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Where do we want our hips over our feet? Why do we want to move our hips forward? - Page 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro

I was driving to my Denver office and thinking about the two paths and two speeds idea. As I crossed a train track I started thinking about all the old movies where a car is racing a train and the car either needs to beat the train to that intersection or slow down and let the train pass. The skis moving faster than the body and trying to beat the body into the new turn is one image I came up with. I also came up with the image of the body accelerating to beat the feet into the new turn and the image of both getting there at the same time. In all of these examples there isn't any braking. Not that there couldn't be some braking but for the sake of being consistent with the slow line fast idea I'm not going to include those options right now. My conclusion is that percieved speed relative to each other doesn't mean either the feet or the body are actually moving backwards, it just means one will pass the other as their paths intersect and diverge. Whatever option we choose affects the next turn though and it might make this idea easier to understand if we compare the consequences of all three options. Since this is a tangent to VSP's topic I'll start a new thread, hope to see you everyone there.

Exactly! When they intersect, the balance axis is vertical; at the point of maximum divergence, the balance axis is inclined to its maximum degree for that turn - this progression gives the feeling of the body moving ahead of the feet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoMan

I like the way MichaelA put it. I don't think getting a feel for center is something where one size fits all. Having different ways to get the point accross is probably a good thing. In the past, some of the suggestions given to me by instructors was not very productive. Also, some of the things I was told I probably should not be doing turned out to be productive. I have had instructors tell me I want to always be making subtle contact with the front of the boots. I have also had instructors tells me I don't want to be making contact with the cuffs and want to be neutral.

I just know what worked for me. I know when I am centered and my hips are where they probably should be because I feel like I am floating a bit when tranistioning and can make subtle movements rather than doing something with force. If my hips are not where they probably should be, I have to do a lot more effort to turn. The farther back my hips get, the more movements and effort is required to get into the new turn.

I can't look down to see where my hips are and don't really ever think about it. This is where   maintaining contact with the front of boot cuffs has served as a tactile queue that I am at least somewhere in the ballpark. If I cannot feel the fronts of the cuffs, I am going to have to work even harder to get in the correct position and I will know it because I will be on my heels. Pressing into the cuffs also has helped me keep centered on steep terrain. Whether it is right or wrong is not something I think about. It works for me and I expend a lot less energy.

FWIW, this  post brings  to  light a common occurrence among ski teachers.  Sometimes  we tend  to  assume the  sensations and positions we  feel in our ski boots  are  the sensations our students should also try to  emulate, However; these  sensations and  possibilities  will  be affected by the equipment fit and alignment causing different  possibilities and  limitations  for each  skier.   So while  slight shin to  tongue  pressure may be neutral  for  one skier  it may be  virtually impossible  for another  to achieve to  maintain  equilibrium?
Clearly Bob Barnes has a problem.
He never received "Forwagonal" training as a young child.
Like this one:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman

FWIW, this  post brings  to  light a common occurrence among ski teachers.  Sometimes  we tend  to  assume the  sensations and positions we  feel in our ski boots  are  the sensations our students should also try to  emulate, However; these  sensations and  possibilities  will  be affected by the equipment fit and alignment causing different  possibilities and  limitations  for each  skier.   So while  slight shin to  tongue  pressure may be neutral  for  one skier  it may be  virtually impossible  for another  to achieve to  maintain  equilibrium?

Unfortunately, things such as the effect of binding ramp and alignment usually don't factor into advice from instructors, at least the ones I have worked with throughout the years. That's why I think I have often been told conflicting pieces of information about tactile sensations in relation to the boot cuff. An instructor may have a setup whereby he/she finds neutral without any cuff pressure at all and would be inclined to think this applies to everone.  I have found that binding ramp angle has a great affect on where and how I feel 'center'.  Personally, I do not prefer a lot of ramp angle. I think there are so many factors involved that are unique to an individual and some instructors tend to overlook this.

I am not an instructor. Obviously, certain concepts like 'finding center' obviously need to be relayed to the student. I think it follows that how finding center is accomplished may vary, in subtle ways, from one person to the next.   I have received advice that I believe actually has hindered my understanding of what it means to be centered. After a while, I figured out through trial-and-error that I just need to go with what works. If that means applying some cuff pressure to feel center, that's what it is. It's one of those things I know it when I feel it, because I feel like I am walking on air as opposed to using much effort to get things to happen. For me, center varies from ski to ski and differences are especially noticeable if I am on a ski with Rossi/Look bindigs.  I think these bindings have a lot of ramp on them or something, at least judging from my own perceptions. I don't really like them.
So perhaps our perceptions of "hips over feet" share some of these same considerations?   What moves are possible for some, may not be achievable for others, because of equipment angles and the possible movement pools created by them, as well as body types and ranges of flexibility?

The sensations you feel through turn transitions while maintaining balance may be different than another skier.  The bottom line is your body will do what it must do to find equilibrium.  If your equipment or flexibility inhibits some movements, your body will compensate by moving in other planes to compensate automatically, without conscious thought.

So, perhaps, "hips over the feet" is a mistaken, misused, confusing phrase for a variety of reasons?
Well, in all the years I have taken lessons, I have never had an instructor mention anything about the hips being over the feet as a fundamental goal. I believe that some of the exercises we engaged in tended to get the hips where they should be to get into neutral but simply as an effect of the excercise, not as a result of concentrating on where the hips are and making a conscious effort to do something with them. When everything would fall into place and I learned the concept of being centered from a sensory and tactile standpoint, it's not like I stopped to think,  "Ok, I get it now. My hips are now where they should be -- over the feet." It was more like, "Wow, this is easy. I feel it now."

If an instructor had told me to get my hips over my feet, I am not sure how I would have approached it. From my experience as a student, and by watching others in lessons around me, I noticed that there is a tednency to exhagerate movements we are presented with. There also is a tendency to focus entirely on the movement itself. In this case, that would likely mean I would be concentrating only on the hips and nothing else.
In generally I don't like this language: "keep the hips over the feet".  Regardless of where you think that might be, skiing is a dynamic sport.  Nobody "keeps" their hips over their feet.

In practical terms, the vast majority of skiers struggle with falling aft.  Much focus in lessons and personal training should be on moving forward and staying forward.  They won't end up being forward, they are counteracting against the tendencies to fall aft.
Ok, I owe an apology for having disappeared from this thread. I have been teaching upper level students (level 8-9’s) every day for the past few weeks, and I must admit it can be somewhat fatiguing. So I’m guilty of not really having the energy to do this thread justice. But now with a couple of days off, I figure I had better get back to this.
I’m just going to cut to the chase here, and throw some ideas out. Some may agree with what I’m going to write, some may not. But none of what I’m about to write is new. We were coaching these theories at the elite levels long ago- and given that the human body (physiology) and physics haven’t changed that much- they are still valid. And the newer ski technology actually increases their validity!
This will also not be the first time I have expressed these ideas here on EpicSki, but unfortunately, they never seemed to gain much recognition against the ‘noise’ which often drowns out much of what is written. But I hope that some of you will give this an honest read and consider these ideas seriously.
The first question I asked was “Where do we want our hips over our feet?”
Using physiology as our guide, let’s evaluate one of the so-called “truths” that continually gets recycled.
“Put your weight on the big toe” or “pressure the ball of the foot.” (BoF) (This has so many negative results, it’s hard to figure out where to start!)
In order to achieve weight on the BoF, the CM must be forward, usually demonstrated by the hips being pushed forward / extended. Another demonstration of this is if a skier’s torso is tipped excessively forward at the waist. There are others, but these two are the most common. If you then extrapolate the effect these positions have on how various movements become restricted when the CM is forward, you will find that this “truth” is a significant hindrance to good skiing!
If a skier does this, the BoF becomes the pivot point of the ski. Any rotational movement of the leg immediately results in a lateral displacement of the lower leg and a definite lateral displacement of the tail of the ski (i.e.-skidding). This is contradictory to the desired result of carving a turn, or even to guide the ski in an accurate arc. This is also a primary cause of “chatter” during a turn.
Anytime the CM is forward as described above, most of the muscles surrounding the hip joint become tensioned and the femur becomes restricted in its range(s) of movement. This has a direct impact on the ability to laterally tip the skis (edging), the ability to rotate the skis freely, and to allow unfettered flexing of the legs.
So, where should the hips be positioned over the foot?
First, you must understand that there are two types of pressure within a ski boot. The first is the “down” pressure, or the pressure one feels under the foot. The second type is the leverage of the leg against the boot shaft, (fore /aft/ laterally) used to distribute pressure to various points along the ski. By dividing the pressure within the boot in this way, it should be clear that it is not necessary to pressure the BoF in order to energize the front of the ski.
Since the movements we use to affect the skis (edging/rotating) are generated in the leg, then the point where the leg is attached to the foot should become our “neutral” or “benchmark” point for the “down” pressure. This point is the continuation of the tibial axis, below the ankle. This point will also very closely coincide with the narrowest part of the ski and also represents nearly the middle of what is known as the ‘fast’ part of the ski. I am not suggesting that you should be locked to this point, but should allow for slight variations as you ski.
To achieve pressure at this point, you must flex the hip joint a little more to the rear than most are used to. (The idea I use is to make the very first movement of sitting into a chair- a slight flexing and lowering of the hip joint) This “unlocks” the joint, allowing the femur to move more freely in the socket, extending the lateral and rotational ranges of movement. This also frees the leg to flex as necessary. Contact (not necessarily PRESSURE) between the shin and the boot shaft must be maintained between the 9:30 and 2:30 positions or you may end up being too far aft.
Most skiers state it feels as though they are sticking their butts out in this position, but when viewed from the outside, the appearance is that of a very athletic, stable position. From this neutral point, flexing the ankle/knee/hip can create the leverage which may be desired along the ski (fore/aft).
So as for the first question, I hope this has been adequately answered.
On to the second question- “Why do we want to move our hips forward?” I believe the preceding question lays the groundwork to the answer to this question.
Obviously, based on the restrictions to movement if the CM is forward, excessive forward movement is not beneficial. But for some reason, this idea keeps getting reiterated.
The only time it is necessary to actively move the CM forward through a transition is if the CM has been slowed below the speed of the skis, for otherwise, the CM will continue to move into the new turn without any additional effort. The skis will then be drawn back up to the CM during the turn.
Elite skiers do not wish to slow the CM to the degree where it affects continuous movement forward to the ensuing turn. In fact, the idea is to utilize the CM’s constant movement as almost a type of gyro-stabilizer which allows the legs and skis to merely support the CM’s path, rather than using the CM to create the movements necessary to make the skis function. Some may claim this differentiation is splitting hairs, but they are very clearly different mechanisms.
Watch footage of an elite skier- you will see that there is rarely a turn where the skier is making dedicated movements which move the CM forward into the new turn. That movement is already committed from the apex of the previous turn, not a separate set of movements.
Darn- this has turned out to be as long as some of Bob Barnes’s posts! Unfortunately, I do not have the technical  skills Bob possesses to dummy up some cool graphics to go with this, so you are going to have to use your imagination.
Going back to some of the earlier comments, how does binding placement, ramp angle, anatomy of the skier, etc come into the discussion of technique?

Can a universal statement be made regarding the correct movement and placement of the hips and CM in a turn without consideration of the many items that vary from one skier to the next? Someone skiing with a lot of ramp angle, forward lean, delta, and an aft binding position is going to be performing different things to get centered and pressure the tips compared to someone with an upright setup with bindings mounted more trowards the center. In the case of the former, it seems logical that the skier is likely going to report using BOF pressure to obtain center and initiate and will be telling everyone this is the way to go. In the case of the latter, we are likely to hear that one should not use any BOF pressure.

Isn't this a case of different strokes for different folks?  Everyone seems to be talking in absolutes without considering any of the myriad of equipment variables that affect stance.

If everyone had the same anatomy and wore the same boots and used the same skis and bindings and mounted them in the same position, it would make sense to talk in terms of absolutes.

If someone had their bindings mounted fore of center and closer to the tips, we would be telling them to get back to stay centered and get out of the front seat. Isn't it all relative?

Just to add some thoughts from my experience with boots..

Skiing in my Raptors(I think they have 17 degrees of forward lean and lot of ramp), it feels more like my butt is sticking out when I am centered. In my Atomics that are more upright and shallow, it does not. This adds up to totally different sensations when getting to or feeling centered and I do different things to pressure the tips. I am doing different things with my hips, knees, and cuffs.

Skiing on the Progressor 8 -- with railflex bindings moved forward, the ski does not react well to pressuring the BOF. With the bindings mounted aft, the skis are reluctatnt to seek the fallline without BOF pressure when centering.

An instructor telling me that there is a right or wrong way to find center or initiate without consideration of the variables above is going to be offering a hit-or-miss proposition. If I am in the right setup, the advice will be productive. If I am not, I will be getting some advice that is counter-productive. The advice would be neither right or wrong, but simply relative to a particular setup.
Edited by MojoMan - 2/5/10 at 7:09am
Quote:
Originally Posted by vail snopro

To achieve pressure at this point, you must flex the hip joint a little more to the rear than most are used to. (The idea I use is to make the very first movement of sitting into a chair- a slight flexing and lowering of the hip joint) This “unlocks” the joint, allowing the femur to move more freely in the socket, extending the lateral and rotational ranges of movement. This also frees the leg to flex as necessary. Contact (not necessarily PRESSURE) between the shin and the boot shaft must be maintained between the 9:30 and 2:30 positions or you may end up being too far aft.
Most skiers state it feels as though they are sticking their butts out in this position, but when viewed from the outside, the appearance is that of a very athletic, stable position. From this neutral point, flexing the ankle/knee/hip can create the leverage which may be desired along the ski (fore/aft).

This is an excellent description. One way to think about achieving it is to imagine "lowering" one's entire frame in such a manner as to keep the ears directly over the medial malleolus (inside bump) of the ankle joint when viewed in the sagittal plane. It is important not to tip balance forward as one lowers - indeed the ability to separate flexion/extension movements from fore/aft ones and to control them independently is an essential skill for high level skiing.

One additional very important refinement is to keep the pelvis in a neutral position, not rotated into an arched (sway back) or tucked in under posture. This allows the core muscles to stabilize the pelvis properly which cannot be done in either of the two faulty positions. It's a tough thing for most people to diagnose in themselves and most skiers typically have no idea that they may be well out of kilter. A good way to get the correct feeling is to kneel on the floor with knees under the hips and hands on the floor under the shoulders. Arch the lower back up as high as possible (mad cat), then flex it the other way so that the lower back is as concave as possible. Somewhere between the two extremes is neutral - work back and forth and try to zero in on a position in which the lower back is straight (or perhaps very slightly rounded); you should feel the core muscles comfortably engaged. Now try to reproduce that position standing up while skiing.
Bejeebers, are you guys speaking to those on an elite level or the average recreational skier who comprises the vast majority of the skiing public? Most skiers on the hill who are advancing are just learning how to stay out of the backseat and are trying to get out of the habit of stemming their turns. An instructor talking about laying on the snow and doing a 'mad cat' position and medial malleolus, sagittal plane, ears over ankles, etc --arghhh.. I think I would probably just jump off the lift and go ski.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vail snopro

Using physiology as our guide, let’s evaluate one of the so-called “truths” that continually gets recycled.
“Put your weight on the big toe” or “pressure the ball of the foot.” (BoF) (This has so many negative results, it’s hard to figure out where to start!) ....

VSP--Excellent + +  (along with all in your post that follows this statement)!

Thank you, too, for reviving this discussion by being one of the few here to back up and explain your conclusions with sound argument and factual evidence. Discussions like this one do not benefit from everyone simply expressing their personal beliefs--simple or otherwise. That's dogma--or dog-something, at least. True understanding comes from looking into the reasons, challenging the dogma, asking questions rather than simply seeking unquestioned answers. Belief, like "knowledge," is falllible and shallow. A lot of people once believed that the earth was flat! Understanding is the antidote to belief.

There is one thing you wrote that I would like to examine further:
Quote:
The only time it is necessary to actively move the CM forward through a transition is if the CM has been slowed below the speed of the skis, for otherwise, the CM will continue to move into the new turn without any additional effort. The skis will then be drawn back up to the CM during the turn.

Complete agreement here, but perhaps there is still potential for confusion. I submit that, in terms of simple speed, the CM pretty much always moves slower than the skis. At least in the smoothly linked, rounded and very complete turns that I've illustrated, the CM clearly follows a shorter path than the skis, so the skis must move faster. This point is key in understanding the "forward and downhill" movement of the body at the turn initiation. While the CM and skis travel on diverging paths at this moment (frames 4, 12, and 20 in my "Dynamic Parallel Turns" illustration), the divergence is slight, even in the shorter-radius turns that I've illustrated. They're both moving across the hill. So at this point where the paths of CM and skis cross, the feet must literally pass the CM, moving from "behind" it (relative to the direction of travel) to "ahead" of it.

While the CM--and the hips--do get behind the feet relative to the skis' direction of travel at this moment, the body takes a shorter, straighter bee-line path down the hill, getting ahead again, more-or-less "cutting the feet off at the pass." In other words, while the speed of the CM is lower than the speed of the feet, the CM moves down the hill faster than the feet. Again, if we define "forward" as "toward the finish line," then the CM moves that direction faster than--and ahead of--the feet--even as it moves at a lower actual speed. But in their (slightly diverging) directions of travel across the hill, the feet move faster than the CM, and the hips must get "behind" the feet.

VSP wrote, "Elite skiers do not wish to slow the CM to the degree where it affects continuous movement forward to the ensuing turn." Yes, and the implication that "forward" means "to the ensuing turn" is the critical point. It is the stopping or excessive slowing of the downhill movement of the CM--very common in many skiers who finish their turns with an edgeset or speed check--that sets up the need for some kind of abrupt, muscular effort that drives the CM "forward" (or "forwagonal") of the feet. VSP, again, said it well: "Watch footage of an elite skier--you will see that there is rarely a turn where the skier is making dedicated movements which move the CM forward into the new turn."

Indeed, it's usually quite the opposite! If the skier guides the path of the CM continuously and accurately through the control phase of the turn, he or she can usually simply release the efforts of the legs and let the CM float on its already-determined path across the skis, downhill, and into the new turn. "Dedicated movements which move the CM forward into the new turn" will be needed only when the movements of the previous turn are inaccurate or insufficient (as in the classic "park-and-ride" carver), or when the skier makes specific movements that block the motion of the CM at the end of the previous turn.

Bravo, VSP!

Best regards,
Bob
Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoMan

Bejeebers, are you guys speaking to those on an elite level or the average recreational skier who comprises the vast majority of the skiing public?

"Bejeebers"? I haven't heard that expression since I was a kid growing up in northern Maine!

But your question is natural and appropriate. We had discussed this early on in this thread, as well, but I maintain that the principle--the fundamental essence--of these moves is just as valid for all skiers, beginner through expert, as for the best in the world. Surely the forces, speeds, and ranges of motion will be less, but the principles remain. Intermediate skiers don't tip their skis as much as elite skiers going mach schnell, but they do tip them. They don't get their feet as far out to the side (don't "incline" as much) as elite racers, but their feet do travel a longer line than their body. Beginners may not deal with intense G-forces, but the same fundamentals apply. The positions will be less extreme and the movements much more subtle (and less obvious). But they can still be either fundamentally the same, or fundamentally different.

Just like a ripping advanced skier, a slower-moving intermediate or novice skier can either block the motion of the CM and then need to "restart" it (with some "forward and downhill" exertion) to initiate the next turn, or he can guide it accurately and continuously so that it flows effortlessly into the new turn.

A precept of good instruction is "teaching for transfer." It's critical that instructors develop sufficient understanding of skiing's fundamentals that they can keep students of any level on the road to success--that they do not merely teach shortcuts to fundamentally lousy skiing. I have often said that great instructors do not teach beginning skiing--they introduce beginners to the techniques and tactics of experts. Great beginner turns should embody the distilled essence of the turns of experts, even as, to the casual or uninformed observer, they may bear little resemblance.

In this case, the common ground between beginners and experts--and the one moment that should look pretty much the same in both--is the moment of transition (frames 4, 12, and 20 in my illustration). Allowing the balance point here to be as VSP described above ("this point is the continuation of the tibial axis, below the ankle"), rather than forward on the toes or balls of the feet, and feeling "cuff neutral," rather than trying to lever the boots forward, is a great start. Give your hips permission to be somewhat aft of your feet here, rather than trying to "move them forward." These are a few simple things that can plant the seeds of continuous success, keeping skiers on the road that leads to elite skiing, rather than on some detour to perpetual mediocrity.

Best regards,
Bob
Bejeebers is a polite way of saying,  Holy Sh** !

I don't doubt the benefits. You guys are the experts who do this for a living. I am just thinking of this in terms of the mindset of students who may be terminally stuck in the backseat, performing stem turns. Like most, I had this problem many moons ago and am thinking in terms of personal experience.

If someone is in the back seat, how do you get them out of it? I know there are drills that one cannot successfully complete unless properly balanced; but instead of getting properly balanced to perform the drill successfully, most will simply do a bad job of performing the drill -- at least that's what I have seen and experienced.

I remember the advice I was given that made things start to click and it went something like this:

'If you want to be centered and flow smoothly into the new turn, you are going to have to get your hips more forward at transition or you will always be stemming your turn entires. Try to maintain boot cuff contact at all times. You don't need to mash them but you always want to feel the cuff.'

After a while, I figured out that this made it quite effortless to roll the skis on and off an edge. I didn't have to catch up to the skis or stem the entry because I was way in the back seat and leaning into the hill. Transitions no longer became about mashing the skis left and right to get myself to turn. Transitions turned into a floaty, effortless affair.  After that, it became more about how I was applying the edge after transition. I had a tendency to set the edges quickly at high angles and never got the hang of what it means to use the edges themselves as the means to the end and started working on subtle changes that allowed a smoother progression and scarving. All along the way, I have received instruction and advice that was productive and some that wasn't.

I currently make the majority of my turns as crossover(I think that's the terminonology) where I extend my new inside leg to go flat and then simply rest and float over the top. This is pretty much what I am used to and is my preferred technique. I have heard it described as too much effort and as tiring but I never had that problem with it. I can ski from 9-5 without losing steam and love the float sensation on steeper pitches. The cross-under movements and technique being described here and elsewhere are a bit baffling to me. I never really understood the jist of it just from reading the descriptions. My biggest question, as a recreational skier is, why should I adopt it?

I wrote out a post but wanted to re-write it so it makes more sense.

In the round turn (slow line fast) model the dual paths concept where both the BoS and the CoM move unimpeded towards the next turn is very elegent and easy to understand. I wonder if it holds true as we change where the strong edge and turning effort occurs. USSA's tactical model includes these variations but they don't address the affect these tactical changes have on the dual paths. For those who don't know, I'm talking about moving the strong turning effort to the first third of the turn, or moving it to the last third. I have an idea how this tactical change affects the dual paths model but I'd love to read Bob and Ric's opinions about how tactical changes affect how the body and the feet need to move.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 2/5/10 at 2:13pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoMan

I currently make the majority of my turns as crossover(I think that's the terminonology) where I extend my new inside leg to go flat and then simply rest and float over the top. This is pretty much what I am used to and is my preferred technique. I have heard it described as too much effort and as tiring but I never had that problem with it. I can ski from 9-5 without losing steam and love the float sensation on steeper pitches. The cross-under movements and technique being described here and elsewhere are a bit baffling to me. I never really understood the jist of it just from reading the descriptions. My biggest question, as a recreational skier is, why should I adopt it?

Another great question, MojoMan.

First of all, I suggest that the terms "crossover" and "crossunder" are inherently confusing, in my opinion. Technically, it's just a matter of frame of reference whether the feet pass beneath the body, or the body passes over the feet, at the moment their paths cross.

Nevertheless, these terms seem to have taken on clear distinctions to some people these days. "Crossover" tends to mean that the legs are relatively extended as the paths of the feet and CM cross, with the CM moving in an arc up and over. "Crossunder" tends to suggest that the legs are more flexed at this point, and that they (at least the outside leg) extend through the belly of the turn, resulting in the CM taking more of a "flat" line down the hill. These options represent more the extremes on a continuum, rather than two distinct movement patterns. They both--along with the entire spectrum between--have their uses in various situations, and they certainly feel different.

That said, nothing I have described requires "crossunder" (flexing the legs in the transition). In very dynamic (high-speed, high-g-force) skiing, and especially in short-radius turns, "crossunder" becomes an important movement option. You simply may not have time for your CM to travel "up and over" (what Deb Armstrong once colorfully described as "rainbow motion") in these rapid transitions. And, while what goes up certainly will come down, it takes time, and it can delay the pressure and edge engagement in the new turn. Extending through a high-speed transition creates an effect much like a pole vaulter's launch. Flexing through the transition eliminates the "pole vault effect," in much the same way that we flex to absorb (and avoid launching off) a large mogul. All-condition mastery and true virtuosity in skiing require crossunder, at least as a technical option.

But you are right--it also takes considerable energy, and gives your legs little or no chance to rest. In many turns, we have the luxury of allowing our legs to extend and relax for a moment through the transition. If the timing is off, it may actually take more energy to extend your legs and "force" your CM up and over. But if done right, it is relaxing, sensuous, efficient, and (in many situations) effective. You say you prefer it--and who's to argue with that? Like any technical option, it's only a problem if it becomes a bias that prevents you from using a more effective alternative where the situation demands.

In any case, whether you "crossover" or "crossunder" is not important for the principles I've described in this thread. They apply across the spectrum. The key, again, is what happens fore and aft at the moment those paths cross. When you "extend [your] new inside leg to go flat and then simply rest and float over the top," where do you balance on that foot? You've described it as an "effortless roll," a "floaty, effortless affair." If that's what you feel, then you've got to be doing it pretty much right. There's nothing "effortless" about forcefully projecting your body (CM) forward and downhill--at any point in a turn.

And making it "effortless" and "floaty" requires that you have moved accurately throughout the previous turn. Only by doing that can you truly relax at the point where most skiers exert their greatest effort and movement! The "effortlessness" comes only when everything you need to do to start your next turn has already been done, and every movement is already in motion. That's the concept of moving to "neutral" as you exit the turn that I've described earlier in the thread and elsewhere. And it is vastly different from the more common pattern of finishing a turn NOT in neutral, then needing to exert considerable muscular effort to initiate the next turn (what VSP described as "dedicated movements to move the CM forward into the new turn").

Best regards,
Bob

I never really understood the concepts of cross-under and cross-through so I probably have mistaken that for what you are describing.

I also really never thought much about what I am doing from a technical perspective so my thoughts may sound a bit convoluted. Again, you guys are the experts that do this for a living and I think any disjoint on my part is simply due to my lack of experience when it comes to understanding the subtle nature of movements and such. Everything has come to me via sensory experience and feel and the instructor feedback I have received. I really never tried to analyze my movements.

I would say that at the end of a turn, it kind of feels like I am going to be pushed back on my heels if I do not do something to maintain a centered stance. I don't really push anything forward(hips, waist, etc) but have to make a concentrated effort to not let myself slip too far back on the heels or the skis will jet out from under me. It's hard to put my finger on where the effort is being spent. I think I might pull the skis back a bit, perhaps.

In my most efficient and what I think are my best turns,  I will simply take a more upright posture, which I think originates by letting go of the edge on my current downhill ski while extending my current uphill ski. This kind of puts me in what I feel is a neutral position and this is where I think the 'floaty' sensation begins, when I let go of the edge and go upright. My upper body then swings over the top and takes the edges with them. When the skis go flat, I don't really feel any pressure fore or aft--I don't feel anything really except the bootcuff brushing my shin. I can get that 'roller coaster' feeling in the stomach. The skis just start turning and as pressure starts building and I can feel the downhill ski start pressing, I let up on the uphill ski and most of my weight is on the downhill ski. If I am too far back, it all goes out the window and I end up stemming. This happens frequently when I get jittery on steeper slopes and I really have to make an effort to stay centered.

It sounds like what you guys are describing is letting the center of mass just keep moving in the direction of the turn while the skis go flat. This would then put the upper body downhill of the skis without having to do anything specifically to move it, other than letting it go downhill accross the skis, as if it was still engaged in the turn.
It's a little hard to tell exactly from a description, MojoMan, but it sure sounds like a lot of things are going right for you. Your turns sound very relaxed and balanced. I'll bet that there's some "banking" going on, since you describe very little effort even to tip your skis on edge:
Quote:

I let go of the edge and go upright. My upper body then swings over the top and takes the edges with them.
There's a lot to be said for skiing this way--minimal effort all through the turn, tall stance very "skeletally strong," very smooth. To get maximum performance and precision in some situations, you may need to add a few more movements at times. But at the very least, the skiing you describe (at least, the picture your words paint in my mind) is a great drill that demonstrates how little "work" skiing needs to involve. So many skiers and instructors try to "control" and force every moment of the turn, when the fact is that simply relaxing and allowing the laws of physics to work their magic makes a pretty decent turn! Most skiers would benefit from doing less, not more.

Best regards,
Bob
Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoMan

Bejeebers, are you guys speaking to those on an elite level or the average recreational skier who comprises the vast majority of the skiing public? Most skiers on the hill who are advancing are just learning how to stay out of the backseat and are trying to get out of the habit of stemming their turns. An instructor talking about laying on the snow and doing a 'mad cat' position and medial malleolus, sagittal plane, ears over ankles, etc --arghhh.. I think I would probably just jump off the lift and go ski.

The "mad cat" should only be attempted in public by nubile young things, lissom of limb and of pleasing proportions. Purely for the purposes of demonstration! All others should confine themselves to experimenting at home, despite the potential for widespread amusement.

Also, you can accuse me of many shortcomings, but not of being a ski instructor.

Seriously though, skiing is a "core-centric" activity. It is well worth learning how to engage and utilize this powerful component of our bodies. You don't need to be an elite skier to do so, although it might just help you become one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes

It's a little hard to tell exactly from a description, MojoMan, but it sure sounds like a lot of things are going right for you. Your turns sound very relaxed and balanced. I'll bet that there's some "banking" going on, since you describe very little effort even to tip your skis on edge:

There's a lot to be said for skiing this way--minimal effort all through the turn, tall stance very "skeletally strong," very smooth. To get maximum performance and precision in some situations, you may need to add a few more movements at times. But at the very least, the skiing you describe (at least, the picture your words paint in my mind) is a great drill that demonstrates how little "work" skiing needs to involve. So many skiers and instructors try to "control" and force every moment of the turn, when the fact is that simply relaxing and allowing the laws of physics to work their magic makes a pretty decent turn! Most skiers would benefit from doing less, not more.

Best regards,
Bob

Thanks for the advice. I think that's my experience exactly. It wasn't until I learned to relax and not try to mash or force everything that things really clicked.   Maybe I will get around to one of the ESA clinics one of these days. Perhaps I will post some video for MA in the analysis threads. It would be interesting to hear people pick apart my skiing from a technical standpoint. I know it's a cliche, but I really just ski for the fun and pure enjoyment. I never got much into the technical side of it. Not that I don't wish to advance but never had  aspirations or goals that one day I want to be at such and such a level etc. I usually seek instruction when I realize I have hit a wall and don't like what I am doing or really want to move onto new terrain but realize something just ain't right -- like gnarly moguls. I can get through them but can't really 'ski' them when things get steep.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes

Sorry Bud--not new. A former Keystone instructor beat you to this one some time ago--one of my favorite "invented" terms!

Well the term finally made it to California!

Good point about the CM, though, although it is interesting to consider when the skis' mass matters, and when it doesn't, when identifying the center of mass of "the body." Certainly, when you are flying through the air, we must consider the skis as part of the "ski-skier system," and the axes of rotation will pass through the center of mass of the entire system. But when the skis are entirely supported in themselves by the ground, it often makes no difference how much they weigh. For many practical purposes, in this case, the body is a separate mass, merely riding on top of the skis. The "line of action" (angle of inclination that determines balance) passes through the same point regardless of how much the skis weigh. And you would balance the same way if you were riding the skis attached to the roof rack of a car, making the same turns at the same speed (although the CM of the whole system would clearly be way down below your feet!). It is often more accurate to think of your center of mass as if you were not not clipped into the bindings--not attached to the skis--a separate body merely standing on top of them. Of course, when you actually lift a ski off the snow, it's weight (mass) and inertia then affect your balance and must be considered in the analysis.

Best regards,
Bob

I am not sure I can agree with your statement above?  Please help me understand how when transitioning between turns and moving through the "doorway" between turns where we are momentarily light or could be momentarily light from a rebound, that the boots and skis can not be included in the cg. formula?  Unlike being strapped to a car's roof rack where the skier had absolutely no control over his/her destiny or direction, a skier attached to boots and skis can affect their path and movements and these movements would certainly be different sans equipment.  Imagine skiing on snowblades and the comparative affect to regular skis and bindings?  Wouldn't there be a noticeable or perceptible difference?   Though the axis of balance or line of action is no different, the mass being substantially greater and the cg being substantially lower would have a noticeable affect on body positions and angles created??
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgert

Boots and skis do move the CG significantly lower than it would be if you were bare foot, however, for the sake of discussion of the mechanics of skiing, consider that the skis are connected to the snow and that you have a range of motion of body parts that hinge from the ground up initially at the ankles (closed kinetic chain). Granted, if you disassociated the skis from the snow on a jump for instance, any angular momentum you had would rotate around a CG that included the mass of the skis and boots. When your skis are firmly on the ground, the added mass of the skis don't affect the amount of force needed to redirect the CG or its location as if you were barefoot. e.g., Even if you were wearing cast iron tennis shoes, its position and your kinesthetic awareness of your CG, and the force it took to redirect it wouldn't be effected in a game of ping pong where you didn't have to move your feet.

Let's use this analogy of playing ping pong with cast iron tennis shoes....  I would contest that I could move my cg more quickly from side to side because of the iron shoes because rather than simply weighting one foot and unweighting the other foot to move laterally, I could accelerate more quickly by pulling aggressively toward one foot while pushing aggressively with the other because of the increased mass on my feet.

How often are our skis planted firmly on the ground?  Do we ever use down unweighting or availement enlisting our stomach muscles when skiing?  Wouldn't these movements be affected by the amount of mass attached to our feet?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoMan

Going back to some of the earlier comments, how does binding placement, ramp angle, anatomy of the skier, etc come into the discussion of technique?

Can a universal statement be made regarding the correct movement and placement of the hips and CM in a turn without consideration of the many items that vary from one skier to the next? Someone skiing with a lot of ramp angle, forward lean, delta, and an aft binding position is going to be performing different things to get centered and pressure the tips compared to someone with an upright setup with bindings mounted more trowards the center. In the case of the former, it seems logical that the skier is likely going to report using BOF pressure to obtain center and initiate and will be telling everyone this is the way to go. In the case of the latter, we are likely to hear that one should not use any BOF pressure.

Isn't this a case of different strokes for different folks?  Everyone seems to be talking in absolutes without considering any of the myriad of equipment variables that affect stance.

If everyone had the same anatomy and wore the same boots and used the same skis and bindings and mounted them in the same position, it would make sense to talk in terms of absolutes.

Mojo- I understand your question, but I think you are missing the point. In my post, I am outlining the most effective position for the body to ski in. Maybe I should have stated that it is appropriate to a standard mounted ski, in the pursuit of a high performance turn. Obviously, while skiing switch, in a park, or on center mounted skis- many things change.
But despite what ever boot ramp angle, delta and any other factor you wish to include- the body still works best from the general location I have described. At this point, it is up to the skier to detemine if their equipment setup is providing optimum use of the body, not vice versa. And if not, what equipment changes need to be made to achieve optimal use. Unfortunately, most skiers do not understand what the optimal stance is, and therefore simply make compensations for a poor srtance compounded by poor equipemnt setup.

If someone had their bindings mounted fore of center and closer to the tips, we would be telling them to get back to stay centered and get out of the front seat. Isn't it all relative?

Just to add some thoughts from my experience with boots..

Skiing in my Raptors(I think they have 17 degrees of forward lean and lot of ramp), it feels more like my butt is sticking out when I am centered. In my Atomics that are more upright and shallow, it does not. This adds up to totally different sensations when getting to or feeling centered and I do different things to pressure the tips. I am doing different things with my hips, knees, and cuffs.

Skiing on the Progressor 8 -- with railflex bindings moved forward, the ski does not react well to pressuring the BOF. With the bindings mounted aft, the skis are reluctatnt to seek the fallline without BOF pressure when centering.

An instructor telling me that there is a right or wrong way to find center or initiate without consideration of the variables above is going to be offering a hit-or-miss proposition. If I am in the right setup, the advice will be productive. If I am not, I will be getting some advice that is counter-productive. The advice would be neither right or wrong, but simply relative to a particular setup.
originally posted by Hard Days Night-
"One additional very important refinement is to keep the pelvis in a neutral position, not rotated into an arched (sway back) or tucked in under posture. This allows the core muscles to stabilize the pelvis properly which cannot be done in either of the two faulty positions."

I agree with this completely! In the past few years, there has been discussion of holding the pelvis in artificial positions. To what end has always baffled me! We don't walk or run that way, we don't hold it in some odd way while playing any other sports. So why should we suddenly do something unnatural with it while skiing?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoMan

Bejeebers, are you guys speaking to those on an elite level or the average recreational skier who comprises the vast majority of the skiing public? Most skiers on the hill who are advancing are just learning how to stay out of the backseat and are trying to get out of the habit of stemming their turns. An instructor talking about laying on the snow and doing a 'mad cat' position and medial malleolus, sagittal plane, ears over ankles, etc --arghhh.. I think I would probably just jump off the lift and go ski.

Mojo- your point is well taken, but I believe you are selling short the average student. I have NO PROBLEM describing an effective stance to my students, and they usually have a grasp of it within a very short time! Once they have experienced it, they can immediately identify the benefits of the change. But during my presentation of this topic, I keep the verbiage simple, and to the point. I leave the esoteric discussions for the bar!
originally posted by Bob Barnes-
"There is one thing you wrote that I would like to examine further:
Quote:
The only time it is necessary to actively move the CM forward through a transition is if the CM has been slowed below the speed of the skis, for otherwise, the CM will continue to move into the new turn without any additional effort. The skis will then be drawn back up to the CM during the turn.

Complete agreement here, but perhaps there is still potential for confusion. I submit that, in terms of simple speed, the CM pretty much always moves slower than the skis. At least in the smoothly linked, rounded and very complete turns that I've illustrated, the CM clearly follows a shorter path than the skis, so the skis must move faster. This point is key in understanding the "forward and downhill" movement of the body at the turn initiation. While the CM and skis travel on diverging paths at this moment (frames 4, 12, and 20 in my "Dynamic Parallel Turns" illustration), the divergence is slight, even in the shorter-radius turns that I've illustrated. They're both moving across the hill. So at this point where the paths of CM and skis cross, the feet must literally pass the CM, moving from "behind" it (relative to the direction of travel) to "ahead" of it.

While the CM--and the hips--do get behind the feet relative to the skis' direction of travel at this moment, the body takes a shorter, straighter bee-line path down the hill, getting ahead again, more-or-less "cutting the feet off at the pass." In other words, while the speed of the CM is lower than the speed of the feet, the CM moves down the hill faster than the feet. Again, if we define "forward" as "toward the finish line," then the CM moves that direction faster than--and ahead of--the feet--even as it moves at a lower actual speed. But in their (slightly diverging) directions of travel across the hill, the feet move faster than the CM, and the hips must get "behind" the feet."

My description here could have been a little clearer. Allow me to break it down the way I do for students-
There are two types of speed- the A (top of the hill) to B (bottom of the hill) speed or descent rate, and then there is the skier velocity. This is the speed the skier is actually travelling across the snow in any particular direction. (EG- if I traverse across a hill at 15mph, my A to B speed is almost 0, while my velocity is 15mph.)

When I refer to the CM maintaining a constant speed, I am referring to the descent rate, combined with whatever direction change I wish the CM to make. If a skier resists the descent rate too long or too strongly at the end of a turn, then the CM's constant movement is disrupted, and a different set of mechanics must be engaged to create the inititiation of the next turn.
The most common cause of this is a lack of physical and mental anticipation on the part of the skier! They make a turn, finish it, and suddenly they realize they must now make another turn! Yet they did no planning or anticipating during the previous turn. It's almost as if each turn is a suprise!
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro

I wrote out a post but wanted to re-write it so it makes more sense.

In the round turn (slow line fast) model the dual paths concept where both the BoS and the CoM move unimpeded towards the next turn is very elegent and easy to understand. I wonder if it holds true as we change where the strong edge and turning effort occurs. USSA's tactical model includes these variations but they don't address the affect these tactical changes have on the dual paths. For those who don't know, I'm talking about moving the strong turning effort to the first third of the turn, or moving it to the last third. I have an idea how this tactical change affects the dual paths model but I'd love to read Bob and Ric's opinions about how tactical changes affect how the body and the feet need to move.

JASP- This is an excellent point!
The nuts of this is actually quite simple. What it comes down to is the mission of the core. "Where do YOU want it to go" As a skier progresses down a slope or course, a constant decision making process is taking place. "What path is my core taking, and do I wish it to go somewhere else?"

In a race course, its simple- take the core down the hill on the most direct line which allows the skis to pass outside, but as closely as possible to, the gate. This is how you go fast in a race course. (this also explains why shinning and cross blocking occurs in a SL course)

But while freeskiing, you have much more freedom to use the hill as your imagination might allow. For example, you are overtaking a group of skiers and wish to give them a wide berth- so you decide to send your core over to the other side of the trail. You automatically resist or hang on to the later part of the turn with the core, sending it where you wanted. In this example, it was the mission of the core which dictated what the legs/feet/skis would do. Less experienced skiers might have just made some arbitrary movements of the legs/feet/skis which may or may not have cleared the group, with no certainty of the outcome. The accuracy that an advanced skier enjoys is not just a mechanical technique, but a way of thinking which provides "core mission" dominated skiing.

In all of this, the timing is adjusted according to the needs of the "core mission", but this should create very little difficulty.

Edited by vail snopro - 2/6/10 at 12:46am
originally posted by MojoMan-
"I would say that at the end of a turn, it kind of feels like I am going to be pushed back on my heels if I do not do something to maintain a centered stance. I don't really push anything forward(hips, waist, etc) but have to make a concentrated effort to not let myself slip too far back on the heels or the skis will jet out from under me. It's hard to put my finger on where the effort is being spent. I think I might pull the skis back a bit, perhaps."

Mojo- This is probably one of the most common issues with the average skier. But it directly correlates to what we have been saying- that it seems as though you are disrupting the constant movement/flow of the CM from one turn into the next. As the CM is slowed near the end of a turn, the skis will continue to move forward, resulting in your feeling of falling back behind the skis. That is in fact, exactly what is happening!
Allowing yourself to give in to the forces of the previous turn just a little sooner, anticipating WHEN to release the CM /core from one turn to the next should resolve this issue in your skiing!
originally posted by HardDaysNight-

"Seriously though, skiing is a "core-centric" activity. It is well worth learning how to engage and utilize this powerful component of our bodies. You don't need to be an elite skier to do so, although it might just help you become one."

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