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Rotary Rules

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
After reading alot of threads especially the carving brain teaser and tip lead, I have heard a lot of people mentioned "I use no active rotary" of things to that effect. I am puzzeled as I think more than ever before ROTARY is the MOST important skill to address in peoples skiing! The act of tipping the skis on edge involves rotation of the femurs. Active rotary is the key to dynamic skiing as opposed to the edge lock static stuff you see alot of. I would further say rotary gets a bad rap because it is so misused. It is the most difficult skill to truly master. If you are not able to master the skillful use of rotation you will forever be the twist and slam skier or the park and ride skier. Either one is destined for a dead end! Working with alot of skiers over the years I am always amazed at the lack of EXPERT skiers ability to turn the legs effectively with the timing and discipline to effectivley use the rotary skill. I say with the shape ski, the rotary skill is even more difficult to use correctly and it takes a silky touch that needs to be developed not abandoned. I say bring back rotary. Do braquage(pivot slips), wedge, straight runs, wedge, 1 ski straight runs, wandering tips, hop turns, J-turn with tail following tip, slow wedge turns with focus on rotory from the legs, ETC.... You will be happy with the results. Don't believe the hype, ROTARY RULES (when done in moderation!!!) todo<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Todo (edited August 27, 2001).]</FONT>
post #2 of 45
Todo, I think the confusion comes from understanding what rotary is. Many confuse it with rotation, or twisting on a flat ski, etc.

You can't really ski without rotary, concious or involutary, otherwise you just ride.

post #3 of 45
Well said, Ott. When teaching beginners, the main focus of my lesson plan is rotary. Tipping (edging) seems to just happen, and pressure control is handled by simply remaining soft in the ankle, knee, and hips. Rotary is the skill that gives the most immediate and identifiable feedback. I'm all for rotary.

Spag's quote of the day:
"Scott. I've been a frickin' evil Doctor for thirty frickin' years. Okay?"
- Mike Meyers in "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" -
post #4 of 45
I think the confusion came years ago with the skill circles. If I remember right, the one used to be called "steering" before it became rotatry.
I find most jr.racers lack rotary skills and I spend a fair amount of time each fall working on the exercises mentioned.
post #5 of 45
rotary "first" or "active"
Rotary as if doing the "twist" ala Chubby Checkers, steering, i.e. rotation of the femurs (legs) "braquage style" vs.
rotary "second" or passive
rotation of the femurs (legs) happening because of tipping and rolling into the new direction, with a functional narrow stance, and flexing as you (stolen from Perre, eh!) "fall into the future".

I think that's been the "meat" of the shaped ski ski method controversy. Two very different rotary things going on. The first one can be useful in bumps & terrain, and is a key skill with a straight ski, or one with less shape. But they both are rotary.

The second one is what can be relied on more with stronger ski shape, and modifying (focusing differently on) skills to utilize the shape of the ski more...

Relying on the second rotary more, I find it quite easy to turn with a wide variety of shapes and speeds... more carvy, or more scarvy, pilots choice... Not blending in any of the braquage rotary thing at all, letting the ski and the shape do more of the work... Not parking and riding the sidecut, either, as there is a constant movement pattern going on, especially at the ankles/feet. Nope, no active rotary needed. This is a really interesting and secure turn feel.

It's not railroad tracks, which are a blast too! I like being able to do/demonstrate both "rotaries", of course. And it's not fence sitting.

I think the two rotary methods are so different in activity, that it's DARN confusing to call them both rotary...
Though they certainly are. Seems that this may be where the passive/active rotary descriptions came from, but they are not properly descriptive.

First one happens because you are actually twirling the femurs, second one happens as a result of movements. Yes, you can blend them, but it's quite easy to not use active rotary at all, still getting great turn shapes with speed control as desired.

Anybody else notice that it's a little "touchier" to do braquage with a more radically shaped ski? Toucher to find the flat, even being perpendicular to the slope.

What's interesting is concentrating on teaching the tip and roll, and leaving rotary discussions out of it, with beginners/low intermediates. The results are startling. Exactly the opposite focus, and they learn to ski and turn quite quickly... and parallel. The steering style rotary is a good thing for the advanced skiers bag of tricks, but what about not messing with it till later in a skiers "career"?

Visit me here >>>SnoKarver

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[This message has been edited by SnoKarver (edited August 24, 2001).]</FONT>
post #6 of 45
Well done, SnoKarver,

And how is the shape of the ski controlled without active rotary? By contolling where the Center of Mass (CM) is throughout the turn. This is done by the amount of lateral tipping of the inside ski. Want more edge angle? A little more tipping. You can't tip enough to set the edge angle steeper? Flex a bit more in the ankles, knees and hip.

All of this time the outside, or stance, ski is following the CM, with NO rotary input from the stance leg. All of this can only be successfully done in a narrow stance. The reason? In a wide stance, the hip joint is already extended lateraly and the range of tipping is compromised. In a narrow stance, the range of tipping is greater.

As a recipient of a full left hip replacement in 1996, I have become somewhat of an expert on hip joint range of motion and resultant periphial movements. Also, I was required to find a more efficient way to ski. By skiing without the gross rotary movements of the knees and hips, I can now ski until my knees wear out and need replacing.

I hope that this post, and SnoKarver's, explain what we mean by no active rotary input. There is internal rotation of the free-foot femur, but there is very little weight on that ski, about 10-20%.

What I have explained is one of the major differences between PMTS and ATS.

RH<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Rick H (edited August 24, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 45
Ahh, but the narrower stance promotes easier dynamic balance moves, with smaller adjustments needed at the base of support.

Which is better, a slightly less stable method that reacts easier, with smaller movements needed to adjust turns and balance, OR a more stable method, that requires a bigger moves, more effort? What if you taught (focused on) the important, delicate balancing skills from the start, and then just reinforce that all the way into upper level skiing?

It's a catch 22... Wider stance is more stable, but requires bigger moves to stay in the groove. Narrower (but functional) stance allows one to stay in the groove with smaller (ankle/foot) adjustments. Focus on the feet.

You are right Pierre, eh? Tipping and rolling works with the wider stance, but narrowing it up is more effective. Really, it's a lot easier to send the CM to the future. And manage turn shapes. Skill is needed, but less effort... I wouldn't do this stuff if it didn't work, and these type of turns feel damn good! I feel like I can ski in two "body" languages now, or something. Interesting. Attitude Dancing.

Gotta ski-for-yourself. I have been quite schooled in ATS/Centerline and taught it for years... Being open and receptive to new stuff, I started playing with these turns. I kept looking at my feet, after I stopped, laughing in amazement. No really! It feels groooovy, baby! Thought I had a clue about these moves by playing with them, alone, and with my students. It got me interested, but getting excellent training helped a lot. Can hardly wait to get teaching and playing again.

Visit me here >>>SnoKarver

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[This message has been edited by SnoKarver (edited August 24, 2001).]</FONT>
post #8 of 45
SnoK, your slight instability and consequent extra skills ability is OK for the athletically endowed. The rest of us Klutzes just lose our balance and fall down. Or at least fear that we will.
post #9 of 45
good comments
post #10 of 45
But it's not so athletic, Kneale, is it? It's more skill based. For instance, Cricket (Darts) is a skill, not as athletic. And usually Darting skills peak somewhere between 2 and 4 beers...

Focusing on the balance, working on things that always promote balance, through your turns. Using the body effectively so the small adjustments at the base of support are all that are needded to rrrrriiiip! It's not just conservation of energy, its also concentrating on the balancing movements at the feet and ankles. Isn't it a biological advantage to do it that way?

Our feet and ankles, like our hands and wrists, have a hell of a lot of balance "computing" power wired right in. Lots of nerves at the business ends, and plenty of reserved areas in the brain. Fine motor control, delicate adjustments, at the base of support. Co-contractors keeping each other in check. We walk run, jump, skip and hop, all things that use the the same "foot/ankle bones/muscles and wiring" to keep balanced. Pretty sophisticated design. A lot of that stuff is one footed, too... oooops

Of course there are individual differences. I'm capable of being an expert klutz. Fortunately, I have managed to learn to ski better than I walk. Most days. At least it sure feels better...

I am a capable wide stance skier, have skied with a wider stance for years. Still do, playing around, R.R. tracks, two footed weighting, etc... But I am pleased with the changes in my skiing, and the results my students have had. It is, as always, a personal choice, for any of us.

I try to keep an open mind, and played with a lot of things over the years. But what I played with last season became "delightfully serious". Profound interesting stuff, with more "meat" to it than I had experienced in training for quite some time... Promise! I was NOT brainwashed by SCSA aka Wacko. Or anybody else. These things work...

Visit me here >>>SnoKarver
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[This message has been edited by SnoKarver (edited August 24, 2001).]</FONT>
post #11 of 45
Whatever your practiced balancing skills develop into (and I agree you can improve balancing skills through practice because otherwise I wouldn't be a skier), some folks are more fortunately endowed with innate balance than others. For the latter, the tensions resulting from trying to deal with states of inbalance destroy the efficiency you seek, in my experience and opinion.

Regardless, I think you do a real disservice to skiers in their basic skills building stage when you minimize steering and rely on positional edging to shape turns.
post #12 of 45
Well, Kneale, we are going to disagree here. Last season I carefully presented both "lesson plans" to students, did not tell them that I was doing anything different. I got better success by NOT working directly on rotary, and just focusing on the "one footed" drills, and other similar things... Not just because I have enthusiasm for one versus the other, that came later!

Even got comments like "why don't you show me more of these kinds of things, it's easier"... No extra "tension" from them at all, in fact, quite the opposite. Better dyanamic balance, more comfort and control.

I would NOT do a disservice to my students. No way. I can't accept that statement, sorry. Unnn uh. I mean no disrespect at all. I worked at this, to objectively decide for me, and my students. Different experiences, I guess.

Oh well. I suggest you try it, but, as always... Ski for yourself. (shrug)

Visit me here >>>SnoKarver

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[This message has been edited by SnoKarver (edited August 25, 2001).]</FONT>
post #13 of 45
SnoKarver is right.
post #14 of 45
Thanks milesb...

It's not about WHO is right or wrong though, its about results, where the edges meet the snow. And happy returning students!

Visit me here &gt;&gt;&gt;SnoKarver
post #15 of 45
What do you mean, Pierre eh? The level of "happy returning students"?

Most of them in the lower to mid intermediate range. Was just the way it worked this year, with my group assignments. A lot of them were struggling to "lose the plow"... You know, "forever fives"?

The "base of support" focus is good for all levels, especially beginners.

I still wonder about the "bigger bag of tricks" and things at a higher level. I mean, sometimes, in a tight spot, or nasty snow, a good 'ol stem christie still works! Can still demo those darn things.

Visit me here &gt;&gt;&gt;SnoKarver
post #16 of 45
Pierre eh,

When I wrote my earlier post, I suspected that you would pick an arguement. I will take the oppisite tack; you are biomechanically incorrect. This is as far as I will go with it. After the hatchet job you did on Skiprofessor, I have lost respect for you and your theories. I will continue to post what I understand is biomechanically correct. I will not bite into your arguements any further. In my opinion, you are of same mold as SCSA. I suggest that you respect other views. You are not the last and only word on ski techinque. I am just tired of you attacking others who have a different outlook on skiing. If they work for people, they are valid. So, quit argueing with people who have a different outlook than you.


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[This message has been edited by Rick H (edited August 25, 2001).]</FONT>
post #17 of 45
If you can all step outside of this and try to see it from a student's perspective....

The problem comes with having to buy the whole package, rather than taking what works for you.

Quite frankly, my only serious issue with PMTS is the stance thing. If you look at the photos I posted of myself in General Skiing, well, even 15 lbs less than that my hip bone would be at the same width.

So the narrow stance just doesn't work for me. Also, although I'm pretty fit, I do have some uneven leg length and hip height stuff going on from a car accident years ago. Plus some proprioception issues from having sprained my ankle many times as a kid.

In other words, my balance s**ks, but as Kneale has commented, sking can actually improve that. And it has.

BTW, ther is a neuro-physiological basis for that. Having people work on unstable surfaces causes an instinctual activation of the body's stabilizers.

But I digress. My point is, I actually become upset when someone wants me to work in a narrow stance. True, in a narrow stance, the tipping range is greater. But if someone has hyperflexible ankles and wide hips, as the CM crosses over, that is putting too much weight on an unstable joint in an unstable position

But the PMTS popularization of the concept of the Kinetic Chain is so right on.
Why can't people just take what works for them in any method?

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #18 of 45
SnoKarver: If you're dealing with low to mid intermediates, you're dealing with folks well past the initial balancing fear stage.

I thought we were talking about beginners.

Sure, folks who've overcome introduction to sliding while standing still and having their bodies catch up with their feet can deal with your presentations.

I'm saying it's not universally applicable to everyone just starting out in snowsports at every location where instruction is provided.

Your "sample" group already has the benefit, however unconscious, of knowing steering. You can't turn without steering some. Stand up, pick up one foot, you automatically do at least a bit of initial steering with the other foot to maintain your balance.
post #19 of 45
Yes people, you can ski in any stance or method you want to. I keep using the phrase "ski for yourself" don't I?

Personally, I have always liked posts from Pierre eh? Because he questions things, and doesn't make demands, or cry foul. This is exactly what I mean by "ski for yourself". Right on, Pierre eh? It's a forum.

As a previous advocate of a wider stance, I understand these concerns quite well. I was skeptical, about two years ago. But I tried things, and learned a lot.

Lisamarie, I have issues with leg length issues myself. And one foot is a lot more flexible than the other, with wide hips (lookit, that boy's got big ol' butt) for a guy.

Upset when somene tried to get me in a narrower stance? Why sure! I used to be that way as well, because I was not comfortable, narrow!

To balance effectively, with a smaller base of support (narrower stance), the skiers alignment, boots, and footbed MUST be dialed in with more accuracy, or it will be very difficult to ski in balance. If you are not in balance already, a narrow stance does NOT feel right!

As an example, my alignment situation:
Right leg is shorter than the left.
Right foot is more flexible (ankle sprains, never sprained the left).
Both feet flex inside (pronation).
Knock kneed, especially on right leg.

Both footbeds are posted (thicker) on the BTE edge, right foot is posted a bit thicker than the left. I used to use 2-3 degrees of canting. With the changes in my stance, I use a little bit of cuff cant (to the outside) and 1.5-2 degrees of canting underfoot.

I am in better balance with these changes, Look at the changes I made in the amount of canting... isn't that interesting? This is pretty important, can any of you figure out why? Hint: The cuff cant change was slight, and it's NOT the reason.

I keep using the phrase "functional narrow stance". If a skier cannot balance in a narrower stance, well then they won't. And won't "buy into it". But why doesn't it work?

Lismarie, in your other discussions, you have mentioned the boot you are in. Your boot is probably (I have not seen you ski, or messed with your boots) causing you to be even more knock need than you want. So you ski in a wider stance to compensate for it . It is quite common.

Once aligned for a functional narrow stance, you would feel comfortable using it. And be able to do these "narrow stance moves".

This is why a person needs to go "all the way". It is not because of an innate need to "trash" or "argue" that one is better than the other, it's because "A is A".

If a skier is not aligned to take full advantage of the Kinetic Chain issues fully, then they are missing part of it. A narrow stance is an important piece to skiing this way. It simply works better, and you would be better at dynamic balance. Once dialed in, you would be able to make effective small adjustments at the base of support. Easier skiing, better performance.

This would get you giggling uncontrollably. Oh I think so!

These issues are why I am interested in your boot search experiences, Lisamarie. With your described (I want to measure this stuff on you) wide hipped, knock kneed stance issues, please take a close look at this: http://www.peterkeelty.com/bootindex.htm
And especially: http://www.peterkeelty.com/bootdesign.htm

Pretty important, especially the lateral and ramp angle issues.

BTW, because of my body's build, my skis are slightly wider, but in a functional narrow stance, for me. More width is noticed during the middle of a turn, but it is the effect of vertical separation, and not being wide stanced... My boots darn near (not quite) clunk together when transitioning from one turn to the next. I do not hold them there during the whole turn! I make them clunk, while I was learning how, and still do. I like the drills with holding the car sponge between my boots. Helped me learn to ski better. It was harder to do, till I adjusted my alignment some, for the narrower stance.

Visit me here >>>SnoKarver

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[This message has been edited by SnoKarver (edited August 27, 2001).]</FONT>
post #20 of 45
SnoKarver is truly a boot/alignment nerd, so the only thing I'll add here is that he stays up late studying this stuff and has losts of experience. That being said, I believe his opinion is qualified.
post #21 of 45
Pierre eh!

I accept your apology. More over, I will try to refrain from using terms that infer that it is the "only" way".

Lisa Marie,

My wife and I are both knockkneed. My wife has wide hips. She has footbeds from SnoKarver's trainer. Her canting is 2 deg medial (high inside) on both skis. she skis comfortably in a narrow stance.

I have footbeds from the same person. I also ski with 2 deg medial cants on both skis. I had a difficult time getting to narrow stance until my alignment was correct.

If you you have been canted, I suspect that the technician put the cant on the lateral side to "fill the void". If this is true, the no amount of lessons is going to bring your stance in.

Here is something to try: If you can get hold of some various cant "scraps", in various degrees, cut them to about 1 inch wide. Put a little tab of duct tape on the high side. On snow, raise your heel in the binding and slip the strip in between your boot and the heel tab on the binding. Try this in various degrees and see if this doesn't make a difference in how the skis feel. If you are knock kneed, put the high side on the inside. For bow legged people, put the high side on the outside. Lisamarie, if you are already canted, you will need to add the amount of the cant to bring the skis back to normal.

Hope this helps. With the strips, you will be able to discover what really works for you. You will be able to try different stances and make your own decision. (BTW, I am about halfway through Mosston & Achcroft's "Spectrum of Teaching Styles". What I just wrote is divergent discovery; more than one answer to the stimulus.)

post #22 of 45
Man, I wouldn't put anything between my boot and ski without having the binding tested before I set ski on a slope.
post #23 of 45

Strips work fine. Like Rick H says, they're a great way to test various canting angles on the fly. Harald teaches his instructors to use them and he uses them with first time students. I think all instructors would benefit from learning this nice little trick.

They work and they're safe. Then, once an instructor finds the right alignment for their student, the next step is to send their student to a shop and install the strips under the binding.
post #24 of 45
Nice if you can do it...I have in training after attendees have signed a release. Most ski schools won't allow it with the GP or training. Kneale's admonition is correct.
It really helps, but there are allignment excercises simply done without wedges, on snow, that can detect the need for correction that should take place in a shop.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Robin (edited August 27, 2001).]</FONT>
post #25 of 45
I've seen wedges used quite a bit at PSIA events where bootfitters are present.

Unfortunately, you can't just say "if you're bow legged, the fat part of the wedge goes on the inside", etc. It's not nearly that simple. Are you filling the void, or puching the knee? It depends on the flexibility (looseness) of your joints. I've seen bootfitters squabble over which side a cant should go on. And when I ask, they say they can't be sure. You just have to try both sides. That's why wedges work. Plus, there is enough of a range in the fitting of the boot into the binding, that you can put a small wedge in there without effecting the release. The other thing you can try is small pieces of duct tape under one side ot the other. From what I hear, one piece is worth about 1/4 degree. But I don't like that because if the boot sticks to the tape, it may not release properly, although I've seen people release just fine with duct tape in there.
post #26 of 45
Thread Starter 
Well, I think I need to reread these again but here goes: I never thought of active VS passive rotary. I guess I think of it more as effective or appropriate amounts. The braquage drill is just an activity to help with your ability to control turning from the legs and to ME not a different type of rotary.

Most of the people stuck at level 4/5 wedge entry skiers I don't blame on rotary, most I blame on weight transfer and edging. Many coaches teach alot about the edge engagement and not enough about edge DISengagement. People I have that are stuck at this level were almost always taught to use edge and pressure to turn. Because of this they move TO the ski instead of AWAY from it, this cause a higher edge angle on the outside ski(the one they should be flattening) and this is why they can not get away from the wedge entry. Then what they do is TWIST really hard to release this high edge ski, so many coaches will see the problem as they use to much rotary. When in fact if they had used rotary correctly they would not be fighting the turn. Yes many students can also be the rotary problems but that is ussualy because the rotary is coming from the wrong place (hip/shoulder).

As to the fact that someone said braqua is harder on shape skis! Yes! exactly my point, that is why rotary is still SO important because it is the most difficult skill to use correctly and effeciently we most not give it second row seats when it is the cause of so many problems.

Now the question becomes how to we get our student to be succesfull in using all of there skills to the right amount on any given condition. THis is were the thread took some arguments. There is many ways to get there. You can not work on one skill with out training all of them. Braquage could be considered a skill learning to control your edges. (need to keep the ski flat).

When I steer my bike or car I am always making inputs to the controls to steer even if it is in a straight line so I say steering is always active and the key to good skiing. Thats why I said rotary rules(when done in moderation!)

As for stance width again, you have got to find your own home and be able to adjust it as needed!

Thanks for sharing the knowledge I am still digesting some. <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Todo (edited August 27, 2001).]</FONT>
post #27 of 45
Todo, your paragraph on people stuck at level 4/5 and edge DISENGAGEMENT describes me perfectly. No comments yet. This wiil require some thought. But I did want to let you know that you are right on target.
post #28 of 45

Here is a simple, yet effective release drill. On a shallow incline, skis across the fall line, weight on your uphill (stance) ski, flatten the weightless (10-15%,(free))downhill ski. The skis should start to move to the fall line. To stop the slide, transfer your weight to the downhill ski and it will engage and stop the slide. Repeat this in a garland across the slope. As you get used to the sliding, you may go deeper towards the fall line. When you are sliding straight down to the fall line, just tip the weightless (free) ski to it's little toe edge. The weighted ski will engage it's edges and complete the turn.

I am now ducking. Here comes the comments.

post #29 of 45
What the f is braqua?
post #30 of 45
Thread Starter 
braquage- to twist or pivot the legs in there hip socket. I will fix my woefull spelling thank you,<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Todo (edited August 27, 2001).]</FONT>
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