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Back seat drivers - Page 2

post #31 of 43
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by Pierre:
I took the use of the word "Backseat" by Fastman as an attention title grabber instead of a license to pressure the back of the boot. [/QB][/quote]

post #32 of 43
In a high g-force turn most of the pressure is going to end up on the heel anyways, because that's how our skeletons stack up. Just let it happen.
As far as the slalom turns, the skis make such a tight turn that if the skier were to be centered at the start, he/she would end up too far forward at the end of the turn.
It's the opposite of traditional steep skiing technique, where you want to be far forward at the start in anticipation of the skis accelerating out from under you. The difference is that in the carved slalom turns, gravity has much less influence. So there. Next topic, please. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #33 of 43
Atomicman--remember that exercises and drills (i.e. the penny in the boot cuff), valid and useful for developing skills and discipline as they may be, are not skiing, and they are not racing. They are exercises. I'll bet that the coaches did NOT put pennies in their athletes' boots when they were racing, and I'll bet they wouldn't scold Laure Pequegnot for losing her pennies in that winning slalom run (or Bode Miller either)! Real skiing is about skills matched to tactics, about versatility, and athleticism--not about "this is the only right way to make a turn" dogma.

Phil and Steve Mahre relentlessly practiced their weight transfers and one-ski balance, and advocated "outside ski to outside ski" like fundamentalist preachers preaching against sin. But their famous "White Pass Turn" defied their own rules--and won races. Their coaches thought they were errors!

I contend that many top racers excel DESPITE their coaches, not because of them--and that includes Olle Larsson. I've heard and overheard and observed some incredibly bad technical advice from even high-end race coaches!

It is obviously true that a ski cannot engage its tip if there is no pressure on it, as you suggest. But the way skis are designed these days, in shape, flex pattern, and torsional stiffness, pressure focused on the "sweet spot," somewhat aft of center, will be distributed along the entire length of the ski. No further forward movement of the "center of pressure" is required to get those tips to engage! Furthermore, when skis are tipped to high edge angles, it is ROTATION of the feet and legs that pressures the tip or tail--not fore-aft pressure on the boot cuffs. The higher the edge angle, the more obvious this becomes. (Clearly, a ski lying its side must be TWISTED to produce downward pressure on the tip. Any "forward" pressure on the boot cuff would simply push the tip away. It is notable that movements that control pressure distribution when the skis are flat become rotary movements when the skis are tipped to high angles, and movements that twist the skis when they're flat become fore-aft pressure control movements at high edge angles!)

Not that it matters, but since you asked, my second-favorite pair of slalom skis in my current quiver is a genuine World Cup stock Elan SLX. These are not "race stock"--they are true World Cup stock. So yes, I am quite familiar with how such skis perform--I'm not just guessing. They definitely do NOT require forward leverage to get their tips to engage! FastMan's "tripod" (heel and 1st and 5th metatarsals) will bend the entire ski.

Here's a little animation that shows the principle clearly:

Again, this is NOT to say that fore-aft leverage is always bad. Racers, and all expert skiers, must develop skill and comfort across the full range of possibilities, if for no other reason than to allow them to break the rules effectively. When you have skills, you don't need rules!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #34 of 43
Thanks for the comments Bob. No it's not racing. But, I still contend what Bode does works for Bode. That doesn't mean it works for everyone. Von Gruenigen was one of the most consistent & winning racers in history and employed a more balanced in control approach than our current "Wild Man".

I am not sure I agree with your twisting comment. Have to think about that one.

I probably should have keep my comments to the World Cup GS ski, as the SL 11 World cup slalom is much easier to ski than the GS 11. And of course being 21 cm. shorter helps!

Rusty, I can appreciate your squish the bug comment but I was referring to a very direct, demanding incredible talented straight forward coach speaking to an 18 year old J1 about the "O" in Atomic comment. It was not a "Cute" comment.

As usual, I always enjoy the spirited thought provoking exchanges on the site!

Thanks! Over & out:


PS glad (but surprised) no one took issue with my redirection comment.
post #35 of 43
milesb: As far as the slalom turns, the skis make such a tight turn that if the skier were to be centered at the start, he/she would end up too far forward at the end of the turn.

I am not so sure that skis make such tight turns. In fact, most short SL skis have a turn radius of 11-12 meters, which is a HUGE turn on most slopes. Even if you edge and bend the heck out of the ski (which requires superb skills), you are still looking at a turn radius of 7-8 meters. If you know your metric system then you know that that is also a big turn on your average Eastern slope.

Most of the time I ski on the edge of trails with short "skarved" turns. The most effective way to initiate a really short turn is to pressure the tip. Even racers have to pressure the heck out of the tip quite often (and skid the turn). I think this is what Atomicman is talking about.

This does not mean that I disagree with Bob's graphic. The only thing I am wondering about is how many times can we afford to tip and bend the ski and wait for the natural arc of the ski to turn us. It seems like we rarely have that luxury on the crowded slopes around here.
post #36 of 43
Bob your graphics are outstanding but what if we introduce a slope progressively getting steeper into the picture. Correct me if I am wrong, but don't you need to get forward and more forward as the slope steepens to stay perpendicular to the slope in order to stay in control and not have your skis run away with you.

Also pulling back your inside foot as you are carving a turn puts pressure on and not just contact with the tongue of your boot. You can see top notch racers employing this technique in almost ever photograph of a world cupper I have seen. This creates that pointed inside knee we always see and definetly creates forward pressure and forward shin angles and bent ankles. In slalom I see many racers leading with their heads thru the course. In fact their head is almost out over their tips.

Can you explain some of this to me in reference to this back seat/aft balance issue?


post #37 of 43
Originally posted by FastMan:
* Carving in fact can be accomplished with heel pressure, and doing so provides some advantages as well as some negatives.

* A good coach is doing his racers a disservice if he/she does not encourage students to explore performing within the whole fore/aft balance plane. It's something even recreational skiers pursuing advanced skill levels must address.
I will have to admit the discussion lead me to "fiddle" with my balance as well as where on my foot I feel pressure as I skied today.

I came to the conclusion I was too much on the ball of my foot and felt better after lowering my heel in the boot and feeling more pressure on my heel.
post #38 of 43
Re: Bob Barnes animation:
The problem seems to be that a ski takes on this shape only when pressured fully which does not happen untill late in the turn.
How does one get to that point ? Skiers applying the pendulum technique let their feet shoot forward at the end of a turn as a means of unweighting. The float for an instant and enter the next turn by pressuring their tips for an instant to restart the pendulum. This can be done without pressuring the tongue of the boot. ( Pressuring the tongue of the boot with the shin is not a good idea according to David M, period ). Without tip there is no pendulum. Without pendulum there is no acceleration. Without acceleration there is no pressure. Without pressure there is no carving, etc and in the end no fun.
post #39 of 43
Originally posted by Atomicman:
A-Mike; actually this is not wrong, as you put it. This is a known technique widely taught to most junior racers (J3 & up). It is called "REDIRECTION" and has been used for many years even in downhill. My sons coach was ranked in the top 15 on the World Cup in the 80's and has explained to me using redirection in downhills back then. You do exactly as you described ; drift until you are on line then engage your edges.


And there is my point: "wrong" is relative. What is wrong for one skier at one stage of development is right for another at a different level. As I said before, it seems harder to teach someone who skis on the tails to get forward than it is to teach a forward skier to rock their weight back. Sequencing of instruction is what it's all about.

I would much rather ski like VonG than Bode.
post #40 of 43
Something that came to mind.
Gravity works towards the center of the earth.
On a steep slope, what appears to be a "backseat" position, relative to the skis and the slope, can actually be pressuring the front of the skis. Unfortunatly I don't have the graphic skills to illustrate this but I believe it's in The Skiers Edge by Ron LeMaster.
post #41 of 43
Originally posted by SLATZ:
...On a steep slope, what appears to be a "backseat" position, relative to the skis and the slope, can actually be pressuring the front of the skis...
That's exactly right. Picture a skier heading straight down a steep slope. Draw an arrow from his stomach (ie, center of mass) straight downward (ie, towards the center of the earth, not perpendicular to his skis).

Where the arrow intersects the skis will determine if the skier is pressuring the tails, center or forebody of his skis (neglecting transient dynamic effects). This is one of the reasons why you see mogul skiers look like they are tucking their lower legs back under themselves and almost sitting on their skis on the downhill side of steep moguls. In an even more exaggerated situation, on a steep enough slope, a skier may look "back", but if the arrow described above intersects his ski far enough forward, he can actually tumble forward, right over the handlebars.

Tom / PM

[ December 11, 2003, 09:56 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #42 of 43
In addition, in that extremely flexed position, the center of mass is located outside the body, somewhere forward of the naval usually. Like in a boomerang.
post #43 of 43

Tom / PM
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