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Hang ten, baby!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I would think it a crime for a surfer on a longboard to always stay centered, never moving forward to the nose to use it's floaty acceleration characteristics and never moving aft to use the snappy cut-turn trait to their advantage. Not a 'crime' maybe, but certainly a waste of a lot of valuable attributes offered by such a mutli-dimensional tool.

Why wouldn't the same thing be true for skis?
post #2 of 17
It is often pointed out how how/that Bode Miller sits on/uses the backs of his skis (most recently by Todd Brooker at last month's Nationals in Tahoe) in ways that, one would assume, other skiers do not. (Otherwise why point to Bode's technique?) One could assume from this that Miller, for example, IS using more of the ski.
And that others (racers, then the rest, if the trickle-down theory is true) would try to emulate, assuming using more of the ski is better, where better is faster/technically efficient. ( And easier?)
post #3 of 17
I would like to have the skills to be centered all of the time, then I will start exploring different places to be on the ski as conditions or desire dictate.
post #4 of 17
What??? For years I have been using demo bindings just because they let me adjust the position of my boot to center, forward of center, or aft of center. All it takes is a Cm. or 2 and I can adjust the binding/boot placement to exactly fit the skiing conditions, powder, ice, etc. It has been so long since I skied on "regular" bindings I don't know if they are adjustable. Anyone help out here?
post #5 of 17
I use demo bindings (Marker and Solomon) just for that reason. I adjust to center my boot as needed for the conditions. I am not sure whether other bindings are adjustable like this.
post #6 of 17
Ryan, skiing back like you pointed out may be one thing for an elite athlete who trains to shave hundreds of seconds off an already short run. It may be another thing entirely for the average Joe who occasionally wanders out in skis, then skis 30 thousand vertical or more each day for a week.

I tend to ski slightly back but am working on getting out of this position. One thing I notice when I'm better positioned is how effortless the runs are. I'm quite fit, but nothing compared to these athletes, and it sure makes a difference at the end of the day.


post #7 of 17
Its not about being centered ALL the time, nor back all the time or forwards all the time. Bode is not back all, or even most, of the time. But he certainly is good at leveraging the tail when he needs to. Leveraging you ski fore or aft is an effective tool for certain needs/desires/situation, standing centered and using the whole ski equally is also such.

Beware of striving for a static ideal. And the very thought that there is a 'right' way is a static thought, different ways are right for different needs, desires and situations.
post #8 of 17
Quite right Todd. I was referring to the “neutral” position. Obviously if this neutral position is back it’s tiring and if one gets thrown back further for whatever reason it tends to get ugly.
post #9 of 17
Yep, definately. Moving back has useful applications, like every possible movement on skis, but its not a good neutral point.

People tend to refer to 'neutral' as an absolute that is the same for everybody. I like the fact that you used it as a variable, each person may well have their own 'neutral' whether it is effecient or not. I've never heard it phrased that way before.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Personally, I think being well balanced (fore/aft) doesn't mean you need to be centered, just aware of where your center is... and knowing how to keep from ever getting too far away from it.

Unfortunately many in this section advocate "staying centered" and to me that implies you should not ever go out forward to experience the effect of speedily initiating an agressive turn, especially in much steeper terrain.

It also implies that you should not ever go back to experience the effect of: forcing (snapping out of) turns; anticipating sudden changes in pitch (compressions), snow consistency, or tightening up turns; or, my current favorite - the Jonathan Livingston Seagull effect.

"Shin must always be in contact with the tongue of the boot"...? Show me a racer who consistently strives to stay centered and I'm guessing you'll see someone who consistently never gets on the podium.
post #11 of 17
I think that most of you are looking at "centered" as being something that happens in the feet.

Elite skiers use their feet/legs to support their true center- the CM. Their goal is keep their core moving as smoothly, as efficiently as possible in the direction they need it to go.

They then do what ever is necessary with their legs and feet to maintain that movement. It's like walking- we get our core moving forward, and then move our feet/legs to constantly be under us. we do not center on our feet, and then move our core forward and back.

Examples- Go back as far as Franz Klammer's run in the DH, 1976 Olympics- the analysts said he broke all the rules. Wrong- his core never wavered from where he wanted it to go. Always straight ahead. He did what he had to, to continue that goal. Was it "pretty"? Not by the standards of most instructors. But he won. There are no style points in ski racing.

1980- Lake Placid-. Ingemar Stenmark fell in the GS, and still won. Watch that run closely, and you'll see how his core never stopped moving in the direction he wanted it to go.

Fast forward to these past games-. Get some footage of any of the races,. Watch the leaders of any race in super slow motion. If you focus on their cores(CM), you will find that they hardly move. That is equallibrium! (Balance is static) Then watch those that didn't fare so well. You will see where the movement of the core caused their problems.

Probably the finest example today are the WC SL skiers. With such short skis, the amount of core movement must be kept to a minimum. But look at how active their legs and feet are! Everything is geared toward stabilizing the core.

Think back to some exceptional run you've had-. Did you feel your core being pushed and shoved and bobbing all over? Probably not. It probably felt as if it never moved. Incredibly stable, wasn't it? Want to recreate that feeling? Focus on the core, not on the feet. Especially when the snow conditions get tough!

Good luck, and good skiing!


[ April 18, 2002, 09:42 AM: Message edited by: vail snopro ]
post #12 of 17
Good contrast VP, Roland Collumbin was the master of subtle grace, aerodynmic control and prudent line....Franz changed all of that and allowed the Canadians to become CM missles.
post #13 of 17
This subject brings me to a question. I tend to "rock" through a turn i.e., on turn inititiation I put more pressure on the back of my ski and as I come through the turn I move my c.m. forward. I have had some instructors tell me that this is good, yet others have told me it this is a bad habit. What do you think?
post #14 of 17
It's difficult from your description to visualize how you are moving. But if I take you literally, you must find it difficult to start your turns, and that you have a lot of skidding at the end.

Again, imagine how you walk- . The core is moving at a (somewhat) constant speed, with the legs/feet moving forward and back. So we can imagine the feet move at speeds which vary, compared to the core. But walking is linear (one direction). Skiing is multi-dimensional.

Let's identify 2 types of speed we use when skiing.
1)- the speed our ski travels over the surface of the snow
2)- our descent rate, point A= top of the hill, point B = the bottom of the hill

Most skiers do not differentiate between these two speeds.

While we ski, if the core is moving at a constant speed, then the skis must also be changing speed(2), as they are taking a longer path. As they pass under us at the beginning of a turn, they are at their slowest speed(2). As the turn develops, they accelerate through the fall line to their fastest speed(2), until once again they are slowing as they pass under us at the transition.

This does not preclude the skis from traveling at a fairly constant speed(1) during this entire event.

I hope this begins to clarify some of what happens between the core and the ski during a turn. Or did I just confuse the hell out of everybody?

post #15 of 17
V Snopro

No confusion here. I like the analogy of the skis taking green runs across the fall line and black runs in the fall line. while I (cm) wander within the extremes of my skis. (works for bumps too)


From my point of view, the shovels of the skis really help out at the start of the turns if pressed a bit, and the tails give a pleasant pop, if released from laod at the end of the turn.

Just opposite of your description. Strive for a diagonal cross over toward the tips when making the transition from turn to turn.

It may be a bit simplistic, but I think of the tips taking me in new directions, and the rest of the ski following the tips, carrying the load, and acting as stabilizer. Like the rear wheel of a bike.

It has been stated elsewhere, that some of the direction to keep weight forward and on the tips is just to keep us out of the back seat. I agree with this and also find the skis work better when the error is on the tips, rather than on the tails.

I also feel I have very little to gain by trying to understand why the racers do what they do.
The essence of what they do is "good skiing" however.
These days racers of all types are mostly in a series of recoveries from sure disaster. I prefer a less dynamic path for most, but not all, of my turns.

post #16 of 17
A usefull reference on the subject.

post #17 of 17
Semmed, I guess I'm only repeating what Cal has said, but I think what you describe is the opposite to what one should be aiming for. Personally I feel the pressure difference in my feet, at the turn initiation I feel the pressure on the ball of my foot, half way through the turn it's over my arch, and at the end of the turn it's over the heal of my foot. As Cal said, in the transition move diagonally across your skis, across and forward, to initiate the next turn. My CM may be anywhere within a range (but rarely where I would like it to be) but this is where I feel the pressure.
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