Gas pedalling

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by surfandski, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. surfandski

    surfandski Getting off the lift Skier

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    With the very good discussion in the thread on ankles, I figured this might be a good place for me to post some questions given that I have a fused right ankle that requires a 20mm heel lift in that boot (Lange RS 130 in 28.5) to open up the ankle enough keep from hitting the end of my ROM in bumps.

    Skiing with last year's setup was pretty darn good on groomers/spring corn and not bad in a couple inches of powder but as soon as it got deep like some 12-24" days on really steep terrain, my quads were absolutely screaming as those heel lifts had me so forward that I was having to literally push my body back as if doing a leg press the entire run. The tall heel lifts are throwing me forward so what I'm wondering is if gas pedaling my skis would counteract that without closing the ankle or offsetting what my heel lifts need to do? Would gas pedaling my bindings rotate my boot backwards essentially making them more upright and possibly putting me in a more balanced position, especially in deeper snow?

    When I get out West in January I'm going to use 2mm, 3mm, 4mm etc shims under the toe pieces and experiment with this to see if I can get into a more balanced position? Is there any wild guess as to a decent starting point for someone with tall heel lifts like my 10mm on healthy ankle and 20mm on fused one? Once I figure out what height is best, am I better off having a boot fitter gas pedal my boots or shim each of my 4 pairs of skis once I figure out each height since they may require different heights? Unfortunately, only one of my pairs of skis has demo bindings and I think the mounting position is going to need a lot of experimenting as well unless the toe piece shims get me back to a normal stance where the recommended mount position works as last year I had to slide my bindings way back on the one with demo bindings to have any chance of keeping the tips up. I'm guessing that I'll need more of a gas pedal on my powder skis so maybe I end up with a small amount on my boots for my piste skis and then various additional ones on each of my other skis.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. ScottB

    ScottB Out on the slopes Skier

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    Short quick answer is YES gas pedaling is what you need to do. I am not an "alignment" specialist, but I have personal experience with gas pedaling and I am a mechanical engineer. I am tall and big, so I can put a lot of force on my tips if I want to. I use different bindings fairly randomly, and found on bindings with a high heel and low toe height, I was putting too much force on my tips and it was messing up my skiing and balance. It was especially noticeable on a shorter pair of skis. I measured the toe and heel height of all my skis and found all the ones I felt very comfortable on had equal toe and heel heights. The ones I didn't feel comfortable on, have lower toe heights. None had the toe higher than the heel. I raised the toes (by adding a shim under the toe piece) and all my skis felt great again. It was very noticeable on a short pair of skis I own. I added typically a 6mm shim, which is what it took to get the binding toe height equal to the binding heel height. I also stopped buying Marker Royal series bindings which are one of the worst for mis-matched heights. All of this assumes the same boot ramp angle and my preferred 17 deg. forward lean.

    You have created your own binding delta angle, inside your boot by adding heel lifts. You need to raise your toe to counteract this. I personally like a boot bottom parallel to my ski. I have read posts from others that say just the opposite. I guess everyone has a preference for what works for them. You seem to be in my category.

    You have several options, but I would suggest raising your toe piece by the same amount you raised your heel. That should get you back to your previous angle(s). I notice you have different lifts in each boot. That complicates things. Do you want dedicated left and right skis? You could take the heel lift out of your non-frozen foot and just gas pedal the binding on your frozen foot. Or, just pick an average lift, like 15 mm and do that on both skis. Adjusting your boots forward lean (if possible) is a factor, but I think you need to gas pedal for sure. Decide if you want the lift in the good foot and then figure it out from there.

    Why did you put a lift in the good foot? Just to be at close to the same height?? you could lower your boot inner base (I think its called boot board) to compensate or do something else to your boot. Changing your boots works for all skis. Your heel lifts are a lot, and they definitely threw off your stance and you need some adjustment to compensate. your 20mm lift is 0.8", which is a lot. I didn't like the feel of a 6 mm toe drop, which is way less than what you had to do. I am assuming a heel raise is basically the same effect as a toe drop.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
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  3. Philpug

    Philpug Notorious P.U.G. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    A lot depends what binding you gas pedaled, so many different deltas with different bindings. @pliny the elder and @otto might have some thoughts here besides the obvious get yourself into a fitter and get set up right the first time and not use the trip west that you are going out to have fun skiing to be the lab for seeing what works.
     
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  4. Skitechniek

    Skitechniek Booting up Skier

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    Imo getting heel lifts is almost always a bad idea. You don't want to be forward, you want to be centered. Heel lifts will put you forward and that will definitely suck in powder, because the weight is not distributed evenly along the length of the ski.

    If you want the ski to turn easier, mount the bindings more forward. A ski does not react to the amount of shin pressure that is applied, it reacts to the position of your CoM along the length of the ski.
     
  5. Philpug

    Philpug Notorious P.U.G. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    A heel lift in his case, opens up the ankle. It is not changing the forward lean.
     
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  6. Doug Briggs

    Doug Briggs Skiing the powder Industry Insider Pugski Ski Tester

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    Nota bene: I'm not a bootfitter or expert on alignment.

    In 3D snow, I would think in terms of changing your ski's angle in the snow. I typically recommend dorsiflexion to help drive the heel down and bring the tip up. Adding a gas pedal seems counter to that thinking. If you get your tips up, then you may be able to find a balance that relies more on stacking than quads. I understand your ankle is fused, so I don't know how my suggestion would work for you. Can you dorsiflex? If you were sitting on the chairlift and dorsiflexed, would your tips come up? If your answer is yes, then this could help you in deep 3D snow

    That said, do you have powder specific skis?
     
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  7. Rod9301

    Rod9301 Out on the slopes Skier

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    Exactly
     
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  8. Brian Finch

    Brian Finch PT, CSCS, Cert- DN, FRCms, M|WOD Coach Industry Insider

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    Except the ankle is fused, so nothing is opening up.
     
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  9. Rod9301

    Rod9301 Out on the slopes Skier

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    Exactly
     
  10. Andy Mink

    Andy Mink I am a half fast skier. Moderator Pugski Ski Tester

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    @surfandski, do you have any ROM in your ankle? Is it totally locked or just a degree or two? If you're limited to almost nothing I would think a heel lift would push you forward. The 3D snow would exacerbate the issue. I had my Head Raptors gas pedaled because of the quite aggressive forward lean (17° I think). I do better in bindings with a lower heel than toe. It would seem that a gas pedal would negate the heel lift.
     
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  11. Mike King

    Mike King AKA Habacomike Instructor

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    I'm not sure why you think a heel lift will move you forward. In a clinic on boot fitting and alignment with Jim Lindsey, he had a participant stand in their boot on the table. He then placed a quarter under the heel and it was immediately apparent that the effect was to move the person aft, not forward.

    But to the OP, go to a qualified boot fitter -- they will assess your anatomical characteristics and device a proper boot setup for you.

    Mike
     
  12. Mike King

    Mike King AKA Habacomike Instructor

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    One other piece of advice -- use a binding that is flat (no delta). If you have to shim the binding to get it flat, do so.

    Mike
     
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  13. pliny the elder

    pliny the elder Getting on the lift Skier

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    Since it is impossible to determine what is right for a particular skier over the Internet, I would not attempt to do so.
    It is worth clarifying what some of the modifications being discussed actually do.

    Heel lifts decrease the amount of ankle flexion within the boot. They do not pitch you forward. The only time we heel lift (increase internal ramp angle) is in the case of limited dorsiflexion. Increasing ramp angle does not change knee flexion, it simply reduces ankle flexion inside the boot. This can lead to breaking at the waist. When measured digitally on a force plate people with limited dorsiflexion stand with an excess of weight on the ball of foot when in ski boots. A heel lift increases contact at the heel and actually takes weight off the ball and redistributes pressure to the rear foot. Again this is with limited dorsiflexion.

    External toe lift (gas pedal) decreases knee flexion without changing ankle flexion. This tends to make the femur more vertical and moves the hips forward. We only toe lift boots if the skier has excessive knee flexion in a particular boot.

    An internal heel lift and an external toe lift do two different things. One decreases ankle flex, the other decreases knee flexion.
    They do not negate each other.

    Ankles that are surgically fused are normally plantarflexed a couple of degrees, so you would select a boot that is as upright as possible and stiffer is better than softer. An increase in internal ramp angle would also be indicated. Keeping contact with the shin is very important so that whatever forward motion can be generated gets to the ski as soon as possible, since there isn't go to be very much.

    Unfortunately none of this has taken into account the binding angle yet. This is why if I were in charge all bindings would be flat or easily adjustable. Because binding ramp varies with model and sole length it is a difficult variable. Not everyone has all the same bindings on all their skis.

    Fore/aft balance is a very important aspect of ski boot set up and becomes more important as rom decreases.

    pliny the elder
     
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    surfandski

    surfandski Getting off the lift Skier

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    Thank you so much for that information as it does sound like exactly what I need. Yes, the reason I have the lift in my good ankle was because the boot fitter thought it would be best to have my setups somewhat close on both sides. Up until my ankle fusion at the end of the 2018 ski season, I had about 8-10mm (I don't know if you're supposed to measure from the very back of the lift or from the center of heel as that makes a difference) lifts in both boots because I had so ROM (though in much more pain than I am now). After the fusion we tried the same height lifts and as soon as I'd flex forward, it felt like I was going to break the now single tibia/talus bone right where the joint used to be. We kept going up in lift until I could flex forward without being concerned with breaking my "ankle" in bumps or hitting g-outs. I will say that after skiing last season, I had the hardware on my tibia and fibula removed and when I went to Squaw in April, I had noticeably less pain so I ground down my heel lift on my bad ankle as it was probably 25mm last season. I think when the metal was in and I was flexing forward, my bone was flexing/bending at a different rate than the metal screws and plates so getting that stuff out allowed my bones to bend unrestricted when I'd get to the end of my ROM. I will keep dropping that right side heel lift until I find how low I can safely go. I also got some Proflex boot stiffeners from Pulse Boot Labs that I'm going to try this year which should increase my RS 130s to 150-160 flex which should help.

    Is it possible to raise your toe bindings as much as 15mm if necessary because that sounds like a lot? Or is there a max amount I can do before the binding no longer functions properly? I will say that I'm of the mindset where I rarely ever want my skis popping off so I've always skied with bindings at a DIN a fair amount above recommended. I only say that to acknowledge that I am aware of the risks of messing with your bindings but in reality, I'd be comfortable skiing if my boots were screwed on to my skis as I can't think of a single time in recent years where I wished my skis had released. Thanks for your help!
     
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    surfandski

    surfandski Getting off the lift Skier

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    Most of my skis have the Axial 3s which have almost zero delta between the toe and heel. I totally agree with your about working with a boot fitter but I went to a couple last year and spoke to several more over the phone and they all said my situation was unique enough that they didn't know what would be best and we'd just have to keep trying things until we figured it out. One from a very reputable shop recommended permanently modifying my RS 130s so that they were even more upright to open up my ankle even more. Though that may be an option, I wanted to save that as a last resort because once we start grinding down the back of the cuff or making major modifications, there's no going back. So the plan is to do a good bit of experimenting in conjunction with working with a fitter. BTW- I was hoping to work with Bud Heisman when we went to Squaw this past spring but wasn't able to get in touch with him. After experimenting and maybe getting it somewhat close, I'd absolutely like to work with someone both in a shop and on the snow that can help dial in the best "compromise" for my ankle. Thanks!
     
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    surfandski

    surfandski Getting off the lift Skier

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    Unfortunately, I have no choice with the heel lifts as I'd literally break my ankle the first run. I'm stuck with a major compromise so now I'm trying to figure out the best way to make lemonade with this lemon. The good thing is on groomers and on spring corn, I'm skiing better than I ever imagined given this injury so if I can just get it somewhat decent in soft/deep snow, I'll be stoked!
     
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    surfandski

    surfandski Getting off the lift Skier

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    Thanks Doug. If I'm sitting in a chair with the center of my knee directly over the center of my heel, I can raise my forefoot a minimal amount (millimeters) but it's all in the foot bones that allow it as my talus and tibia are now one bone. I told the surgeon to fuse it in a slightly forward (maybe 87°) angle for skiing and unfortunately he didn't, and maybe even has it slightly more than 90° as I can point my toes a lot more than I can bring them up towards my shin, so it's really not a good ankle for a skier but he really can't go in now and cut the bone and refuse it just to change the angle. He said that if he had done it like I asked, it would make walking more difficult and I'd have a limp which could cause other long-term issues in my daily life. I walk great (other than going uphill) so maybe what he did was correct but it definitely sucks for skiing as I think even 3° more forward and I could be in a more normal boot position without as big of lifts.

    Yes, I have 2 dedicated powder skis in 112 and 125mm widths and then a 108 which is my crud buster up to about 6" of powder. My narrow, family day, groomer but great all mountain ski is an 86mm and I have no issues whatsoever on that one as my body has learned to compensate for the extreme forward position my heel lifts have put me in.
     
  18. Thread Starter
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    surfandski

    surfandski Getting off the lift Skier

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    I feel the heel lifts most certainly rotate me forward. The first day post-fusion of somewhat deep powder, 18" fresh on top of previous days fresh so pretty much bottomless, I was thankfully on the only pair of skis I own that has demo bindings and I could not get back enough to keep my tips up with the bindings mounted in the recommended (well behind centered position) I had to keep moving them back a centimeter at a time until I could keep the tips up and even then, I was having to push backwards the whole time like a leg press, to stay back enough since the heel lifts wanted to push me forward.

    I'm a pretty decent skier but I admit that I don't have the lingo or the clear understanding of how to achieve proper balance or how one change effects another so that was just my experience but if I had moved my bindings forward or had even more heel lift, I would have been face planting from how extremely forward I was with the heel lifts. I do realize like in that video on balance that our body can do the opposite of what we think it would do to compensate and also realize it gets confusing when people are talking about being forward or back depending upon whether they are talking about the boots being rotated forward or back vs what the hips are doing in relation to that.
     
  19. Brian Finch

    Brian Finch PT, CSCS, Cert- DN, FRCms, M|WOD Coach Industry Insider

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    Just a thought (I’ve not read the entire thread) but have worked with a number of folks with fusions. I’d place heel lifts equal under both feet & then swap out the boot board from a rigid to a soft & perhaps soften further by drilling a couple holes in the forefoot on the fused side. This way you have an equal starting position & some capacity to ‘flex’.

    *Not a BootGuy
    **Have done this w clients in the past with good results.
     
  20. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Great idea.
     

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