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Best foot forward

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Been involved in early season clinics for the past five days and in the course of them have been playing with something that I would like to get a little feedback on.

This started with a request for some feedback on railroad track turns. The skier who brought the subject up felt that they could get the outside ski to carve but that they couldn't get a matching carve with the inside ski. I had them pull the inside ski back under their body which pressured the tip and engaged the tip of the ski to produce the two footed carves that they were after. Holding the ski back kept the carve going the whole turn. Later I was fooling around on the beginner hill waiting for a group to come out from lunch and got to thinking about Pierre's "Bulldozer Turns" which were essentially the same idea of holding or pulling back the inside ski. Now it occurred to me that the reason that a bulldozer turns is because the outside tread is moving faster than the inside tread and that I could simulate that by moving the ski that will be the new outside ski forward as I moved through the release and transition portion of the previous turn. This action did indeed seem to lead to a turn even when I consciously made no releasing movement. Later, when the group was doing a little free skiing I tried the foot forward idea in a variety of turn shapes and sizes and terrain. In all cases the move produced a very solid, smooth entry to the turn with a very early edge engagement. Later in talking with other instructors, all very experienced with up to thirty years plus of teaching, about this experience I found only one who had ever heard of this movement being used. Has anyone out there (besides Floyd) ever experimented with this?

If anyone wants to play with this let me describe it once more. Start by holding the inside foot of a turn under your body through the turn then at the end of the turn move that foot forward through the edge change into the new turn. This is an offensive/aggressive move "into the future" so you want your body moving forward. Logically it would seem that this move could put you in the backseat although I never experienced that even when I "drove the foot strongly forward".

Comments from those who try this or anyone who has had experience with this or a similar move would be appreciated.

post #2 of 20
I am so pleased that you are opening this up. Pierre, eh! has described in biomechanical detail the "bulldozer turn" and I believe that the subject initially may have begun when he was discussing the "short reaching turn" a la PSIA. This is almost counter intuitive, but there it is - and it's a great tool. However, except for discussions on this web site alluding to Pierre, eh! and the bulldozer turn, I have never ever heard this technique mentioned by an instructor or anyone else. I am looking forward to reading more - right here - on this fascinating subject. Thanks again for bringing it up.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 16, 2001 10:03 AM: Message edited 1 time, by oboe ]</font>
post #3 of 20
40 years ago we used to call that the shuffle turn.

post #4 of 20
In the WC Slalom progression thread posted by Bob Barnes, the racers appear to be doing that "shuffle turn" wouldn't you say, Ott?
post #5 of 20
Not really, those racers just keep the lead until the next turn starts. Once the outside ski edge starts biting, the body position naturally brings the inside ski into the lead.

The shuffle turn was what Ydnar describes as a turn initiation. The feet were shuffled against a stable upper body, mostly stabilized via a pole plant.

It's not a pretty maneuver and requires added ski input, not necessary anymore with modern equipment. But one can always play around with it. That's what Ydnar seems to be doing. Experimentation is always educational, even when one eventually discards the notion.

post #6 of 20
I think feeling good about the pulling and/or pushing of either foot during turn initiation is a symptom of poor center of mass management. If pushing the outside foot ahead helps your turn, you probably are moving too far inside in comparison of how far you move forward with the CM.
post #7 of 20
While, I have a little computer time again, as I separated my shoulder, and am taking a day off.
Anyway, I remember skiing with a clinician who had us play with this idea. He called it a telemark turn (same basic idea as a tele). I've also heard of the shuffle turn, as ott described it.
I see some of this idea in the reaching turn and other times when trying to load the ski up in an accellerated fashion. I'm not sure I agree with Kneale. Seems the ability to move the feet around around under the cm to try to create different outcomes shows pretty solid balance and a focus on the feet. If the feet are doing good stuff and have the ability to make adjustments, cm shouldn't have to be overly "managed". Anyway, I didn't have time to think that through to much, so kneale, let me know what you think.


p.s. as far as the pulling back idea, I'm a big fan of it. So many good skiers get that big lead change, and end up "levered" between their feet, instead of balanced on them. This can create too much forward pressure which can be a big problem when they come looking to work on their off piste turns because they overload the shovel and get tossed. By pulling the inside foot back, and sometimes pushing the new outside foot forward, they can come to a place where both skis are working through the crud. they are then balanced over the feet instead of levered between them. Anyway, hope this makes since. Cheers
post #8 of 20
The Mahres used to talk about inside knee drive at the end of the turn. Eric Sienberg suggested it in a clinic in 87. If you look at Aamodt in HH's first tape you will see that move(regardless of what HH says he's doing)
post #9 of 20
I think that people have trouble making pencil line turns with the inside ski if the inside foot has too much lead. This is because the foot is too far ahead of the hip to allow them to stand on (commit to)the ski, whatsoever.
Why do we have skiers with excessive lead (me included)? I think it is a way to compensate for insufficient flex of the inside ankle - ie: move it out of the way so the outside leg can flex. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
For someone who has developed a habit of skiing a large lead, changing the lead will feel like "pulling back", but in realty it is just "holding back". Eventually it should feel less like pulling back and more like "functional tension" in the ankle.
Just my .02.
post #10 of 20
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Blizzard:
... changing the lead will feel like "pulling back", but in realty it is just "holding back". Eventually it should feel less like pulling back and more like "functional tension" in the ankle.

I played around with this a bit last season, and plan to do more as soon as we get some snow around here.

For me, the most useful exercise was to first slide my inside foot *way* forward, and then *way* back, all while trying to keep its its edge angle and inside/outside weight distribution constant. These first moves were quite exaggerated - much larger than you would ever use in real skiing, but they quickly taught my foot what to feel for.

I could clearly feel the reduction in effectivness if I went too far forward or back. Then, by sliding it forward and back by smaller, more realistic amounts, you could feel and then tune in an optimal position, much like you would "tune-in" an old fashioned radio. At the best position, which did indeed feel somewhat "pulled-back", there was clearly pressure on the little-toe edge of my inside ski ahead of my boot, but not all the way up at the tip (ie, not like an incipient tail lift of the inside ski).

When I dialed-in what felt like the proper degree of tip lead, my inside ski would track quite well the outside ski. However, if the tip lead varied fore or aft from the optimal ammt, I could feel the inside ski tend to try to either diverge or telemark (ie, stem, but with the inside ski behind) and require conscious foot steering to correct. In this exercise, I was trying mightily to keep the edge angle and weighting of the inside ski constant, but with the exaggerated moves (and no video), I'm not sure how successful I was at this.

With the inside foot too far ahead at the end of one turn, the switch to the next turn would feel like "more work than necessary". In particular, it felt like I was always taking a step forward on each transition as I had to always keep moving my CM forward to get it in the right fore-aft position over the new outside ski.

That's my two cent contribution to this topic.

Tom / PM

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 17, 2001 08:39 AM: Message edited 1 time, by PhysicsMan ]</font>
post #11 of 20
Those seem like good observations to me. The reason it is "more work than necessary" when the lead is far ahead is that you need to pull yourself back into the front seat (hips over foot) at the beginning of each turn. It is much easier if your hip is already over the new outside foot at the very beginning of the turn.
post #12 of 20
Holiday, maybe the term CM "management" connotes too much activity. I feel the CM should flow continuously and smoothly rather than move in a herky-jerky stop and go manner. That flow should be inside the arc the skier intends the skis to track, not just toward the center of the turn. A part of having that occur is standing on both feet at the transition between turns. You can't be standing on both feet at that point if you're shuffling them around.
post #13 of 20
i don't think we're as far off as first thought. I'm with you on flow, and I don't feel the movements I mentioned were shuffling around in their non exercize form (yes, exaggerations to create sensations may be seen as a shuffle). As you said, you should be balanced on both feet to flow through the transition, but what part of the feet. The feeling of pulling back, (or as blizzard put so succinctly, 'functional tension") to keep the angle of the ankle closed still leaves you balanced on the feet, but with a more precise position from which to allow the ski to work. Same idea with the slight extension of the ankle on the new outside ski. This slight opening of the ankle may move the balance back from the front of the arch to the back of the arch and in so doing help to free the shovel of the ski to slice through instead of dig into tough snow. If you have the freedom to play with these minute adjustments, then the cm is most likely balanced and stable. That cm "management" is what allows the freedom to create the desired outcome from the feet.

Maybe that's clear,
cheers, Holiday

PS. This thread make me think back to the "most common problem thread" with everyone discussing skiers in the back seat. In some ways, I think one of the most common problems I see with young instructors, people who have a bit of race training, and other "good" skiers, is excess forward pressure. they've worked to hard to get out off their heels, and in the process, they have over compensated. Anyway, I know it's not in the right thread, but I put it down anyway. later...
post #14 of 20
Blizzard. Cool ankle comments. I find that people who focus on flexing the outside ankle still end up in the back seat.(the outside one can flex while the inside one doesn't), but focus the flex on the inside ankle and the outside one WILL flex as well, guaranteed.

A near sure-cure for PArk'n'Riders who 'bottom out' on their flex pattern(s) and cease to be able make any adjustments to their arcs. Focus the flex on the inside and they never bottom out and get stuck at all.
post #15 of 20
The reason no one else has mentioned the Bulldozer Turn(TM) is that I pulled the name out of my ars. It seemed to fit what I was trying to get Bubba, the dozer driver, to do. See that I can trademark too. :

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 17, 2001 03:39 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Pierre eh! ]</font>
post #16 of 20
Yes, it does work. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the responses, a couple comments.


I have been shown a "shuffle turn" but it involved a deliberate change of lead, moving the old outside/new inside ski forward and
the old inside/new outside ski back. That was in fact the first time I ever experienced the new outside ski forward because I just
had to try the opposite of what the clinician was having us do but at the time I didn't have an opportunity to pursue the idea.


I think rather than using the words pushing and pulling I am going to use slide forward and slide back as these are more
descriptive of just what I am feeling.

I feel that the CM must be stable and directed to be able to perform these movements and if anything the movements/sensations
described enhance the flow of the CM from turn to turn. I also played with feeling pressure under my feet while I performed the
movement and found that I can have equally pressured (even strongly pressured) skis as I perform the sliding of the feet even if
I take the movement to the extreme and produce a negative ski lead in the new turn. When using this move in actual skiing
situations I do think that its more of a sensation that involves very little actual sliding forward movement of the foot.


I really couldn't express my thoughts in response to Kneale better than you did. Must be that great minds thing.

One thing I really like about the sliding forward movement is that it creates a relationship of the feet and a sensation that allows
for the holding back of the new inside foot from the very start of the new turn.


I think many skiers have too much lead because they were taught it. Either directly as in "Lead with your inside ski" or indirectly
as when it occurs as an outcome of teaching hip counter.

Drawing back the inside ski might not actually increase pressure on inside ski but it allows us to feel the pressure better and also
directs the pressure more toward the tip of the ski where we need it to be to get that ski to track. I'm still playing with this
pressure thing and will have more to say after further experimentation and thought.

I think that for those that have too much lead the holding back move starts as a physical sliding back of the inside ski but as they
get a handle on the feeling and can perform it earlier and earlier in the turn it becomes a holding back which in turn becomes
maintaining "functional tension" in the ankle. Love the term "functional tension" by the way.

Physics Man

Exaggeration is the way to get in touch with sensations. My comments above about sliding the foot back leading to a natural
lessening of ski lead apply here also. When you get a chance try the foot forward move that started this thread and see if that
doesn't help with a early holding back of the new inside foot. Blizzard's comments about hip and foot relationship are just what I
would say.


Couldn't agree more, actions of the guide ski/foot produce subtle actions in the ride ski/foot often produce smoother more
controlled turns than gross action performed with the ride ski/foot.

Pierre eh,

So now I'll have to remember to capitalize and (TM) every time I write Bulldozer Turn (TM).


It works but did you like it?

Again, thanks all for the responses,

edit- Sorry about the funky layout of the above I used a different word processing program than I normally use and so when I pasted it in it didn't wrap right. Yd

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 19, 2001 11:12 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Ydnar ]</font>
post #18 of 20
Yd: Try sliding one foot while the other is hoisted enough to decamber the ski. I think you have to stand on one in order to slide the other, and I don't see how you'd be able to do that with equal weighting.

Of course, we still have no snow here in MI, so I can't go out and play with this to refresh my memory. It's been a terribly long time since I've been able to slide anything. :~(
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 

In a high friction environment like floors and rugs feet and shoes you are right. In order to slide one foot you must have more pressure, to produce greater friction, on one foot to slide the other. But in a low friction enviornment like skis on snow I think that the blocking action supplied by the mass of the upper body would allow you to slide a foot forward or backward in relation to the body even if all the pressure was on that foot. Because of the much greater mass of the body to the foot the action reaction effect on the flow of the CM through the turn should be very slight. I'll let you know if this is true next time I'm on skis.

Sorry you can't test all this out yourself,
post #20 of 20
Ydnar, I know you got it when you say this
>>One thing I really like about the sliding forward movement is that it creates a relationship of the feet and a sensation that allows
for the holding back of the new inside foot from the very start of the new turn.<<

What you will find with increased practice is that the sliding forward of the new outside ski is a auto response similar to blinking both eyes when you are trying to only blink one. With practice only the new inside foot is held back right from the start and the outside ski will remain over the sweet spot of the ski. This holding back of the new inside ski really allows a skier great control of the amount of steering and the size of their turns. They are automatically in the front seat, right from the start of the turn. Once a skier is not automatically sliding the dowhill ski forward they will be in perfect position to really accelerate into turns using a skating move from the top of the turn. Super fun.
The skating manuever also allows for full weighted retraction turns.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 19, 2001 01:47 PM: Message edited 3 times, by Pierre eh! ]</font>
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