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is being too far forward bad?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
in light of charlie's post, a question that's bugged me for a while has reappeared. Is it a bad thing when you're leaning too forward? i think i tend to lean forward quite a bit when i ski...atleast enough to flex the saffron colored salomon course 3-4 degrees atleast...sometimes more

post #2 of 19
Hi Melloboy
being too far forward has it's own host of problems. one of which is sore shins. The affect on skiing is the tips will flex more than the tails and dig/hook into the turn but as you build more force on the edges the tails will tend to slip and wash out. (not a good thing unless you are demonstrating windshild wiper turns). Since you recently spent good money on some great tools (shaped skis) why not use the whole edge instead of just the front half... By staying centered on the ski this is exactly what happens.

Take the same advice. get some rollerblades and practice. (my new summer balance activity too)
post #3 of 19
No doubt about it, you have to be centered.

Skiing is all about the feet - that's where the movements take place. So think of it like this. If you're out of plumb by an 1/16th at your feet, that's a couple of inches in a 6 foot tall person.

First, you need to have someone YOU REALLY TRUST look at your stance while in your boots - get your stance right. I'll put in a plug for Snokarver. The guy is a fanatic about this stuff and really gets it. Send email to snokarver@excite.com

Then, work on your balance.

Once you're aligned, and you learn balance, the rest just falls into place. You'll be amazed how much better your skills are.

Good one about the edges. Most skiers I see are getting about $50 bucks out of their $500 skis - they simply don't use/ski their edges.

Talk to you -
post #4 of 19
Hey SCSA aren't you and SnoKarver the same people? You have the same email address?

As for staying too far forward, I usually stay forward because when I lean back I am totally screwed whether it be in bumps, pow, or hitting a jump. I used to get back all the time now I stay forward more. Just as I read that previous post I realize that is probably the reason why my toes and shins are always hurting me though. I'm no instructor, but just the physics of being forward rather than back when you are going down a hill seems better. I probably stay more forward than I should but I no longer land on my tails when I hit a jump, nor do I get thrown in the backseat when in moguls or go cartwheeling backwards in the pow. Keep in mind I'm not an instructor or anything so I am just talking from personal experience, but if it doesn't bother your feet or shins I would much rather be forward than backwards. Nobody is going to stay centered all the time, or even most of the time, but if you want to ski better I say make it forwards rather than backwards.
post #5 of 19

Nope, SCSA and are different people. We are friends, and both are into the PMTS thing, and we are different people about that as well... I'm the one who loves to teach skiing...

It's all about staying balanced, and using ski movements that promote staying in balance. Dynamic, not static.

Being too forward was a very bad habit of mine for a lot of years. Defensive ice skiing. Forward-lean-itis. Yeeech! That blew me up in powder & bumps, lotsa face plants!

Keep your hips over your feet. Stack them bones! It's so much less work, too!

¯¯¯/__ SnoKarver snokarver@excite.com

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[This message has been edited by SnoKarver (edited June 21, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by SnoKarver (edited June 21, 2001).]</FONT>
post #6 of 19
hey g-dubs, good post!
Another problem with leaning forward is you tend to absorb terrain with your upper body. You end up flexing from the waist to absorb instead of staying tall and bringing the knees up. Chances are if you're too far forward you're quite flexed at the knees too. The problem with that is in a fast hard carve you've got nowhere to go to at the end of the turn to absorb the compression forces. So you'll get thrown.

These are all words though, you really need to have someone take a look...
gdubs is right though, better to be too forward then too back.
post #7 of 19
the other risk of being too far back is a blown ACL. Just thought I'd add that.
post #8 of 19
Melloboy and G-dubs. Being too far forward creates nearly as many problems as being too far back. I've stated in another post that "forward", to me, means simply "not back". Both points are well recieved here, however. This tends to be a tricky subjuct, as we have been told to stay forward throughout our skiing careers. It's easy to see the advantages of laying down on the toungue of your boots in relation to sitting back.

Skis nowadays don't require us to Juice forward like the days of old, but rather we need to make sure we are standing over the center of the ski. We can think of it in terms of a lever. When we stand over the center of the ski, the FULCRUM (the point at which a ski levers against... or turns about.) is directly underfoot. The ski can be re-directed easily by simply rotating the leg, if the ski lies flat. If we move forward in the boot, the fulcrum migrates toward the tip of the ski. Then we must do some creative twisting, leaning and praying to get the ski to change direction. Bottom line is this... Keeping the pivot point on the ski directly under you is much more efficient. Leaning back is obviously bad, but the hidden danger here lies in leaning too far forward. 2 cents.

Spag's quote of the day:
"It's such a wank to write lyrics that say 'I wanted you to know I love you'. All these so-called bands are singing that these days. It's more honest to say what you really feel... 'I want you to know that I really don't care'."
- Jon Lydon,a.k.a. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols - <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Notorious Spag (edited July 22, 2001).]</FONT>
post #9 of 19
I agree with everyone that staying too far forward for the full duration of a turn is a bad thing.

As discussed above, when you get forward, you obviously change the position of your center of mass, as well as the position of the fore-aft point about which the skis pivot (if they are not carving). However, there is another aspect of getting forward that is almost never discussed.

That is, when you lean forward, you torque the skis about an axis (a line) that is perpendicular to their long axis, parallel to the snow, and passing through the binding area. What this does is either decrease the downward force the tail exerts on the snow or, if you use enough strength (or have a soft ski), you can actually lift the tail of the ski off the snow.

This immediately decambers the ski into the proper shape needed for it to work with the sidecut to carve a turn if you simultaneously turn on some edge angle. The neat thing about this is that you can do this at very slow traversing speeds, or even standing still, whereas if you stay centered, you need to be well into the turn (on hard snow) to get the ski to flex in the same way after turn initiation.

Thus, I would argue that a short burst of forward lean (ie torque) at the beginning of turns definitely helps turn initiation.

Needless to say, for all the reasons given in the previous postings, you shouldn't keep this up very far into the turn, or you will wind up with tails washing out, etc. To me this feels very similar to what I do when I cross over diagonally and momentarily "fall down the hill" to initiate a turn on the steeps.

The real issue here is how much is this worth to you (in terms of energy and time). Each change of fore-aft pressure costs energy, and the added effectiveness of turn initiation using this method is likely not necessary in most situations - ie, a nice centered stance works just fine in most cases.


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[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited July 23, 2001).]</FONT>
post #10 of 19
another negative: You tend to bend skis.
When I was trying to get out of my bad habit of drivin the car from the back seat lookin out the sunroof, I would load up the ski (long & stiff @ the time of course) from being way forward & bend the crap out of some nice skis in the bumps.
post #11 of 19
Ok short and simple, you want to be perpendicular to the slope your skiing on, Most instructors have done this a million times but make an X with your ski poles, imagine one pole is the surface the other pole is your CM. Skiing in balance is a nice way to think of it but as we ski along we are constantly in and out of balance, so being too far forward every once in awhile as you ski is not bad, but skiing on your tips is detrimental, for reasons mentioned above.
post #12 of 19
If you have sore shins from mashing them against the boot you are really moving to far forward, You want to bend the SKI not the BOOT move sideways to stay moving with the ski. You need to take a more inside route from your ski's and if your moving to the front of the boot you not. A lot of people think they are forward when they touch the shin to the tung but a great many folks then over flex the knee to do this which drops the hips back and you are even further in the back seat then before you started. Be cuff nautral feel some heel pressure and like a helicopter hovering move inside that circle to be dynamic and remain in balance.
post #13 of 19
Yes, you can be too far forward. Spyders oft used pole demo is correct. Optimally you want to remain centered and cuff neutral. It is staying that way, in motion that is the challenge. The CM must flow from turn to turn, without allowing the feet to get in front. A well disciplined upper body that anticipates terrain and the forces occuring while moving tends to "feel" forward. Moving forward typically seems to be the remedy, aft does not in the fore/aft plane.
post #14 of 19
Yo, MelloBoy, whatever happened with your Volvo? Did you get reimbursed? New wheels?
post #15 of 19
BobB -

Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

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BB: "...Why do you think that this move would be important at the initiation, but not later in the turn? Assuming that you are trying to use the ski's sidecut to "decamber" (bend into a reverse arc) and carve a turn, why is the "initiation" any different from any other phase of the turn? ..."

To make what's going on easier to visualize, lets assume we are talking about turns that begin and end up almost perpendicular to the fall line. For such turns, during the initiation phase, any centrifugal force that you may be generating (ie, a force that's always to the outside of the turn & helps decamber the skis) is compensated or even reversed when the the everpresent force of gravity (which is pulling you in the opposite direction, downhill) is added to it. The limiting case of this would be a stationary skier, perpendicular to the fall line, standing on their DOWNHILL edges, as if frozen in a snapshot just after the point of edge change in turn initiation. In this situation, the skis will hardly decamber, if at all.

OTOH, towards the bottom of the turn, gravity and centrifugal force are both pointed in the same direction, down the hill. This combined force pushes the the center of your skis downhill while the snow is pushing the tips and tails uphill into a nice arc.

With more net force decambering your skis at the bottom of a turn than at the top of the turn, if you want to keep a constant radius throughout your turn, you have to help them out at the top with some human powered bending, but you can just let gravity and centrifugal force do the flexing at the bottom of the turn.

BTW, there is a great discussion of this in:
"The Physics of Skiing : Skiing at the Triple Point by David Lind, Scott P. Sanders" http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1563963191/qid=995950987/sr=1-1/re f=sc_b_1/104-9339717-9071949


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BB: "...Just as forward pressure tightens the bend of the tip of the ski, it also REDUCES the bend of the tail--allows it to straighten out. A straight ski, of course, cannot carve a turn!..."

But ... the most important part of the ski to bend (for a good turn) is the region of highest pressure on the snow. When you are forward, this region will be just forward of your boot. Since this is where the maximum bending occurs, you will get a nice flex in the ski exactly where you need it to occur.


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BB: "...So this idea of forward pressure to initiate harkens back to the "old" days when turning meant getting the "skid" started in the initiation phase of the turn, controlling the skid in the "control phase," then stopping the skid in the "completion phase." It made sense to pressure forward to initiate, and roll back, ending the turn with increased tail pressure to dig the tails in and stop the skid. Ball-arch-heel, ball-arch-heel--it was a distinct and effective rhythm! ..."

Oh, yes - I remember it well. It was essentially the only way to bring those long stiff boards around. Don't get me wrong, I was certainly not recommending that people resume pressuring their tips at all turn initiations. Rather, I was pointing out that a short period of forward pressure during the initiation phase could actually help initiate the desired carve and shorten up the overall turn radius. Unfortunately, doing this costs the skier energy, and hence should be reserved for only those situations where it is really important to bring them around fast.

I've never raced, so I don't know if it would be useful there. In my own limited experience, the situation where this seems to be the most useful is if I am slowly coming down a steep pitch, dropping just a few feet with each turn. Then, instead of crossing over perpendicular to my skis, I tend to pull my feet back a bit as I am letting myself fall down the hill, and this definitely shortens up my turns. Now, what I don't know is if the mechanism by which it is shortening my turns is tightening a carve, or I am deluding myself and simply introducing a bit of skidding like the old days.


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BB: "...But today's skis allow us to carve more cleanly from start to finish, throughout the turn. To accomplish this, the ski needs to be bent into a smooth, consistent arc from tip to tail, from the start of the turn to the end. The sensation is of remaining in the neutral "sweet spot" of the ski, continuously.

Two important notes, though: First, remaining constantly in this neutral sweet spot hardly means staying in one position! On the contrary, to remain balanced over that one spot, as the skis accelerate and decelerate, turn left and right, tip up and down over bumps, and so on, requires an extremely active and accurate, continuous motion of the body fore-and-aft in relation to the feet.

Second, what I've said here in no way diminishes the importance of developing the skill of "leverage" (purposely adjusting the pressure fore-and-aft along the skis). Whether we want to control the pressure over the sweet spot for a clean, carved turn, or we want to create and control skids, leverage remains an essential skill of skiing. Sometimes we want to carve. Sometimes we want to skid. Skillful control of fore-aft pressure is one of the keys! ..."

I couldn't have said it better myself. Now ...if I could only do what I know I should do, I'd be a good skier instead of just a physicist talking skiing (grin).



PM (Tom)

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[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited July 24, 2001).]</FONT>
post #16 of 19
Short addendum:

When I gave a reference to the book, "The Physics of Skiing" in my previous post, I didn't have the book in front of me, so I couldn't give the relevant pages.

The sections that are relevant to my discussion of gravity adding vs subtracting from centrifugal force (in the plane of the snow) can be found on pp. 97 - 104, and pp. 135 - 145.

Since this book came out in 1996, and hence was written before the "shaped" ski revolution, he comments in several places that almost all turn initiations will have some degree of skid. Now, with larger sidecuts, and people having more transverse speed because of carving, its pretty safe to regard his comments on the inevitability of skidding during turn initiations as either historic, or only applicable to very slow speed or large radii turns.

post #17 of 19
If you're a racer isn;t it a lot faster to be slightly back on your skis (asselerate) than being forard or slightly forawd? (sp)??!!
post #18 of 19
If you want to see someone really using shaped skis the way they are supposed to, watch the entire Austrian team ski on the World Cup. No leveraging, no juicing... Just staying in the sweet spot and going with gravity. Fast, man. Really fast. These guys are drop-dead center every turn and they kick the tar out of everyone. (Except Amodt, but he's the same way.) I won't re-iterate what BB said.
post #19 of 19
Bob -

I love your diagrams - they are much clearer than the one in "The Physics of Skiing". Theirs is really for other physics geeks, not typical skiers.

I appreciate the care that you took to clearly show that (a) the component of gravity in the plane of the hill is less on a shallow slope than on a steeper hill; and (b) the centrifugal force is larger at higher speeds (for a the same turn radius in both cases).

Some nitpicking comments:

(a) Some of the arrows depicting the vector sum appear to be drawn just a smidgen longer than they really should be - particularly, #4 in both diagrams - its hard because those arrows are so thick, but its probably worth correcting. You might even want to show the full "force parallelogram" at least once to remind people how these vector sums are arrived at.

(b) I think that the dotted line connecting the tips of the resultant force vectors does not serve any pedagological function (and may even confuse people).

(c) I don't think it is obvious to most non-technical people that the plane on which you projected the forces is in the plane of the hill (ie, they might think its a horizontal plane - even tho there would then be no component of gravity in that plane). So, if possible, I would suggest you add another view that shows the force vectors from the side - ie, showing that gravity is straight down (but has a lesser or greater component in the plane of the hill depending on the steepness), the centrifugal force is exactly parallel to the plane of the hill, etc. I think this side view would help orient people.

d) Re the short snippet of text where you describe the difficulty in carving throughout a turn when the centrifugal force is low and/or the hill is steep. I think it would be useful to supplement this discussion by a couple of paragraphs about what exactly happens when you CAN'T carve all they way through the initiation phase, ie, a shortened version of the discussion in the "Physics of Skiing". Namely, that one option open to the skier is to get your skis pointed somewhat downhill while you are still traversing. Then, due to the sidecut, there will be different angles of attack of the snow on the forebody and aft of the ski, and hence a net torque tending to point the ski even more downhill (ie, a skarve). In fact, now that I think of it, a force diagram devoted to skarving, would probably also be quite useful to most people, but perhaps you already have this.

Great job on the artwork - If you did it yourself, you've got yet one more career open to you - graphics arts .

BTW - Pls. check your inbox. I sent you a private email to your cs.com adr.

Tom / PM
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