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Building edge angle: inclination vs. foot tipping

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Inspired by the "Is this aft?" and "Foot squirt" threads, I thought I'd raise the question of the mechanisms by which modern carving technique allows high edge angles to be built early in the new turn. Also, I'm stuck inside with a ferocious cold and can't go skiing!

 

My perception of what happens during the linking of high-speed carved turns is that my feet move under my CM which itself continues to move more downhill at a distinct angle to the direction my skis are travelling. As my feet move out laterally from under me to the new side, the old edges release and the new ones engage without my having to make any specific additional move either to cause release or reengagement. In effect, it is my CM's progressive inclination into the new turn that accomplishes edge transition and then allows the new edge angle to build. The new outside leg extends and the new inside leg flexes to accommodate this inclination (and to build a strong platform to resist the forces that will build in the control phase), not as a primary move to cause edge release or new edge engagement. It is true that, during transition, my legs may flex or extend, but this is to control pressure -i.e., to absorb or not the "virtual bump", not as a primary transition mechanism.

 

I have, however, read a lot here about tipping the new inside foot within the boot (inverting) lightening the old outside leg and then tipping the foot, etc. in order to start a new turn. I've tried to make these foot tipping movements as best one can in a stiff ski boot, but I can't say that I've noticed any advantages to doing so. In really high speed SL or GS turns, where the turn may be over in less than a second, I can't even seem to find time to execute this cycle of foot tipping. The dynamics of the old turn projects my CM downhill, my legs fly under and out to the new side and bang! I'm on the new edges.

 

 Is there some reason that I'm missing to tip the feet, or is this really just superfluous?


Edited by HardDaysNight - 1/5/11 at 7:15am
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by HardDaysNight View Post

As my feet move out laterally from under me to the new side, the old edges release and the new ones engage without my having to make any specific additional move either to cause release or reengagement. In effect, it is my CM's progressive inclination into the new turn that accomplishes edge transition and then allows the new edge angle to build.

The new outside leg extends and the new inside leg flexes to accommodate this inclination (and to build a strong platform to resist the forces that will build in the control phase), not as a primary move to cause edge release or new edge engagement. It is true that, during transition, my legs may flex or extend, but this is to control pressure -i.e., to absorb or not the "virtual bump", not as a primary transition mechanism.

Very nicely stated. Very much a description of "The Ideal Turn" with no ILE, no OLR, no unweighting, no pivoting, no pressure-changes, no forwagonal, no pulling nor pushing - no extra "active" movement pattern being necessary.

Of course in the real world, terrain, conditions and obstacles force us to add extra movement patterns to change our direction more rapidly than this Ideal Pattern can accommodate smoothly.


Since you're already using this Ideal Pattern I submit you may well be using subtle foot inversion/eversion movements inside your boots without realizing it. Somehow, even the Ideal Pattern must be managed (even microscopically) to control actual outcomes. Otherwise, a given skier would always ski exactly the same Ideal Turn (meaning shape, size, speed, etc) in given terrain and conditions.

I suspect you're very slightly tipping your feet inside your boots causing subtle shifts in lateral balance. For instance from a balanced position in ski boots, if you slightly tip both feet to the right your CM will be shifted slightly to the left. Unless you observe closely you might not even see the boots tip. Still, you've shifted your base-of-support slightly to the side and therefore created a small lateral imbalance.

When skiing the Ideal Pattern this small imbalance is enough to initiate a progressive change that cascades over time causing a dramatic direction change later on.

When skiing dynamically I'm consciously aware of subtle foot inversions/eversions - but only if I try to focus on it. Normally such movement nuances just blend into the 'muscular noise' of typical skiing.

.ma



 

post #3 of 11

 

Something has to set in motion the process of ending one turn and beginning a new one.  It can't just happen of  its own accord, or we would have no control over when it when it happens, would we?  We'd have no control over how long we kept turning, and so no control over the shape of our turn.  Something has to be done to stop turning, and transition into a new turn, at the exact moment we want.  Something has to be done to release body so it can begin its journey across the skis and into the new turn, which ultimately creates the edge angle in the new turn you're talking about.

 

What could that mystery action be?  Could it be more than one possible thing? It's got to be something.  

post #4 of 11


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HardDaysNight View Post...

 

 Is there some reason that I'm missing to tip the feet, or is this really just superfluous?



You're recording a whole lot of subjective perceptions as to what's going on in a turn.  Your feet and ankles do a great job helping you balance, in skiing and riding along with other things, so if you can use them, why not do so?  The includes for turning. 

 

On a technical level, there've been a lot of threads on here with discussions about what you need to do to develop high edge angles.  Some devotees of one teaching approach go so far as to say that angulation or it's equivalent is required, along with tipping, to carve the entire turn and develop high edge angles.  What they're missing is that it's required for low-speed, low-energy turns...not for all turns, even on mellow terrain.  You can use inclination while "lifting and tipping," though -- the foot tipping is separate from what goes on in terms of approach to balancing "higher-up."

post #5 of 11

CT, there are basically two ways to increas edge angle given a fixed speed. More weight on the inside ski, or more angulation. Most prefer angulation before weight on the inner ski. In other words, you need angulation to produce high edge angles at a certain speed.

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by skimuggle View Post

Something has to set in motion the process of ending one turn and beginning a new one.  It can't just happen of  its own accord, or we would have no control over when it when it happens, would we?

Good question. Can anyone (or anything) ski multiple linked turns without active control?

Let's see... How about this little guy?

Does that little guy have control over when the turn happens? Yes, but it's achieved by prior settings of his structure and balance. If a skier makes subtle structural and balance adjustments early enough in the current turn then the next turn will come about differently. The question is how much subtle action is required to achieve a particular next-turn.

.ma
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamt View Post

CT, there are basically two ways to increas edge angle given a fixed speed. More weight on the inside ski, or more angulation. Most prefer angulation before weight on the inner ski. In other words, you need angulation to produce high edge angles at a certain speed.



 No.  You can also simply use the forces produced by the turn itself.  Snowboarders in particular have made inclinated carves a niche activity without either using angulation early in the turn, or weighting their nonexistent inside ski.  Too much angulation early in a turn can even make it difficult to develop higher edge angles later.  That's why race coaches have drills to help loosen some racers up a bit.  You can in fact also increase edge angle without angulation while slowing down. 

 

Edit:  science types might point out that while your forward speed is decreasing, as the edge engages more your turn radius shortens so you're actually not slowing down in the way that people with letters after their names care about. 

 

PSIA man does look stiff in the ankles.  Science types might observe that he seems, uh, endowed to a degree that might even cause the most studly of Bighorn sheep rams to turn and run to the valley, and that this means his center of gravity is different from ordinary men.  I suggest punching his boots and a different footbed.

 

 


Edited by CTKook - 1/5/11 at 5:30am
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post



I suspect you're very slightly tipping your feet inside your boots causing subtle shifts in lateral balance. For instance from a balanced position in ski boots, if you slightly tip both feet to the right your CM will be shifted slightly to the left. Unless you observe closely you might not even see the boots tip. Still, you've shifted your base-of-support slightly to the side and therefore created a small lateral imbalance.

When skiing the Ideal Pattern this small imbalance is enough to initiate a progressive change that cascades over time causing a dramatic direction change later on.

When skiing dynamically I'm consciously aware of subtle foot inversions/eversions - but only if I try to focus on it. Normally such movement nuances just blend into the 'muscular noise' of typical skiing.

.ma



 

 



Thanks, that may very well be what's happening. I really hadn't even thought about foot movements within the boots until beginning to read the forums here, and no coach has ever brought it up in the context of race training. Makes sense that subtle balancing and corrective movements happen pretty much unconsciously.

 

In the OP, I didn't talk at all about angulation, only what I subjectively perceived to be happening at transition and early in the new turn. FWIW, I've always thought of angulation as being a kind of "fine control" on edge angle, again a somewhat instinctive reaction to adjust turn shape.

post #9 of 11

JAMT, there are many other ways to increase the edge angle but I got to run now and go increase my edge angle. biggrin.gif

post #10 of 11

Sure, but Angulation and weight distribution are the only parameters that will have a large impact on the edge angle. Whatever dynamics you use in the turn the platform angle is what counts.

 

From a technical point of view the skier can be considered to be a nonlinear feedback system. If you increase the edging the turn radius will be tighter, and thus the centripetal force will be larger, and then you can increase the inclination. This increases the edging, which reduces radius etc in a closed feedback. Sooner or later you have to increase the edge angle again. At this turnaround point the forces are very large which means you cannot play much with extension and other mechanics to get even deeper than what you can with angulation and weight distribution. 70 degrees correspond to about 3G.

 

What other mechanisms do you suggest to get even higher edge angles at this moment?

 

CT, I suppose you were primarly talking about inclination in the beginning of the turn, not throughout the turn? Do you agree that at some point in the turn you need angulation to reach high angles?

post #11 of 11


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamt View Post

...

 

CT, I suppose you were primarly talking about inclination in the beginning of the turn, not throughout the turn? Do you agree that at some point in the turn you need angulation to reach high angles?


For your second sentence and question, the answer for me is that you do not absolutely need angulation to reach high edge angles later in the turn, but that angulation is very useful later in the turn in a couple ways in terms of both maintaining balance and making a smooth transition to the next turn.  How much and when depends, and has for some time.  For instance, MVG who rightly is held up as a bit of a God was often pretty darn inclinated some time ago.  If you're having fun on modern skis or snowboards on either good groomers or good powder, you don't need much angulation at all...but if the snow gets firmer, things get steeper, etc. etc. to me angulation gives you time -- time to react, time to deal with being less precise, etc. -- and gets increasingly necessary.  I also think it depends a lot on individual body type and reaction time as well in terms of what the right mix is. 

 

The criticism of discussing inclination that centers on the fact that virtually no recreational skiers need more inclination, as opposed to less, may also have something to it on average. 

 


 

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