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Tip lead when schussing

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
All the recent discussion of tip lead in turns caused me to recall something that I noticed about my own skiing last season.

For years, whenever I was straightlining a relatively easy slope, I'm pretty sure I did it without any tip lead whatsoever. However, over the past couple of years, I notice that a bit of tip lead (maybe 4 - 6 inches) seems to have sneaked into my high speed, flat ski, carry-all-the-momentium-that-you-can schusses.

I'm not sure whether or not this is due to major changes in my equipment over the last few years (new boots, shaped skis, etc.), or I do it subconsciously to enhance fore-aft stability (eg, if I run over a patch of very slow snow), but it sure feels very comfortable and secure.

The only down side seems to be that should I suddenly need to make a turn in the direction opposite to the tip lead, it takes a fraction of a sec, to switch the lead.

Its a pretty minor thing, but I would appreciate comments, pro or con, from the peanut gallery.

Tom / PM

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 05, 2001 07:58 PM: Message edited 1 time, by PhysicsMan ]</font>
post #2 of 23
Put your hands on the desk in front of you palms down, even with each other. Pivot them both in place to the right. One ends up in front of the other, without having anything to do with a concious lead change, without equipment or strange circumstances - its just a result of the appendages being rotated.

*Concious* lead changes are generally ineffecient, however they are fun and useful to explore - and you may find snow/terrain that you do better in with certain lead changes. At the same time - trying to keep your ski tips totally parallel is also a kind of lead change ... in that its not a natural outcome of turning the feet - but it too can be a very powerful tool in the right circumstances.

The kings of using a concious lead change for positive results are of course telmark skiers. On tele skis one of the weirder excercises I've ever done is 'reverse tele turns' - where you lead with the inside ski instead of the outside in each turn. By the same token - playing around with it on alpine skis is often very productive.
post #3 of 23
With modern equipment a lead change will interupt the ability to continue shaping the turn. It also will delay a smooth entry to the next turn. It is a solid position but not one that is optimal for continued turn shaping.

Allowing the foot to move forward during the turn moves the balance point back on the foot/ski. When this happens the tip of the ski is not engaged thus not contributing to shapping instead we are riding the middle to back part of the ski.

Read a great article in the current Ski Racing, regarding the wide stance and minimal lead change being used on the World cup these days.

After reading this I looked at the video 'Sking and the Art of Carving' and video from the end of last season.

Demonstators for 'Sking and the Art of Carving' were former top instructors(demo team members) and former olypians. At the time represented the best skiers experimenting with new technology.

When 'Sking and the Art of Carving' was made we had not completely figured out the new shaped skiis. In it they encorage an active lead change. You can see that the demonstrators turns straighten out as lead developes. Also the angles in the lower leg are not similar. As the lead develops the inside ski flattens and bigins to skid or pivot through the end of the turn while the outside ski is tipped on edge.

Looking at the video from last season. World Cuppers, Examiners and level III candidates when free skiing. You can see the evolution of technique to maximize the potential of the equipment. As a general statement we observed; minimal lead change, hips more square to direction of travel, similar edge angles, similar angles in lower leg, tips of both skis engaged and contributing to turn shape for the whole turn, a much higher edge angle earlier in the turn.

Also of interest relative to a previous long thread that just started to run out of gas. The demonstrators in 'Sking and the Art of Carving' had a pronounced up and over move of the cm at turn initiation on many turns. Where as that move was more direct into the turn with less up in last years videos.

These are just a few quick observations.
post #4 of 23

Never was the statment "IT'S HIP TO BE SQUARE", been more true.

Well put.

I have been playing with some ideas in this arena what do ya think of this. If we are square our pelvis is much more importand in alowing our leg bones to be this paralell. The inside leg shold not have to be a great deal shorter than the outside leg.

As we become much more two footed we need to ski both legs semetricly. So we can not allow the pelvis to be tipped into the hill it is becoming flatter to the snow. Like the shoulders.

Another thought is the inside leg is going to be much more balanced if you try pull only your foot backwards in the turn. Not the knee. From the knee down draw it back and hook up the inside tip just like the outside. This will keep equeal shin pressure on both legs. You will dig it.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Uh, guys ... ski season must be too close and you have turns on the brain.

My question was not about tip lead in turns. I was asking specifically about tip lead when straightlining. I thought I said it clearly:

> ...high speed, flat ski, carry-all-the-
> momentium-that-you-can schusses ...

"Straightlining" (aka schussing) is even in the title.

I realize that at some point, eventually I'll need to turn, and the issues you raise will come into play, but right now I'm asking only about the straight portion of the run.

Want to try again, or am I missing something?

Tom / PM
post #6 of 23
PM, a short leg long leg alignment situation would easily cause this problem. You would also turn one way easier than the other.
post #7 of 23

OOPs I'll try again.
I do have turns on the brain.
Let me think about this, and post later. :
post #8 of 23
PM- interesting thought, don't know if I have ever noticed that but would think that by standing with your hips a little open thus giving you some ski lead may feel more secure with short shape ski's, more ready to engage an edge. Also as we roll over terrain we may be constantly adjusting this lead. I would think small. For all out speed I would look to no lead and flat skis. I think if you have a lead then you really don't have FLAT ski's because if your hip is advanced it will tilt just a little.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 06, 2001 05:54 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Todo ]</font>
post #9 of 23
Mosh- I know this is off the PM subject but I was interested in your discussion. I agree a more square hip is what you want in GS/SL type turns but I would add that this has swung to far at times the hip still needs to be open to direction of travel or next turn I try to think of apex on next turn. However as all turns evolve this changes with it and there is a point that it pass through neutral and is square. If your hip is to open then it is turning the opposite way your legs are and can flatten the edge at the ski. If you let the hips stay to square all the time it becomes contrived and stiff limiting your flow and the ability to enter the new turn clean.

As for short leg long leg I would disagree. I still think it is very important to have a short and long leg. The inside leg needs to be short to accomidated the terrain much like when you stand sideways on 2 stairs or a steep hill. Although we ski 2 footed we still direct balance and weight to the outside ski, many ways to say it stance foot free foot, guide ski and ride ski (just heard that from someone here and love it) scribe ski and draw ski, you get the point. A big mistake is to try to be 2 footed with you weight and thus have the same leg length (unless your talking bumps and powder/crud)Our weight pass through both skis and is best left to it's own device depending on the speed your going the terrain, snow condition desired outcome etc... I would say most of the time I want to allow my legs to accomidate the terrain and my weight and pressure be directed to outside ski while I tip, flex and steer the inside ski to control the radius.
post #10 of 23
Todo, let me clarify that. I mean an anatomical short leg causing rotation of the femurs in the hips. An alignment problem requiring a lift on one foot. I think this is the most likely cause.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 06, 2001 06:31 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Pierre eh! ]</font>
post #11 of 23
PM: Can you tell whether the ski that's behind has more weight on it?

Is it usually the same ski?

Is that the same leg you rely on for support if you lean your back against a wall and put one foot sole against the wall?
post #12 of 23
have this situation on occassion. in my case, yes, leg-length discrepancy. getting a lift when i get my new insoles.
post #13 of 23

I don't have any teaching credentials like so many others here, so take my comments with a grain of salt. I have, however, done a fair bit of downhill racing so I've done enough straightlining to have an opinion.

With older, less-shaped skis, it took fairly pronounced angles to really engage the edge and start the ski into a turn. You could run that kind of ski "flat" very easily without too much happening in terms of starting a turn. (Unless you wanted it to, of course)

The modern skis have so much more sidecut that *any* slight engagement of the edge (particularly at the tip), will make the ski want to turn. Magnifiying this tendency, in my opinion anyway, is the fact that these skis are shorter so your weight is more efficiently transferred to the edges, which again makes the ski "turnier".

So, if you buy the concept that modern skis want to turn more, then a natural result is that they tend to "wander" more if you try to ski them absolutely flat. Every little terrain variation or body movement that engages one of the edges up near the tip will try to start the ski turning - much more so than in older, straighter skis.

Here's where the lead part comes in. I think most people ski modern skis with at least some edge engagement almost all the time. If you try to ski them flat - straightlining - they always want to turn. So, we react by keeping the ski on edge (a little bit or a lot) so we can control the direction better.

Conscious or not, I think that's what you're doing. A lead is a natural part of your turn style, so even though you *think* you're straightlining, you're actually doing more of a very-long-radius-slightly-edged turn.

Your post reminded me of the first time I skied a "modern" ski. While at Jackson Hole, I demoed a pair of K2 Fours the first season they came out. I loved those skis all over the mountain (junk, powder, bumps) until I got them on the groomed on Gros Ventre and tried to go straight. I felt very uncomfortable on them because the tips wanted to wander. I eventually learned that you could adjust (and go *very* fast) by keeping at least one edge slightly engaged and staying in a "turn" almost all the time instead of trying to ride a completely flat ski.

So, maybe I'm all wet, but that's my theory about why you're leading.

Just get yourself a pair of downhills. I'd bet the lead will go away.

post #14 of 23

About lead change when going straight, why? I think Todd said it best.


What????? : Show me when it snows. If it ever does.--------Wigs
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Asteroid, Todo, Kneale, Pierre -

I think your comments are right on the mark that there is usually some edging always associated with any tip lead. After you said this, I realized that I don't like riding flat on shaped skis, and I think that what I am probably doing is making very large radius turns, even when I think I'm schussing a flat section of trail.

This explanation is consistent with the fact that it's not always the same ski that leads (as it would be if it were a leg length or other alignment problem). Its also consistent with the fact that this is something new that has crept into my style over the last few of years (ie, since shaped skis). Its also consistent with the fact that I do less tip lead with my less deeply sidecut skis.

Fortunately, I have had no recent injuries, but over the years, I've done a couple of ejections / face plants when I've hit a stretch of glue, so the tip lead may also give me a bit of quasi-telemarking fore-aft security.

Now, the amount of tip lead that I am talking about is only the length of one ski tip (4 - 6 inches). Is this really considered too much even when turning? Uninterrupted smoothly-flowing transitions notwithstanding, a few inch lead like this certainly prevents the occasional inadvertent tip crossing in cut up snow.

Tom / PM
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Bob.Peters - Good insight! You must have been posting your message while I was typing mine. Your theory is precisely on the mark: I'm subconsciously making very long radius turns, even when I'm trying to schuss through a flat section.

BTW, I don't have a pair of DH boards, but I do have a pair of first generation 198 cm Stockli Stormriders which are stiff and have a lot less sidecut than many modern skis. They are my "go-fast" skis, and as you predicted, I use almost no tip lead when I am on them.


Tom / PM
post #17 of 23
Hi PhysicsMan--a couple questions--

Is it always the same ski that leads when you are straight running?

And I'll reiterate Kneale's question--do you usually find more weight on the lead ski, the trailing ski, or is it even, or variable?

Are you aware of any difference in the length of your legs, or the range of motion of your ankles, knees, or hips? Or the forward-lean settings of your boots?

It's an interesting observation, in any event. I can't think of any particular reason, other than some sort of asymmetry, that would cause a consistent tip lead on a straight run.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 06, 2001 10:38 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Bob Barnes/Colorado ]</font>
post #18 of 23
If I understand correctly you are traveling straight downhill and I'm assuming a flat ski (or else you would be turning).

You should have little if any ski lead in this situation. 4-6" would be very excessive. These days 6 inches would be close to excessive even if you were turning

Is this a new development in your skiing? Any thoughts on what your upper body is doing? Have you had an injury that would effect your stance?
post #19 of 23
Maybe you are just used to this position. The tip lead thing is often a symptom of being well balanced on the outside leg, and a bit back on the inside leg. This scisor is a way to brace yourself to your equipment. Maybe you are doing this unconsiously when you don't need to do anything in particular, It is a theory. I bet it is simply a basic stance and dicipline thing

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 06, 2001 05:33 PM: Message edited 1 time, by mosh ]</font>
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Bob - It was an instant "AHHHH !!!" as soon as Asteroid, Todo, Kneale, and Pierre, started talking about slight edging being almost inevitable if there is any significant tip lead.

When Bob.Peters independently suggested that I might be making long radius turns to keep newer, more deeply sidecut skis tracking well, the theory rang even more true even tho I wasn't thinking consciously about making turns at all. It just felt "right" to ski the runouts like that. I thought I was simply straightlining the run with flat skis, whereas in actuality I was making very long radius turns by being slightly up on edge.

Anyway, Bob, to answer some of your questions: (1) No, its not always the same ski leading, but they are such gradual turns, it could take 15 seconds for me to change lead on such a run; (2) There is almost always slightly more weight on the trailing ski (ie, the outer one in my long radius turns); and (3) I know of no asymmetry in my body or equipment.

All of the above observations also seem to be perfectly consistent with me subconsciously playing with turns when I thought I was going perfectly straight.

Mosh's comment is also on the mark: "...Maybe you are doing this unconsiously when you don't need to do anything in particular...".

He is right, I'm very relaxed on terrain like this, and more or less doing something to keep from being bored (and make the skis a bit less wobbly).

Thanks again for the head scratching session, guys.

Tom / PM
post #21 of 23
Why are you looking at your feet while skiing fast straight downhill? That kind of behavior could land you in jail.
post #22 of 23
Sounds good, PMan--glad we got this one solved! On to world peace....


Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by milesb:
Why are you looking at your feet while skiing fast straight downhill? That kind of behavior could land you in jail.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You know, they are always complaining about being ignored, too much pressure, can't get no respect, so I try to give them some quality time every now and then. Besides, I have it on good authority from 'boarders that its the responsibility of the people downhill from me to get out of MY way, right? (...running and ducking...)


Tom / PM

PS - Glancing down at them didn't take all that much time, but you should have seen what I had to go through to get a ruler down there and measure that tip lead while zipping along.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 07, 2001 03:39 PM: Message edited 1 time, by PhysicsMan ]</font>
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