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How Do You Find The Sweet Spot With Regards To Canting?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I posted this in the boot fitter's forum but maybe it is suited better here.  To save you from reading everything below in the original post, you might be able to answer the question directly:

What is the process for adding shims (duct tape) to ski bindings so you can find the sweet spot?

Everything below states that I know I need to get my boots planed but I want to find the exact amount.

Original post -

So this past weekend I took my L1 Clinic.  The examiner noted to me that he thought I was over canted and suggested some shims on the outside of both bindings to try it out.

My boots (Krypton Pro ID) have been fitted by GMOL.  The examiner knows them and had nothing but nice things to say about them.  We both agreed that the last step in boot fitting is on slope evaluation and I didn't do that with GMOL.  In the shop the fitters can get you almost there but probably won't be all the way.  At GMOL on the platform I was told my stance was well balanced/neutral.  I'm not bowlegged and when standing in bare feet, my ankles, calves, medial knees, and quads (just above knee) touch.

The next day he put 5 strips of duct tape on the outside edges of the bindings and said that was about 1 degree.  I did a couple of runs and all of a sudden my feet were closer and the examiner said I looked more natural and balanced.  It felt better and easier to me also.  Keep in mind this was in rain, sleet and strong winds and the snow was crusty up top and sloppy spring snow at the bottom.  Most of it wasn't groomed.  As crappy as the weather was, I wanted to keep skiing because I felt like I just got a new toy and I wasn't ready to go in yet.

He said I still needed to fine tune it (we ran out of time and they were keeping the lifts open for us) and I should go past what feels good and then back.  This would get me to whether I need a 1 degree shim, 1.5 or whatever. 

My question is "How do I self diagnose getting to the sweet spot"?  I now know what over canted feels like and what 1 degree shims feel like.  I'm guessing that if I'm under-canted, I'll have a hard time getting on the uphill edge of my inside ski.  Is that correct? Or is it that the inside edges will be too grabby.  What would the typical process be?  Keep adding 1 degree up until it's too much and then go back 1/2 degree at a time?  I figure I'll have to write down everything that I do and the effect.

If it matters, the skis are Atomic Metron 11 B5 164cm.  I'm 5'7" 165# and 50.

I'll probably only have this weekend to tweak it so I'm looking for any insight you have to offer.  There should be a few L2's and L3's around to watch me this weekend but there are some festivities planned so I'm not sure who'll be available.

Thanks in advance,

post #2 of 5
 Trial and error.

Let's assume that your footbeds are correct.

I feel that the easiest way to figure out your canting is on one foot at a time. Start with skiing straight on a shallow slope on one foot at a time. If you feel like you are toppling over to one side or another, try adding a shim. Next try one foot traverses, try them on both feet on both edges. When you have it right, skiing on one foot will be easy.

If the snow is really mushy, I'd probably try again on another day.
post #3 of 5
 Sounds like you have been given sound advice and you are on the right track!  Be aware that more often than not you will be a bit asymmetrical in your canting needs, so don't assume you will need the same angle on each side.

While Epic makes some good suggestions above, I would note that fore/aft alignment can also affect your ability to ski well on one leg.  

Testing should be done on firm snow to get the most accurate sensations.  

A couple other things to be aware of to assure accurate edging include insure your boot soles are flat and true.  Many times boot soles are not flat out of the box and will affect accurate edging.  On that note, with all the ski/binding systems out there today, some have alot of slop in the system which will affect the edging accuracy.  Lastly, if your boot soles are worn excessively from walking, they will become what I refer to as "boaty" where the sole actually becomes convex and will rock in the binding.  The bottom line is make sure you have as accurate and solid of a connection to your skis as possible to optimize edging movements.   You will notice race ski bindings are more rigid because they use more metal for rigidity as well as wider toe pads (AFD's) which again improves edging accuracy.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
The foot beds are custom (instaprint) made and though I have nothing to compare them too (first set), I believe they are correct.

The boot soles are flat.  At least they were at the beginning of the year.  When fitted they checked for boot sole flatness and being true. On my right boot they made one slight pass on the planer just to clean it up from wear.   Where I teach has outfitted the entire lodge with a soft mat floor so my boots very rarely are on a hard surface.

The only other "fitting" was the foot beds, changing the cuff alignment to center my leg and a heel lift to make up for limited dorsiflexion.  They said fore/aft was dead on.

The bindings are Neox 4-12.  Same ones as on my Cheater Race Ski Atomic LT 11.  I also have Elan GSX with Marker Comp bindings.  I did the shade tree mechanic check for slop in the toe binding (credit card slides snug between the toe and AFD) and it was fine.  I will check on Friday to make sure they aren't boaty.

I don't know if it is related but whenever I've done "lift the inside leg on turns" drill, I always feel as if I need to drag my inside pole in the snow to get enough torque to turn.  After the shims were put in, I didn't notice needing to do this.  It could also be because of the weather my senses were over loaded and I was focusing on my feet so much I didn't notice it.  And it is just as likely that it is poor technique.  When I do the drill with my LT 11's or Elan's, I don't get that feeling.  The examiner said that a fatter waisted ski makes it more noticeable and I was on the Metron's which is a bit fatter at the waist.

I'll try the suggestions this weekend and see what I come up with.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Well, well, well.  Guess who's boots aren't true on the bottom! 

I was talking to a ski buddy yesterday, and he said, "Before you start modifying your boots, make sure it isn't something that can be changed with technique or strengthening." We were discussing why my canting is only off in a turn.  It was perfect at GMOL and all my stationary alignment issues were dead on.  We started thinking that it might be muscular (still recovering from tearing an acl on my left leg and until this past Saturday, I wore a knee brace).  I've been told before my left turns are better than right and everyone always blamed my left knee and brace.

So I put the boots on in the basement and tried a few things.  Checked to see how the boots "edged".  I rocked them together side to side and then individually.  I noticed they had more play than they used to (on cement floor) and what I noticed more than anything, was it was harder (required more force) to get my left boot to tip right. I also noticed that if I spread my feet a little further apart, tipping my left boot inboard was much easier.  It went outboard very easily but inboard required a bit more effort.  When Matt at GMOL had me do this they were rock solid, no slop and both were the same.

The flattest, truest flat spot I have is the table saw.  I put each boot on there (without me in it) and both boots rocked a little and my left boot again tipped outboard easier than inboard and you could see a larger gap on the outside edge.  So they are visibly worn and I believe they need to be brought back to true first.

I'll try to stop by a local shop today that I trust and can do this.  I'll also have them checked to make sure they are within spec for meeting the binding.  Hopefully I can get it all done today and still ski tomorrow.

I guessed I assumed because my boots were perfect at the beginning of the year, that they didn't change.  Especially since the lodge has rubber mats through out.  Maybe it was just skiing so much this year; 52 days on snow so far.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › How Do You Find The Sweet Spot With Regards To Canting?