Crossing over and C.O.M.

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by Youngsman, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. Youngsman

    Youngsman At the base lodge Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Posts:
    4
    I just watched another ski tips video about staying forward. In this video they demonstrated the superman drill, holding the poles behind you to push the hips forward and a third drill I've already forgotten. This video and these drills seem to me to miss the mark, as they can all be accomplished while skiing in the backseat. It seems to me that skiers, including me, get in the backseat largely because the skiers center of mass doesn’t effectively cross over (or under) from turn to turn. If this observation is correct, then why is there so little instruction about COM and crossing over? Shouldn’t there be more focus on extending, or ankle flex, or ????
     
  2. mister moose

    mister moose Instigator Skier

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Posts:
    132
    Location:
    Killington
    The 5 big reasons to get in the backseat are
    1) Fear. Better to get away from the hill than to attack it. Nobody likes to lean into a punch.
    2) Support. The back of the boot is higher and stiffer than the tongue.
    3) Balance. Back seat skiers ski the boot cuff, accomplished skiers ski the footbed. Skiing the footbed takes more developed fine motor control and balance, and has far more options and control.
    4) Comfort. Sometimes the shins get sore.
    5) Fatigue. When the legs give out, it's the go-to survival mode.

    There is, not only on this forum, but by ski schools. It's a somewhat advanced concept, and few advanced skiers take lessons, so it doesn't get taught much. There is no chicken and egg here, you need to be out of the backseat before crossing over (or under) has much relevance.

    There isn't?
     
    markojp, Magi, Bad Bob and 1 other person like this.
  3. Mendieta

    Mendieta Master of Snowplow Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    Posts:
    3,187
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA, USA
    Yes, I asked exactly the question of what drills tend to favor proper "forward" balance, and responses were consistent with what you are suggesting. Here is the thread:

    https://www.pugski.com/threads/tips-and-drills-for-for-aft-balance.5220/

    In summary, @Youngsman , one footed drills came a lot, but there is a lot of good info in there.
     
  4. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Posts:
    1,710
    Location:
    Great White North (Eastern side currently)
    A better drill for staying forward imho is pulling the feet back while closing the ankles as you ski linked turns. To get more out of it, see what varying the effort of the pullback does to your skiing.

    Just one thing though, if you are doing cross-under transitions, it's ok to visit the back seat while you go through skis flat.
     
    LiquidFeet likes this.
  5. Skisailor

    Skisailor Laziest Skier on the Mountain Team Gathermeister

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2018
    Posts:
    157
    Location:
    Bozeman, Montana
    If we can keep ourselves out of the backseat, the legs WON'T give out. That's one of the important benefits of being "forward". Once I learned how to be forward my stubborn leg fatigue of many years disappeared. I can now ski long nonstop runs - groomed or bumped - and ski all day every day with no leg fatigue and without any ski specific off season training. I'm an instructor and was on the mountain 149 days last year, often from first chair to last.

    I think that fore aft balance is an essential basic, not a skill that waits for advanced skiers. Nothing else I teach is as easy to do or as effective if I don't get the student "forward" first. And giving the average recreational skier the gift of longer ski days with legs that don't get tired is wonderful fun.
     
    LiquidFeet, Steve and ADKmel like this.


  6. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

    Joined:
    May 4, 2017
    Posts:
    265
    At the risk of this sounding like an Abbott and Costello skit......

    Would someone like to define for me what is meant by the term "forward"?
    "What" is forward of "what"? For the sake of argument, let's say the first "what" is our COM . So "what" does the COM need to be forward of?

    Are we talking forward of a specific design point of the ski like the center or the waist? Or are we talking forward of another part of our anatomy?

    IMO, "Forward" may be the most used "instructive command" in the ski teaching industry and unfortunately, is the most misused and misunderstood.
    Because it is easy to see if someone is headed to the "back seat" (for whatever the reason) we simply yell out "GET FORWARD"!!!

    What we really want, as a sustainable outcome, is balance and dynamic balance at that. But balance is another misused and misunderstood term.

    Telling a student to balance is a waste of time. Teaching a student to dynamically balance is a whole different story and using the term "forward" as a means to achieve said balance is not the way to go.
     
    Bad Bob likes this.
  7. Nancy Hummel

    Nancy Hummel Ski more, talk less. Instructor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2016
    Posts:
    370
    Location:
    Snowmass/Denver
    I prefer the term “centered” for beginners.
    It is likely somewhat “abstract” but I think it is more accurate than forward.
     
    Steve and ADKmel like this.
  8. Bad Bob

    Bad Bob old n' slow Skier

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2015
    Posts:
    996
    Location:
    in desert looking down at a river and up at MT's
    ^ What he said.

    Are you actually speaking about being balanced on the forward part of the foot, or moving the weight forward (towards the tips) during the initiation of the turn in order to not get behind as your feet scribe a longer path of the turn?

    To try and ski a whole run much less all day on the front half of the ski will require you to support yourself by muscle instead of your skeletal structure. That seems to be a counterproductive concept.
     
  9. Uke

    Uke Who am I now Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2016
    Posts:
    163
    Location:
    ut
    Nancy,

    i prefer the term 'centered' for all levels, and not just in place of forward but also rather than balance. From the center I'm in charge of all.

    uke
     
  10. Magi

    Magi Instructor Instructor

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Posts:
    296
    Location:
    Winter Park, Colorado
    I'll second this. "Get forward" (ideally with timing information) is used because most people are aft of centered to varying degrees for some/all of the turn. "Centered" being defined as COM being "over" the center of the sidecut of the skis (generally somewhere around the toe piece).

    I find the most effective place to bend and pivot the skis is balanced over/through the center of the sidecut.
     
  11. mdf

    mdf back to being an ordinary Gatheree Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    2,323
    Location:
    Boston Suburbs
    I find one of the biggest differences among skis is where they want my weight to be. Some like to be skied centered and some like to have you more forward. I never met a pair that wants you back, though.
     
  12. Skisailor

    Skisailor Laziest Skier on the Mountain Team Gathermeister

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2018
    Posts:
    157
    Location:
    Bozeman, Montana
    Yeah. Forward is just a word and nor a very good one really. I'll spend time in many lessons asking students - especially more advanced students who have invariably heard the word a lot in their skiing lives, how do THEY define it? How do they know if they are forward? Or too far forward?

    Many here will disagree but for me it means that we spend as much time as possible with our weight centered over the balls of the feet - the place from which we are most agile as human beings, and able to make balancing movements large and small in any direction at any moment. So it becomes a sensory issue that skiers can feel and assess in real time.

    I still like the old tired word "forward" much better than the current more popular "centered" because our sport is all about movement. And managing to be in the place where our skis are about to be is the secret of expert skiing IMHO.

    My mentor Ursula Howland at Big Sky likes to say "we go down the hill and we bring our skis along with us."
     
    Mendieta and ADKmel like this.
  13. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Out on the slopes Instructor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,267
    Location:
    New England
    Drills I use to get people "not-aft"

    --shuffle the feet fore-aft through the turns
    --step through the turns, then March!
    --hop between turns (if athletic)
    --thumpers - lift the tail of the inside ski leaving its tip on snow, thump that tail down loudly. Do between turns, then through entire turns... thump Thump THUMP!
    --on a gentle pitch, ski tall with hands together behind the back, poles dragging (tends to move people forward from the ankles up)
    --side-slip straight down the fall line, do falling-leaf, go back to side-slipping down the fall line, then do slippy turns, back to fall-line-side-slips in between
    --side-slips with flex-extend, going only straight-down-the-fall-line
    --lift the tail of the inside ski up and hold it there while keeping the tip on the snow - at first between turns, then through whole turns
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
    T-Square, Mendieta and Skisailor like this.
  14. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

    Joined:
    May 4, 2017
    Posts:
    265
    I totally understand how you arrived at your viewpoint and to be sure, many hold this position (no pun intended). The "trap" in this approach is not recognizing that a key component from our everyday balancing life is missing. And that component is solid contact with the ground ie. friction.

    In addition, balancing on the balls of our feet usually means that our heel is light or off the ground and we rely heavily on our toes and calf muscles to support this form of balance

    That incredible piece of technology we buckle our feet into is designed to transmit power to the ski via shin to tongue contact. This interaction relies the proper implementation of what I call the "Flex Complex" , Ankles, knees and hips. Ankles being the most important and hips being the most critical. If you ski on the balls of your feet, the pelvis is more apt to tilt forward to accommodate the flexing process and with it we begin the constant taxing process of adjusting the upper mass because there is no friction/tension under foot to stabilize our mass.

    Watch the first 5 minutes of the below video. I will say that I am "disappointed" in their coining the term "Crouching" to champion what they are trying convey. That term is problematic.

     
    Nancy Hummel likes this.
  15. Skisailor

    Skisailor Laziest Skier on the Mountain Team Gathermeister

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2018
    Posts:
    157
    Location:
    Bozeman, Montana
    I disagree with all of your characterizations above, so your conclusions don't follow for me. My feet are always firmly on the boot sole - from heels to tippy toes. So there is no extra reliance on toes or calf muscles. I use the whole foot for balancing. What I am talking about is where my weight is mainly centered. And I contend there is a reason why, in all sports that involve movement, we do not want to spend our time balancing primarily over our arches or heels. Skiing is no different in my book. I do not want to be balanced over my arch or heel at just that moment when I need to make a perhaps unexpected balancing correction. CAN we balance farther back? Absolutely! Lots of people do. I just find it to be a much less efficient way to ski, requiring larger gross balancing movements (if I let my CoM drift back relative to the BoS during each turn) and much more muscular effort.

    I totally agree about ankles, knees and hips. I think it's critical that we flex and extend out of all 3 joints and I subscribe to the matching angles concept. I can be short, medium or tall while keeping my weight centered over the balls of the feet as long as I flex ankle, knee and hip in the appropriate relative amounts to accommodate my particular anatomy (for me, that's a long torso and short legs).

    Lastly, because skis are generally balanced at a location beneath the place where the ball of our foot sits, by balancing there, I can easily pressure the ski from tip to tail - so there is no issue with loss of ski to snow contact. On the contrary, I would say the ski-snow interaction is more consistent than it is for a skier who is skiing with that balance point farther back on the foot - lightening the ski tips at times.
     
  16. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Out on the slopes Instructor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,267
    Location:
    New England
    Skisailor,
    When you say "our weight centered over the balls of the feet" it's natural for readers to think you mean your heels are light. I've thought that all along. When I first started skiing instructors and trainers would tell me to balance on the ball of foot, I would do that by lifting my heels up off the footbed a bit. It seemed to me that they meant that.

    But you don't mean that. Interesting.
     
    Skisailor likes this.
  17. Jilly

    Jilly Lead Cougar Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    2,629
    Location:
    Belleville, Ontario,/ Mont Tremblant, Quebec
    When I instructed I explain to my students that I wanted them in the "ready position". That is the same position would be in if you were bouncing a ball or waiting for a serve in tennis. This puts the weight forward to the balls of the feet.

    I agree with SkiSailor - my feet are flat in my boots, but when I flex my ankle forward the "weight" or more like pressure on the foot moves forward between the arch and toes. Somewhere I saw a video of a world class racer doing high speed carves this week from down under. Because he is moving a high rate of speed you can see the "return to neutral" (CSIA speak) at the beginning of the next turn. I'll have to see if I can find it. It was poetry in motion.
     
    Skisailor likes this.
  18. Skisailor

    Skisailor Laziest Skier on the Mountain Team Gathermeister

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2018
    Posts:
    157
    Location:
    Bozeman, Montana
    If we want to really dive in here - of course since I am saying that my weight is centered over the balls of the feet, that implies, correctly, that I feel more weight there than I do over the other parts of my foot - my heels or arch or toes. But I don't feel my heels so light that I lose contact with the boot sole. So perhaps it's a matter of degree?
     
    David Chaus likes this.
  19. Skisailor

    Skisailor Laziest Skier on the Mountain Team Gathermeister

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2018
    Posts:
    157
    Location:
    Bozeman, Montana
    Hi Jilly!! :)

    Yes. And I use teaching for transfer all the time when working on this. We talk about how we wouldn't receive a serve in tennis, or shoot a foul shot, or hit a golf ball or a baseball, etc. etc. from our arch or heels.
     
  20. Uke

    Uke Who am I now Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2016
    Posts:
    163
    Location:
    ut
    Skiing isn't like all those sports where we are moving about using muscular effort. Quite the contrary, skiing is just standing there at twenty miles an hour and when I am just standing I stand on my whole foot. Maintaining pressure under the ball of the foot is fatiguing when just standing.

    Further, I can demonstrate that being on the balls will require more not less movement and effort to accomplish those outcomes we are after than when centered over the arch which is the part of the foot designed to support our weight.

    Skiing ain't walking, running and jumping and a lot of what our bodies have learned to master those activities is counter productive to mastering skiing.

    uke
     
    JESinstr and KingGrump like this.

Share This Page


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice