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foot work of good skiing

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
OK, AC....I am stepping up to the plate and posting a piece of an article I wrote awhile back. I'm posting it, as any other post, for discussion and potential questions. So...have at it guys. I'm sure there will be some comments and what's life without a little spice? Anyway please iginore teh photo notes which I did not feel like editing out.

OK…hre it is:

Footwork is the real key to success and the big focus of this article. If your skis do the right thing on and/or in the snow, balance comes naturally and, with new skis, your skiing can become effortless, controlled and all-mountain versatile. Here is the key: in conjunction with proper upper body position and stance, when your feet do the right things, much of your balancing takes care of itself.

Let’s first consider this medium radius, groomer turn. As you are coming through the end of a turn the g-forces are maxing out, and you’re good to go into your next turn. Most of your weight is supported on your outside ski, your inside ski is at a matching edge angle tracking parallel to the outside ski ( photo close up of boots with corresponding groomer shot). Your shoulders, hands and eyes are directed at the middle of your next.

Here’s the ticket: to release your turn, plant your pole and simply take weight off your support (dominant outside) leg by relaxing that foot and leg. This immediately draws your upper body down and into your next turn, transfers weight to the new dominant turning ski and triggers the edge change. Guide your skis to flat (photo* close up of boots with corresponding groomer shot ) and then focus on leading your edge change flow with the light, new inside foot (the same one you were supporting with in the last turn) (photo * close up of boots with corresponding groomer shot). This is the link between your turns.

Once your skis are flat to the snow surface and your upper body is directed at your next turn, focus only on getting you inside ski lightly tipped up onto its new turning edge. Do not twist your skis towards the fall-line up high in the arc, be patient and “let em’ drift” on to edge and into the turn. The radius of your turn is controlled mainly by how fast you move feet in the release and transition. Let’s look at the same move in different situations.

Caption Note: When you get both skis flat on (or slightly above) the snow at the same time, you are already half way into your next turn.

-- :
post #2 of 50
I think I remember reading this article somewhere. Made sense then, Makes sense now.
I think for a lot of people however, one term that keeps getting mis-understood is the relaxing or releasing of a "foot and leg"
By just not keeping any tension much like letting go of a ball from your hand does not necessarily facilitate an edge change. I wonder if there is some other term or way to describe the "release" move. (this is true I think of most teaching systems) As an avid "how does this work?" Skier I understand it quite well but when I have tried to explain it to friends sometime the meaning/intent gets lost. This is where demos/examples/pictures shine..

Thoughts?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 31, 2001 07:49 AM: Message edited 1 time, by dchan ]</font>
post #3 of 50
I can see that this will be a short thread. Everything that you said is right on, ESki.

dchan, >>I wonder if there is some other term or way to describe the "release" move. << Yeah, I know. Just saying relax the foot doesn't quite do it for some. IMHO, I think some need a more physical explanation to make that happen. What we're trying to get across to the guest is to release the old outside ski from it's edges. Just relaxing the foot doesn't necessarily release the edge. How about asking the guest to see if they can flatten the outside foot? Get the base of the outside ski on the snow. The only way they can do this is by moving the rest them, CM into the new turn. And guess what that does. It relaxes the foot, or feet for that matter. IMHO, this refers more to what one needs to do in a large to medium radius turn. In a short radius turn, the relaxing idea would be more feasible. Although, I think it's more than just relaxing the foot. More like relaxing everything below the waist, rebound . And that's another thread.

Anyway, that's my take on it.---------Wigs :
post #4 of 50
I think some people might benefit by slightly picking up the downhill/stance ski at first and then transitioning to relaxing the downhill/stance ski as they become more comfortable.
post #5 of 50
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> Footwork is the real key to success and the big focus of this article. If your skis do the right thing on and/or in the snow, balance comes naturally and, with new skis, your skiing can become effortless, controlled and all-mountain versatile. Here is the key: in conjunction with proper upper body position and stance, when your feet do the right things, much of your balancing takes care of itself. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I like it, E, especially this first paragraph. I'd even change "much" in the last sentence to "all."

But then, this sort of begs the question again, doesn't it? It's kind of like saying, "if you do everything right, everything will be...right"!

Footwork, though, is a great focus! The skis are attached to the feet, so the measure of any movement or technique is its effect on the feet and skis. Adopt a good, neutral stance that allows athletic activity, and from there, develop accurate footwork--that's how simple skiing can be! Allow the rest of the body to do whatever it needs to do to "support" that footwork, as opposed to thinking of movements initiating in the upper body or center of mass, requiring the FEET to compensate.

I'll play devil's advocate now. My concern is with any description of skiing that, at least when describing linked carved turns, identifies some particular movement that you have to do to initiate the next turn. To me, such descriptions put a "glitch" in the otherwise smooth and continuous flow. Similar to a car making "S-turns," the very concept of "initiating" a turn doesn't really fit. In a car, it's a smooth, continuous steering action that guides the car through the S's--there is no distinct "initiation."

Distinct initiating movements belong more to the "old" turns that involved displacing the skis--throwing them into a new skid the other way. Pole plants, "unweighting," weight transfers, and powerful rotary/pivoting movements all clearly mark the initiation of these turns. But linked carves are different....

As we discussed in "Where does it all begin???," the smooth roll of edges from one side, through "neutral" (flat), to the other side is key to linked turns (complemented, as Eski suggests, with appropriate supporting/balancing movements of the rest of the body). If we finish one turn, then have to "do" something to release the edges ("create neutral") in order to start the next turn, then the turns are not linked--the smooth flow is interrupted.

So if a turn starts in "neutral," and my goal is those sensuous, efficient linked turns, then it's appropriate for me to strive to END each turn in neutral!

And so it is for me. I focus on my feet, "my footwork." And it is only when I am in balance that I'm free to do whatever I want with my feet. If my feet need to move for balance, to compensate for inappropriate upper body movements, I've obviously restricted my freedom of choice with my feet!

So I determine what I want my skis, and therefore my feet, to do--where I want them to go, and how to get them there. "There" is, essentially, the next "neutral" point. So with the rest of my body, I strive to make sure that I arrive in neutral when I get "there." And if that happens, I do not need to do anything else, whatsoever, to start the next turn!

The point, and I think this is where you were going Eski, is that the "conscious" part of my ski technique, the part I think about and determine with each turn, is my footwork, or more to the point, my skis. The rest of my technique is secondary to this footwork. It is the unconscious movements I must make to enable my feet to do as I choose. So balance doesn't really "come naturally" as a RESULT of proper foot movement. And balance does not come first (it's more important than that)! Footwork comes first, and balancing movements with the rest of the body must support it.

In other words, contrary to "conventional wisdom," I conclude:

Balance must be subservient to footwork!

What d'ya think?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

"First things first, but not necessarily in that order...."
--Dr. Who

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 31, 2001 09:10 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Bob Barnes/Colorado ]</font>
post #6 of 50
Pretend you are on a teeter-toter. With your feet and your hip. The fat guy was on the big toe and now the fat guy is on the little toe! Fat gal was on the left hip now the fat gal is on the right hip. Maybe not politacly correct. Make sure one doesn't just jump off that would be to quick a transition.

I also think of pushing open a heavy door with the thigh of the relaxing new inside leg to help tip the ski to the edge.
post #7 of 50
Todo! I've got to think about that teeter-totter thing--I've got to admit you've lost me at the moment.



I like the idea of pushing the door with the thigh, though.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

PS--Got your PM, Todo--thanks!--but you've got me on your "block" list, so I couldn't reply.
post #8 of 50
Thread Starter 
Hey,

Great repsonses. Thanks. Let me comment on a couple points quickly, because I don't have much time right now. First, it my contention that if and when your feet do the right thing alot of the balancing does happen naturally because in order to do the moves you have to be in balance. It seems simplisistic, but think about it.

Also, Everybody is a little a different, but if you can lighten and tip you outside ski you must be balanced. Oherwise you really could not not do it. When you enter the turn with your inside foot light, your balance is naturally centered on yoru outside foot...where you wnat it.

The release move: yes you trigger by relaxing / taking weight off teh outside foot AND tip/flatten it to the snow and into the new turn. The rate at which you do this can detemine your turn radius as well. The key is to make the move whn you still have G's on the skis otherwise your forced to double clutch in transion. Nice point Wigs.
That's exactly right.

Further, when you release and ransition as describerd above, there is no real addtional move which breaks the flow. It is the same continueing through transition an when you get your skis to do the right thing, the CM balanceing takes are of itself most of teh time. The most important thing for the upper body is to keep it square and facing the middle of your next at the end of each turn and through transition.

ciao for now-
E
post #9 of 50
This darn place has turned into a friggin love fest! Whooda thunk.
post #10 of 50
Describe the problems that some students have with doing this.
post #11 of 50
Milesb,

One of the problems that students have with releasing, is they tend to get the order of movements reversed. Instead of releasing from the old turn first, they transfer while the old stance ski is still engaged.

To break this sequence, I like to use an external cue, like "flex to release." This seems to work better than "relax the quads".

External cues are really great for learning. There has been some studies that have substantiate this notion. Seems the external cues are more effective than internal cues. One of the experiments that I would like to do, is have a class develop their own external cues. It would be on the "guided/divergant discovery" teaching style. I would guide the students as far as criteria is concerned. The divergant discovery process would result in multiple answers.
post #12 of 50
The problem with TALKING about the relaxation move is that we forget to incorporate the momentum that's present when we're out there DOING the move. The relaxation allows our momentum to begin moving the CM into the next turn so that all we have to do is the guiding.

I agree with Bob that Todo's suggestion to think about pushing open a door with a hip has merit. But if I actually do push open a door with a hip (I went and tried it a few times), I tend to twist more than I think might be appropriate. I like the fact pushing open a door with a hip keeps the upper body from leading the move into the turn. I'd just want to be careful I don't end up too countered.
post #13 of 50
Kneale, are you saying that it won't work from a standstill? It works for me there. And of course, there is this: http://www.harbskisystems.com/olb2.htm
post #14 of 50
Eski,

Footwork has to be important because that's where we attached the damn things. Personally I think foot work supercedes everything.

Like Bob I see a hesitation in the smooth movement pattern of a turn. It seems to me that the movements you describe will give you a short traverse between the turns. Relax to release, feel for flat, tip the inside foot. There just seems to be a lot happening right there at the "point of transition" I think someone called it.

A couple questions:

Do you release to a un-weighted state? What happens if you release and change edge without releasing the pressure under your feet?

Do we really want to feel for flat? If I feel flat then the ski runs straight for that split second and interrupts the flow of the turns, don't I want to go from edged, pressured, working skis to edged pressured, working in the other direction skis?

And a comment:

Tip the old ride foot to the little toe side. If I time this move just right it can produce the smoothest, snakiest turns. Looking back at the track the disengagement of the old inside ski and the engagement of the new inside ski happen at the same instant. I can't imagine getting everything to happen so smoothly if I was feeling for flat. How is maintaining pressure through this movement going to affect things?

You're a brave man,
Yd
post #15 of 50
See if I can explain this any better: In skiing I try to think of my hip working like a teeter-totter. It goes up and down but does not twist. Try this stand on both feet tall and now try to pick one leg straight up only using your hip. Now lean against a door in a right hand turn, The right hip will be higher than the left to release and go to the next turn feel the hip move from right hip high to right hip low. As you do this let the FEET tip to move the hip. So left leg has big toe on the ground little one in the air(tipped) right foot has just the opposite now reverse them. This is what I mean by thinking like a teeter-totter. You know the ones at the play ground where 2 people sit on either end and go up and down? Hope this made more sense? Bob? Bob as for the PM I don't know how I blocked you? I also don't know how to unblock you I will check with AC! SORRY
post #16 of 50
Kneile- Go back to the door and push with the JUST the thigh by rolling the foot and the LET the hip follow, VS pushing with jsut the hip. I think you will find this will keep it from twisting.
post #17 of 50
Thread Starter 
Y...I'm a brave man?

Regarding the flat point. In linked turns with speed like we all ski at, you pass right through transition and flat with no hesitaition. Ther is a smooth link for sure like you described. The link is the continuation of the release of the outside foot and then continueing the move with the same foot leading the edge change. It also controls teh draw of teh CM into the new turn. Great flow to create "snaking" rhythm.

salud,
E
post #18 of 50
Thread Starter 
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Rick H:
Milesb,

One of the problems that students have with releasing, is they tend to get the order of movements reversed. Instead of releasing from the old turn first, they transfer while the old stance ski is still engaged.

To break this sequence, I like to use an external cue, like "flex to release." This seems to work better than "relax the quads".

External cues are really great for learning. There has been some studies that have substantiate this notion. Seems the external cues are more effective than internal cues. One of the experiments that I would like to do, is have a class develop their own external cues. It would be on the "guided/divergant discovery" teaching style. I would guide the students as far as criteria is concerned. The divergant discovery process would result in multiple answers.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Nice one RH. I think this language would work just fine and it is very consistent to what I was talking about. I also tell some people to just take the weight off the outside tehn lead the edge change with it. You can do smoe drills to highlight this too.

I understand external cues, but the rest of what you said is out of my realm of understanding! : Divergent WHAT? I'm not that easy to cinfuse but you got me here!!

[img]smile.gif[/img]
post #19 of 50
Eski and Bob, You have described the essence of external cueing and implicit learning that I referred to in the "Filling the Empty Cup" thread very well here. Basically if we simply ask or expect ourselves or our students to produce or achieve the state associated with a properly chosen external cue everything else can often pretty much happen automatically. I would only add that I think it is best to have the external cue removed from (but perhaps still directly linked to) any joint or movement as possible. For the topic at hand I would suggest using the ski as the basis for external cue as much as possible (as opposed to refering to the feet or leg). With the right teaching progressions and external cues, skills build on one another, there are no dead ends, and people are much more confident with their skiing (perhaps without even being able to breakdown or describe the movements they are producing). It is this concept (coupled with improved ski technology) that makes current marketing schemes such as "direct parallel", "rapid skier development," and perhaps others a truthful reality. From my point of view, the more that systems of ski instruction recognize and implement this concept the better it is for students and the whole ski industry in general.
post #20 of 50
ESki,

Divergent discovery is a teaching style, as defined by Mosston and Ashworth. There are five reproductive styles, where the learner reproduces examples set by the teacher, ie, Command or Practice styles. Then there are six productive styles where the learner "discovers" the solutions to the problems.

From what I have found out, PSIA utilizes the reproductive styles in some of the cert tests. I have been working on the concept of utilizing eight of the styles, all of the reproductive styles and three of the discovery styles. The three styles that I am considering are Guided Discovery, where the teacher "guides" the learner along a certain path. Then there is the Convergent Discovery, where the teacher sets some criteria, and expects the learners to develop a single answer. Divergent Discovery is similar, but more than one answer is expected. The beauty of the discovery styles is the learner and the teacher do not know the outcome. So everyone learns from the process.
post #21 of 50
Yd,

If you leave the old ski weighted and tip it to the little toe edge, that is what HH calls a weighted release. You only keep the new inside ski weighted until the fall line and the do the transitions to the normal outside ski. From what I understand, a lot of the male World Cup racers are using this technique. It is a bit disconcerting at first, but then it becomes fun.
post #22 of 50
ESki, Wouldn't you want some transition between turns in cut-up snow or crud so the ski or skis wouldn't grab or converge/diverge?
post #23 of 50
Rick--good basic description of the concept of "teaching styles." To take it a little farther, "teaching styles" refer to various methods teachers can impart or inspire learning. They vary according to the amount and source of specific direction, the amount of "control," prior knowledge, and decision-making expected of the student and the teacher, and the type and source of feedback (ie. all from the teacher, some or all from the student's own awareness, and so on).

Teaching styles can be categorized in many ways. There are "full-barrel" and "empty-barrel" styles--where the teacher either adds knowledge or skill to someone who lacks it (empty-barrel), or draws out knowledge or skill that is already there (full-barrel). There are coaching styles, and directing styles.

The so-called "guided discovery" teaching style (you referred to it as "converging discovery") involves the teacher guiding the student(s) to a specific, intended answer (outcome, revelation, whatever), through tasks, questions, and so on. The teacher never tells the "answer," but does reinforce it once the student arrives there.

"Diverging Discovery," commonly known as "problem-solving" teaching style, differs from the above in that there is NOT a single, specific, particular answer the teacher is trying to lead the students to. There may be many solutions, all correct.

Obviously, different teaching styles have different uses. The simplest style--command style (tell 'em how, when, and where, and then give them feedback on their performance) is effective for some things, but does not create a great learning experience very often. Skilled instruction requires mastery of a variety of teaching styles, and use of whichever is the most effective for the individual student and the individual learning goal.

PSIA expects and tests for proficiency in all these styles, to a level commensurate with the various levels of certification. Common advice, though, is to avoid the "discovery" styles when asked to teach a mock lesson in an exam. But I did a guided discovery progression in my full-cert exam, and managed to pull it off! It only worked, though, because neither the other candidates nor the examiners knew where I was going at first, so it was, truly, guided discovery!

Perhaps the biggest downside to guided discovery is that students may not always appreciate being lead to a goal that they have neither seen clearly nor had the opportunity to approve of in advance. While it is a highly student-focused teaching style, they may feel "out of control" of the situation.

But when appropriate and skillfully executed, guided discovery can be extremely effective and fun!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

PS--this "weighted release" that you have described is exactly the "White Pass Turn" made famous by Phil and Steve Mahre, and named after the little ski area in Washington where they grew up. They do an incredible exaggerated demonstration of it in the old original Mahre Training Center video. I always thought it was interesting, and instructive, that this is the turn made famous by the two brothers who have always been so vocal and adamant about the fundamental importance of a weight transfer at turn initiation! It just shows that a solid foundation of fundamentals is only the beginning of well-rounded ski technique, and that no move is categorically "wrong"!
post #24 of 50
Miles: You need the momentum to maximize getting into a carve. The animated part of that link demonstrates the maximum foot swivel needed if you lack momentum.
post #25 of 50
Bob,
as I was visualizing your image of no transition (the idea of finishing your turn in nuetral, and therefore being there to flow into the next direction), I could see myself creating these transitionless S's in railroad track carves on open terrain (groomed or crud), but in steeper terrain, or very rough, the heavy G's at the end of the turn still seem to create a feeling of transition (impact, if you will.) I was just wondering where you were on this. Do you feel the idea of seamless flow, without impact can be universal, or is there a terrain/speed control threshold that brings back the need for a distinct finish and release? This seems especially poignant for many of our students, as speed control is so much of their makeup and focus.

thankyou for the thought, and my first chat room post wasn't so painful after all.

cheers,

"perpetual" Holiday

[img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #26 of 50
Bob,
as I was visualizing your image of no transition (the idea of finishing your turn in nuetral, and therefore being there to flow into the next direction), I could see myself creating these transitionless S's in railroad track carves on open terrain (groomed or crud), but in steeper terrain, or very rough, the heavy G's at the end of the turn still seem to create a feeling of transition (impact, if you will.) I was just wondering where you were on this. Do you feel the idea of seamless flow, without impact can be universal, or is there a terrain/speed control threshold that brings back the need for a distinct finish and release? This seems especially poignant for many of our students, as speed control is so much of their makeup and focus.

thankyou for the thought, and my first chat room post wasn't so painful after all.

cheers,

"perpetual" Holiday

[img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #27 of 50
Thread Starter 
Hey You Guys...OK, you busted me. This piece I origanlly posted was for lower level skiers then I think a lot people are describing (nord). For really good skiers and racers, the "flat" phase, the point in transition when the skis are flat to the snow suface, comes and goes with out any hitch. This flow of the skis from one set of edges to the new turning set, is seamless in high speed skiing. For sure.

What I'm really trying to get at is the release movement of retraction triggered by a controled relaxation is like isometrically giving in and reduces the the G's created by you standing on your skis as they are arcing through the turn. As I said before, this draws the upper body into the turn AND releases the skis and feet to flow under the CM and into the engagement of the next turn. It is seasmless and easy to control. If you have good timing and release the G's when you are still loaded up at the end of the turn, these forces combined with your defined and intentional movment pattern will throw your feet and skis to the other side faster then you can move your feet on their own. I hope I'm making this clear: It would be like if you're juming on a trampoline and instead of extending your legs to jump high, you actually flex your legs and absorb the rebound of the trampoline; you will almost hit your jaw with your legs. In other words we the skiers create the forces and we realease the forces. You can release by relaxing and guiding(either fast or slow movement of the feet even with varying speed from slow to racer fast) the feet from one turn and onto edge in the new turn and by leading the edge change with new inside foot. How much weight you leave on this foot is up to you proabbly depending on the situation, snow condition etc.

Someone referred to soft snow. Even in crud it is good to maintian snow contact in transition it weasier to do with the skis closer to the snow surface, so again the same movement pattern is appropriate. This is why, to me, it so cool. This core movement pattern I described intitally works across the board. Just for advanced skiers the flat phase is very quick, with no break in the flow.

Hope this helps clarify.
:
post #28 of 50
Holiday

I know you addressed you question to BB but I was compeled to answer.

The idea of flow while moving through netrual from turn to turn is a constant in my mind. It will look and feel different as speed , terrain, and tactics change.

When modern skiing on shape skiis is compared to the skiing of ten years ago we see for the most part that the mother lode of energy occurs near the fall line as oposed to the end of the turn. This allows us to use this energy to advance the feet to the other side of our cm quickly. This energy(rebound) is now our friend instead our foe as it used to be.

As the hill gets steeper and speeds increase it becomes an athletic action and does not look or feel as it does on the groomer. The athletic move is not in creating the action but rather it is in keeping up with the feet as we allow them to flow down the hill.
post #29 of 50
Thread Starter 
Hey HAp...I really like your angle. High speed, big off-piste turns are a loy of fun and a great rush. I definately make more of these then groomer turns every year.

But I bet you look more similar on both snow types then you think. For me, I ski the same way on and off piste. The same core movements of linking turns from a square athelitic stance. I agree that skiing at speed becoems more inate. You have good echnique and when you're in teh groove you're cruising with less concsious thought.

But, the main consideration for handling varying snow conditions and speed are really in sking on a one-foot or two-foot platform. The movement pattern of transittioning or of linking turns is really the same for most turns in these varying conditions. No matter the speed. The angles you create at speed are greater and the rush is bigger but the technique can be the same.
post #30 of 50
Eski
your right the movement patten is definatly similar timing duration and intensity is different not to mention the smile factor can be increased to.

Get on the flow train!
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