Does a Short BSL Affect Turn Initiation?

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
4,118
Location
Ogden, UT
I have fairly small feet for my size--I'm 5'5" weigh 125-130 lbs. and am skiing in a 22.5 boot. My skiing has improved quite a lot in the past few seasons but I have really stalled out, because I just can't seem to get the tips to engage early enough, particularly on hard snow surfaces. They basically wash out on me, for lack of better description. No matter how much I try to roll onto the big toe and stay forward (I have been told I have a very good stance) the tips just do NOT engage on the majority of my turns, and it doesn't seem to matter what skis I'm on. (For reference, skiing Black Pearls in a 159, Sambas in a 166, Viva 8.0's in a 158--too short, have them for sale.) I got out on Kastle LX82's yesterday in a 164 but the edges were dull so couldn't assess them very well--they ARE a full camber ski.

So, can a short BSL relative to size and ski length be contributing to this? If so, what, if anything, can I do?
 

Philpug

Notorious P.U.G.
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
22,422
Location
Reno, eNVy
If the boot is mounted to to boot center, it shouldn't matter. It CAN effect the way a ski flexes by creating less of a flat spot under the binding. I will be interested to see what you say after you tune the Kastle's, also what binding are on the LX's?
 

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
13,584
Location
Tahoe
I hadn't thought of this before, but you'r ski length is probably close to the same as mine, due to your size, but your BSL is likely 10mm shorter than mine.
Will that reduce the tip pressure when you're attempting to engage a turn? Quite possible.
I've been on skis that I feel a need to move the mount point forward 1 cm to get better tip engagement. Perhaps this is a thought for you. Do you have demo bindings on any of your skis?
Has the boot changed your delta? Its possible that you are not aligned well when you're on your skis. Quite often women are automatically given heel lifts when they may actually need a gas pedal.

@bud heishman is a great one to help out with this.
 
Thread Starter
TS
AmyPJ

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
4,118
Location
Ogden, UT
If the boot is mounted to to boot center, it shouldn't matter. It CAN effect the way a ski flexes by creating less of a flat spot under the binding. I will be interested to see what you say after you tune the Kastle's, also what binding are on the LX's?
I don't have them in the garage to take a peak, but whatever "system" binding Kastle uses which is a demo-type binding.
 

Philpug

Notorious P.U.G.
Admin
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
22,422
Location
Reno, eNVy
I don't have them in the garage to take a peak, but whatever "system" binding Kastle uses which is a demo-type binding.
Well, you can move the biding a bit forward but I think Tricia is on to it. What boot were you in before? You mentioned that you are now in a Salomon, which is a fairly upright boot.
 
Thread Starter
TS
AmyPJ

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
4,118
Location
Ogden, UT
I hadn't thought of this before, but you'r ski length is probably close to the same as mine, due to your size, but your BSL is likely 10mm shorter than mine.
Will that reduce the tip pressure when you're attempting to engage a turn? Quite possible.
I've been on skis that I feel a need to move the mount point forward 1 cm to get better tip engagement. Perhaps this is a thought for you. Do you have demo bindings on any of your skis?
Has the boot changed your delta? Its possible that you are not aligned well when you're on your skis. Quite often women are automatically given heel lifts when they may actually need a gas pedal.

@bud heishman is a great one to help out with this.
I have demo bindings on the Kastles and the Black Pearls. Haven't skied the BP's yet this season, but plan to this week. Interestingly, the Sambas last season did not do this to me, when I was on the Tecnica boots that were a 270 BSL vs. the 265 I am on now. But the BP's were great with a 265 in the past, but once I got into the 270's, I couldn't ski them well any more. Which is kind of what led me to think that perhaps I am dealing with a boot issue here vs. straight up technique issue.

Thankfully, my boot fitter is pretty masterful at assessing this stuff. I definitely need canting on my left boot again and I do also wonder how much that is affecting things. Hard to release the right turn when I can't even get it to engage in the first place. Then my left turns are all off timing-wise. I also HAVE had toe lifts in the past. I'm hoping he can squeeze me in this week.

But I feel better knowing that perhaps YES, my tiny BSL could be impacting things.
 
Thread Starter
TS
AmyPJ

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
4,118
Location
Ogden, UT
Well, you can move the biding a bit forward but I think Tricia is on to it. What boot were you in before? You mentioned that you are now in a Salomon, which is a fairly upright boot.
Tecnica Fling and Crush. I had toe lifts on the Crush and canting on both. Both were a 270 BSL. And yes, I am now in a Salomon XMax 90.
 
Thread Starter
TS
AmyPJ

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
4,118
Location
Ogden, UT
Another factor to throw in the mix is that my fitter thinks that my Zipfits are too short for me. And the tongue is shot in the left one (the boot I am struggling with.) I essentially crushed it like a taco from buckling my other boots so tight, and it is now pretty misshapen. I currently have the Zipfit Diva and he wants me in the Gran Prix but is not sure he can get the Gran Prix in a 22 (brochure says he can, but Zipfit is not very reliable customer-service wise.)

I have noticed as I've skied with more tongue pressure than in years' past that I feel a bit of a "dead space" upon the start of a turn. The stock liners definitely come up higher on my shin than the Zipfits BUT the rest of the fit of the Zipfit is far, far superior to the stock liner so I am hesitant to even TRY to ski with the stock liner.

I do have a call in to my fitter who @4ster can vouch for as being pretty darn good at his job. He's super technical at explaining things IF I ask him to be, which is awesome. He was an instructor and a racer which I think helps.
 

Monique

bounceswoosh
Skier
Posts
9,641
Location
Colorado
I have noticed as I've skied with more tongue pressure than in years' past that I feel a bit of a "dead space" upon the start of a turn. The stock liners definitely come up higher on my shin than the Zipfits BUT the rest of the fit of the Zipfit is far, far superior to the stock liner so I am hesitant to even TRY to ski with the stock liner.
I speak from a position of relative ignorance here, but do you have Booster straps to replace the stock power strap? Could help with shin to boot transfer.
 
Thread Starter
TS
AmyPJ

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
4,118
Location
Ogden, UT
I speak from a position of relative ignorance here, but do you have Booster straps to replace the stock power strap? Could help with shin to boot transfer.
I do, but haven't put them on yet. The strap on the XMax is kind of interesting in how it is secured. So, securing the Booster will be interesting.
 

Monique

bounceswoosh
Skier
Posts
9,641
Location
Colorado
I do, but haven't put them on yet. The strap on the XMax is kind of interesting in how it is secured. So, securing the Booster will be interesting.
I bought some Boosters for my new AT boots. I wasn't sure I needed them, but I had my fitter, Larry, install them yesterday anyway (I have never installed them myself). He then asked me to put them on and flex the boot. Got a big thumbs up. I love Boosters, but I'm not sure why. I've heard people say they effectively stiffen the boot, but I don't find that it makes the boot harder to flex - I'm not a great flexer to start with.
 
Thread Starter
TS
AmyPJ

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
4,118
Location
Ogden, UT
My feeling when I use them is they make the flex feel more progressive thanks to the elastic. I will say that the flex in the XMax boots is already way more progressive feeling than my old boots. I'll bring them with me when I see the fitter and ask if I should install them.
 

Living Proof

We All Have The Truth
Skier
Posts
632
Location
Philly Guy
I have fairly small feet for my size--I'm 5'5" weigh 125-130 lbs. and am skiing in a 22.5 boot. My skiing has improved quite a lot in the past few seasons but I have really stalled out, because I just can't seem to get the tips to engage early enough, particularly on hard snow surfaces. They basically wash out on me, for lack of better description. No matter how much I try to roll onto the big toe and stay forward (I have been told I have a very good stance) the tips just do NOT engage on the majority of my turns, and it doesn't seem to matter what skis I'm on.
I think most advancing skiers hit a wall when trying to improve pressure on the tips of the skis. The problem solver in me thinks you are overthinking all the things that can be wrong, ie stance, boot liners, boot length, roll onto the big toe, booster strap etc. In another thread, you speak of washing out on ice, and, that seems to be another symptom. I always look for the first and simplest solution to problems, so:
I'm not an instructor but I went through your problem (and it continues). My guess is that your weight is more on the heels of your boots and you would feel the back of your ski boots on your calf muscle as the primary contact point. You can maintain a "good looking" stance and still be on the heels.Try to keep the front shin bone in contact with the boot tongue. I might also guess that you hold your hands more in a down and rear position, it takes very little adjustment of hand position to shift your weight to the rear.

In another thread today, I saw a pic of my my skiing in another thread and said "damn, your hands are way back and your zipper should be facing down the hill". There was too much snow being thrown up and I immediately knew I was skidding with weight back.
 

Monique

bounceswoosh
Skier
Posts
9,641
Location
Colorado
My guess is that your weight is more on the heels of your boots and you would feel the back of your ski boots on your calf muscle as the primary contact point. You can maintain a "good looking" stance and still be on the heels.Try to keep the front shin bone in contact with the boot tongue.
Also speaking from personal (ongoing) experience, check in with your toes - make sure they're not clenched. Leads to all sorts of bad leg behavior.
 
Thread Starter
TS
AmyPJ

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
4,118
Location
Ogden, UT
I'm actually pretty good at keeping my hands forward UNTIL I get defensive, then I drag my uphill pole :doh:
I don't rock on my heels but probably ski with my feet pretty flat with my shins plastered to the tongues. Toes don't scrunch up that I am aware of, I think they used to and my calves would scream as a result.

That being said, I absolutely overthink things. I LOVE getting video done but can never get good enough quality of video to really see what I'm doing. I'm hoping my Kastles will be sharpened and ready to ski tomorrow. I'll head up and work on some of this stuff when it's quiet up there. And sunny. They're opening up more terrain hopefully tomorrow and I'd like to hit it before it gets scraped off.

I do need to give myself some credit (I'm not good at that.) Last time I skied last January this :crash: happened, and I ended up with a fractured tibial plateau. I've had a few flashback moments out there which I wasn't expecting. Maybe I need to go ski in CO or WA and buy some legal pot to help me chill out!
 

Jilly

Lead Cougar
Skier
Without seeing you skis, I'm wondering if you're too far forward. Don't hang around the front of your boots too much. Once you're balanced, after a few runs., try moving the weight from the toes at the start of the turn, to the heels when you finish the turn. Repeat. You also want some movement in your ankles...is there any or are you locked? Have fun tomorrow and really just worry about keeping balanced and sliding. Not too much for the first day of the season.
 

Plai

Paul Lai
Skier
Posts
811
Location
Silicon Valley
I'm not an instructor nor very experienced, but I've been making sure my little toe rolls in order to help my big toe roll. Yes, there are times when I can't buy a clean turn, but some days are better.... Just a thought...
 
Thread Starter
TS
AmyPJ

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
4,118
Location
Ogden, UT
Without seeing you skis, I'm wondering if you're too far forward. Don't hang around the front of your boots too much. Once you're balanced, after a few runs., try moving the weight from the toes at the start of the turn, to the heels when you finish the turn. Repeat. You also want some movement in your ankles...is there any or are you locked? Have fun tomorrow and really just worry about keeping balanced and sliding. Not too much for the first day of the season.
It's very possible that I am actually too far forward--both my Blizzard skis really reward a forward stance. I'm going to ski the Kastle's today (actually it's day 5 :D.) From the one run I did take on them on Sunday, I can stand more upright on them. I have movement in my ankles, yes.
 
Thread Starter
TS
AmyPJ

AmyPJ

No longer on the single track.
Pugski Ski Tester
Posts
4,118
Location
Ogden, UT
So, I skied the Kastles today. It was quiet on the hill, so no distractions there. There is just something not right. I am just fighting constantly to stay balanced over the downhill ski, every turn is a concentrated effort and doesn't produce for me. The tips on the Kastles were like wiper blades, which is the same thing that is happening on the Sambas (I have NEVER had that happen on the Sambas.) Once every 50 turns or so, I feel the sweet spot and it launches me--normally a WEEEEE moment, but instead, I feel like I am behind the ski no matter how far forward I am. This shouldn't be so hard. And considering that I wasn't struggling this much last season, it's very frustrating. As in, I'm not enjoying skiing at all right now :(

Gas pedals on the boots maybe?? I can't move the bindings forward very much since I am at essentially the minimum BSL. I had toe lifts on the Tecnicas and it did help.

I rode the gondola with an L3 instructor who said 4ster was his mentor. Got his name and will probably spring for a "group" lesson midweek and either drag a friend along or hope I get a private out of it. He followed me a little bit and commented that I could get more weight on my downhill ski, which tells me I am skiing very defensively. I think the ice is messing with my head a lot. But I have never had it be this much of an issue before.
 

Erik Timmerman

Making fresh tracks
Instructor
Posts
3,509
One thing a short BSL does do is exaggerate the effect of binding delta. People with very small feet often find that they need a "gas-pedal" shim and the symptom of needing it is an inability to feel the front of the ski.
 

Advertisement

Top