For the record ...

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Re: For the record ...

Postby h.harb » Tue May 09, 2017 2:15 pm

Statements like this demonstrated to me, nearly 35 years ago, that mainstream ski instruction was intellectually bankrupt.


The other part that hasn't been mentioned, is who do the PSIA guru's go to for their information? People like Ron LeMaster, who can't teach a lesson, never raced, and is a medium to low level intermediate skier. He's a computer scientist, who made himself a PSIA guru because they had nothing else. His descriptions of skiing are nebulous and outcome based, with out understanding of movements. If you don't understand skiing movements and how they are achieved, you can't teach or convey teaching information.
The other PSIA guru, is BB, who I can't understand in any form. If I can't understand his stuff and relate it to skiing, how are instructors or students supposed to understand it.
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Re: For the record ...

Postby jbotti » Tue May 09, 2017 2:17 pm

Yes all true and great posts. But I still maintain that they did Max a huge favor when they banned him and they are doing us all a huge favor by shuttering the site. I stopped reading ski technique threads on Epic at least 10 years ago. Expending any mental or emotional energy in and around Epic's view of ski technique and/or instruction is a massive waste of time and energy. And it won't make any of us better skiers.

For those that haven't I think its time to move on!
Balance: Essential in skiing and in life!
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Re: For the record ...

Postby geoffda » Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:32 pm

I thought I'd resurrect this thread to add a few more thoughts.

First, with respect to equipment considerations, I neglected to mention maybe the most important thing: you have to have a strong, stiff boot that affords good lateral support and it has to be set up optimally. You have to be able to invert and evert your foot inside the boot and you have to have both proper under the boot canting and your cuffs set up correctly so that you are able to get the necessary leverage to tip the ski on edge with power and precision. If your feet or ankles are locked, you will never be able to achieve the level of precision that is necessary to ski the hardest ice.

Second, regarding sharp edges: while having razor sharp edges is ideal when things get icy, not having perfect edges should generally not prevent you from being able to ski ice. As long as your edges aren't round and can slice into the surface, proper technique should enable you to get grip. IOW, for people who are struggling on ice, lack of sharp edges is probably not what is holding them back. That is what I meant in my original post by implying that having sharp edges isn't as important as most skiers seem to think.

Finally, I thought I would walk through the mechanics of how a turn works on boiler-plate ice. We'll start our walk through at the end of the previous turn with the release. As per usual, release is accomplished by flexing the outside, or stance leg. This results in the transfer of balance to the little-toe-edge (LTE) of the inside, or free foot. The transfer can be total (one-footed-release), or partial (two-footed release). We will skip weighted release for simplicity, but the same principles will apply. Once balance transfer has occured, we can start tipping the old stance foot that we released from to begin engagement on new edges. This has to be done very precisely and delicately so that we do not create a direction change when we are tipping to new edges. If we introduce any kind of twist in our feet, we will end up with a skidded turn. In very high energy skiing, our skis might leave the ground when we release and the "air tipping" to change edges might result in a slight pivot or redirect of our skis while they are airborne. This is fine, but great finesse is required to land the skis tracking straight on edge so as to avoid introducing a skid.

Once we have gotten our skis engaging on new edges, we are upside down in the turn. The centrifugal force from the turn (which is more or less pointing back up the hill) is largely negated by the force of gravity (which is pointing down the hill). As such, there is no sensation of pressure here. The top of the arc is all about balance and relaxation. The skis will be tracking around the arc, but the lack of pressure sensation means lack of grip sensation. This is a delicate time. As long as we continue balancing and relaxing and gently increasing the tipping of our feet, we will avoid disturbing our carving skis and the turn will continue to develop towards the fall line.

Throughout the top of the arc, we have been using movements like foot pullback and counter-acting to reclaim an aggressive forward position relative to our skis (which we lost at the end of the last turn). This all comes together at the apex of the turn: the shovel of the ski seems to lock on the ice, our stance leg locks into the front of the boot, our stance leg has nearly full extended, and we are feeling pressure and solid grip! At this point in the turn, the most important thing is that we must NEVER, repeat NEVER, meet the pressure by pushing against the sole of our stance foot. Do NOT extend the stance leg--that will just break the ski loose. If that doesn't happen, you will end up parking and riding the bottom of the turn which means you won't get speed control. Let the ice win and give into the pressure slightly by flexing the stance leg. At the same time, we relax the inside, or free leg. Doing both of these things allows us to accelerate the rate of tipping, which is what brings the skis quickly out of the fall line in an ever decreasing radius for speed control. While there is power in the lateral tipping movements, preserving grip through the bottom of the turn really requires great finesse. Skiing this way provides excellent grip and ski performance without creating any strain on the knees. Skiing ice (assuming proper equipment set up) should never hurt your knees. It also provides a very strong and secure sense of grip, but quite possibly not grip in the sense that many skiers are accustomed to thinking about it.

Note that the way we build the bottom of the turn as described above is the same for soft snow. The problem with soft snow though, is that we end up with so much pressure being generated in the later part of the arc that it is easy to get the wrong idea and start pushing against the base of the ski. This feels great, but it is a big no-no that will wreck your skiing. Unfortunately, in soft snow, even the correct amount of pressure feels massive compared to what you get on ice, so it can be difficult to recognize what has to happen to be successful when things get super-slick.

When commentators talk about skiers having "touch", this is what they are referring to. I should also mention that none of this is easy and it represents an elite level of skiing. That said, given enough effort, PMTS will allow almost anyone to develop their skiing to this level.
Last edited by geoffda on Tue Nov 20, 2018 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: For the record ...

Postby noobSkier » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:14 pm

Right on the money geoffda. I ski in eastern Canada, where ice is the norm rather than the exception. I used to have difficulty with it until learned how to DELICATELY tip the skis on edge and let the pressure build. If you introduce any non-tipping movements, the arc is lost. I now use this approach in all conditions because it works perfectly and lets me slice through icy patches. Today I was carving boiler plate ice with 6" piles of scraped off snow...no issues at all.
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Re: For the record ...

Postby noobSkier » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:13 pm

I just want to add something to this topic because I'm skiing on ice 90% of the time right now. When you are edge-locked carving on good snow its really easy to get lazy with your foot pull back because generally the skis will still arc and it looks fine on video. Ice will punish you for this big time...I've learned this the hard way. Super Phantom with foot pull back is your friend on ice.
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