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Demystifying the Alignment Process - Page 2

post #31 of 35
Originally Posted by LewBob
Hey folks, I am resurrecting this thread. I have been working on my aligment for years and have used "The Athletic Skier" as a major source. Witherell had the opposite opinion of David M. He felt most skiers were stuck in the backseat because of stiff boots, too upright a stance, and not enough delta angle in the bindings.

Personally I have been too upright in all my boots over the years because I have a very skinny calf and ankle, and using Witherells approach has helped me feel more balanced. But that is my particular problem. Why are people going to more upright boots, when a very analytical race coach like Witherell was espousing more forward lean and ramp angle just a decade ago?

Does the switch to short, shaped skis call for a change in boot angles? LewBob
I have been dealing with some issues that I believe to be partially related to boot forward lean, but my issue is a little different, my calves are not small by any means (its very difficult to find boots that the upper can properly reach around my calf). However, something that just caught my attention is that LewBob's reference to a very analytical race coach and the techniques and tactics he prescribes. Race techniques and general skiing, while based on the same fundamentals and principles are two completely different animals. While a greater forward lean and delta angle may be appropriate for race, its not always the best for a general skier. When I teach about balanced positions in my lessons I use a ski pole to visually show this, but the faster you go, the greater the forward lean needs to be to counteract the forces of skiing and maintain a balanced position. How many people on the hill generally ski at the speeds racers (especially accomplished ones) do, not many in my opinion (at least not that many that are in proper control).

Now, for someone with a smaller calf, a greater forward lean may be the right thing to do, however, if your calf is larger, and your are in a boot with arguably too much forward lean, you stand a good chance of skiing in the backseat because of subconsciously counteracting the lean in the boot by centering the hips more over the heels.

Now my ideas get a bit more convoluted here again with the advent of soft boots, and the general market movement into a softer flexing boot. In my honest opinion, a softer flexing boot should be more vertical (relative to the typical forward lean on most boots) simply because they are easier to flex, however this is not often the case.

Keep in mind I did not read the whole thread so I appoligize if some of this has been said, but I just keyed in on the racing reference and have had to deal with these thoughts from students before. Everyone want to ski as well as the top racers in the world, but if your fundamentals and ability are not the same, neither should the equipment, at least in my opinion. Your equipment should help your skills/fundamentals get better, not become a hinderance or a crutch to your progression (kinda like the idea of learning to crawl before learning to walk, and learning to walk before learning to run).
post #32 of 35
Well, I think it is a pretty complicated issue. However, there is certainly a relationship between ones ramp and delta angle and their needed forward lean in their boots. We all have a sweet spot no doubt. Did you ever consider lowering your ramp angle and leaving your boots upright as they were?

DavidM coached me through some boot mods on a pair of head boots last year and my stance and balance was better than ever. The key is to start with ramp angle, dial it in and then proceed to forward lean. Trouble is that ramp angle is hard to change outside of toe shims on most boots.

Approaching it from a phisiological direction by identifying structural balance needs, positon of Com in a relaxed tall ski stance, (our home base), and then identify how the muscles work and put them all together, and I end up where DavidM is. Less ramp angle than is currently being provided us in our boots and less forward lean than most boots have.

If I have too much ramp angle in my boots, my body needs to drive the knees forward to get my ankle in a functional range of motion, this in turn drives the hips back, which we see in skiers all the time. Almost impossible for me to get that tall relaxed home base we need to ski from to enjoy using our skeleton more and our muscles less.

DavidM has world cup successes and many other high end ski professionals testifying, some of whom I have chated with personaly. In the end when I see real science, tests, and research behind a persons theories and find very credible personal testimony, then I pay attention.

Could be the industry is moving DavidM's way because there is real credible evidence that supports their move in this direction.
post #33 of 35
I ditched the Icon ALUs cause of excessive forward lean. You can remove the spoiler on the ALU to decrease the lean a little, but the ramp angle seems pretty large also. Combine that with the delta angle on look/rosi and you feel like you are leaning forward all the time. I feel a more upright stance is a more balanced position for freeskiing in variable snow conditions. I don’t want the boot to force me to get my weight forward, that I can accomplish on my own. But it all depends on the skier.
post #34 of 35

ramp+delta and fore-aft balance

I've been playing with this myself. I made a list of my 3 skis I ski on most often and ranked them by ease of fore/aft balance as they are quite different subjectively in this regard.

I then marked my boots on a spot on the plates on the boot and measured the height from the plate to the base of the ski on both of those spots on all 3 pairs of skis.

What I measured, for me, showed that I like delta angle. The more the merrier. My skis were 3mm, 5mm and 6mm difference in height. And my preference fore aft on these 3 pairs of skis were right in line with those measurements. I hate the 3mm ones for fore/aft. The 6mm ones are the best but still not ideal. So in my case, it looks like I'll play with shims under the binding and/or heel lifts in the boot, to see what works since I need a tad more help.

My upper leg is longer in ratio to my lower leg than what is "normal" which gives me particullar problems. (at least this is my working theory while I sort this out)

It would be interesting to know the science of what makes some people better with less vs more ramp+delta angle so bootfitters, etc, have some more objective guidence. I was reading Witherall's book the Athletic Skier last night and unlike canting where there is a process to follow, fore and aft appear to have no rules or process other than just playing with it.

At camp this past week, Paul from Vail (hope he is doing all right as he got injured his last day), had some of the Dalbello boots with the allen wrench adjustable ramp angle (that are not made anymore). He told me how he was amazed what a difference even a slight ramp angle adjustment made in his skiing or made his skiing terrible. Even a 1/4 turn was noticible for him. Once he finally narrowed in his sweet sport he found it really changed his skiing. This whole ramp angle issue obviously is quite sensitive to changes and very important to skiers.

I would imagine in my case, given my leg shaft length issues, that the amount of flexion would change everything. If the leg shafts upper and lower are more similar in length then I would imagine this would not be as sensitive an issue. The sweet spot would be bigger for that person. In my case, what I like for a certain slope and skiing agreesiveness will likely be wrong for another as my preference will change radically as I move up or down.

When I simply stand and flex down, I must lift my heels off the floor to stay balanced or I will fall backwards. In skis I can't lift my heels as I flex, so will have to pick some middle of the road ramp+delta angle. (or go tele!)
post #35 of 35
John, I think that a skier's center of gravity and leg size play a big part in this. I think my long legs throw my center to the rear when I bend my legs. Someone lower to the ground, who carries a lot of weight in their legs may have opposing needs to mine. Big lower legs put a person in a much more forward stance than my skinny legs do.

I think I have a grasp on these factors, but I wonder how much the shaped skis effect this. After much work increasing ramp angle, shimming behind the calf, I still feel my weight is back a little. As Warren says, the last 20% has the greatest effect. But I wonder if my technique is part of the problem. I like a low, aggressive stance when I ski fast.

I will keep playing with the fore/aft balance. I just need a few weeks dedicated to only skiing and I am sure I can figure it out. Maybe next year. And, BTW, I am like you. If I try to hunker down in a squat I fall backwards, even with 1/4 inch magazine under the heels of my boots. LewBob
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