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Getting off the rear toe...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey! Here are some pictures from a week ago... I've boarded once since. 

 heelside turn.JPG
Yikes! I can't seem to get off my rear toe when I'm starting a heelside turn! I'm just not flattening the board right!

heelside turn 3.JPG
Even in this picture too!

Any ideas about why? Or what I can do to help it? My knee's already flexed... I can down-unweight, like on skis, but I don't think that's the right solution... 

post #2 of 10
 There are some who would argue that this is not necessarily bad. When you use board twist to start a heel side turn, you want the back foot to be on the toes at this point in the turn. One the front heel is engaged, the back should follow easily.

Now if ye be wantin to move both feet at the same time onto heelside edge, then ye be needin to get your shoulder rotated more to the left such that it be aligned with the board. By rotating your front shoulder left, you are swinging the right hip forward and that's flexin the back knee.  Remember when I said I was not fond of starting turns by rotating your upper body? Bean Go!
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

Now if ye be wantin to move both feet at the same time onto heelside edge, then ye be needin to get your shoulder rotated more to the left such that it be aligned with the board. By rotating your front shoulder left, you are swinging the right hip forward and that's flexin the back knee.  Remember when I said I was not fond of starting turns by rotating your upper body? Bean Go!

therusty, you're in pirate mode! 

Hmm, is my weight too far back in the pics? (I'd be getting people forward if they were this far back on skis...) 

I do try to use rotation to get the board around (my boarding looks atrocious with all the rotation...). I find with the rear foot still tipped on its toe edge, I can't bring my hip around when the rear toe's currently digging into the snow. the rear toe edge grabs and then I'm scrooed. (tend to go flying in a straight line down the hill...) I gotta get that foot to flatten... what would you do to flatten it? do you fall into the turn heelside? pull the foot up? will it just take more days on snow for it to come together? or should I drill on something?

Lately I've been doing the "grab the bottom of your jacket" drill to keep the arms still... where you grab your jacket below the pockets and hold. I dunno :)
post #4 of 10
 Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, what do ye get when ye cross an owl with a pirates parrot?

There are plenty off people that ride further in the back seat, including pros. On groomed trails, I'd be getting you more forward. I can understand why Whistler would teach you this way. You need to do more than get that foot to flatten. You want it on the heel edge. Using this style of turn initiation, the way I'd use to get you there is to use a sitting motion (i.e. to fall to the inside of the new turn). You could also try rotating the back foot harder or pivoting it out (ick). I don't know what Whistler wants you to do. I teach my students to move their weight over the edge of the board in a balanced position (shoulders aligned to either the board or the stance angle). You've been taught with a weight back position that makes it harder to get the back foot on edge. In my riding, I'd be both pulling my hips to the inside of the new turn (i.e. the sitting motion) and lifting the back foot which I can do much easier because I'm riding in a duck stance and not rotating my upper body to start a turn. What you've been taught encourages you to move the back hip in the wrong direction when you start the turn and that makes it harder to lift the back foot. You can ride this way and it will work fine in powder. You just have to sit after you get to the position in the pics. 

I have a "mean" drill I do to stop upper body rotation. For people that have it bad, we start by holding our hands in front. Then we move to holding our hands behind our back. If you need to rotate your upper body to make a turn, you'll either break the hand hold or you'll crash. If you're doing things right, you can ride that way all day. I tell my students they can use that drill as a check to see if they are bending their legs enough. I teach people to turn with their feet, not with their shoulders. Bending the legs helps you to rotate the feet more effectively. 

I prefer to have my students start their heel turns with a rising motion that lets them lift and rotate their front foot and a back dearching motion that causes the weight to shift over the heel edge. Then the back foot can easily follow the movements of the front foot and complete the turn. But you don't necessarily need to start over. You don't need to turn your feet to make snowboard turns. I teach my students to use all the 4 ways to make a snowboard turn so that they can make their own choice as to the blend of the methods. This approach, like any teaching method, has its own pros and cons.
post #5 of 10

A comment from my own experience as a long time skier who learned a little boarding...

Don't you think a lot his problem just comes from the fact that as a skier his body "wants" to face down the hill?  For me at least, that put a big twist on my body before I even tried to do any turning.   I found it helped me to rotate the bindings a lot for a couple of days (as training wheels, if you will).  When things were more or less working I put the bindings back to a more normal setting.

post #6 of 10

That is true in general. But in a different thread Metaphor explained how Whistler was teaching him to ride. As I understand it, he's riding exactly as they taught him.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

I will drill--holding hands in front, then holding hands behind, for... perhaps the whole day next time. Any special way you hold your hands? Just like, clasped? how low? crotch level? chest? One of my boarder friends traverses with his hands clasped behind his back! maybe it'll double as good traverse training :P As for getting the foot on the heel instead of just flattening--absolutely! that's totally my goal. I think. Should it be my goal? hmm. 

Can you help me get things sorted out on how to turn? I think I might be confusing some concepts.

Pivoted turns: 
I believe you approve of rotation if it originates in the... hips?  and knees? and ankles? but definitely not in the shoulders. Correct? (This would be closer to skiing... I don't know how a person could board all day with a twisted spine and still be healthy.) And the hip/knee/ankle rotation creates a pivoted turn. 

Edged turns: 
heelside: Pulling the hips in a sitting motion--do you keep your back straight when doing this? I feel like I'm doing a drinking bird. how do you ensure the board doesn't slide away from under you? 
toeside: you just push your hips forward and arch your back?

In both cases, you can apply an up-unweight... yes? Like in skiing, the up-unweight happens during the traverse, before you turn down the fall line, so that you can flex and make the turn easier...? 

Twisted turns:
you'd edge the front foot first. Your rear foot follows. (I'm not intentionally twisting the board--this is where I'm getting hooked up.) Is this correct?

On the Whistler snowboard school's method... I'll do whatever works best! And this rotation from the shoulders seems hard on my spine. Rotation is part of CASI manual, but they seem to refer to rotation as pivoting the hips to trigger the chain--not the shoulders. I can't imagine shoulder steering is a good long-term technique.

mdf: I think I'm cheating already  My bindings are set to +21 / +6ish. Is this hurting my ability to... control the board?

Any thoughts on a good progression for skill development? I'm happy to go back to the flat-ish green runs and work up.
post #8 of 10
 Phew - what a list!

Hand holding: I just grip the fingers together and hold them around waist high. How you do it does not matter much. Don't bother with all day. That was just a figure of speech. Half a run makes the point.

The goal is to change from one edge tracking in the snow to the other edge. When you get really good you'll be able to have the option of the front of the board doing different edging than the back of the board (e.g. going flat vs being on edge, i.e. twisting the board).

Pivoted turns: Rotating or pivoting is one way to turn a board (that won't by itself change the direction of travel). I believe that such board movement is most efficiently initiated with the feet. This board movement is also part of the AASI (American) theory.

Edged turns: For heel sides, I think of the back being perpendicular to the snow surface as an ideal position, but it's typically angled forward (bent at the hips) a bit. Ankle movement fine tunes the edge angle to maintain balance/desired carving or skidding. Pulling your hips forward is the bail out move if you've gone too far on edge. For toe sides, having the back arched is the secret for being able to pull the hips back if you've gone too far. Ankle movement plays the same role as heel sides.

Twisted turns: The idea is that weighting and tilting the front foot onto edge causes the nose of the board to engage and begin the turn. The back foot is then drawn into the turn and then follows onto the new edge.

Pressured turns: Whichever foot has the most weight on it, is the one that wants to be going down the hill. When you see beginners unintentionally doing flat spins or having their back foot get unintentionally downhill of the front foot, it's because they have too much weight on the back foot.

I teach my students to blend the 4 types of turns into "their" turns. Whistler is just teaching you their blend. Everybody has a different opinion of best. It's far easier to learn sticking to in person coaching. I would not try Internet coaching unless in person coaching was not working. If you can get to the point where you are surfing in powder or carving on groomed (letting the board turn you), then this kind of crap only has meaning to instructors. Once you've learned to ride and want to continue to grow, you might want to experiment with the endless variations of stance angles, stance widths, board styles and technique blends. Like golf (e.g. Jim Furyk), some riders can make amazingly "bad" combinations work quite well.
post #9 of 10
From the pics, it looks like you're dropping your right shoulder, trying to lift your right toe up.  The problem is that this is actually making you lean back over the tail of your board and hanging you up, because lifting your foot only unweights for a split second, and then you're back on the snow, except now you're out of balance.  If anything you should be lifting up on your FRONT toe, which will put your mass forward where it belongs.  The up-unweighting that you talk about has its place as you advance but should not be applied to a basic linked turn. 

What you should focus on is bending your knees (with your upper body upright so that you can't see your toes under them), and then pushing both knees forward towards the nose of the board, pressing down on your heel edge just ahead of your front foot.  Keep your upper body balanced and perpendicular to the board/slope.

Finally, relax and be patient.  The board WANTS to turn, you just have to put pressure on the right spot to tell it what to do, and the board will respond naturally.  And the key is "respond" - it doesn't happen immediately, you have to wait a split second for it to come around.

Where your shoulders face is personal preference.  I'm more into carving so I ride facing more forward than most people do.  What matters in the end is balance, edging, rotation, and pressure (BERP in instructor-speak).

Also, if you're still having trouble getting on to your heel edge, try increasing the forward lean on your highbacks, and doublecheck that your feet are centered on the board between the edges.  This is generally more of a problem for getting up on the toe edge, but worth checking.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
(Oops, I think my PDA ate my post...)

Thank you thank you thank you thank you! 

Rusty: You got my flailing all sorted out with the hands drill. I no longer board like the tasmanian devil (in my mind's eye anyway). A stable upper body probably served as the foundation for the next step....

sth1d: That totally worked! I had to make a "leap of faith" by putting the body weight over my heelside front foot, but the rear foot is now coming around no problem! It's working on blues - I still can't do it on a black mogul run, but that's probably just going to take a more aggressive attack... 

Thanks guys! You're really helping me to get close to that CASI-1. 
Edited by Metaphor_ - 4/26/10 at 4:58pm
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