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What's the Purpose of Counter?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Now don't give me the "to rest a beer on!"

Seriously, we were having a discussion on this the other day and the reason that came up was "for balance". The explanation was that if your inside foot is leading, (which it would be since we ski on slopes and make turns), but your hips "square" to the skis then your inside hip is not aligned over your inside heel. This makes it harder to edge the inside ski and achieve an equal edge angle to the outside ski. So the angle of the hips across the skis should match the angle if you lay your pole infront of both toes.

You can try it on the floor. Put one foot a little ahead but then leave your hips square to the direction your feet point. It is harder to make an edging move and have the knee go inside. With hips matching the foot lead it becomes easier and both lower legs take the same angle more readily as opposed to A framing. I presume this is the reason we don't want to be too square to the skis?

So, y'all buying this?

O.k. so counter should develop naturally in the turn right? Well what do you do if there's a problem. Do you talk about counter? What cues do you give them so they can feel that they are properly countered. Also, since we're not supposed to use the word "counter" what do you say?
post #2 of 18
So Tog,
Then how much counter is required to make the “Okemo Shuffle” function? Sorry, too ripe a plum not to pick. [img]tongue.gif[/img]

I will buy in, and think your relationship is accurate, but as long as cause and effect are not confused. Deliberate “counter” can create excess tip lead justifying deliberate counter, etc, etc….. :

I am trending away from the term “counter” for a couple reasons. It is generally miss-understood, too often confused with counter-rotation (a turning force) and it traditionally has had an “outside hip back” connotation or perspective attached to it which is not a move to encourage. If I do reference the inside hip it is in the context of leading, diagonally thru arc’s center (balance into the future).

I advocate avoiding excess inside ski tip lead. Pulling the inside foot back promotes several good things relative to modern skiing. Both legs with more nearly equal ankle/knee/hip joint angles, both inside/outside ski tip engagement, similar fore/aft balance inputs to both skis, and increased articulation with which to roll/tip inside foot up on edge. So, the inside hip, while stretching diagonally inside and forward, would show a proportionate amount of lead effect (counter) related to the inside foot advancement as you described.

However, the required amount of that inside foot advancement would be nil in a more upright stance at lower speeds on flat terrain. As lateral dynamics increase, the inside foot advances, only as required, to allow for more flexion of the inside leg on steeper terrain and/or higher speeds with more inclination where the flex limit of the ankle in boot proportions more flexion up to knee and hip joints. Even in these more dynamic scenarios, the effort should still be to contain the advancement of that inside foot to as little as needed. So the foot is the cause, the hip shows effect.
[img]smile.gif[/img]
post #3 of 18
Ever initate a turn by sliding your skis ? That is, slide the up hill ski back and the down hill ski forward, at the same time pivot and or tip doing all this from the waist down.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by wink:
Ever initate a turn by sliding your skis ? That is, slide the up hill ski back and the down hill ski forward, at the same time pivot and or tip doing all this from the waist down.
That still works, but it's old school and the opposite of what Arcmeister described. It puts you way in the backseat on the new inside ski. We needed to do that on the old straight skis because the new outside ski needed lots of forward pressure. Shaped skis don't need that much forward pressure to engage the tips, so much less lead change (and resulting counter) is necessary.

John
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by Arcmeister:
So Tog,
Then how much counter is required to make the “Okemo Shuffle” function? Sorry, too ripe a plum not to pick. [img]tongue.gif[/img]

Ahh, that brings back nice memories! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Ever initate a turn by sliding your skis ? That is, slide the up hill ski back and the down hill ski forward, at the same time pivot and or tip doing all this from the waist down.
I am going to agree with John Dowling. This is precicely how you must do parallel turn from the back seat and results in a very narrow stance in the second half of the turn. The way to get into the front seat is precicely the oposite.
post #7 of 18
[ February 11, 2003, 03:32 PM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #8 of 18
Am I countered??? ....Ott

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
yes Ott, I'd say you've countered! O.k., now why? I take it you made a very deliberate effort vis a vis the style of the day and necessity with soft boots.

Quote:
Deliberate “counter” can create excess tip lead justifying deliberate counter, etc, etc…..-Arcmeister
hey, there's the Okemo shuffle choreographed! (still not sure how Okemo got involved but...)

So Arcmeister, I get what you're saying but what do you do about those skiers who've developed very countered stances, particularly when they do gates. Some people almost look like they could sit down on a chair in the middle of a turn and watch their skis go by! They've gotten very used to that feeling of looking outside.

Alternate scenario. I did a clinic where the examiner kept saying I was rotating and was ending up too square. (I swear I wasn't shuffling though) So what's "too square" to the skis?

Don't mean to flog a wounded beast here but I'm trying to nail this down before the Level II exam.
post #10 of 18
Tog, as Arcmeister said, counter rotation is a turning force. What you see me doing forty years ago in this picture is demonstrating counter rotation as said turning force during teaching the Austrian technique.

As countered as I am finishing the turn, in the next moment I will sharply up-unweight from this somewhat low position and when the skis are unweighted I will counter rotate the other way which will displace my skis to the other side on new edges and effect a lead change. All that happens at the same time.

Along came new techniques along with new, easier managed ski technology and counter rotation dimished until now it is irrelevant as a turning force unless you are Bode Miller trying to make a gate you would have missed otherwise

Any counter position nowadays should come naturally as a result to where the body situates itself to make the lower limbs most funtional. It is no longer needed as input to the skis. Disturbing that natural position, which varies from skier to skier, either by purposely reducing or increasing counter is counter productive (pun intended).

....Ott
post #11 of 18
Tog,
Could be if you are chasing with outside ski to catch up with over led inside you maybe using rotation to help do so. Compensating movements have so many inefficient options avaliable.

I'd call always facing ski tips too square vs. somewhat facing where body is going in next turn. In shorter turns feet/legs turn a lot more than body, in longer turns not much more.

Your skiing is solid for Level-II. Just don't knee-jerk off to one extreem or another. Hve fun, ski loose, and you will be fine.
If in doubt, just mimic what the exeminer does. [img]smile.gif[/img]

Show'em what they want to see, tell'em what they want to hear, and teach their socks off! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #12 of 18
Tog- What do you do if they have a problem? Teach them to turn and tip their legs. As you said counter develops naturaly thru the activity of the legs turning under a stable upperbody. In a general sense people that have trouble creating counter are turning from the whole body or upperbody and NOT from the legs so you need to teach leg steering and leg tipping.

Also I would disagree that counter helps with tipping the leg. Go ahead and try it again. While tipping from the foot and leg it limits the range of the LEG tipping. It does allow the hip to move in but this is not what we want. We want to ski the hip inside by movement from the legs not a large movement of the hip. Shape ski's allow for a much more subtle movements while a few years back we skied with more counter and more hip movement.

One problem with teaching counter is people move there hip into a counter position which is is actual counter productive to a carved turn as you hip turns it send your femurs the opposite diretion you are turning and try's to roll the ankle flat. This is why in short turns it can aid our turns with quickness from edge to edge but in longer turns we ski more hip square as it is a stronger position to carve from. Hope this helps some. Play with it and good luck.
post #13 of 18
Arc said:
Quote:
If in doubt, just mimic what the exeminer does.
I say this is a mistake that many candidates for exams including me, have made. Many candidates watch the examiner, try to ski exactly in their tracks and then put as much effort into the turn as the examiner LOOKS like they are exerting. The result is very static skiing in relation to what the candidate normally does.
The examiner will almost always exert less effort to do a maneuver they have done lots of times and the candidate exerting the same amount of effort the examiner LOOKS like they are exerting is almost always not enough to get the job done.
I say, understand what the examiner wants then ski for yourself, not the examiner and don't set equal tracks when you are not on equal equipment. Just my two cents worth from experience.
post #14 of 18
Loved the picture Ott, and remember skiing on equipment like that as a youngster.

First, the sliding of the skis as a turn initiator, is this just another way in initiate a turn, or are other things going on as well, such as a relaxation of the downhill leg ?

Second, counter rotation and dynamic anticipation, one in the same ? Differnt ? How ? Applcable to rapid fall line turns on shaped skis?
post #15 of 18
>>>First, the sliding of the skis as a turn initiator, is this just another way in initiate a turn, or are other things going on as well, such as a relaxation of the downhill leg ?<<<

Wink, this was pre-independent leg action, we didn't do with one leg without doing it with the other at the same time, not in parallel skiing.

>>>>Second, counter rotation and dynamic anticipation, one in the same ? Differnt ? How ? Applcable to rapid fall line turns on shaped skis?<<<

Not quite. Until not too long ago the mantra of 'always keep your upper body facing downhill' was espoused and practiced with poles across the chest and some other exercises.

In that scenario as the skiss come across the hill the upper body gets more and more countered in what we called an anticipated -position-. It isn't real anticipation since that is a deliberate move, not the result of trying to keep facing downhill.

Next, the body being in this coiled up position, when the skis are unweighted, an un-coiling takes place starts to displace the skis toward the fall line. Counter rotation at that moment helps to continue the slide via action/reaction. During the split second of unweighted stage edge and lead change happens and the rest of the turn is essentially rode around with a sinking motion so as to be prepared to up-unweight at the end of the turn.

Nowadays, as we come to the transition phase of the turn we may be slightly countered and, depending on style, anticipate the next turn not only by turning our body facing downhill/countering, but also by committing our CM across the skis down the hill which rolls the skis onto their new edges, no unweighting necessary. But there are any number of ways to turn initiation and a good skier uses all of them at times.

As for rapid fall line turns on shaped skis it is best to leave the upper body out of it, save pole plants. There simply is not enough time to involve it, just use leg work.

More than you wanted to know, I know :

.....Ott
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
At the academy Bob showed a tape with some demonstrations from the early 60's I think. I think the overall impression was that yeah things are very different now but they're still very similar. I'm not really talking about countering but just the general flow and movement they were making flying down thehill. I don't think I'd want to ski that fast on that equipment!

I guess with the countering discussion I was looking for more of a biomechanical reason.
post #17 of 18
Intentional counter, what we would call “over counter” today was originally used to wind up the spring” –upper body against lower body- to allow the long rather straight edge of “straight” skis to efficiently release to the turn as we un-weighted our skis. Un-weight the spring un-winds and the edges are released.

Today with the use of a more “shaped” ski counter becomes more of a “natural” phenomenon. We do not need to wind up the “spring” to release our edges because the shape of the ski allows the ski to efficiently turn as we roll the edges onto the snow versus un-weight and release. With this roll or tip on to our edges at the start of a turn we are not countered or maybe just a little countered from the turn we just completed. We then roll both skis onto their edges to start the next turn and the counter that occurs is only a natural happenstance and not contrived as it was in the past. As the turn develops the upper body –say shoulders- follows the turn –say square to the skis- and little if any counter happens.

To create this “counter” phenomenon for yourself sit relaxed on a chair. With your toes and shoulders facing the same direction –think neutral- now we turn only our legs and feet towards the right/left and not our upper body/shoulders – think natural counter- now turn your feet and legs back to neutral. Neutral is following the turn with your upper body and natural counter is what happens at the turn initiation as your feet and legs start around the turn. As your upper body catches up with your feet and follow the turn we will then become neutral again prior to the next turn. Obviously turn size will determine when all of this occurs.

Is this an absolute? No! Nothing is absolute in skiing but it is the way the modern ski works best in most instances.

In short follow the turn with the upper body after initiation. Tip, turn, and follow is the motto of today’s equipment.
post #18 of 18
Here's the thing, it's all about angulation...

o Too much counter and you get all hip angulation and no knee angulation.

o Not enough counter and you get all knee angulation and not enough hip angulation.

The trick is to find the proper amount so you optimize the angulation specific to you and the hill.

In my Level III exam I split the group into two halves and had each group ski each way then discuss the results. Then they did it the other way too feel the difference. On the third run we all tried to find our own sweet spot.

bob
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