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ski technique fact? fiction? misconception? or just semantics

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I've read up a lot on different techniques and some just seem to contradict each other.  Are some wrong? Maybe it's just a misconception, or perhaps just worded incorrectly.  Below I have listed some advice I've heard that seem to contradict each other.  Perhaps someone can set me straight.

* "Drive your knees to initiate turn" vs. "Stay stacked, avoid knee angulation":  It seems that if I drive my knees into the turn, I would create knee angulation and lose a stacked position over my feet.  The knee drive statement also contradicts the idea of starting your turn with inclination and then progressively increasing angulation throughout the turn.  If I try to drive my knees into the turn at initiation, I end up immediately in a slightly countered (angulated) position.

* "Initiate your turn with your feet" vs. "project your hips+body downhill and inside at beginning of turn":  so am I using my body start a turn or my feet?  Projecting body+hips downhill should create the "upside-down" position.  From here, your body is basically ahead of the feet and then you trust that the skis will catch up and "catch" the falling body, saving you from tumbling down the mountain.  This makes sense to me, but it requires that the body gets ahead of the feet.  So if you initiate the turn with the feet, can you really get your body ahead of them? 

This is probably actually more of a simultaneous move.  If we want a stacked position and inclination at start of turn, then it seems the only real way to achieve this is to have the body/legs/feet move synchronously with each other.  In this case, maybe it's just how you perceive it.

* "use inside ski to initiate turn" - "ILE transition": It seems that ILE requires you to progressively increase pressure on inside ski at end of turn so that you are 50/50 at transition and then progressively continue to extend that leg (now outside leg) at the beginning of the next turn.  This would mean you are actively pressuring the outside ski at the start of the next turn.  You are also progressively reducing pressure on the new inside ski until fall-line.  If you are reducing pressure on inside ski throughout the first phase of the turn, how can it really be used to help initiate the turn?  If you want a ski to do something, you need to apply pressure to it, not take it away.  I actually think all transitions are attempting to achieve the same goal, it's just that with ILE, it's in the name "inside leg EXTENSION".  To extend that leg, you must push off the ground with it and therefore increasing pressure.
post #2 of 20
You missed context as one of the options. It would be easy to create a scenario where each of these would be useful. Debatable, I'm sure, but lets see...

Quote:
Originally Posted by majortato View Post

* "Drive your knees to initiate turn" vs. "Stay stacked, avoid knee angulation": 

Driving your knees doesn't have to mean using knee angulation, it can mean pushing forward into the boot for someone that is prone to be sitting back.. Even 'point your knees to the inside' doesn't have to create knee angulation, if the upper leg and torso follow the direction of the knee to the inside of the turn.

* "Initiate your turn with your feet" vs. "project your hips+body downhill and inside at beginning of turn":   

To a beginner or intermediate the former could be used to help them use more tipping if they already are utilizing leg rotation. The latter might be used for a racer to encourage him to get more inside to build better inclination early in the turn.

* "use inside ski to initiate turn" - "ILE transition":

Someone that has an inside ski that is just drifting along and not getting up on edge could benefit from thinking about using the inside ski to initiate the turn. ILE transition is a way to help the CoM move to the new inside of the turn. You probably wouldn't use these together in instruction, but they both would be useful to help someone get turns to start.

 

Different people need to do different things to improve. Not everyone is looking to acheive the same results, so different methods can lead to desired ends. All of them within the realm of skiing.

Also keep in mind that when I suggest, for instance, to point the knee to the inside, I am working from the knowledge that the skills for tipping are understood. The knee pointing to the inside is visual feedback of the result of tipping the ski; the knee moves as the ski tips.
post #3 of 20
True understanding comes when you can see the truth in both sides of conflicting advice. MR has given you a big clue to get started on this quest.
post #4 of 20
Here some thaughts in red.
Quote:
Originally Posted by majortato 

* "Drive your knees to initiate turn" vs. "Stay stacked, avoid knee angulation":  It seems that if I drive my knees into the turn, I would create knee angulation and lose a stacked position over my feet.  The knee drive statement also contradicts the idea of starting your turn with inclination and then progressively increasing angulation throughout the turn.  If I try to drive my knees into the turn at initiation, I end up immediately in a slightly countered (angulated) position.

Drive your knees IMO means that you point your knees into the turn. You rotate your femures in their hip sockets and this movement points your knees into the turn and at the same time it applies torque to your skis. It is the basic movement with which skiers over the years have been performing short turns. Upper body stays facing down the hill and knees go from one side to the other. Note that the more you have your knees flexed the easier the knees are to point. If you stand up and your legs are totally extended and you turn the femure in the hip socket and watch your knees nothing much happens. Bend your knees and watch your knees swing back and forth as you rotate first towards one side and then towards the other. So bending the knee will give you more pointing range and better momentum. Here we come to what MR said above, pushing forward in the boot because as you flex your legs for better poinging range you usually also apply more pressure onto the boots and ski showels. This is usually coupled to dropping your CoM so that means that you are extended and then as you start the turn by driving your knees you flex. The down side IMO is that you create a very week knee position and also the unfavorable spot you put your hips in. You have lots of power in your knees but you are badly stacked. As you stand over your skis and rotate your femures your skis start to tip on edge and start turning but that leaves your CoM on the wrong side of the turn. Your hips will rotate outwards. You will not get any good edge angles and you will not be able to hold a carve. And squatting for the pressure phase means extending before. Kind of the wrong way arround. IMO you should be able to use your knees to initiate and fuel turning but also when you should not. In SL the knees are used for straight flush gates while bigger offset turns with more turinging forces requires better stacking. Note that in retraction turns your knees are bent at transition. This gives you a good possibiliy to use your knees for driving. However, if you use the knees for turn initiation when offset is big then you drive your knees into the turn from a anticipated position. This way you will have your hips in the right place from the start. At apex you are square with your skis and knees and in the low c you continute to drive your knees as you start to flex. This will improve cross under transition and provide you with a wind up position for the upcomming turn.

* "Initiate your turn with your feet" vs. "project your hips+body downhill and inside at beginning of turn":  so am I using my body start a turn or my feet?  Projecting body+hips downhill should create the "upside-down" position.  From here, your body is basically ahead of the feet and then you trust that the skis will catch up and "catch" the falling body, saving you from tumbling down the mountain.  This makes sense to me, but it requires that the body gets ahead of the feet.  So if you initiate the turn with the feet, can you really get your body ahead of them? 

Its kind of confusing. First of all, lets define the direction you are skiing. If you are not going straight down the hill with your skis pointing that way but insted turning across the hill you are in fact headding across the hill. That is your direction. Not downhill. Then, your direction varies all the time since your skis are turning. No matter how small your turns are and how close to the fall line you stay with minimum CoM offset sideways your boots and legs are also part of your CoM and there is a small sideways CoM movement. In other words it follows the same direction your skis are taking you. That means that your body cannot be ahead of skis. When you project your upper body into the turn and down hill you are in fact projecting it sideways not forwards. The upside down position has nothing to do with if you start your turn with your feet or if you are projecting your body into the turn because everything you do you do with muscle movement. Retracting or extending. Kind of logical that projecting your body into the turn is a leg movement.  

This is probably actually more of a simultaneous move.  If we want a stacked position and inclination at start of turn, then it seems the only real way to achieve this is to have the body/legs/feet move synchronously with each other.  In this case, maybe it's just how you perceive it.

Exactly.

* "use inside ski to initiate turn" - "ILE transition": It seems that ILE requires you to progressively increase pressure on inside ski at end of turn so that you are 50/50 at transition and then progressively continue to extend that leg (now outside leg) at the beginning of the next turn.  This would mean you are actively pressuring the outside ski at the start of the next turn.  You are also progressively reducing pressure on the new inside ski until fall-line.  If you are reducing pressure on inside ski throughout the first phase of the turn, how can it really be used to help initiate the turn?  If you want a ski to do something, you need to apply pressure to it, not take it away.  I actually think all transitions are attempting to achieve the same goal, it's just that with ILE, it's in the name "inside leg EXTENSION".  To extend that leg, you must push off the ground with it and therefore increasing pressure.

ILE transition is descriptive for what happens after apex untill the transition. At apex your outside leg is extended and your inside leg is flexed. From apex on you extend your inside flexed leg until it matches the extention of the outside leg. As these become equally long your hips are over your sksi, skis are flat and you are in what some call transition cero. Note that a couple of things happens in addition to the inside leg extention. You de-angulate. This is a combination of the skis carving in under you and you are using upper body muscles and inside leg to de-angulate. At the same time gravity joins in pulling on you down the hill somewhat sideways. I think most of us can agree that de-tipping at the end of the turn and tipping in the beginning of the new turn is a technique and timing thing. Not a muscle thing.

So what role does the new inside ski play? IMO not much if you have a very wide stance at the transition. The closer you stance width the easier it is to actively tip it into the new turn and applie some pressure to it. This you can do by pulling on the ski (note, not pulling it back behind you ;)) back adding shin pressure and tilting your foot inside the boot to dig the edge deeper into the groove. Note that you kind of initiate the turn before you start tipping your inside ski onto its LTE. You set the turn up in previous turn and then carrying momentum and movements through the transition.


post #5 of 20
A lot of these kinds of admonitions are similar to swings thoughts or quick fix tips in golf. (It is remarkable how many skiers are golfers too; there must be some general appeal of activities that are unnatural to the human body to certain personalities!) Just as most golfers fail to progress beyond "intermediate" however much they play and however many "tips" they try to implement, so most skiers never achieve expert status despite considerable effort. The reasons are the same in both cases.
post #6 of 20
Worth repeating:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

You missed context as one of the options. It would be easy to create a scenario where each of these would be useful.

Different people need to do different things to improve.


This does bring up a problem that can occur in different lessons given by different instructors.  Each instructor could look at the same person, maybe just a few days apart, and each instructor could pick a different thing to work on with the student.  Both could be valid, but each instructor is using their judgement to pick what they believe will be most helpful, and even two very good instructors won't necessarily pick the same thing.  The student hears different recommendations which they could perceive to be contradictory.

If I pick up a new athlete on a training camp, I like to ask them what they have been doing in their regular program, so that I can provide training guidance that is in line with what they have been doing already.  If I pick something very different, I try to explain why so that they are not confused by mixed messages.  Doesn't always work, but I feel that it's always worth a try.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mogulmuncher View Post

Worth repeating:

 


This does bring up a problem that can occur in different lessons given by different instructors.  Each instructor could look at the same person, maybe just a few days apart, and each instructor could pick a different thing to work on with the student.  Both could be valid, but each instructor is using their judgement to pick what they believe will be most helpful, and even two very good instructors won't necessarily pick the same thing.  The student hears different recommendations which they could perceive to be contradictory.

If I pick up a new athlete on a training camp, I like to ask them what they have been doing in their regular program, so that I can provide training guidance that is in line with what they have been doing already.  If I pick something very different, I try to explain why so that they are not confused by mixed messages.  Doesn't always work, but I feel that it's always worth a try.

 

+1

So often, and especially on these forums, people get analysis paralysis from so many opinions; which to choose? How to choose?
post #8 of 20
All instruction that starts with a description of how to move particular body parts will fail because it is based on the incorrect theory that people ski badly because they don't know how to move.  Everyone moves well enough to ski at a very high level.  You ski badly because you lack fundamental skills, not because you can't move, or don't know how to move.
The best way to improve your skiing is to start all over, and learn the fundamentals.  Spend some time doing side steeping, sideslips, pivot slips, 1000 steps.  Do slipping drills until you can do them perfectly, then do stepping drills until you are comfortable moving on your skis.  All those things develop a better sense of balance, and stepping helps you to move more freely on your skis.  There's not much more to it than that.  There is no magic thing anyone can tell you to make you ski better.

BK
post #9 of 20
 Nice post, Bode.  Gets right to the heart of reality.  
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post

All instruction that starts with a description of how to move particular body parts will fail because it is based on the incorrect theory that people ski badly because they don't know how to move.  Everyone moves well enough to ski at a very high level.  You ski badly because you lack fundamental skills, not because you can't move, or don't know how to move.
The best way to improve your skiing is to start all over, and learn the fundamentals.  Spend some time doing side steeping, sideslips, pivot slips, 1000 steps.  Do slipping drills until you can do them perfectly, then do stepping drills until you are comfortable moving on your skis.  All those things develop a better sense of balance, and stepping helps you to move more freely on your skis.  There's not much more to it than that.  There is no magic thing anyone can tell you to make you ski better.

BK

I think there is much truth in what you say for most of the skiers. However, sometimes, like going from classic short turns to carving the fundamentals can't always be wrong right?
Also, when describing a drill, doesn't it help telling how to do it? =)
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl R View Post

...when describing a drill, doesn't it help telling how to do it? =)

NO.  I show the task.  You try the task.  You do it or you don't.  If you do it, I direct your attention to how your feet feel, or how your leg muscles feel, or some other feeling (depending on the task) as you perform the task correctly.  If you don't do the task, maybe I tell you to extend your uphill leg, or tip your skis, or something like that (again, depending on the task and your problem with it).  I never talk about body parts in greater detail than that, and I NEVER tell anyone to hold his/her hands up.  The goal is not to make you ski in a particular position, or even with a particular movement.  The goal is to get you to be aware of your own balance, and to be able to feel and and understand the intrinsic feedback so that you can constantly move to a better state of balance as you make your skis do what you want them to do.

BK
post #12 of 20
I think that different situations require different instructional techniques. I told a racer this weekend that he needed to move his inside knee further towards the inside of the turn. This would allow him to get his chest lower in his tuck and get his inside ski to track more effectively. It worked; he almost beat me.

So while instruction for lower levels benefits greatly by learning balance, edge control and the basic skills of skiing, once that is understood, you can simply tell some people what to do with their bodies and they will succeed. It really comes down to the individualization of instruction and the instructor knowing not only what the final result is, but the best way to obtain that result with that individual.

I work with higher end skiers while many here work from the other end of the spectrum. I am learning about how to teach never evers on this site and appreciate the value of BK's experience and POV.

Nothing in skiing or instruction is an absolute.
post #13 of 20

Here are some things told to me by different instructors over the past few seasons. The comments were not related to moguls or any other specific condtion.
 

"With a good pole swing, you want to reach forward while swinging and use a gentle plant. This puts your upper body and hips in the correct position over the new inside ski."
 

"Pole swings are just related to timing and really don't assist with upper body or hip positioning for the new turn."

"You want to swing and touch. Never reach, as this will put you out of position."
 

"Flick and swing. Lightly touch with the pole. Don't stab or plant."
 

"You want a good, strong pole plant after the swing."
 

"You don't need a pole plant or touch at all. The swing is all you need." 

Based on my experience with instruction, this seems to be the one item that has the most variance in terms of reccomendations.  

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

I think that different situations require different instructional techniques. I told a racer this weekend that he needed to move his inside knee further towards the inside of the turn. This would allow him to get his chest lower in his tuck and get his inside ski to track more effectively. It worked; he almost beat me.

So while instruction for lower levels benefits greatly by learning balance, edge control and the basic skills of skiing, once that is understood, you can simply tell some people what to do with their bodies and they will succeed. It really comes down to the individualization of instruction and the instructor knowing not only what the final result is, but the best way to obtain that result with that individual.

I work with higher end skiers while many here work from the other end of the spectrum. I am learning about how to teach never evers on this site and appreciate the value of BK's experience and POV.

Nothing in skiing or instruction is an absolute.
I agree with all that.  I coached kids for a while and once they developed good technical skills they could do almost anything you told them to do.  It's easier to teach tactical skills then technical skills.  The hard part about coaching was teaching them the mental part of competition.  It's not really the same as teaching intermediates.  Coaching ski racers is more like coaching athletes in other sports than it is like teaching skiing.

BK
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MojoMan View Post

Here are some things told to me by different instructors over the past few seasons. The comments were not related to moguls or any other specific condtion.
 

"With a good pole swing, you want to reach forward while swinging and use a gentle plant. This puts your upper body and hips in the correct position over the new inside ski."
 

"Pole swings are just related to timing and really don't assist with upper body or hip positioning for the new turn."

"You want to swing and touch. Never reach, as this will put you out of position."
 

"Flick and swing. Lightly touch with the pole. Don't stab or plant."
 

"You want a good, strong pole plant after the swing."
 

"You don't need a pole plant or touch at all. The swing is all you need." 

Based on my experience with instruction, this seems to be the one item that has the most variance in terms of reccomendations.  

The reason there is so much variance about pole use is that modern equipment has made pole mostly unnecessary, but some instructors have not gotten the message.   There's also a pretty large variance in the knowledge and ability of instructors.  A lot of them can't ski moguls or any other condition where poles are useful.  But students still ask what to do with their poles, and instructors still search for an answer for them.  They just all come up with different answers.

BK
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post



The reason there is so much variance about pole use is that modern equipment has made pole mostly unnecessary, but some instructors have not gotten the message.   There's also a pretty large variance in the knowledge and ability of instructors.  A lot of them can't ski moguls or any other condition where poles are useful.  But students still ask what to do with their poles, and instructors still search for an answer for them.  They just all come up with different answers.

BK
 
I never really asked an instructor what to do with my poles. This was advice offerred over the years. I think the advice started maybe four seasons back when an instructor made the comment that I was at the level where I really needed to start utilizing a good pole swing, consistently. He said not doing so would lead to static skiing. Ever since then, there have been many diverging and conflicting comments about what I am doing, or should not be doing, with my ski poles. It is brought up in any lesson and the comments will usually never be the same.
post #17 of 20
A focus on arm usage needs to be seen through the filter of why would we need ot move the arm / hand. If it's to clear a gate, or bat / block a gate out of the way it makes more sense than just using a particular arm movement because it's a habit. Without that clear connection between use and outcome, we should be asking the question "why move the arm in the first place". An idea that we should also be using when we start talking about overall technique. Have a reason for your actions and movements. Ask yourself why you are using a movement in the first place. What's the benefit of using it? Are you moving to create a specific outcome? For example, decide if you are making a corrective stance adjustment because the snow and terrain perturbed your balance? Or are you compensating for a movement error made earlier in the current turn? If it's because of the latter, why not address the error and eliminate the need for the corrective movement? Most mis-conceptions start when we lose that connection between intent and outcome, or when we try to suggest a universal appropriateness of any movement.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

A focus on arm usage needs to be seen through the filter of why would we need ot move the arm / hand. If it's to clear a gate, or bat / block a gate out of the way it makes more sense than just using a particular arm movement because it's a habit. Without that clear connection between use and outcome, we should be asking the question "why move the arm in the first place". An idea that we should also be using when we start talking about overall technique. Have a reason for your actions and movements. Ask yourself why you are using a movement in the first place. What's the benefit of using it? Are you moving to create a specific outcome? For example, decide if you are making a corrective stance adjustment because the snow and terrain perturbed your balance? Or are you compensating for a movement error made earlier in the current turn? If it's because of the latter, why not address the error and eliminate the need for the corrective movement? Most mis-conceptions start when we lose that connection between intent and outcome, or when we try to suggest a universal appropriateness of any movement.
That's what I meant to say.

BK
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by majortato View Post
* "Drive your knees to initiate turn" vs. "Stay stacked, avoid knee angulation":  It seems that if I drive my knees into the turn, I would create knee angulation and lose a stacked position over my feet.  The knee drive statement also contradicts the idea of starting your turn with inclination and then progressively increasing angulation throughout the turn.  If I try to drive my knees into the turn at initiation, I end up immediately in a slightly countered (angulated) position.

 Yep.  Who told you to drive your knees and in what context?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by majortato View Post
* "Initiate your turn with your feet" vs. "project your hips+body downhill and inside at beginning of turn":  so am I using my body start a turn or my feet?  Projecting body+hips downhill should create the "upside-down" position.  From here, your body is basically ahead of the feet and then you trust that the skis will catch up and "catch" the falling body, saving you from tumbling down the mountain.  This makes sense to me, but it requires that the body gets ahead of the feet.  So if you initiate the turn with the feet, can you really get your body ahead of them?  

Both viewpoints have their merit.  The idea behind initiating with your feet is that tipping movements, combined with changing which foot you are supporting your weight with, will cause a chain reaction in your body parts, and it will create a temporary state of imbalance which will cause your CoM to start to move across into the new turn, without you having to "push" yourself there.  Pushing yourself there can cause some people to do bad things like ruin their edgeset, unweight when they don't need to, etc.  

On the other hand, I'm of the feeling that its also good and useful to think about where you are going with your CoM so that you can direct it in the right direction.  

In my world, its a combination of both initiation from the feet as well as directing, controlling and perhaps projecting the CoM as well.  Unfortunately, many people PUSH too much, which is why some schools of thought tend to focus exclusively on trying to initiate these movements through tipping movements in the feet.  But in my view, they are not exclusive from each other and its beneficial to think about it from both perspectives.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by majortato View Post
* "use inside ski to initiate turn" - "ILE transition": It seems that ILE requires you to progressively increase pressure on inside ski at end of turn so that you are 50/50 at transition and then progressively continue to extend that leg (now outside leg) at the beginning of the next turn.  This would mean you are actively pressuring the outside ski at the start of the next turn.  You are also progressively reducing pressure on the new inside ski until fall-line.  If you are reducing pressure on inside ski throughout the first phase of the turn, how can it really be used to help initiate the turn?  If you want a ski to do something, you need to apply pressure to it, not take it away.  I actually think all transitions are attempting to achieve the same goal, it's just that with ILE, it's in the name "inside leg EXTENSION".  To extend that leg, you must push off the ground with it and therefore increasing pressure.

ILE has been discussed a lot.  The important thing to understand is that movement of the CoM from the inside of one turn into the inside of the next turn can be facilitated WITHOUT you pushing yourself there.  There are turn forces that are acting on your body and are just waiting to sling your CoM down the hill.  As you complete one turn, you are standing on your outside ski and withstanding a lot of those forces.  You are holding your CoM back from being tumbled down the hill by bracing against that downhill ski.  But you are also in a state of balance, otherwise you would fall down onto your uphill side as well.  

If you were to suddenly change your state of balance, with some kind of movement towards the downhill, what would happen is that your CoM would immediately start to topple in that direction, down the hill (and towards the center of the next turn), since you will be essentially "falling" that direction.  You don't have to push yourself there, you only have to fall out of balance towards the outside of the last turn.  You can do this gradually or dramatically in a variety of ways.  

One way is using an OLR, our Outside Leg Retraction.  If you suddenly relax that outside leg that has been withstanding the forces to topple your CoM down the hill, you will fall out of balance towards the outside and the movement will begin.  Flexing and tipping that leg can magnify the effect.  Zero pushing required.  

The ILE method is to focus rather on applying a very slight extension on the old inside leg.  The intent is not to push yourself all the way into the new turn, but simply to push yourself out of balance so that the turn forces will do all the rest of the work to topple you into the new turn.  Once you start toppling, its not necessary at all to push yourself, nor is it necessary to completely transfer all of your body weight to the new ski at any particular rate.  Many factors will contribute to how quickly you are able to establish weight on the new outside ski.  Extension of that leg should be more a factor of keeping it engaged because as you topple in that direction, the turn forces will be pulling your CoM away from the direction the skis are going, and you'll be extending that leg, just to keep up with that and keep it engaged.

The main difference between ILE and OLR is that ILE allows you to do a bit more of an up-and-over transition, legs will appear straighter throughout the transition, it will not be as necessary to become flexed into a squat during float, compared to OLR.  There are a variety of advantages and disadvantages to each transition type, that have been discussed forever on this site.





 
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
There's a lot of good discussion going on here.  I completely agree that context is a huge part when it comes to these "tips".  I guess the problem is most of the time, tips are thrown around like they are facts rather than what they were initially designed for.  They were created by an instructor for a specific person experiencing a specific issue.  The result works and the student starts telling everyone else what they learned which may or may not work for others.  I very much agree with the golf tip analogy.

Moral of the story? I need to go out and ski rather than sit around and read about skiing. =)

...and if I need help, I need to get it from someone who's actually watched me ski.
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