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The Flail Line and You

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yes I know it's spelled "Fall Line". Just trying to get your attention.

Saw an interesting comment in another thread that sparked this question in my Sturgis-soaked melon. Why do some instructors teach students to keep the body facing the fall line? (Not saying you do TomB...but I'm not saying you don't)haha

I only ask because I think that idea creates a contrived and very reactive situation for skiers. We talk about alignment and stance till we're retching, and then we go and tell our students to be mis-aligned. Yes even on the steeps we skiers can maintain a natural stance and be less tired at the bottom AND be the first ones down while our buddies kack a lung at mid-way.

I propose this idea as a replacement. As a skier descends a steep slope, we can see his body in a somewhat countered position. It's there Spaggy! His upper body is facing the fall line! What the heck are you getting at?!?
The question is this.... Does the skier actually turn his upper body down the fall line, or is that position passively created by the mechanics of the human skeleton?

Food for Thought. Need sleep bad. Must git.
post #2 of 17
Does that mean that you don't teach that dumb exercise with the poles forming a picture frame of the fall line? if thats the case, then you are truly one of my heros!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #3 of 17
Teaching extrem counter is dis-appearing, isn't it? Last year, I did some (delicate) experiments using the "old bag of tricks) like the picture frame thing, and the "new bag of tricks" ala PMTS and newer PSIA stuff...

The new stuff ALWAYS got improvement... And the old "bag of tricks" tended to confuse folks. Wow!

It's not countering per-se, but the "bad rotary" in the upper body that needs to be mellowed out. Concentrating on the feet up kinetic chain exersizes will get it out of the way easier than a "contrived" countered stance. Nice thread, Spaggy!

Visit me here >>>SnoKarver

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[This message has been edited by SnoKarver (edited August 07, 2001).]</FONT>
post #4 of 17
Phrases that slip into the instructors venacular, to promote the lesser of two evils...kinda like "keep forward". Even in an historical context it's bogus!
I have issues with all sorts of misleading cues, one that gits me is "matching". Whaddaya think that implies? "Merging" is more appropriate!
Lisamarie, there are few "bad excercises" merely bad "applications". The worst is the implication that an excercise is "a way to ski" instead of a skill enhancer or eye opener.
Spaglips! Howz the 'too.....itchy? All those years in the wholesome bossom of decency in NM....and now the fear and loathing of decadent S.Dakota nihilism....don't make me toss an intervention on you two! Do you know what deprogrammers cost today? Luckily, I know this guy that lives in a van down by the river.......<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Robin (edited August 07, 2001).]</FONT>
post #5 of 17
I dislike all those positional "exercises" where the skier is supposed to keep something some way in relation to something else. That stuff all makes you stiff and awkward.

If they're turning their shoulders too much it's because they aren't turning their feet properly. The exercises should focus on what the skis are doing.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Robin. I didn't realize that Dave Brown was in California!!(snicker) Check out my post on General. I'm getting killed over there! Pretty funny.

Lisamarie. No I don't teach that move, though I've seen so-called trainers showing rookie instructors the "picture frame" exercise. Used to make me really mad because it wasn't my place to change it. Different story now 'cuz I'm the boss and I really want to do things my way (wink).

I'm not into skiing technique being taken as law. I do adhere to a few ideas and one of them is this. CONTRIVED COUNTER IS THE BANE OF MY SKIING EXISTENCE. I struggle with it every time I ski. I forget. It's a movement pattern that has been ingrained in my turns since the Dawn of Time. I do notice that if I just stand over my skis and let my skeleton go to work instead of my muscles, I'm more efficient.

Countered stance, to me, is this. If I stand on a hill facing across, one foot will be "higher" than the other. The higher foot will also slide ahead of the lower naturally. It has to, or I wouldn't be able to stand on the hillside. Just standing there with that little bit of lead change does something to by body... the hips rotate slightly toward the fall line, and the rest of my body is lined up on top of it. Just standing there! If I consider this spot to be one of the positions that I go THROUGH in every turn, (terrain, speed, mood, etc. all affect the reality. I can't think of a better way to word this.) then I will have found all the counter I need without doing anything. I figure with that out of the way I can concentrate on the toothy grin
post #7 of 17
Late this past season, one of our trainers suggested this movement in relation to counter. With about two ski lengths before engagement, square your upper body to the skis and hold the upper body in that position relative to the side of the run. Start with this task; Before engagement, do a "pre-counter". This is somewhat difficult because it goes against everything we have been taught over the years; upper body uphill!! The outcome was quite interesting as the skis really engaged and came around much faster than anticipated.

Now I am using this type of countering with going to "nuetral" just before engagement. What it does is causes the edges to engage just a bit earlier.

The upshot of all this is, remaining in a countered position is not nesseccerily a good position. This is also somewhat validated by an article in Professional Skier (Winter 2001) by AJ Kitt, in an interview with Bill Egan, USST Program Director.

post #8 of 17
Rick H,

I know it's just me, however, you lost me and I think your onto something. Can you take another stab at explaining what you mean.

I read the Kitt article as well and found it interesting.
post #9 of 17
You relax, you move into gravity and don't fight it. You edge with the forces and not against them. Its so simple - yet seems to take so many years for people to master!
post #10 of 17
Notorious Spag,

Before I say something incriminating, please note that I am only an amateur.

My comment about facing the fall line was not meant to resemble the old school of extreme/contrived counter, but rather a natural position of facing where you are going (more or less). I would add that the steeper the terrain and the shorter the turns, the more you should be facing the fall line.

For general skiing I would say that facing the fall -line should be partly the result of leading with the inside knee/shoulder/hand through the turn and partly the result of facing where you are going. These are subtle moves, and I agree that modern skis and modern technique do not require any crazy counter.

Bye the way, what Rich H has described in his post I interpreted as very early lead with the inside knee/shoulder. Is that what you meant Rick H? If yes, there is no question that you will get very early engagement with the new outside edge.
post #11 of 17
Spag, for the record, Brownie is the Director of Snowboarding (turncoat!) at Lookout Pass, not in California....although he may be living in a van!
post #12 of 17
Kneale said, "The exercises should focus on what the skis are doing."

Todd said, "You relax, you move into gravity and don't fight it. You edge with the forces and not against them. Its so simple - yet seems to take so many years for people to master!"

Those are beautiful sentiments - pure poetry - but, as most of you already know, I'd put it still another way: BE the skis!
post #13 of 17
Hey Torminator: That's a great idea, except my physique is more like the barrel than the stave :~)
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
TomB. I knew what you were getting at. The comment simply sparked the question. I too am merely an amateur!!

Robin. Brownie was always a snowboarder at heart. He could ballet pretty well for a fat guy, Huh?

Spag's quote of the day:
"She's got the JACK"
- ACDC -
post #15 of 17
Spag, Brownie is just one of those magical guys who continually crosses your path. We unknowningly raced against each other from Nancy Greene league up as we moved around. Again in the mid-late 70's we competed at the Nationals in freestyle, never met.
When we coached in Panorama together, we found each other in our photos! He is standing five feet from me in a podium shot when we were like 13!
Trust me that fat boy rocks still! We were seperated by about .3 in DH and .5 in SG forerunning Panorama CAST champs. in 87-88....I'll let you guess who won! Hint: Don't think aerodynamics.
post #16 of 17
I really doubt most instructors do teach a contived counter position. Sometimes we explain ourselves poorly. It is kind of what I say, what you hear, and what I meant. Except in a few cases follow the turn with a slight natural counter of hips to to head looking more towards downhill than the direction of your skiis which then will allow your skiis to effortlessly seek the fall line as you release your turn. Understand this is a simple explanation only to give minds eye view. The larger the turn the less the counter required. The shorter the more. No contrived body positions required. Look where your going!
post #17 of 17
Nothing wrong with facing down the hill if that's where you wanna go...... I like to think of this as similiar to running down a mountain path, the upper body 'reacts' to the feet position (not to be confused with the 'fetal' position)...where the feet go, the rest follows. Try and keep your hands in front. Please, no picture frames.
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