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Pure Carve = Parallel shins?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
I wasn't sure how to add this to Skiiervls's "Rail Road Track Turns", so I thought I would just start a whole new gig. Skiiervls got me thinking about the descriptors used in exams for things like "medium radius pure-carves" and "Rail-Road Track Turns".

Skiiervls made a very valid statement about the turn when it was pointed out that if we consider each ski as arcing along the path of a CIRCLE, their paths would eventually overlap. That is, if we were to tip each ski equally, and barring things like asymmetrical sidecuts!!! At first I took this statement fairly lightly, not considering it as "important" as I should have. when discussing it with my wife in the car, however, I talked my way through it and came up with something I think is valid.

When I'm out doing some skiing, sometimes I look at my tracks to guage how things are going. I search each turn for signs that I might not be as active as I want to be with the inside ski. Before last night, the biggest sign was the tracks being narrower at the start and end of the turn than in the "belly" of the turn. I thought that meant that I was A-Framing. But now that I think about it, wouldn't the tracks do that even if the shafts of my legs were parallel? If that is true, we need to re-think how we describe things like the RR Track Turn to exam candidates.

Currently, one of the criteria that must be met for pure carves in exam is that the tracks you leave behind must be equi-distant apart throughout the turn. (or just keep the skis the same distance apart throughout. depends on how the examiner sees it.) Another states that the shafts of the lower legs should be parallel! Well, I may be being picky here, but if I keep the tracks parallel, I either have to add a bit of rotary to the inside and skid (and fail the exam) or tip the inside leg MORE than the outside and be docked points for being bow-legged.

Anyway, I'm beginning to understand why one of my instructors had such a hard time with this maneuver last year. I kept saying "try to keep the shins parallel and tip in unison" and she kept saying "it feels like I have to turn my inside ski so that it doesn't cross into the other one!" Don't I feel like a Jack-A##.

Any thoughts? Am I misunderstanding something here? Skiiervls - Thanks for the insightful post earlier. It really got me thinking. I don't do that very often!!!

Peace, love, and axle grease,
Spag :

[ August 17, 2002, 09:44 AM: Message edited by: Notorious Spag ]
post #2 of 34
What the heck do I know, but when look for good skiing, I look for parallel shins. Anything else to me, is not good skiing.

Edit:
But you asked about parallel shins when carving. Yes, one should have parallel shins.

[ August 17, 2002, 10:20 AM: Message edited by: SCSA ]
post #3 of 34
Spag -

Suppose you want to keep the separation of your two edges exactly equal to one foot for the entire duration of a RR track turn. If you are on good firm snow, and no skidding can be used to cheat a bit, then, exactly as you said, the turning radius of the outside ski must always be equal to the turning radius of the inside ski PLUS the 12 inches of spacing that you want to hold constant during the turn.

As you said, given the above constraints, the only way to do this is to have the edge angle of the inner ski somewhat more than the edge angle of the outside ski.

So, the $64 question is, why don't we see this?

Assume your skis have a sidecut radius of 20 meters, and assume the edge angle of the inner ski is 30 degrees. Then, the theoretical carved turn radius of that ski will be 20 * Cos (30) = 17.32 meters.

If you edge the inner ski just two degrees more (ie, 32 degrees), then, its theoretical carved turn radius will be 20 * Cos (32) = 16.96 meters. Thus, the difference in turn radii between your two skis will be 0.36 meters or about 14 inches, a bit more than the desired 12 inch separation.

Thus, I think that the reason for the apparent discrepancy that you described is that the required 2 degree (or less) difference in edge angles is so small that its simply very hard to see.

In addition, an edging differnce of 2 degrees can be easily masked by differences in ankle roll within the boot, covered up by bulky clothing, masked by a bit of residual rotary input and small differences in fore/aft and inside/outside pressuring and weight distribution (on slightly softer snow), etc. etc.

I don't think there is any big mystery here, its just that we are talking about a very small effect.

Tom / PM
post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 
OK right on PhysMan! I'll agree that I'm splitting hairs here. My suggestion that an examiner might fail you for being bow-legged may have been a little over the top. But if I were to open this up to the realm of Kinesthetics, wouldn't that 2 degree difference FEEL like miles for someone who has a great awareness for where they are in space? Such a person, I think, would have a hard time digesting the current descriptions of these maneuvers. A candidate who doesn't feel right on top of their maneuvers is going to have a harder time passing the exam than one who is spot on... physically, mechanically, and mentally.

The instructor I mentioned earlier really had a tough time with that inside ski. We worked on every thing, but I don't think I realized what she was going through. I believe that I was locked into this one description that made sense to ME, and because I was athletic enough to pull off the maneuver, I never really had to delve into all its little parts and pieces. Maybe if I were to develop a better understanding of this concept, I will be better able to help my staff. Hence, the reason I posted this topic.

Thanks PM! Keep the info coming. My brain is thirsty after a summer of sucking mud and breaking rocks.
post #5 of 34
I think the inside shin has to tip more than the outside in order to keep the tracks equidistant.

I remember Bob B telling me he feels as though the inside knee is getting further and further away from the outside ski.

We have talked about this a great deal, however, it does me little good to feel as though I'm "closing" my inside ankle. I have to feel as though I'm driving my outside hip forward. It's almost as though I'm over rotating. It's the only way I can avoid getting overly countered.

Bob B has also helped me by having me drive my outside hand forward and down during the shaping phase of the turn.

So....no I don't think the shins should be parallel. I think the inside shin has to be tipping more. Kinda a reverse A frame.
post #6 of 34
Another factor to consider.

When there is minimal tip lead with the inside ski it allows the tip of that ski to engage the snow. The radius of a side cut tends to be more drastic in the tip as oposed to under the foot.

Assuming a skier's legs are close to parallel. By minimizing tip lead the inside ski will be pulled into a tighter arc by the side cut of the skiis tip.
post #7 of 34
Hapski - That is exactly what I was thinking of when I said:

>...masked by ... small differences in fore/aft and inside/outside pressuring...

However, now that I think about this a bit more, just how likely is it that there would ever be more forebody pressuring on the the inside ski compared to the outside ski, unless the skier was doing something really odd like pulling the inside ski so far back that it actually was to the rear of the outside ski (ie, like a telemark turn)?

Tom / PM
post #8 of 34
Spag: >...But if I were to open this up to the realm of Kinesthetics, wouldn't that 2 degree difference FEEL like miles for someone who has a great awareness for where they are in space? Such a person, I think, would have a hard time digesting the current descriptions of these maneuvers. ...

Rusty: >...I remember Bob B telling me he feels as though the inside knee is getting further and further away from the outside ski....

I think you both hit the nail on the head. It may only be 2 degrees, but it sure feels to me like there is a watermellon between my knees, and I don't consider myself very sensitive to body position, especially when I'm busy doing something else like trying a new move.

I remember the first time "I got it", the amount of movement of my inner knee felt absurdly large. But, when I look at the only recent video I have of myself skiing, I'm astonished by how parallel my shins manage to stay (disclamer - it was at low speeds on an easy groomer - don't go getting any sort of idea that I'm a good skier from this comment - grin).

Tom / PM
post #9 of 34
I want to stress that the movement begins in the foot. I like to feel as though all the tipping is in the ankle and that knee movement is minimal until very late in a very tight turn.
post #10 of 34
Yep I had this in my exam too! As I practiced my demo I found, which is only real if I would have just thought about it sooner, the outside knee will move to the inside more than the inside knee will inside. Duh! [img]redface.gif[/img] What I then worked on was to always have the outside knee mimic the inside knee. Start with the inside ski and match the turn subtly with the outside ski. This will mean each person creates by virtue of their own stature and skis a specific railroad track turn. If the inside tip hooks up I would suggest backing off the cuff pressure and, dare I say this, getting a little heelzy to allow the tip to un hook. The easiest part was following the examiners tracks. Then I could make subtle adjustments with my feet rather than worry about parallel anything since that appeared to be the focus.

A great way to practice is a bungee cord in a looped and hooked around your knees. If you can’t keep the bungee from falling down you are “A” framed! This may also mean you need an alignment check.

Disclaimer: Use caution! I have never seen the bungee trip anyone but it could happen.

Have a GREAT day.
post #11 of 34
PhysicsMan

When skiing train track type carve turns I feel the "water mellon' between the legs, yet when looking at video the shins apear to be parallel and there is minimal tip lead.

The inside leg is much shorter than the outside leg. In days of old this would have meant a tip lead and a straight ankle with weight to the heel or tail of the inside ski.

Trying to keep tip lead to a minimum feels at times like pulling that foot back. There is a definate 'pinching' feel in the ankle of the inside foot. This really loads the tip of the insde ski alowing the tip of the inside ski to be 'more' engaged thus tightening the arc.

Remember this discussion is a carved 'two footed ' turn. These movements are specific to this outcome and will change as the expected outcome and conditions dictate.
post #12 of 34
Thread Starter 
Hapski, before I say this I want you to know that I'm getting some good stuff out of this. Just being the Devil's advocate here, but when does the "pinch" in the ankle stop being functional and turn into "LEVERING"? I'm very cautious when it comes to "loading the tip" of either ski. By pulling the inside foot back and closing the ankle, I may feel a little too much shin/boot contact on that side. Any thoughts?

Spag :
post #13 of 34
Notorious Spag GREAT POINT

Anything is too much when it dominates your thoughts or movements. All things that we discuss as feelings or positions exist for a split second during a turn.

The feeling of pulling the foot back or the pinch are feelings i may work on with a student to encorage a movement.

Once that movment has been incorporated into thier movment pattern I will stress that is is something they wont try to create every turn but that they may observe in most turns of that type.
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by Hapski:
...The inside leg is much shorter than the outside leg. ... Trying to keep tip lead to a minimum feels at times like pulling that foot back. There is a definate 'pinching' feel in the ankle of the inside foot. This really loads the tip of the insde ski alowing the tip of the inside ski to be 'more' engaged thus tightening the arc....
Yup, you're right, of course. When I posted my earlier comment, I guess I was thinking about very low speed, low-G, beginner's RR tracks where the inside leg isn't that much shorter than the outside, so even when you pull the inside leg back, you don't load up its tip very much more than the outside ski. Thanks for the great insight.

Tom / PM

[ August 18, 2002, 10:08 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #15 of 34
Spag started this with:
Quote:
When I'm out doing some skiing, sometimes I look at my tracks to guage how things are going. I search each turn for signs that I might not be as active as I want to be with the inside ski. Before last night, the biggest sign was the tracks being narrower at the start and end of the turn than in the "belly" of the turn. I thought that meant that I was A-Framing. But now that I think about it, wouldn't the tracks do that even if the shafts of my legs were parallel? If that is true, we need to re-think how we describe things like the RR Track Turn to exam candidates.
I think Spag is exactly right that in DYNAMIC turns our tracks will be wider in the belly of the turn because you need to get your inside foot out of the way to get a high edge angle on your inside foot. To look at it another way, if your feet stay the same distance apart laterally (with the long axis of your body as the frame of reference)and you extend the outside leg and flex the inside leg, your tracks need to get further apart. But railroad tracks are a drill for teaching carved turns and do not typically get to high edge angles. Physics Man had it right that this is all about small differences. For example, if I start with a 12 inch difference between my tracks in the fall line, and hold my turn until I am 45 degrees off the fall line, my tracks will still be 8 1/2 inches apart, IF I carve perfectly, which I don't. I think that amount of difference can be made up with small amounts of steering the inside ski.
Spag is also right that the way we describe RR turns should re-thought. We did RR tracks at my recent level 3 exam, but as I recall the direction from the examiners was to initiate the turn with no rotary at all, and then stay with the turn as long as possible. I don't recall any instruction to focus on keeping our tracks parallel or equally spaced, and I'm certain there was no discussion of using higher edge angles on the inside ski. "No rotary at the turn initiation" seems to me the entire point of RR turns.
post #16 of 34
I don't beleive it is possible to have a perfectly tracked two ski parallel turn and parallel lower legs [ shins.] It may look that way, but due to differences in the arc of turn radius for each ski, and femur rotation in the hip socket, physically it is an impossibility. the possible exception is for the briefest of transitional moments.

Using the mental image of parrallel shins to enhance a turn that, at the same time, involves the big toe edge of one ski and the corresponding little toe edge of the other ski, to help acheive the objective of a RR type turn, is worthy, but most like impossible to achieve or even being aware that in fact, it happens.

[ August 21, 2002, 06:27 AM: Message edited by: wink ]
post #17 of 34
Hey all you “Train Track Engineers”, that’s some interesting discussion there, but let’s keep the original intent of “parallel shins” in mind and remember that the concept works and should not be diluted by the various theories of why it can’t work.

It’s Simple:
#1 YES, two skis arcing along the path of a circle will eventually overlap, BUT in the short segments of the circle that makes up an average ski turn, the arcs will seem to be “roughly” parallel and equal distance apart, that is what PSIA should be looking for. Check it out for yourself, go to a design program and create an arc that looks to be a ski turn to you, copy it, and lay it down next to the original, move it around and you’ll see that we would be happy to make parallel shin turns despite the small change in the distance between the tracks.

#2 A skiers alignment (ankle) will effect the arcs despite perfectly parallel shins “lower legs”

#3 Pressure control can’t be regulated to the perfect 50/50 mix that would allow both arcs to be the same.

#4 A snow surface will never allow for perfectly matched arcs to be created, it is too inconsistent.

#5 An examiner is only looking to see that you can create pure carved turns that are roughly maintaining a hip width stance. If you think you have to skid (steer) your inside foot do that, you probably will fail. A student that thinks they feel the inside foot converging is probably not maintaining equal edge angle.

#6 You guys are way too smart, sometimes way too smart! [img]smile.gif[/img]

When explaining the Railroad track turns concept, I like to focus on the:
a) Wider platform to provide room to move the knees and a more stable platform
b) Parallel leg shafts to “keep the knees from bumping into each other” and getting the skis to carve as close to a parallel set of tracks as possible.

K.I.S.S.
FASTSKIS
post #18 of 34
Fatskis,

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record on this subject but.

Equal pressure is not necessary to make concentric arcs with your skis. All that is needed is a little more edge angle on the inside ski and enough pressure on that ski to flex it into contact with the snow surface. Once it is in contact with a hard packed snow surface along its entire length the addition of more pressure will not cause it to flex further just carve a deeper groove in the snow. If you don't believe this try this little experiment. Put on one ski and boot. On a carpeted surface tip the ski on edge and push untill the ski decambers and forms an arc on the rug. Now without changing the edge angle of the ski push harder. Does the ski flex more or just dig deeper into the rug? Now keep the pressure the same and increase the edge angle of the ski. Doesn't this make the ski form a tighter arc? Finally, notice just how little pressure you have to apply to the ski to get it to flex.

Yd

PS. Personally, I use large sections of the arc of the circle for my turns (this ties in with the concept of skiing the slow line fast). So I do need the two skis to carve concentric arcs.

[ August 21, 2002, 11:39 AM: Message edited by: Ydnar ]
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by fastskis:
...and should not be diluted by the various theories of why it can't work. ...
1) Did you read the previous messages carefully? No one ever said that it can't work.

2) I understand your laudable goal of keeping things simple. I can assure that any on-the-hill coaching on this topic would NOT sound anything like this discussion. EpicSki is one of the few (if only) places to really forge a deep understanding of ski mechanics and instruction, so discussions here are often much more detailed than you would find in any other situation.

3) With respect to your other points, with the exception of your somewhat inaccurate statement about 50/50 pressuring, these things were all touched upon in earlier messages, so, again I have to wonder if you actually read the previous messages carefully. Were you agreeing but attempting to change the emphasis?

Tom / PM
post #20 of 34
A normal question in a Level II exam is "so, how do you make the radius of a turn longer or shorter?"

The two primary means are edge angle and pressure.

If the shins are parallel that would mean that the edge angles are equal, so wouldn't the ONLY way to shorten the turning radius of the inside ski be to increase the pressure?
post #21 of 34
I think that there is always an underlying assumption to most demonstrations and discussions of RR track turns that you are skiing on a firm base. On such a surface, your edges may leave grooves in a top layer of softer snow, but this layer plays almost no part in the mechanics of the turn. (I give the reason for this assumption of a firm base towards the end of this message).

In this case of a firm base, what Ydnar (and others) have repeatedly said is exactly true: Once you put enough force on the ski to have its waist bottom out on the hard layer that you are actually skiing on, more force will do nothing. The ski is up on edge at a fixed angle, and is in reverse camber by a fixed amount. Together with the sidecut of the skis, these quantities precisely and uniquely define one curve through the snow, which, if you are not skidding, is the arc you skis will follow, come hell or high water [img]smile.gif[/img] .

To shorten the radius of this arc, you would have to increase the amount of reverse camber in the skis at a given edge angle. To do this you would have to make your skis dig into the hard layer more, and this just isn't going to happen to any appreciable extent.

Of course, in the real world, you may be skiing on slush, corn, or any of a hundred varieties of softer snow, and changes in the downward force you exert on the ski will change its degree of reverse camber at a given edge angle, and WV's comment that pressure will change the radius is valid.

Unfortunately, in most of these snows, the degree of compaction of the snow is sufficiently large that even the best executed RR tracks wash out and so you can't really use them to help evaluate the execution of the turn, so the "standard" surface to demonstrate and discuss RR tracks is what I described in the first paragraph.

In these other snows, of course pressure will make a difference, its just that a physical description of turns in snow somewhere between hardpack and powder gets very complicated. This discussion was specifically about RR track turns, and I think that is where the some of the confusion entered.

Clear as mud?

Tom / PM

[ August 21, 2002, 02:07 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #22 of 34
Thread Starter 
The reason we have these converstions HERE is so that OUT THERE, we CAN KIS,S! Sorry Fastskis, just messin' witcha!

Now I'm curious as to other's thoughts on PRESSURE control during these maneuvers. Is Pressure really something we can CREATE? PM touched on the idea that the skis will "find" a certain depth to which they will penetrate the snow. That's an important point. On firm conditions, that depth is fairly shallow. In soft conditions, the dirt can sometimes be the limit!

In my eye, there are only a few ways to ADD pressure to the inside ski, but only one of them will ever really help... TRANSFERRING pressure from one foot to the next. And even that is finite. You cannot add pressure to a ski for any sustained amount of time without subtracting pressure from the other ski. Pressure is the RESULT of the forces we create while turning and their interaction with our weight. I don't believe we can "create" more pressure than we have by any muscular means. (though it would be cool if we could!)

That being said, and assuming we strive to achieve a solid, 60/40 or 50/50 weight distribution over the skis, tipping the inside ski a bit beyond the outside ski is maybe a good describer come exam training time.

But gnaw on this for a sec. (I thought about this a while ago, and then forgot about it) If both skis are tipped equally, and we DON'T wish to tip the inside a little more. Is it possible add a SUBTLE rotary move to engage the tip of an edged ski? Or does that turn into Levering? Hmmmm. Maybe I'll check it out in a few months when I get to ski again. This last paragraph is hardly relevant, just me grinding the ol' gears!!

Fastskis. My intent is not to change what the examiner is looking for. He/she should be able discern what is good skiing and what is not. That is, after all, whey they are examiners and not plain old dough-heads like myself. My intent is to develop an alternative understanding in my own brain that might help someone who "isn't getting it", as it was with the instructor I mentioned earlier. The CONCEPT of parallel shins does work, but it's just a concept, as is "tipping the inside ski a bit more than the outside". At the end of the day, the examiner will see "hip-width, blah, blah, blah, clean arcs, blah blah" regardless of the training regime.

I don't mind being referred to as "way too smart" either. It's better than what my wife calls me!!

Spag :
post #23 of 34
WVSkier

The two, edge and pressure are not mutually exclusive. If I increase my edge angle I necessarily increase the pressure too. When the edge angle increases the surface area of the ski in contact with the snow decreases, the same force is applied to a smaller area, woila more pressure.

Also just because the leg shafts are parallel doesn't mean that they can't be tipped more to increase edge angle.

[ August 21, 2002, 04:07 PM: Message edited by: Tom Burch ]
post #24 of 34
TomB - FWIW, I think that when most skiers talk about "pressure", what they really mean the *force* perpendicular to the topsheet that they exert on the ski with their foot. I think people started calling it "pressure" because you "press" with your foot, nothing more scientific than that.

Unfortunately, while the observations you made in your recent post are absolutely true, I think that the pounds per square inch, scientific/engineering definition of pressure that you used doesn't even enter their minds of most skiers. Maybe the geeks of Epic can buck the trend and make pressure mean pressure, and force mean force once again! [img]smile.gif[/img]

NSpag - Basically, I completely agree with you that if you are working with a given weight and g-force during a turn, then, in steady state, the sum of the downward forces that you feet can apply to your skis is fixed at a constant value.

You can momentarily increase this sum by stomping on your skis, or momentarily decrease it by doing a quick retraction, but these changes in total force will be over in a second, and you always return to the steady state values. As you said, you can also shift the combined force around to be mostly on one leg, mostly on the other, or something in-between.

You commented about the possibility of using "some subtle rotary to engage the tip of an edged ski". This is a very interesting and subtle idea. For concreteness, lets imagine we are talking about an edged inside ski, say, right at the start of a turn (ie, as you are starting your turn into the fall line).

If that ski is completely off the ground or weighted very lightly, then, of course, rotary can be used to help get the edge of that tip closest to the center of the turn on the ground and engaged.

However, if that ski any has significant weight on it, since the edge near the tip can't go any further into the ground on hardpack, the same rotary input will actually tend to lift the tail off the ground or at least reduce the force with which the tail is being driven into the hill. If enough of this force is removed, the tail of that ski will start to skid slightly and the difference in drag will make that ski come around even faster (ie, just like increased edging will do, but for a totally different reason).

I think this is the explanation behind why many people insist that they are using rotary on the inside leg even in carved turns. I suspect that if you went back and looked at their tracks, there would be smearing by their inside ski.

Thoughts?

Tom / PM

[ August 21, 2002, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #25 of 34
I guess I must have sounded to forceful in my reply to get this back...
:
Quote:
Originally posted by PhysicsMan:
Did you read the previous messages carefully? No one ever said that it can't work.

with the exception of your somewhat inaccurate statement about 50/50 pressuring, these things were all touched upon in earlier messages, so, again I have to wonder if you actually read the previous messages carefully.
Tom / PM
I'm telling you guys, you're thinking about it way too much, but that's OK, someone has to do it! [img]smile.gif[/img]

Peace
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by fastskis:
I guess I must have sounded to forceful in my reply to get this back...
Maybe me too.

[img]smile.gif[/img]

Tom / PM
post #27 of 34
PM,

Skiers might not think about it to often but it happens. It is an example of pressure control movements being effected by edge control movements that allows a ski to bend more. If one were to use their hands to tip a ski the edge angle could be increased without the waist of the ski necessarily touching the snow. Nearly all skills, or movements, in skiing have secondary effects that influence other skills. One of the things that differentiate an expert skier from an intermediate is there ability to modify the skill blending to accomplish their desired task.
post #28 of 34
>...Skiers might not think about it to often but it happens

I agree totally. I wasn't saying that it (ie, the use of pressure) doesn't happen, I was just quibbling about the terminology confusion where most people use the words pressure and force almost interchangeably (if they use the word "force" at all).

>...Nearly all skills, or movements, in skiing have secondary effects that influence other skills. One of the things that differentiate an expert skier from an intermediate is there ability to modify the skill blending to accomplish their desired task....

WORD !!!

These cross-skill effects never fail to astonish me, especially in my own skiing. If only the adjustments were more automatic - sigh :

Tom / PM

[ August 22, 2002, 09:48 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #29 of 34
Ok, Spag...lemme git this straight! When I ski, the shins are parallel....both of them?
I just got into Nederland and Elke went to her first day of school...setting up shop! Drop me a line! Oh, and great topic...but I agree, sometimes, junior...ya just think too damn much! Let's see...one shin parallel or both...gotta think about that one!

[ August 22, 2002, 09:20 PM: Message edited by: Robin ]
post #30 of 34
Thread Starter 
NIIIIIIIIICE! What is Elke doing in school already? Running the joint already, probably.

I like that concept... 1 parallel shin. Hmmmm.

I may think about it too much, but it's all I got! If I were in the midst of a ski season right now, I'd be out DOING it instead of thinking about it.

PhysMan. Thank you for the clarification on the rotary. I agree that, based on previous discussion, the tail would most certainly wash out.

Robin, PM me!

Spag :
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