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Forward Lean and Ramp Angle

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I need help from you boot experts. I teach a woman who is a level five. She is in a Flexon boot that I think poses several problems that are all related.

1) The cuff of the boot goes darn near to the back of her knee

2) Her knees are driven so far forrward she natureally reacts,even when standing sans boots, by rocking her pelvis back/lowering her hips/leaning her upper body backwards.

She has a problem with her for aft balance on skis.

My question is this. Would a boot with a lower cuff and a more upright configuration help her to get her tib/fib a little straighter and thus enable her to lean/articulate/"break" a little more at the waist?

Can the boot be fixed? Will a new or repaired boot be the answer to her technique problem?

I look at her from the knees down and think of the game we played as kids where someone walks behind an unsuspecting person and buckles the victim's knees from behind. The first reaction is to lean back or fall back as our skeletal structure collapses.
post #2 of 9
Having too much forward lean can definitely be a problem. For this person to have a tall, natural stance, they will be pressuring the back of the boot. It will also make her heel lift off the bottom of the boot if she doesn't have enough dorsal flexion (flexibility at the achillies tendon, enabling her to lift the front of her foot off the ground).

I don't know Flexons too well (there are some Flexon fans here), but the height of the boot is not the problem, it's the forward lean. A good boot fitter could probably be able to bring the cuff up a bit. However, these are probably old boots, as boots with really tall cuffs haven't been made in a long time. She might be better off just finding a new pair of boots that fit her anatomy better.

Another thing to check is the delta angle of the bindings. Delta is the angle of the heel binding vs the toe piece. In some cases it can have the same bad effects as too much ramp angle in the boot or too much forward lean.
post #3 of 9
Rusty Guy, many women have this problem. The boot come up too high on their calf muscles and as a result, when they buckle the boot, they are too far forward. Many women also have flexible ankles which can exasperate the problem. The boot cannot be fixed properly for this person. Nordica has boots that are very low in the cuff designed for just such a person.
post #4 of 9
$.02 Rusty,
There's Atomic's 9.50 in the lower cuff ("LC").

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pierre eh!:
Rusty Guy, many women have this problem. The boot come up too high on their calf muscles and as a result, when they buckle the boot, they are too far forward. Many women also have flexible ankles which can exasperate the problem. The boot cannot be fixed properly for this person. Nordica has boots that are very low in the cuff designed for just such a person.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

She is not too far forward. She is too far back. Her ankles are slammed shut, her tib/fib driven forward. As a result she has to ramp her upper body backwards from the hips up to keep the whole house of cards from falling.

The boots are a year old. I spoke to a bootfitter today, whom I trust, and he said the cuff of the flexon is easy to adjust.

I'm going to send the woman to this guy and see whether he can mitigate her stance issues.
post #6 of 9
Definitely send to a good bootfitter.

To me (not a boot fitter-only attended a "quickie course"), if the heel is too high in relation to the snow, the hips have to go back. Are her hips far behind her?

If so, it might be the bindings have too high an angle (delta mentioned earlier). Your bootfitter may have to 1 - change bindings? 2 - reshape the outside sole of the boot to raise the toe higher than the heel?

You are going in the right direction by correcting stance through alignment.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yes her hips are too far behind her even as she merely stands sans boots.
post #8 of 9

You say that even without boots your student has a bent leg hips back stance. This is a pretty strong indicator of a fore/aft alignment issue. One quick way to test this is to have her stand in her boots with a thick magazine under the toes of her boots and see if she assumes a more "normal" looking stance. If this is the case then bindings with less ramp angle, putting a spacer under the toepiece of the binding or grinding the bootboard to lower her heel can bring her into alignment. My guess from your discription is that she might require quite a bit of adjustment.


PS. Check to see if anyone has added a heel lift under her liner or even to her footbed if she has a custom bed. I have to take these out of boots a few times every season. Seems some people think thay all women need a heel lift to ski better.
post #9 of 9
Hi Rusty--

As we've discussed in the past, forward lean angle (whether it results from anatomical issues, boot cuff angle, or delta angle, or any combination) is critical for good skiing. It can be especially critical for women, if they have the typically longer femur, lighter upper body, and lower center of mass (than men). The longer the femur, the more the hips move back when the knees bend. The more weight, proportionally, is carried in the pelvic region, the greater effect on balance ANY movement of the hips has. And the lighter the upper body and arms, the harder it is to regulate fore-aft balance by moving the shoulders/torso/arms. So the angle of the lower leg as it exits the boot is, indeed, critical, the more a person's anatomy fits this "typical" description.

It is also typical for women to have relatively larger calf muscles that taper more abruptly and lower on the leg than men. This may be the case here, with your student. (Although, if she stands with very flexed ankles even WITHOUT boots on, it may well not be a boot issue at all--does she consciously press her shins forward into her boots?) If her boots extend up over the bottom of her calf muscles, it will be just like inserting large shims in the backs of the boot cuffs--it increases forward lean. (I have just the opposite problem--skinny calf muscles that make my boots too upright, corrected by ADDING shims in my cuffs.) If this is the case, she might benefit from lower "woman-specific" boots, or even by cutting down the backs of the boot cuffs. I know some top female instructors who have cut large portions right off the tops of their boot shells, with good effect.

Another possible fix to this problem is heel lifts INSIDE the boots, which raise the entire leg to lift that calf muscle out of the cuff, effectively straightening up the forward lean.

If the boots appear to fit her legs though, and large calf muscles in tall boots aren't the problem, she might benefit from a "negative delta angle." Most bindings raise the boot heel higher than the toe (positive delta angle)--some more than others. Ramp-shaped plates under the bindings can adjust this, as can planing and building up the boot soles. Some newer Markers actually come with a negative delta angle, and the Marker World Cup plate (expensive and rare) can be adjusted.

One way or another, it sounds like this person needs to have her shins moved more upright. Whether this is a technical issue (which it might be if she presses her shins forward even barefoot), a cuff angle issue, a delta angle issue, or something else, the solution is likely to involve SOMETHING that tilts her shins more upright.

Good luck!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
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