the old PSIA manuals got that wrong). Notice that the foot changes edges before it received any rotary effect even though knee movement was recruited and that edging result to the foot remains dominant. You should either notice the difference, or discover that you actually do invert your foot. If so, why not just make the "intent " focus where it is more accurate?
When we biomechanically evaluate movement results, and efficiency, our "order of movement" is the foundation the results and efficiency are built upon. Different options, or blends, come with the timing, intensity, rate and duration variables. What the appropriate blend is depends upon on our "intent" or option we choose. Do we intend to change our edges with minimum redirection (max carving), or intend to create maximum redirection during the edge change (max braking), or intend something in-between?
Biomechanically our body genius attempts to respond to our "intent". We get our best results when our intended movement (blend) and intended result are compatible with biomechanical efficiency. When they are we "flow", are in "the groove", in the "zone". When they are not we struggle, are inconsistent, "off", or "out of it".
Having intent to roll the foot over first recruits the knee in support of the action as the kinetic chain is engaged for large adductor muscles to support small inverter muscles resulting in biomechanical harmony. Having intent to move the knee first will only result in the foot getting passively rolled over as a function of the leg levering against the cuff of the boot as there is no kinetic chain or muscular recruitment for small muscles that invert the foot to support the large ones that adduct the femur to move the knee resulting in biomechanical clumsiness. Without the "intent" to roll the foot, which starts movement with the foot, the whole process is less efficient. It clearly takes a much larger movement from the knee to get results than one from the foot. Yes, the two movements might be described as different blends, and the results may be appear similar, but are actually different (because they came from different movements).
At most levels of skiing one could make the point that the difference is no big deal, potato, potatoe, many ways to skin the cat, etc. I guess is a matter of how fundamentally sound you want to build your foundation for your options and potential, for inhibited or unlimited growth?
A big part of our body's genius lies in the tremendous efficiency of movements, especially those with balancing requirements, that originate with the feet. All of the best skiers that I've ever skied with all intuitively recognize this and clearly ski "from" their feet, with strong "intent" to simply do with their feet what they intend their skis to do.
I was lucky enough to ski my first 160 days in lace up leather boots. What I learned from them was that without intentional movements starting from the feet, large compensating movements elsewhere were needed otherwise. For example, if you did not first edge with your feet, you got hardly any edging at all, even with Stein-like angles. Since then I've learned from many people many things about skiing, some confirming, some contradicting, but nothing as fundamentally important as the concept of starting from the feet. As equipment has evolved the concept has only become more efficient and effective for me, while at the same time less of a focus in the sport overall because there was now so much boot to "lever" with from higher up in the body. I move my feet first, using my boots to initially tip my legs, while most skiers move their legs first to use their boots to tip their feet. Very different! However, everything I've learned from exploring biomechanics has provided insight, clarification and conformation in support of the concept of starting movements from the feet first.
One great attribute of skiing is the diversity of ways you can choose to ski, any way you want to. My choice is to continue using, and teaching, the efficiency of foundational movements starting from the feet (until something better comes along?). Not only does my own skiing continue to evolve, but my students enjoy the benefit of my providing them with an efficient movement foundation that both gives them enjoyable options and uninhibited learning potential.
To me that's a lot of smilage to get out of an old pair of leather boots.
:[ April 21, 2002, 10:25 AM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]