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Equal Weight - A Misconception?

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
As I read and re-read the posts on equal weighting and two-foot skiing I could not help think there is a slight misunderstanding on these concepts.

To understand equal weighting or two-footed skiing we must first understand a little more about our “new” skis and how they work. The concept of the new type “shaped” skis as we call them –all skis have a shape by the way- is a relatively even flex pattern from tip to tail –keeping it simple- so when you bend the ski in the middle of the skis flex pattern the ski will have a relatively even arc or radius from tip to tail. Another words the tip does not bend in one radius and the tail in another but they flow evenly together like a part of a circle. This flex pattern will then allow a skier to “roll” over on to the edge(s) and the ski will “easily” make a turn. Shaped skis require very little steering but do require weight redistribution to change the size of the turn. (Pressure is a word that is loosing its meaning ever so slowly with the new ski design.) That is why you may here a lot more talk about staying “centered” or “in the center” of your skis more than you might have heard a few years back. In fact the “straighter” skis had a tendency to ski forward and some I have tried even tended to ski a little in the back. It is also the reason a lot of manufactures are somewhat critical about location and type of binding used to gain ultimate ski performance. The manufacture wants the skier in the “middle” of the shape pattern and they do not want the binding to interfere with the “bending” or “bowing” of the ski.

Now in comes a “new” concept called two-foot skiing and or equal weighting of both skis. In my opinion they are virtually one in the same and the terms are NOT new but simply reinvented and sometimes an instructor will add a little twist here and there. Twenty-five years ago, Killington Ski School trained their instructors to teach two-foot skiing. Why? You have two edges why not use them was the answer we were given. The AVERAGE skier will move edge to edge quicker and create a nicer turn shape with less effort. Remember these were “straight” skis! Ah less effort translates into easier skiing translates into happy skier translates into happy customer etc. So nothing is new now but the equipment and by the way the “shaped” ski is by far not new either but that is for a different post. However the acceptance of the shaped skis has been a great addition for the average skier.

So what is the misconception we are under? Well for one you cannot stand equally weighted through a complete turn because the “hill” falls away and the length of the legs change, where you are standing forward and aft, and or lateral changes. However you can start the turn in a wider stance, good for allowing versatility of movement, -you will need to find your width- so you can keep each shin touching the boot tongue and then initiate the turn using both feet as you “rollover” on to both edges while MAINTAINING the boot contact with both legs. Remeber todays skis need little steering by the average skiers. This is two-footed equal weighted skiing, as I understand it.

Finally how the racers ski and the damage being done to them with equal weighting and or two foot skiing. I am not an expert on racers and or the human body but I also cannot find anything about this on coaches or racers sights. I can find information really hitting hard the necessity to keep both feet on the snow and use them! I have read some interesting articles just recently on the need to ski with both feet. In fact since you will find out a dirty little secret any way initiating and skiing on both feet, while not always equal but always in contact with your boot tongues, will require less knee pressure, more twisting from the hip socket, more inclination inside the turn, more ankle flex, and movement down the hill with your body or center of mass than ever before. With all that in mind I am not sure why the racer has physical problems with two-footed skiing. I would think loading up two feet in the turn would be easier on the body than one leg, knee, hip, back/pelvis etc. Possibly the racer just simply generates too much pressure through the 155 CM skis which next year I believe must go to 165 CM and I think narrower. I can only say our fastest racers are definitely on both skis as equal as possible.
post #2 of 64
My conversations with folks would indicate that equal weighting is a mis-conception of two-footed skiing.

I'd suggest that in most circumstances, racing or otherwise, what may start out as equal 50/50 weight distribution leaving the transition progressivly biases toward the outside ski to some degree as a result of turn dynamics. Skiing two-footed or "on" the inside ski has been mis-interpeted to mean with half of the pressure on each foot. We might often start a turn with half our weight on the inside ski and keep that weight constant while the outside ski supports it's half + additional pressure from turning forces. I'd suggest that very few high speed turns on steep hard snow share equal "pressure" between inside and outside skis unless balance is disrupted (as it frequently is while racing).

When I am skiing two-footed and attempting to push my carving capability with both skis (which is a lot of the time) I feel my weight distribution pass thru 50/50 in each turn transition, then bias progressivly to maximum outside dominance at falline, and then progressivly even out back into the next transition. Yet in spite of the variation in weight distribution, I can still leave matching arcs in the snow.

Both skis carving concentric arcs does not automatically imply, much less require, equal or 50/50 weight distribution. When balanced on the sweet spot of both skis, +g's from increasing turning forces will bias weight distribution toward outside ski with out changing the "look" of a skilled racer/skier. Today's modern skis can easily carve concentric arc's on hard snow with different pressure loads, when edge angles are adjusted to do so, provided the pressure on either foot meets the minimum to reverse-camber the ski for a given edge angle and does not exceed the maximum it can sustain for that same edge angle and reverse-camber or radius. The longer strong outside leg can handle building +g's more easily than the more flexed inside, and usually does so for balance efficiency. This is less so on the flats (minimal leg length diff), and more so on the steeps or at large inclination angles at max speeds (max leg length diff).

To further extend the concept, I'd suggest that I am still skiing two-footed even at 0/100 weight distribution with one foot (either)in the air because I feel each foot has it's own role to play, weighted or not.
post #3 of 64

[ December 27, 2002, 06:57 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #4 of 64
Thread Starter 
Another interesting tibit I have found here in the Midwest. Active "two" footed skiing reduces the skid on hard back given the same turn shape due to the balance of weight distribution between both skis. Try it! With at least a hip width stance keeping slight pressure on both boot cuffs at all times through the turn and actively keeping the tips of your skis aligned make a couple of turns on hard snow. To me this meant I had to actively bring the outside ski around the turn to keep tips aligned with the less traveled inside ski. I couldn't believe the results. I went out and started looking for ice & hard snow just to prove it wrong. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #5 of 64
If you have a thorough understanding of skiing, you never get confused by different terms bandied about such as two footed skiing.
When I think of a two footed turn for myself, I think of feeling pressure as equal as possible throughout the turn. Is the pressure equal between my feet? heck no, not even close but my body perceives it as so. Why?

At edge change I am squared up to the skis and the pressure feels equal, its probably closest to equal then.
As I near the fall line, I reach maximum angulation with a short inside leg and a long outside leg.
At the fall line, the long outside leg will carry a lot more pressure than the bent short inside leg for the same perceived feeling of pressure. The actual pressure could be as much as 90% on the outside ski and 10% on the inside ski and be perceived the same.
As I pass the fall line gravity becomes a larger factor in pressure but I start reducing the ski edge angle to the snow (relax the outside leg and let the center of mass start moving towards the new turn). What happens when I decrease the edge angle after the fall line is the centrifugal force is decreasing as the gravity factor is increasing. The net result is that these force changes are somewhat canceling each other and the body perceives the pressure to be staying more equal to what it was at the fall line. On top of that the bent leg is getting longer and the long leg is getting shorter. The actual pressure between the skis is returning more towards equal as cross over is approached.

The results of all of this is that the skier perceives the pressure to be much more equal between the feet throughout the turn even though the actual pressure is changing rapidly between the feet. If I am looking for this is my own skiing, all I am after is a feeling of near equal constant pressure and a continuous flowing movement of the center of mass from turn to turn. I am not thinking about all the things that are going on with the actual pressure. If I did that, I would be jerking all over the place. I will leave that to the Internet.

The misconception of the two footed turn being equal weight between feet does have some validity if its put in proper perspective. Misconceptions ususally come from much assumption and a little validity.

I also hold the concept that two footed skiing is really using two feet independently. That is a much wider concept than what I described as my feeling when I ski for myself.

[ December 26, 2002, 04:55 PM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #6 of 64
Originally posted by Pierre:

When I think of a two footed turn for myself, I think of feeling pressure as equal as possible throughout the turn. Is the pressure equal between my feet? heck no, not even close, but my body perceives it as so.
BINGO! That's the point I've been trying to share about ski instruction from the point of view of the student - the consumer - me.

Telling many of us the whole physical biomechanical truth about something isn't always the key to instruction. What the student perceives - at least for students like me - is paramount.

[ December 26, 2002, 05:13 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #7 of 64
So.......is anyone advocating one footed skiing?
post #8 of 64
Sure, why not?

[ December 26, 2002, 08:02 PM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #9 of 64
You nibbled.....I just couldn't get you to bite
post #10 of 64
What did you want to hear?

That we ski on some of our feet all of the time,
and all of our feet some of the time,
But we don't ski all of our feet all of the time?


That I ski on each one of my foots, both of the time?


Half of my body skis on half my feet all the time,
or maybe that all my body skis on all my feet half the time?


That while I try to be as good on my little toes as I am on my big toes, I only go there as often as I want xtra fun, or to rest my big toes?


I huck'd it into the air, but forgot which foot was proper to land on, so I jib'd a picnic table, dude.

[img]tongue.gif[/img] : [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #11 of 64
There is a header that appears in Chapter 6 of harald Harb's first text that reads:

"One-Footed Skiing: A Prerequisite for Success"

I suspected one of our PMTS devotees would head down that path.
post #12 of 64
Nah - SCSA has left the building

post #13 of 64
I honestly miss the guy. I was thinking I need to send him an e-mail and set up a date to ski after the new year. He and I went at it many I time, however, I really like the guy. I saw him early season at Loveland and have not seen him since. We talked briefly in the parking lot and he was his normal jovial self.
post #14 of 64
Originally posted by Rusty Guy:
"One-Footed Skiing: A Prerequisite for Success"
I'd be inclined to agree, especially from the perspective of the value of developing our ability to balance well on, and use, any of the four edges we ski with. One footed skiing drills (only on left ski, only on right ski, only on outside ski, or only on inside ski) give us greater adaptability and options when both feet can ski in either direction with equal skill, and even switch which is in the dominant or lead role. I consider one-footed skiing skills a valuable component of expert level skiing.

Taking a hint from the high performance race arena, we would find one footed skiing drills are present in any comprehensive training program. I believe the USSCA Basic Alpine Skills Evaluation has several one-footed skiing tests in it.

I'd suggest that the performance potential of most skier's short radius turns is directly related to their ability to not only balance on, but to shape a carved turn on their inside ski (little toe edge). I know my efforts to develope this in my skiing has been not only fun, but most productive.

From a safety perspective, I know my body is thankful for all the falls I've circumvented by being able to ski through situations on whatever edge gave me the best purchase at the time instead of crashing for lack of a traditional big toe to stand on. I was fortunate to be into freestyle skiing (ballet on 207cm) in early '70's that involved a lot of one footed stunts (royal christies, charleston, cross-overs, one ski spins, etc). Having once developed comfort on any edge, it has seemed natural to not only maintain those skills, but to promote them in my teaching and coaching as well.

[ December 28, 2002, 08:20 PM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
post #15 of 64

Let the record show I don't believe we ski on one foot! You know I was taking a shot at anyone advocating a "stance foot" and/or one footed skiing.

I do agree skiing on one foot is a tremendous drill. I enjoyed the day you spent skiing with us at Loveland and we did a little one footed skiing that was great. The drills we all did improved our turns tremendously.

I guess I like something Bob Barnes has said that he attributes to the Mahres. "The inside foot is where the activity is and the outside foot is where the action is".
post #16 of 64
Er, Rusty. I think there is a stance foot and a sense foot and a ride ski and a guide ski. I maintain that if you stand on your inside foot you are weakened and if you stand on your outside foot you are strengthened.

I am now braced for your shots.
post #17 of 64
Being the complete amateur that I am, and not so talented either, I've played around with this one, nolo. Even when the sensation is that of "two footed" skiing on hardpack, the majority of pressure is still on the inside edge of the outside foot. As I further convinced myself last night, keeping an edge in ice or in "near ice", the more I stand on that inside edge of the outside foot, the more grip and carve I get.

However, that inside foot appears to me to be really important - for balance, for positioning the entire body, for steering, and because it doesn't just "ride" forever - it becomes the outside foot, so must be positioned to make that transition that smoothly.

In his book, Dan Egan advocates practicing turning using the outside edge of the inside foot - as an exercise - because sometime, in real skiing, you end up needing to do that! From the chairlift, last night, I saw a guy turning entirely on the outside edge of his inside foot - he lifted the outside ski completely off the snow!

Comments, please?
post #18 of 64

You have far more experience than I, and I defer to your expertise.

I simply am amazed when I read and or discuss anything advocating one "stance foot" and or the establishment of a stance foot. In addition, I think many confuse weight transfer with extension.

I would like your thoughts on the following. I think I spend the vast majority of my time skiing in a very "two footed" manner. I could describe a wide variwty of conditions/turn shape. The common denominator is low to medium speeds.
post #19 of 64
Assuming we're doing GS turns on packed powder:

The guiding/sensing of the inside foot is paramount, but I want the center of pressure over the inside edge of my outside ski on the sweet spot in order to engage the edge of the ski along its sidecut and deflect it into a roughly c-shaped turn. As David M might say, I want to connect me and the ground (press and press back) at the sweet spot of my foot, which is the ball under the big toe. My little toe and ball of the inside foot are like antennae, very sensitive. I strive for the outside ski to leave a sharply defined, circular line and the inside ski to leave a fine contact line exactly the same distance from the outside and with an almost indistinguishable transitional gap between arcs.

Which is Shane McConkey's stance foot?

[ December 29, 2002, 07:08 PM: Message edited by: nolo ]
post #20 of 64
Um... I don't think he can have a stance foot if he's in the air, can he? It looks to me like both skis are off the snow.

How about some pictures of Schmidt? His stance foot was often his inside foot. Or so it appeared to me, anyway. Whatever works.
post #21 of 64
Hi folks, sure seems to be a bit of confusion these days with technique and how it should be transformed to adapt to these new clown feet we call shape skis. My advice don't get to caught up in analyzing the thing to death and just go out and have fun on them, cause they are a ball to ski on.

We've gone through this many times before, a maverick racer incorporates a totally groundbreaking technique into his skiing and the public scrambles to adopt it into their own skiing. Stein did it to us, so did Stenmark, Tomba, and Herman. Sure it's good to see what their doing and give it a try ourselves because these changes are ussally new innovations meant to get the most out of equipment as it evolves, but remember, they are ultimately meant to gain small increments of time on a clock which have no bearing on the run of the average general public skier.

Yes, we have moved from a period when skiers strove to keep all weight on the outside ski with a pole plant, up motion, and change of weight to the other foot at the end of the turn. Now with shape skis that cut much sharper arcs thus producing greater forces we must resist it now makes sence to use less of a knee angullated upright stance, and more hip angulation or inclination to thus combat those forces from a stronger skeletal position. It also makes sence to distribute those forces over two skis rather than concentrating them all into one.

But do we have to ski that way to be efficient. Absolutely not. A good skier can get on a pair of shapes and can rip off a many runs of perfectly carved turns that look beautifully effortless utilizing a different technique on each run. One might be on the inside ski, one might be on the outside ski, one might be on the tails, one on the tips. He might leave one ski on the rack and arc perfect turns that would leave skiers with two boards on their feet amazed. The point is don't work so hard on being the mirror image of Herman. Your efforts would be better spent addressing your skiing versatility. Play around with skiing a technique buffet. Ski using all types of angulation, all different types of weight distributiions. Use your imagination, maybe start the on the outside ski and switch in the fall line or vise versa, then add fore/aft into the same exercises. The variations are limitless, and every new challenge you divise for yourself and then master will just add to your versatility and ability to quickley encorporate into our skill quiver whatever new must have technique the ski world throws at us next.
post #22 of 64

Nice photo. I don't know whether the poor fella has a stance foot, however, I think he's found himself a fulcrum!

Let me vaguely mention a couple types of turns.

1. Short radius on a medium pitch in almost any type of snow.

2. Short radius (retraction) on a fairly steep slope in windslab.

3. Medium radius on a medium pitch at medium speed in almost any type of snow.

In these three circumstances I strive for neutral and do everything I can to avoid pressuring my outside ski and/or inside edge of the outside ski.

High speed GS turns on hard snow.....gravity is going to create a stance foot via the outside ski.

Am I nuts?
post #23 of 64
Do some jump turns. Which foot do you want to land on?

I don't see how anything changes if gravity naturally pulls more pressure on the outside ski. It's still the stance ski.
post #24 of 64
I guess I would first suggest we consider the three types of turns/speeds/terrain that I describe. I would not term jump turns a type of turn or maneuver that I do with a great deal of frequency. I will concede an outside stance ski is established in a jump turn. I would suggest it is a result of our cog ending on the outside ski.

My point is very simple. I believe the early establishment of a new stance foot contributes to "heel pushing". I also think the establishment of a single stance foot leads skiers to lighten the inside ski and in so doing the inside ski smears/diverges precluding carving. My evidence is purely anecdotal. I spend an awful lot of time with middle age skiers who have a well established outside stance foot who could not carve a turn if their life depended upon it. I think individuals who are poised/balanced on two feet have a far greater opportunity to fully utilize the new technology that we strap to our feet each day.

Now, back to my original premise about the three types of turns that I described. I think it is important to be poised on both feet/skis as opposed to trying to establish a single stance ski.

Agree or disagree?
post #25 of 64
I'm saying that regardless of the width, sidecut, and length of ski or density of the snow, I want to have pressure dominance over the inside edge of the outside ski at the sweet spot to get the ski to turn.

I used jump turns--really I think I meant leapers--because I think they are a good exaggeration. Each turn is a leap from one landing to the next. We land on the stance foot, just as when you walk you land on the stance foot and you let go of the stance foot. It's just a lot smoother in skiing because you go with gravity and that pulls you to the new stance foot effortlessly.

Inside/outside left/right, yin/yang. It all blends together. Maybe that's what you mean by two-footed, and I've just been particularly dense today.
post #26 of 64
nolo: The guiding/sensing of the inside foot is paramount, but I want the center of pressure over the inside edge of my outside ski on the sweet spot in order to engage the edge of the ski along its sidecut and deflect it into a roughly c-shaped turn. As David M might say, I want to connect me and the ground (press and press back) at the sweet spot of my foot, which is the ball under the big toe. My little toe and ball of the inside foot are like antennae, very sensitive. I strive for the outside ski to leave a sharply defined, circular line and the inside ski to leave a fine contact line exactly the same distance from the outside and with an almost indistinguishable transitional gap between arcs.

David M: Sounds like the perfect turn to me nolo. You need to have a platform on the outside leg to bring stability to the pelvis. The mechanics of the outside leg will drive the inside leg exactly as nolo describes through a parallelogram mechanism. If you simply try and stand between your skis and weight them equally this will not happen. You will not be able to generate a stable platform on either ski. Neither of us is saying the inside leg does nothing. We are saying the outside leg is the dominant driver of the process.
post #27 of 64
Blend.....precisely.... as opposed to A (capitalized for emphasis) stance foot. I have recently dealt with a rash of students who were so outside ski dominant coupled, with little or no edge angles, coupled with a narrow stance, coupled with skidded turns,coupled with an inside ski that was so light it kinda flopped around as a lame attempt was made at inside leg steering!

Well.....blend.....that sums up what I'm seeking.

Am I vehemently opposed to the "singular establishment of a stance foot? Unabashadly I guess I must say yes.

As a bizarre aside/segway. I just glanced at an article on the PSIA-RM website concerning the psychological differences involving female students. It's the most patently sexist thing that I have ever seen. It basically assumes all female student are right out of the Ozzie and Harriet show.

If my wife saw the article she'd body slam our computer.
post #28 of 64
David M,

I once heard a very talented local skier say he never wanted to sense he was standing against the snow.

He wanted to be on the sweet spot of his ski going in the direction of his new turn.
post #29 of 64
I must say, some interesting stuff in this thread. I like the picture of one of the premier skiers of the day.

Without arguing over verbage, shanes right ski is now his stance or ride ski. He has just shortened the leg of his old ride ski (the left) and is rolling his foot of that new guide ski toward it's little toe edge to lead him into his new turn. His new ride foot is ready to work as soon as it hits the ground. It's a great photo because you can see that the best have inside/outside dominance even when both feet are off the ground. Maybe I'm just blurring the line, but I agree with BB's mahre quote, and with HH. You need to know how to use your inside ski to create activity throughout the turn, especially at the release/engagement, but you also need to know how to ride your dominant outside ski. This idea of equal weighting is kindof unsound. With the inside ski active, it can be carrying no weight or all the weight, terrain, snow and situation dependent. Shooting for equal weight is missing the point. listening to the demands of the snow under foot and dealing with pressure and edging variations by adjusting the amount of weight on the inside is the goal. Granted you have to be able to go out and make the railroad tracks on the groomed with both feet as a prerequisite skill to using that ski when needed in real snow. So, as you know, I'm no writer, but two footed skiing is great (as other have said), but equal weighting and the goal of using both edges evenly is simply step in the process of learning to use both edges to accomplish the desired result at the point of contact (ski/snow). From there, learing to listen to that point of contact and play with presure variations will result in the playground getting bigger and the fun quotient going up.

Boy that's as much as I've typed in forever. Hope it makes some sense.


PS I ski occasionally with a national demo team member and his skiing has become more two footed and his stance wider since he made the team to accomplish their image due jour. I feel his skiing is not as clean or sound as it was. Less natural and more contrived to fit a desired picture. this is just fodder for disagreement, but it's what I see.
post #30 of 64
Originally posted by Rusty Guy:

Let the record show I don't believe we ski on one foot! You know I was taking a shot at anyone advocating a "stance foot" and/or one footed skiing.
Maybe I'm just different (like Nolo?) but I know I ski on one foot a most of the time. When I am skiing most efficiently, each of my feet have their roles, one is to keep me from falling down (stance/balance), the other's is to generate the activity that determines my turn shape (tipping/guiding). These roles can be totally seperate, or shared to some degree, according to my whim.
They are my feet to ski with anyway I want to that I find fun to do.

I frequently ski on just one foot, not just as "drills", but simply for the fun of it, just because I can! As soon as I stop doing so, I won't be able to and will have lost something as a skier.

Any time I am not carring equal pressure (not weight) on both skis (which is most of the time), one foot (or the other) is most definatly in a dominant stance role. When things are working according to plan that is usually the outside foot in the turn. Whether I allow tur
n dynamics to re-distribute pressure and establish my outside foot in that dominant stance role, or deliberatly lighten my inside foot to do so, does not really matter. Notice that neither case has anything to do with inefficient thrusting of my weight toward my outside foot. Unless the intent is to create braking, this activity is usually a compensating movement for having not released the CM toward center of the new turn, and as such is a symptom or effect, not the cause of the primary problem (although as is usually the case it is a domino in a chain of effects or other problems).

Any time we skate, step, sidestep are these one (stance) footed activities not part of skiing?

I'm going along with Nolo on this one, your "belief" system not withstanding.
(see note below

Originally posted by David M:
We are saying the outside leg is the dominant driver of the process.
While in less skilled (inefficient) skiers this is may be the more common usage, in expert skiers the outside leg is the receiver, expressing the result, of the process. In less skilled skiers the outside leg is the driver, bulldozing the inside around the corner. In expert skiing the inside is the driver that leads activity around the corner (not to be confused with stance bearer).

[ December 29, 2002, 09:14 PM: Message edited by: Arcmeister ]
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