Pressure, pressure. pressure

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Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby h.harb » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:24 pm

There are many ways we can create pressure and conversely many ways to reduce and even eliminate pressure. However if we are going to stay on a slope and stay in control, we do have to deal with pressure.

Here are some ways to make pressure, this doesn't mean they are right or useful.
-extending against the snow or slope, I call this pushing against the slope or surface.
This can be done at any time in an arc, if you do it at the wrong time it can have severe consequences.
If you extend against an edged ski, it will increase pressure dramatically, but it may take you or put you out of balance.

For example, extending the leg in the High C part of the arc. This pushes your Cg downhill or at best diagonally to the direction your skis are traveling. Pushing or extending at this point in an arc, creates instant pressure on your skis, but it also moves you out of balance. Once this movement takes you over the tipping point of balance, you have lost the turn. If your extending in the upper part of the arc has enough effect on the Cg to move it away from the direction of linear momentum, you begin falling inside.

This is what many TTS instructors tell you to do and it's flat out wrong. The upper third of an arc has little centripetal force acting on you; therefore if the outward pulling force is small, you better not exceed it by adding inward pushing. You have to honor the forces working to hold you up. This is done by using your own balancing ability over the ski. We call that CB. If you incline toward the inside and you extend or push against the surface, you have just lost the arc and maybe you are already on the ground. This is where I always have to appeal to people's logic. World Cup Skiers are very gifted with a number of instincts, one is balance and the other is survival. If WC skiers did everything I just described, which many coaches see as a movement WCers use, real WC skiers would not often finish a race. Many coaches try to coach developing skiers with these movements they believe are happening. Unfortunately for these skiers, it’s going to be a long winter and a short career.
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby onyxjl » Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:41 pm

Harald, you say we can tell if we are extending too early because we will fall into the turn and wind up on our inside foot. How can a skier self-diagnose when they are not extending enough?
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby HeluvaSkier » Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:53 pm

onyxjl wrote:Harald, you say we can tell if we are extending too early because we will fall into the turn and wind up on our inside foot. How can a skier self-diagnose when they are not extending enough?


I'm not sure if it is the correct cue or not, but I can always tell if I'm not extending enough because it becomes hard to keep the feet back during the turn - I can tell I'm in the back seat basically.
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby geoffda » Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:04 am

onyxjl wrote:Harald, you say we can tell if we are extending too early because we will fall into the turn and wind up on our inside foot. How can a skier self-diagnose when they are not extending enough?


IMO, extension isn't something you do, it is something that happens as a result of your other movements. As I mentioned in another thread, as you release your turn and begin tipping through neutral and into the new turn, your CM is being drawn down the hill. Your skis, however, are still continuing more or less across the hill as they enter the high C of the new turn. You will get some extension here automatically because your skis are taking your legs with them as your body moves into the new turn. As this is happening, you need to aggressively pull your feet back and focus on flexing the free leg. Shortening the free leg not only helps your tipping, but it will cause your hips to move laterally into the turn. This lateral movement is where you get your extension. Moving inside the turn pulls your stance leg out and viola, extension! The more you tip and flex the free leg, the more your stance leg will extend. If you focus on making patient transitions, with appropriate tipping, flexion, and fore-aft adjustments, you will get the extension. The more dynamic your skiing is, the more extension you will get. So to answer your question, focus on the essentials. If your essentials are solid, then your extension should be fine.

In the context of the pressure discussion, flexing the free leg will allow you to shift even more weight onto the stance foot, which increases pressure to bend the ski and tighten the arc. Focusing on flexing will help to ensure that the pressure transfer is smooth and progressive, which in turn, will help ensure that you stay right side up on the snow :D. Also, increasing tipping will tighten the arc which, in turn, increases pressure.

The one other thing to mention is that if you have too much forward lean when you are standing in your boots (through some combination of forward lean, ramp angle, and binding delta) you can end up being forced into a squatty stance for balance. Although this can be overcome in very dynamic skiing (i.e. Ted LIggety with his nose on the snow when he moves into the turn), my personal experience with this issue has been that you tend to freeze in a squat and you hold your legs in.

The purpose of forward lean, etc. is to allow you to flex deeply and remain in balance. You should be able to stand on level ground and flex your knees so that your femur is paralell to the ground. If you can flex lower than that, you probably have more forward lean than you need and as a consequence you are being held in an overly flexed stance. If that is you, seek help from a qualified boot fitter.
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby Max_501 » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:30 am

You don't want to push the body around with outside leg extension. However, extension is an Essential and for some number of skiers thinking about gradually extending the outside leg prior to the second half of the turn may be beneficial. For example, when I'm making GS turns I have to remind myself to get the outside leg extended or I'll end up with a bit too much flex in it.
Last edited by Max_501 on Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby geoffda » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:43 am

Max_501 wrote:You don't want to push the body around with outside leg extension. However, extension is an Essential and for some number of skiers thinking about getting the outside leg extended during the second half of the turn may be beneficial. For example, when I'm making GS turns I have to remind myself to get the outside leg extended or I'll end up with a bit too much flex in it.


What do you do in that case? For me it seems like my extension is the weakest when I'm not recentering aggressively enough. Heluva's comment about keeping the feet back really rings true with me.
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby geoffda » Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:00 am

Question: how much bend should you have in your stance leg? My thinking is that as long as you are able to achieve the vertical seperation you need to get the kind of angles you are looking for, the amount of bend is going to vary by anatomy. That is, you are going to do what you need to do to pressure the ski and stay in balance. For some people in some turns, this may involve a straighter leg than others. Thoughts? Perhaps this is goes to the heart of what onyxjl was asking...
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby onyxjl » Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:27 am

My question is based around the idea that if I want to change a habit of extending too early I am going to have to try to not extend that leg. However, as Max pointed out, extending is an essential so at some point in the turn that outside leg needs to become extended. How can I assess when I am holding onto the mental cue of "don't extend" so long that I am not allowing enough extension to occur? Should I ever be using a mental cue of trying to extend the outside leg?

As an aside, I find I can connect visually with the flexing and tipping actions in the High C by watching a skier move away from me rather than towards me. Skiers don't typically include this angle in their MA video. I notice that most of Max and Harald's video actually starts at the top of slope rather than the bottom and that is a very helpful perspective to have. Is this intentional?
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby tarnaby » Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:37 am

onyxjl wrote:My question is based around the idea that if I want to change a habit of extending too early I am going to have to try to not extend that leg. However, as Max pointed out, extending is an essential so at some point in the turn that outside leg needs to become extended. How can I assess when I am holding onto the mental cue of "don't extend" so long that I am not allowing enough extension to occur? Should I ever be using a mental cue of trying to extend the outside leg?


Don't think of extending or pushing your stance leg...instead, remember: "The outside leg got long, but not by extending, but by flexing the inside leg and tipping to the little toe edge."
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby Max_501 » Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:59 am

I'll leave it to HH to answer the question of just how extended the leg should be, but I'll say that my mental target is to get as extended as I can without locking the knee joint (video shows that I'm generally much more flexed then my mental target). There are a couple of benefits. As the outside leg straightens the hips move over the feet. In addition, the ankle, knee, and hip become 'stacked' and more of the turn forces can be carried by the skeletal system.

onyxil, changing a habit requires exaggeration. In your case exaggerating flexing to release and holding that until you are solidly engaged on the new edges (high C). At that point you allow the extension to come to you as you flex and tip the inside leg. Once you have that nailed you can reassess to see if you could be getting even more extension of the outside leg, but I wouldn't make extension a focus at this point. Check out the pictures on Pages 114-116 of Essentials for help with timing.
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby Max_501 » Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:19 am

See pages 96-101 of Essentials.

HH uses words like "forceful", "vigorously", "pushing" to describe skiers that are using extension incorrectly. So we do not want to vigorously extend the outside leg to push the body into the turn.

But extension is an Essential and is required. We just do it gradually.

On page 101 HH says:

Pressuring from ski to ski is done by flexing and extending, not by pushing the body side to side.
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby h.harb » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:02 pm

Yes another great thread.

I know when I have extended too much when, wait, I don't extend, so how can I extend too much? If I release very quickly with retraction and I under estimate the forces from the arc, I can and sometimes do, get launched into the next turn faster than I am expecting. That is how I get over extended. This is very different from pushing against the surface with muscle force, to get leg extension. you only have to push if you don't develop any forces from the turn.

Every turn I make, has some stored energy in the ski. And if I do very slow two footed releases, and there is no energy possible, developed from that turn what happens? I pretend there is, and take my "center" and upper body across my skis, by pulling it across with my abdominal and core muscles and with tipping and leg flexing.
I demonstrate that in my Essentials Flexing DVD on a flat surface with only my ski boots on.

I have pushed my Cg into the turn and it feels terrible. It disconnects me from the ski. It makes me very inconsistent, at times I lose balance, other times my skis don't make round arcs, because they get pressure at the top of the arc and not much angle on the skis. It's a really messed up approach.
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby onyxjl » Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:22 pm

Max_501 wrote:video shows that I'm generally much more flexed then my mental target...

Once you have that nailed you can reassess to see if you could be getting even more extension of the outside leg, but I wouldn't make extension a focus at this point.


Thanks Max. So, as I work on getting this into my skiing by exaggerating the flexing movements, having a flexed outside leg throughout the turn is OK. It is better to make sure that the release flexing and tipping in the high C happens rather than be concerned about extension. Put simply, while working on building this skill, it's better to be over-flexed than over-extended. Does that sound correct?

I do not use active extension as a mental cue in my skiing currently. Watching video though, it's present in the high C, so as Harald commented it can be a habitual mode of skiing that you aren't even aware of because it feels natural.
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby h.harb » Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:30 pm

HH said,
"I know when I have extended too much when, wait, I don't extend, so how can I extend too much?"



My leg gets long, but I don't extend it. It's a hard concept to get across. I never feel the leg getting long. I guess it's because my focus is totally different. I'm trying to build angles with the inside ski tipping and inside leg flexing. Sure that does it to the outside leg and it gets long, but that just happens. I do always feel connected to the ground on that leg, but I don't really start to focus on it until it has achieved it's length. Usually that is just after the falline. That's when I begin to feel loading up of the ski.
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Re: Pressure, pressure. pressure

Postby Max_501 » Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:30 pm

onyxjl wrote:Put simply, while working on building this skill, it's better to be over-flexed than over-extended. Does that sound correct?


Yup.
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