Non-carving adults learning to carve arc-to-arc

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by LiquidFeet, May 26, 2019.

  1. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

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    Allowance, Patience. Soooo Important. But what are we being patient for? What are we trying to Allow?
    You provided the answer when you succinctly wrote: "when I feel the mountain push back at my feet, rather than me engaging the mountain"

    So there is a change that happens and altering our movement patterns to address that change we must. But the change is a "flowing" change. The turning force that develops from the act of carving is progressive. Continuance is not guaranteed. And that is why you need patience and allow the ski to do its thing. To realize that there is life beyond the fall line.

    But the one thing that must not change is stance. So starting off one's skiing experience by learning and ingraining proper stance is a fundamental necessity.

    The static (standing) stance that a beginner brings to the hill is one based on skeletal support through the heel. Throw in plantar flexion and you enable locomotion. This methodology is great for moving about and standing still but it sucks for skiing. Skiers must now learn a stance that allows them to balance through the arch of the foot and manage that balance through flexion and extension of the ankles, knees and hip joints.

    Sounds so simple doesn't it?
     
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  2. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator

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    I've been following this thread for a while. And as someone who learned to carve in the last few years (I'm now 42), maybe I can contribute a bit.

    When I started taking lessons again in 2014 (after not having taken one since, I think, 1992) I wanted to learn to carve. Not so explicitly maybe, but I wanted to learn to use the skis properly and begin turns with tipping. I was terribly backseat and always tired, so getting centered in a more forward position was a big focus. And I've taken lessons each year since, and gotten OK (I think) at carving.

    I didn't tell any of my instructors specifically that that's what I wanted to do though - they all seemed to teach me something related to it. I've had 7 different instructors (all PSIA level 3 but one I think) and all have taught tipping, centered balance, patience, counter, and letting the skis do the work. I have asked how I can be more efficient and not get tired to a couple of instructors, especially the first few lessons, so some teaching choices may be related to that.

    But certainly I was taught to carve, and wanted to learn. Maybe I'm not a typical client.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
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  3. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    In adults, sometimes they're too rigid to do a tuck. Even if they're not they'll have to have a good willingness to do something awkward.
    I had a guy a couple years ago who was so stiff in his skiing I figured we'd fo do sone tuck turns just to get him out of the usual, and get joints flexed. But he simply could not bend into a tuck. It was a bit shocking. I thought he was joking at first since I knew him. No. Even his high tuck was awkward. He actually did yoga for the next year and greatly diminished his rigid skiing. Didn't get a chance to see his tuck again though.

    Really depends on the athleticism of the beginner, no? Roller bladers and hockey players are pretty good in that sense. One also can't flex at the ankle without plantar/dorsiflextion. So, I guess I'm unclear on what your saying.
     
  4. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

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    Good points. That's why skaters/rollerbladers usually make great students. They are, however in the minority in the weekend crowds at most ares.
    Question: when I google dorsiflexion the diagrams most always imply a closing of the ankle by a lifting of the toes. Is it still dorsiflexion when you close the ankle from the shin down?
     
  5. Tony S

    Tony S aka qcanoe Skier

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    You certainly don't have the movement pattern baggage that those of us who had tons of hours of "practice" in the pre-modern era do. You're also a good listener and imitator ... for a guy.
     


  6. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    LOL So true. Guys usually try to muscle anything, especially when sliding. Gals frequently learn faster because they can go slower, if that makes sense to you-all.
     
  7. Thread Starter
    TS
    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Anyone want to add further comments on the learn-to-carve (tails following tips) advantage for adults who started to ski in the shaped-ski era?
     
  8. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator

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    So you're saying that not learning to carve on straight skis, even though I started on straight skis, was actually an advantage?

    I'm not so sure my other bad habits - brought on from not learning to ski well on straight skis - were better or worse for learning to carve now.
     
  9. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    You can ski shaped skis just like you skied straights, but you're not taking advantage of what a shaped ski can do for you. If you had bad habits on straights, they carried over on shaped.
     
  10. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Yes, afaik. There's no distinction in the term of lifting toes up or closing shins afaik. It is confusing though.

    It's interesting that Warren Witherell called his book "The Athletic Skier", not something about carving even though that's the focus. Should have come out with another 2-3 yrs later as shaped skis were then on the scene.
     
  11. mdf

    mdf entering the Big Couloir Skier

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    I was a heel pusher for twenty years.
    In 2005 at a multiday camp our instructor told us we were doing it wrong. (She was a lot nicer and more subtle than that, but I figured it out.) Another older guy and I started saying to each other, "first, we have to unlearn how to ski.".

    It didn't click during the camp, but I kept working on it once I got home -- reading and posting video for MA on epicski, mostly. It took a long time to really change my skiing.
     
  12. Corgski

    Corgski Getting on the lift Skier

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    This is just some of what I have tried, not an instructor, relatively inexperienced so no warranty expressed or impliedogsmile.
    Stand in front of mirror with most of your weight on say your left leg, hands on hips. Rotate your torso to the left about your left hip without any bending at the waist. You want to emulate an old style doll (Woody in Toy Story) where the torso is solid with legs attached by some form of swivel. Try to keep the right leg relatively passive. The hands on hips is more of a proprioceptive aid, no need to do anything with them.

    For something closer to skiing, put on your ski boots, hands on hips, in front of mirror, tip your feet and try the same basic movement, rotating using hip joint, limit bending at the waist. Goal is to use this counterbalancing movement to keep your weight on the outside ski at various edge angles. The lack of dynamic (centrifugal) forces means you have to counterbalance more than you would need to while actually skiing. You can increase the edge angle considerably by incorporating some counteracting (rotating away from the direction of tipping) but be kind to your knees here!

    I find working out these movements on land first really helps. I have also used hands on hips while skiing, easier first step before Schlopy. One caveat is that when trying this things on land, one generally is not using one's hamstrings to control fore aft positioning. When getting back to snow I find I need to focus on relaxing everything and force my brain to just use my hamstrings to keep my feet back. That could just be a personal quirk though, the price of never consciously thinking of my hamstrings most of my life.

    Edit: Essentially separation at the hip and foot pullback using hamstrings were the two fundamentals that I found to be the least intuitive. Starting at 46 I found dynamic balance to be an issue so I do focus more on developing that. Maybe because I did start in the shaped ski era tipping feet has not been an issue. I learned tipping within my first 10 days of skiing and it is more of an issue of why the heck didn't anyone tell me sooner, it made everything so much easier.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
  13. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    If you actually learned to carve on straight skis, the transition to shapes should be easy.
     
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  14. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

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    Yes, Warren was a true visionary. Taught at my old area prior to my arrival in the early 70's. He is wearing our SS sweater on the back cover of "How the racers ski".

    So I Goggled "Dorsiflexion from the shins down" Most hits describe dorsiflexion as a raising of the toes invoking the tibialis anterior. I found this skiing focused article that seems to differentiate between the ways we can close the ankle. Ron Kipp's, ankle video also addressed dorsiflexion as creating tension which lifting the foot accomplishes. I bring this up because getting the skier to experience dorsiflexion helps establish an arch based stance between the balls of the feet and the heel as well as maintaining shin to boot contact. I think it is important that we all think about it in the same context.
    http://www.peakfitnessnw.com/exercise/one-small-muscle
     
  15. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Seems to be a verb and a noun, plus a passive verb and an active one. You can dorsiflex the foot or it can dorsiflex. It also does both in walking.

    "Plantar flexion at heel strike continues until the onset of midstance, and progressive dorsiflexion occurs from heel- off until the 40% point of the cycle, when plantar flexion begins again. During the swing phase, dorsiflexion of the ankle joint occurs until heel strike (Fig. 10)."
    That's both types. It's a messy word. Just describe actions you want people to do. With beginners one problem we can't see is if they're clawing at the bottom of the boot. That can make it more difficult to close the ankle and move forward, aka dorsiflex.

    IMG_6516.jpg

    "Foot Biomechanics During Walking and Running" Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 1994
    https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(12)61642-5/pdf
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
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  16. Karl B

    Karl B USSA L100 Skier

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    Once the student has started to ski comfortably (cruising) by carving I then remind them that there is more than one way to ski. I explain that carving will gain speed quickly on steeper slopes and that is when we need to resume skidding our skis once again. At this point we go work on edge control drills such as side slipping and falling leaf. Finesse.

    I will save my comments regarding dorsiflexion till that topic has it's own thread.
     
  17. François Pugh

    François Pugh Making fresh tracks Skier

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    With modern, more shapely skis, skiers don't need to be skiing at the speeds needed to make good high-g 30 m radius turns with 70 m radius skis; they can make slower turns with 13 m radius skis.
     
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  18. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    I think about it as moving along the bottoms of my feet.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2019
  19. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

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    To the point I was trying to make, you and I are addressing dorsiflexion in the context of the foot being attached to a moving platform vs the action of the foot in the process of locomotion as James is doing. As he said, "It's confusing". To me, the result of lifting the toes and stretching the feet inside the boot creates tension and therefore enhanced feeling and muscular assistance in the control of our stance. Once ingrained, our autonomic nervous system handles stance but the ability to "manually" invoke tension is there should the need arise.
     
  20. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    I don't think "lifting the toes" is actually dorsiflextion. Seems to me the sole of the foot has to go towards the shin to be dorsiflextion. If you've got weight on your feet and move the ball of the foot off the surface towards the shin, the weight shifts to the heel. If you only do one foot some weight also shifts to the other foot. Try it standing, in ski position or not, now.

    However, "lifting the toes" activates a bunch of muscles up the leg including some on the medial side of the knee. Don't ask me what, beyond my knowledge. It's more than one. Try that too as you're standing.
    So, it does have an effect.

    For lower level skiers, the best effect of "lifting the toes" may be it prevents them from curling their toes and clawing at the bottom of the boot. But given the enormous size of most people's boots, lifting toes might have them getting the ball of the foot off the bottom of the boot, which isn't good.

    In David McPhail's Bird Cage Boot experiments, one off the essential elements is the pad on top of the foot that keeps the foot in contact with the bottom of the boot. It's not crushing it down, just enough to not allow it to come off the bottom. In all his subsequent talk of boots, this is an essential part of balance in a ski boot. That's the opposite of lifting the foot off the bottom, or actively dorsiflexing the foot, afaik.

    IMG_6517.JPG
    David McPhails Bird Cage ski boot device. Note the adjustable pad over the top of the foot. Skiers from intermediates to wcup made turns with this. A physical cable extended from the boot carrying the signals from the force sensors. Early 1990's, no wireless data stream.
    https://skimoves.me/2019/03/09/the-first-ski-boot-prototype-based-on-the-birdcage/



    There's no confusion if you don't use terms that have multiple meanings, or just explain which action you want.
    For instance,
    Explain that without the word dorsiflextion. What do you actually want people to do?
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019

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