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Another stance width question

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I don't think it's been fully done to death yet...

I was watching a World Cup downhill race and noticed that the skiers were in general schussing with their skis a fair width apart, and it got me to wondering about one thing. Presumably while schussing they are endeavouring to keep their skis absolutely flat to the snow, rather than ride the outside or inside edges. Now, it seems to me that to do this, there is only one distance between the skis which will work for each skier - they cannot vary it. If they bring their skis closer together, they'll start to ride the outside edges, if they push them further apart, they'll ride the inside edges.

Of course, it's not intrinsic to the skier and can be influenced by things like cants and cuff alignment. But am I right in thinking that even the most expert skiers will only have one possible stance width where their skis are flat to the snow? The lateral stiffness of the boots would seem to enforce this.

J2R
post #2 of 15
for most skier's, hop up and down with your eyes closed, stop, and look down. That's probably about right. Then get yourself to a boot alignment person, not just a fitter, and based on that "stance" get your boots balanced/adjusted at that width, Ski that width most of the time.

I suspect most World cup racers are "canted" specifically to be on their edges or flat depending on their skiing style. I wouldn't be suprised if most racers that ski multiple disiplines have different boots with different cants based on each type of race. Maybe even different cants on their boots based on what the course looks like or feels like after they "slip" or survey the course.
post #3 of 15
While in a tuck, knees can be articulated laterally untill a flat ski is found.
post #4 of 15
I agree with Fastman. When you are in a tuck, rotating the femurs will adjust edge angle. You can practice this sitting in a chair.

If the skier is standing in a fairly tall stance for a couple of moments (as Bode does too much of), yes, the range of being on a flat ski gets smaller. However, when standing taller, at the speeds generated in DH, the stability of a wider platform may outweigh anything else. Standing tall on a flat ski at hig speed is an invitation to hook an edge and create a pretty ugly scene. A lot of times, they will ride their inside edges because it makes the ski more stable. Look at the guys going for world speed records. They usually start off flat until the speeds pick up, then put the skis on the inside edges so that the skis don't wander around at 150mph.

-JohnH
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by FastMan:
While in a tuck, knees can be articulated laterally untill a flat ski is found.
That too...
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by JohnH:
Look at the guys going for world speed records. They usually start off flat until the speeds pick up, then put the skis on the inside edges so that the skis don't wander around at 150mph.-JohnH
Note: Speed skis have no sidecut. Zero, none, zip, nada! If they did, and the rode their edges at 150 it wouldn't be ugly, it would be med-evac grim.

The fastest downhillers (the guys known as great "gliders") will actually allow their skis to "swim" as flat as possible for minimum resistance and speed when in a straight tuck. The width of their stance is a function of their intent to both allow the skis to be fast, and to allow their body to get lower (between thighs vs. on top of them) than they could in a narrow stance.

Intent (tactics) dictates technique, form follows function.

[img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #7 of 15
great answers,
I'd add to a few. Arc mentions the fastest downhillers allow their skis to "swim" as flat as possible. That is also true for the speed skiers. A buddy of mine, Jeff Hamilton, used to hold the world record at 151mph and he'd talk about the skis wandering all over until that moment when everything went quiet. At that moment, it was almost like they were riding on air, not on any edges. Once through the speed trap, then they find the inside edges. If they find it sooner than that, they are loosing.

On Dchan's idea of WC cants. Another resource who's our tahoe canting guru and used to work on the world cup said alot of the guys align themselves way outside.

Cheers, Wade
post #8 of 15
Unfortunatly this post didn't come up until after I had my work done there. I would have asked Jim when I was there. Of course I might be there again next weekend. My dad is considering getting some work done.

DC
post #9 of 15
The skis will tend to seek being flat if the skier relaxes the ankles and lower leg muscles.
dchan is right about the cants. I've heard them talk of adding a few strips of tape for various courses or conditions. One US woman was DQd for some duc tape on her boots that exceeded that FIS stand height limits.
post #10 of 15
These people test their stances in wind tunnels to see what sort of tuck is right for what sort of body. This configuration includes stance width. I think Arc' is correct about getting the torso down between the thighs for less drag, and that has a whole lot to do with the stance width. I also believe they use different boots (softer), but I'm not sure that they all do.

Coaches and scientists have been furiously studying how to re-implant the eyes in the top of the head so that downhillers can keep their heads down for better drag coefficient in a tuck. The problem will be rotating them back to their normal sockets when they come out of the tuck for the turns. These boys are committed!
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by SLATZ:
I've heard them talk of adding a few strips of tape for various courses or conditions.
This is correct. Jeremy Nobis told me a few years back that he and others used to do this all the time.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by SLATZ:
I've heard them talk of adding a few strips of tape for various courses or conditions.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is correct. Jeremy Nobis told me a few years back that
If these guys really feel the need to do this I have a question. How much lateral ankle flex do these guys have in their boots? Are their boots so tight they cannot micro adjust the edge with their ankles or is there so much pressure on the edges that the ankles are overpowered?
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by JohnH:
When you are in a tuck, rotating the femurs will adjust edge angle. You can practice this sitting in a chair.
rotation...oh no not the "R" word. World Class skiers have no rotation.

Hope mt humor doesn't fall on deaf ears.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by weems:
These people test their stances in wind tunnels to see what sort of tuck is right for what sort of body.
Weems is right about this. I did some aero testing in the wind tunnel at Calspan in Buffalo. Very cool and enlightening. The scientist in charge there, Mike Holden, still takes much credit for Bill Johnson's Gold medal, as the time Bill spent in the Calspan wind tunnel made a significant contribution to his legendary gliding skills.

One interesting, though virtually useless, thing I discovered while in the tunnel was that by far the fastest aero position is laying on the back of the skis. Gives a whole new meaning to "riding the tails". I did try it in a downhill once on a very flat section of the course. Kind of hard to see where your going!

Quote:
Originally posted by weems:
Coaches and scientists have been furiously studying how to re-implant the eyes in the top of the head so that downhillers can keep their heads down for better drag coefficient in a tuck. The problem will be rotating them back to their normal sockets when they come out of the tuck for the turns. These boys are committed!
I tried a mirror on my boots once to overcome this problem. Didn't work well though, I always seemed start my turns to late!

(OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR)
:
post #15 of 15
Pierre
Most of them use the stiffest boot they can.
I had a conversation with Koz about it a few years ago. She had extra stiffeners on her boots and tested angles with strips of tape until she found what produced the fastest times.
Other WC athletes at the Lutsen Spring Series were adding tape as the conditions changed.
weems
Jeremy was born in my hometown of Madison WI. Skied first at Devil's Head where my wife patrols. I rode the chair with him a few times at Mt Hood and he was tickled to meet someone from there.
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