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Thread: Pushing the feet forward at transition

  1. #1
    My horse knows his own way home Snow Sport Instructor SMJ's Avatar
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    Pushing the feet forward at transition

    I have been playing with something Bob Barnes talks about and finding it almost magical. I'm wondering what others think about this.

    At transition you push your feet forward, briefly. This opens the ankles and even get some contact with the back of the boot. You then close the ankles and/or pull the feet back.

    What this has done for my skiing is made the release smoother, made my turns rounder, given me a free feeling and yet as much or more control as the traditional keeping my hip always over my feet and never feeling the backs of the boots.

    I've spoken to race coaches who all say, "sure, we do that." PSIA types say, "hmm interesting" and admit that they do feel the backs of their boots at times.

    Looking at images of racers, see attached, you see the appearance of being "aft" often, but in reality although their butt is behind their feet, their center off mass is downhill from the skis and thus they are not aft.

    Thoughts?

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  2. #2
    Furnished the apartment Skier Village Coach
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    I think the real difference you are noting is not moving aft but opening your ankle enabling a more different line than your mass.The feet must move at a different rate to end up balanced over the ski to add the pressures needed to bend the ski. In this shot he is allowing his skis to move away from the mass to shorten the path the mass makes while finding himself over the middle of the ski when he needs to be. If you consider foreword to be to the direction of your intended path than the feet moving away is a natural cause of it's much different path.While you may be aft of your boots both mass and feet are moving down the hill in concert.
    I don't see this as anything new but is a good case study of instructors pushing fixed positions in skiing. For every rule we establish as a starting point in coaching there are many constant exceptions that will come into play. This is a dynamic sport and allowing rhythm and flow with whole body movement we can take fuller advantage of the gifts enabled by our construction. We don't ski in fixed positions but use basic guidelines to address balance and inefficient movements.

  3. #3
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    Your turns are more round because you're allowing the feet to move farther away from your COM at initiation. I didn't really recognize this move until Bob described it so thoroughly.

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    My horse knows his own way home Snow Sport Instructor SMJ's Avatar
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    I agree garry and Kneale. I think it's more a matter of allowing the ankles to open than actually pushing the feet forward, but to learn the movement I think of pushing the feet forward - a little - and then pulling them back, but that part really is a focus on closing the ankle not pulling the feet back.

    I am also focusing on keeping my hips pointing in the direction of the old turn as I do this, thus avoiding twisting the skis. The upper body may anticipate in the direction of the new turn, but the hips (middle body?) do not. The skis turn first and the hips follow.
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    March 10, 2014

    Hi SMJ:

    I tried it after reading elsewhere, that you had good experience with this move. I only did it for one run on an intermediate trail. I agree that it seems to do good things for one's skiing. As you've said, it seems to smooth out the transition part of the turn in a nice way.However, since the season is winding down, I'll just try it a few more times and only start really concentrating on it next season.

    Think snow,

    SCR
    Last edited by CharlieP; March 10th, 2014 at 11:54 AM.
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  6. #6
    As someone who never doesn't feel the back of his boot, *shrug* - there's only so much of all that I can do.

    But - bear with me here - when you all were doing one-legged drills weren't you just a little bit tempted to 'open the ankle' at neutral?
    Last edited by comprex; March 10th, 2014 at 04:31 PM.

  7. #7
    I have my own seat in the pub Skier Village Coach Coach Rick's Avatar
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    Basically just a retraction transition, SMJ. It allows the CM to take a more straight line journey across the skis and into the new turn, rather than having to rise (pendulum fashion) as it does in a cross over transition. The hips necessarily move aft of the feet when the knees are bent enough to let the CM and skis change sides without the CM rising.

    Can be executed either arc to arc, or with a pivot. When pivoting center/fore balance is reestablished via the pivot itself. When arc to arc, center/fore balance is reestablished via the lengthening of the outside leg once the CM has crossed to the downhill side of the skis. The lengthening of that leg maintains pressure on the new outside ski, to get the new turn engaged, and provides a long and strong outside leg to better withstand the new turn forces about to emerge.

    In the montage you posted, Marcel would not let his CM lag so far back as seen in the 3rd last image, if he were not planning on executing the pivot he does in the last 2 frames. It brings him instantly and easily back to center/fore for the initiation of the new turn. With the new sidecuts and course sets the need to pivot has become pervasive in World Cup racing of late.

    Here's a link to vids of me demonstrating both arc to arc and pivoted retraction transitions. Both a bit exaggerated for demonstration purposes, to make them clear to see. http://www.yourskicoach.com/glossary...etraction.html
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  8. #8
    Home Sweet Home Skier Village Coach mastersracer's Avatar
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    When I care about it, I allow my feet to move forward while finishing a turn. It helps me avoid the nasty ab-stem that I often find in my turns by getting the tails of the skis engage more. I don't know when the ab-stem developed, but I suspect it came from using it to brake a bit in soft snow on steep pitches. Or maybe I just got lazy on westeren snow.

    FWIW, I don't usually care except when the snow is firm to hard and I still want to carve the entire turn. On softer snow the ab-stem is less detrimental and I'm usually happy to be slarving. Skidded turns are lots of fun. I like the feel of spreading the 'butter' on the 'toast'.

  9. #9
    HI SMJ,

    I started thinking about the pushing the feet forward during transition. When you say opening up ankles, your simply saying to stand up more, thus retracting your ankles? And if so then this tells me this is simply removing pressure from the front of the skis to help end the turn for the next to begin. Am I on track at all? Pushing the feet forward sounds like your purposefully placing yourself in the back seat, but You can stand up and touch the back of the boot with your lower leg without necessarily being in the back seat, at least I believe so..

    thank you,

    Toby

  10. #10
    Furnished the apartment Skier Village Coach
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    We're talking about lateral extension. Allow the feet to take a rounder path than the CM. In a retraction initiation the only extension is laterally otherwise there would be a big up move to make room for your legs. Opening the ankle helps to manipulate pressure when gravity pulls the least on us. It's just a natural part of extension. The CM keeps moving down the hill in a shorter path.

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