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# So skiing into and out of counter Sucks? - Page 2

Isn't it true that if you're on high edges at the end of a completed turn, that's where you'll have the most counter?  And if you're on high edges at the fall line, then that's where you'll have the most counter?  Counter correlates with highest edge angles, and that shifts from place to place in the turn depending on how your are making your turns.

I learned a new term this week:  effective slope angle.   That's the angle formed between your shins and the surface of the snow (the left-right angle, not fore-aft).  As I understand it, the slope angle is zero when your shins are perpendicular to the slope.  Experiencing a slope angle between your shins and the snow surface causes your uphill leg to move forward since the ski boots prohibit free flexing of the ankle, and bingo you have counter.

If I've got this right, then that slope angle is biggest when you are skiing with the highest edge angles, and so that's when counter tends to emerge the strongest.  So you can ski into counter and have that counter happen at the fall line, or you can ski into counter and have that counter happen at the end of a completed turn.  "Skiing into counter" does not mean the counter needs to happen at any particular place in the turn.  It just describes the process of getting there.

Thinking in terms of this slope angle that helped me sort out the skiing-into-counter questions I've had.

I think of this countered position as "rhomboid".  My inside (uphill) half moves forward with respect to my outside half, and I'm a rhombus.  Not a square.

MichaelA, thanks for this analysis.

Finally an explanation for why counter can actually cause (heresy!!!) a turn to happen.

For instance, when I'm trying to ski on one foot, if I "assume a countered position" I suddenly turn!  This effect is quite pronounced.

Same thing for tucking; counter to the left, and the skis turn to the right.

It's that folding in of the hip.  I've been messing around with this for some time and have been just mystified why it happens so predictably.

Liquidfeet, here's the counter in a tuck you're describing:

(Photo courtesy of www.YourSkiCoach.com)

Yes, countering the hip rolls the skis right onto edge.

You're right, too, about bigger edge angles showing more counter.  Not only because of the biomechanical necessity you mentioned, but also because from a lateral balance perspective that's where it's most needed.

One thing I want to mention to you, as you work on your countering skills;  create it properly.  Drive the inside hip forward (notice title of pic above), don't drop the outside hip back.  Think of a gate on a hinge.  When doing it properly, your outside hip is the hinge, and your inside hip is the end of the gate swinging forward.  Doing it that way ensures a strong stance, with a long outside leg, center/fore balance, and functional inside foot lead.  Doing it the other way, with the hinge at the inside hip and the gate (outside hip) swinging backwards, produces aft balance, scissored skis, moves weight to the inside ski, and shortens the outside leg.

If you happen to be in my group at the Speed Summit Race Camp, that will be one of the things we work on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet

As I understand it, the slope angle is zero when your shins are perpendicular to the slope.  Experiencing a slope angle between your shins and the snow surface causes your uphill leg to move forward since the ski boots prohibit free flexing of the ankle, and bingo you have counter.

Moving the foot forward does not cause a counter in the pelvis. When you incline the foot will move forward becuase of the lack of boot flex, but this does not mean that the pelvis counters. You can make a consious decision to rotate the pelvis in any direction. If you rotate it into counter you have a possibility to increase angulation, this is IMO one of the primary reasons you would want counter, the other beeing anticipation. This counter should not happen during turn initiation though.

Your observation that the skis start turning when you rotate the pelvis/torso is the effect of turn initiation by counter rotation. This is a common way for beginners to initiate a turn, and it is higly undesirable.

LiquidFeet,

I think your understanding is pretty good except I don't know that there is a direct correlation between "slope angle" and counter.  If you are using primarily hip angulation your hypothesis may hold true, but as soon as knee angulation is blended in I believe the correlation between counter and slope angle falls apart.

I want to focus on something  I think is important for everyone to understand.  It has to do with the various rotary actions that a skier can take as he/she goes through a transition.

In high edge angle, dynamic carved turns, counter is something that will generally needs to be employed.  It's what is done with that counter as you go into and through the transition that influences how the new turn will be executed.  Holding that countered position as you go through the transition, and maintaining it as the skis turn through the top half of the new turn is called SKIING OUT OF COUNTER.

The position SKIING OUT OF COUNTER creates though the transition is also referred to as ANTICIPAITON.  It produces a torque in the skiers core, which upon release of the edges must be controlled to avoid a pivoted turn entry, if a pivot is not what is desired.

A way to eliminate that torque, thus making arc to arc an easier thing to do, is called DRIVING THE INSIDE HIP.  As you go through the transition you drive the new inside hip forward, which reduces the counter of the previous turn, moving the pelvis towards a more neutral state, thus ridding the core of the pivot inducing torque.

We have choices of how we choose to manage our rotational state through both the transition and the turn.  The choices we make has great influence on the ease at which we're able to execute the types of turns we desire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman

LiquidFeet,

I think your understanding is pretty good except I don't know that there is a direct correlation between "slope angle" and counter.  If you are using primarily hip angulation your hypothesis may hold true, but as soon as knee angulation is blended in I believe the correlation between counter and slope angle falls apart.

Bud, you are correct that I am assuming that there is no knee angulation in the scenario I described.  The inside foot, knee, hip, shoulder, etc., stay aligned with each other, with no twist relative to each other.  No knee angulation, no femurs rotating in hip sockets.   My understanding is that this is what "skiing into counter" means.

But I guess I was forgetting that knee angulation goes with counter too.  Whoops.

But then knee angulation causes an "effective slope angle," doesn't it?  Isn't that why we rotate those femurs usually, to increase edge angles between skis and snow, which means increased edge angles between shins and snow, which is what I understand the "effective slope angle" to mean?  (I got the term from an article in some masters racing newsletter.)

On a different line of thought, one can intentionally assume a countered position in order to make something happen, such as forcing edge angles to happen while moving along on one ski (so far I've found that rotating that femur in that situation is awfully iffy) or while zooming along in a tuck.  (May I be permitted this heresy?)

Good point Rick,

Wouldn't we also be able to minimize or eliminate any pivot from this countered or anticipated position if we tipped quickly through edge change thus not allowing time for the skis to pivot?  This can be accomplished with a quick movement of the knees through transition.

Couldn't we also minimize or eliminate any pivoting by holding the tension in the core, thus not releasing any torque until after the new edges are engaged sufficiently to avoid any pivot?

Yes, Bud, absolutely.  When pure in and out of counter while doing arc to arc is my goal, my focus is on maintaining functional tension in my core, and not loitering long on flat skis as I roll from edge to edge.  I do teach that, as part of skill building versatility.  I have video of it, but unfortunately not in my glossary yet.  It would make a useful new entry, though, so I'll get to it and post it up when done.

While the above is possible to do, and should eventually be learned, my personal preference in normal skiing is to unwind some of the old turn counter through the transition when skiing arc to arc.  It just makes the process of transitioning arc to arc easier, less torque to have to fight, and gets me where I want to be sooner sooner in the turn (center/fore and solidly engaging the inside edge of my new outside ski).

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA

Wow - cool find Rick! For anyone interested here's the rest of the article that Rick dug up. It certainly gets into the nitty-gritty (which some of us really like!).

Raycantu,

How does this idea relate to some of the comments in those "Study of Skiing" videos you recently referenced in another thread? I think I did notice a few interesting words in one of those videos about "Re-Supination" being the desirable attribute for the stance-foot during the meat of a turn.

This is exactly what is being talked about in that "Study of Skiing" video. http://tinyurl.com/2ap89wd

The Chapter 3 video at minutes 1:00 -4:00 deals with Walking Gait Pronation and Supination and 4:50- 5:10 the relation to Counter.

As far as biomechanical structural support goes (interestingly) the stronger position against lateral movement seems to be on a Supinated outside-foot rather than on a Pronated foot.

Still, it's an interesting idea (one I started experimenting with right after listening to those videos). In my own case I find it's a much more stronger stance when making high-G turns - though I find my lateral edge-control becomes very dependent on inside-cuff contact with my lower-leg (not that I mind this attribute change - it's just different).

Once the foot is engaged let your "lateral edge-control" come from the lateral movement of the Center of Mass instead of the lower leg I think you will find it much more powerful.

.ma

As to your request for clearer discriptions of terms I hope the following along with a review of the above cited video helps. In speaking with Bill (the guy in the video) he said it would be better if the word Supinated was used instead of "Re-Supinated".  See if the substututing Supinated makes it less confusing.

As Bud said:

"the terminology of supination and pronation, instructors should understand that these actions are a combination of three planes of motion. Eversion, abduction, and dorsiflexion comprise pronation and inversion, adduction, and plantar flexion comprise supination."

Pronation and Supination describe movements relative to the position of Sub-Taylor neutral. Pronation/Pronating disengage the bones of the foot making it loose and adaptive. Supination/Supinating engage the bones of the foot creating a lever to the ball of the foot. Of the total range of the movement about 2/3rds is in the direction of Pronation and 1/3rd in the direction of Supination. Although from the neutral position only a few degrees of movement is required to either engage or disengage the bones of the foot.

Do let me know your thoughts.

Thanks,

Ray

Clip, this Bud's for you.   Whooops, I mean, Bud, this clip's for you.

Just to let you know that I very much agree with you that skiing into and out of counter when doing arc to arc can definitely be done.

http://www.yourskicoach.com/SkiGlossary/Skiing_into_and_out_of_counter.html

Thanks Rick, I liked the quick little counter rotation you through in to catch yourself there too!

Rick said,

"While the above is possible to do, and should eventually be learned, my personal preference in normal skiing is to unwind some of the old turn counter through the transition when skiing arc to arc.  It just makes the process of transitioning arc to arc easier, less torque to have to fight, and gets me where I want to be sooner sooner in the turn (center/fore and solidly engaging the inside edge of my new outside ski)."

This sounds fine however, it also sounds like a lazy or passive turn.  What if we want to really turn up the volume as in a race course or good dynamic skiing and want to tighten the radius as much as possible?  wouldn't we be able to ski a whole spectrum of turn entries ranging from a big pivot to an arc to arc carve still skiing into and out of counter?

How would we accomplish the same spectrum of turn entries using a coordinated or square stance?  My point is where is the big benefit to skiing in a square stance because I see more negative outcomes than positive using this method.

Bud, skiing square is simply a pass though point during learning progression, definitely not a formula for all types of turns.  It certainly has no place in moderate to large edge angle turns, where counter is a must.  It simply helps newer skiers, who are learning to shape the top of their turns, eliminate the rushed pivot from their transitions.  At the typical low edge angles skiers at that stage of learning are employing, very little counter is needed anyway, so introducing it into their skiing at that stage really represents nothing more than a distraction from where the focus should be placed; on turn shape and non pushed/pivoted initiations.

Attempting to teach them skiing into and out of counter at that point is even worse, because it actually introduces exaggerated, non functional amounts of excess counter.  Assuming those exaggerated states of counter also requires extra movement that's just not needed.  Unnecessary movement constitutes wasted energy and inefficient skiing.  Think about it, skiing square requires minimal rotational movement, but assuming exaggerated countered position requires significant rotational movement in the femur/hip sockets.  If it's not needed, why do it?

The topper is that exaggerated counter actually makes precise steering more difficult, and as I've said before, creates an anticipatory torque in the body that makes the skis want to pivot during the transition.  It's why keeping the upper body down the falline while executing pivot slips works so well.  Try doing them while keeping the body square to the skis.  That pivot factor just represents another unnecessary challenge for the learning skier to have to deal with in their quest to learn to initiate their turns cleanly.

Also understand, that skiing into and out of counter is not the only alternative to skiing square.  Counter can be employed without skiing into it. Counter from the old turn can be manually reduced or eliminated during the transition, without having to wait for it to eventually disappear on it's own at the apex of the new turn, as is the theoretical goal when skiing into and out of counter. Early  elimination of old counter is typically what happens in the dynamic arc to arc skiing you're referring to in your post.  Skiers will allow the counter of the old turn to unwind through the transition.  It may not get fully unwound by edge angle neutral, but if not, it will usually have occurred very shortly after.  I'll again refer you to this arc to arc Ligety montage:

The unwinding of old turn counter can clearly be seen happening from image 1 to 2.  By image 3 he's unwound it all the way to square, and he's only just initiated the new turn.  This is typical of what you will see happen in arc to arc transitions on the World Cup.  They use inside hip drive during the transition to unwind and set the new state of counter, well before the new turn's apex.  And you won't find turns any more high energy and dynamic than what those guys/gals make.

Rick,

It is still unclear to me how, you have come to the conclusion that, the position of counter (pelvis facing outside the turn) helps pronate the outside foot.

I believe that there is a lack of understanding of among Instructors and Coaches about Bio-mechanics and Alignment in the sport of Skiing.

Maybe Bud is correct and this subject should be discussed in a new thread. Look forward to your thoughts as well as Bud's and others on this.

in describing Counter you say  "This is a rotational state in which the pelvis and torso face towards the outside of the turn.  During a right turn, the pelvis and torso would be facing left of the direction the skis are pointing.   It's a body position that enhances the use of angulation.  It also helps pronate the outside foot, which directs pressure to the turning edge of the outside ski."

Ray, happy new year.  No time to address your question now, but I will return to it.   In the meantime, google the work of David McPhail, and his Birdcage experiments with Steve Podborski.  I worked quite a bit with him for a spell, as part of a select think tank group that dealt with this very issue.  His work resulted in some very interesting observations.  Perhaps you're right, a new thread might be in order.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RayCantu

Rick,

It is still unclear to me how, you have come to the conclusion that, the position of counter (pelvis facing outside the turn) helps pronate the outside foot.

I believe that there is a lack of understanding of among Instructors and Coaches about Bio-mechanics and Alignment in the sport of Skiing.

Maybe Bud is correct and this subject should be discussed in a new thread. Look forward to your thoughts as well as Bud's and others on this.

in describing Counter you say  "This is a rotational state in which the pelvis and torso face towards the outside of the turn.  During a right turn, the pelvis and torso would be facing left of the direction the skis are pointing.   It's a body position that enhances the use of angulation.  It also helps pronate the outside foot, which directs pressure to the turning edge of the outside ski."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick

Ray, happy new year.  No time to address your question now, but I will return to it.   In the meantime, google the work of David McPhail, and his Birdcage experiments with Steve Podborski.  I worked quite a bit with him for a spell, as part of a select think tank group that dealt with this very issue.  His work resulted in some very interesting observations.  Perhaps you're right, a new thread might be in order.

Rick,

Happy New Year to you as well. The only David MacPhail references I found on Google was to Epic stuff. What can you tell me about his background as far as education and ski industry experience? Who were the others that comprised the "think tank" and what was it's purpose? Any additional information you have about him and his theories would be appreciated.

Hi, Ray.  I did a bit of digging, and found some material from David MacPhail that I think you may enjoy reading.  I'm going to start a new thread on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick

The unwinding of old turn counter can clearly be seen happening from image 1 to 2.  By image 3 he's unwound it all the way to square, and he's only just initiated the new turn.  This is typical of what you will see happen in arc to arc transitions on the World Cup.  They use inside hip drive during the transition to unwind and set the new state of counter, well before the new turn's apex.  And you won't find turns any more high energy and dynamic than what those guys/gals make.

Personally, I think your conclusions seems strange. When I look at frame 3, I see someone focusing at the camera direction, but the upper body is pointing outwards. That is counter to me. That counter is kept through frames 4, 5 and 6. He's pointing down the hill with his inner arm and the outer arm is straight out.

In a gs course those arm positions does a whole lot. I see counter where you see square.

Rick, try pointing at the next gate with your inner arm, from transition, next time you're doing a gs course.

Carl, counter is found in the relationship between the direction the torso and pelvis point, and the direction the skis point.  When skis, pelvis and torso face the same direction, as they do in image 3, the skier is square.  The direction they happen to be looking at the time is irrelevant.

In my opinion you're wrong.

You seem to disregard the way the upper body is moving, which is downwards.

No, Carl, I'm not disregarding that the body is crossing over the skis as he transitions into the new turn, but again, it's irrelevant to the current rotational state in image 3.  If he'd not eliminated the counter of the old turn during images 1 & 2, he would have still crossed over his skis (downhill) during the transition, but would have done so rotated (also called anticipated).  The skier's rotational state, be it counter, square, or rotated, is managed independently of the movement of the Center of Mass across the skis and down the hill.

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