Author Topic: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.  (Read 3681 times)

Svend

  • 4-6 Year Member
  • 1000 Posts
  • ****
  • Posts: 1107
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2013, 07:27:01 am »
The first step in fore/aft balance isn't in the gear. When you are to the point where gear is a consideration in fore/aft management, you'll be at the level where you won't have to ask... you'll know. I only know two skiers other than myself who are able to identify this... one is Harald and the other is a FIS coach who I collaborate with. There may be one other, but he and I have not discussed his setup in that level of detail.

Harald's sensitivity to fore/aft balance is incredible. I had never met a skier who described fore/aft balance in a way I could relate to until I met Harald. If you reach that level you won't have to post about it on the internet.

Hmmm....I'm not quite sure what to make of those comments.  Greg, adjusting forward lean, ramp and binding position are pretty basic setup parameters for most skiers above intermediate level.  I'm certainly not the only one here to have posted about it, or to have spent time working to get these set up right.  And believe me when I tell you that I notice a significant difference every time I play with any one of those variables.  And I'm no expert skier.  OTOH, when Mike talks about feeling pressure changes on the bottom of his feet, then that's way beyond my crude senses.

Re. my own experiences, I think that one of the reasons this was so noticeable to me, was that the ski I was having trouble with (Progressor 9) has a much smaller sweet spot than my other two pairs, the Nordicas and Dynastars.  Both of those have a huge sweet spot, and I never feel off balance.  They are very forgiving of mistakes and stance problems, and I have never felt the need to adjust anything on those other than binding position.  The Progressor 9's, on the other hand, are quite different, and small changes in these variables clearly made big differences in how the skis behaved.  That behaviour was pretty obvious, and any decent skier would not fail to notice it:  bindings too far forward = tails washing out; not enough forward lean = get way forward to engage the shovels; too much heel lift = disconnection from tails.   I think you get the picture. 

And, in contrast to Mike's bottom of foot pressure, when you get these things set up right, you can feel it in your entire body.  You simply feel more centered, balanced, harder to knock off center when hitting rough terrain. 

My basic point to Mike was more than that, however.  My thinking is that the gear has to be set up correctly first, before fine tuning of technique begins.  Otherwise the skier in his technique is always compensating for equipment setup problems, which, it seems to me, is particularly pertinent in the fore-aft balance discussion.  Eg. why fight to get forward if all that is missing is a little forward lean shim?


jim-ratliff

  • 6+ Year Member
  • 1000 Posts
  • ******
  • Posts: 2739
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2013, 08:18:11 am »
Glen Scanlon was at the two PMTS East gatherings organized by Dan. Glen has trained under Harald (about all I know) and works with the Waterbury ski race teams (mostly boot fitting, but some youth coaching)?
At last years gathering, he also brought along a 20pt FIS racer (I think that means pretty good) who skied the weekend on one ski because of his broken ankle.  Glen got into a discussion of Fore-Aft balance and how it isn't static, how balance is really the fact that you should always be moving, and that where you pressure the ski varies at different points in the turn.
There were some follow-up questions directed later at the younger racer, and while he obviously understood what Glen was explaining and does it himself, he couldn't articulate nearly as well what he felt and how he moved through the turn.  And no, I'm not saying that Glen explained it as well as Harald, only that there is a level of fore aft discussion that is still well over the head of this writer.
Those were about the "fine details" of fore aft balance, I'm still struggling with the "gross details" of fore aft balance.


Unrelated comment, but I still remember being amazed at what trenches this kid's turns left in the snow on an easy slope skiing no faster than me?  Looked like he weighed 300 lbs instead of 150.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2013, 10:29:07 am by jim-ratliff »
"If you're gonna play the game boy, ya gotta learn to play it right."

Gary

  • 6+ Year Member
  • 1000 Posts
  • ******
  • Posts: 2590
  • Location: Rochester, NY
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #47 on: January 14, 2013, 08:23:21 am »
Guys....I'm following in line behind Svend here...I'm no Jedi master, Greg or HH or even Clendenin who pounds fore/aft awareness into all his students....20 years ago I recognized fore aft balance was important and even a problem for me... but didn't know how to fix it.  :-[

Through great instructors,  trial and error, better understanding of boots and mounting points for my skis....I started to finally feel more centered/balanced on my skis.

Being able to pressure a ski evenly tip to tail, efficiently is my ultimate goal for all skiing conditions. First thing I recognize if I'm skiing poorly is my fore/aft balance is off...I'm just not being efficient with my movements.

So, yeah, I believe even we mere mortals recognize deficiencies in this area and even how to correct them.

Best, G

Gary

  • 6+ Year Member
  • 1000 Posts
  • ******
  • Posts: 2590
  • Location: Rochester, NY
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #48 on: January 14, 2013, 08:31:33 am »
Jim....not sure this will help but if I may re-iterate what fore/aft balance means to me:


Being able to pressure a ski evenly tip to tail, efficiently is my ultimate goal for all skiing conditions. First thing I recognize if I'm skiing poorly is my fore/aft balance is off...I'm just not being efficient with my movements.

To further explain:

Those movements would include (but not limited to),precise pole planting, edge to edge management, and that feeling under my feet that gives me feedback and lets me know if I'm  stacked and balanced over the the ski as its energy and snow contact points move from tip to tail or any where on that ski.

At least this is what I feel and how I would describe it...best,  g

HeluvaSkier

  • Consider me the reason you should pay attention...
  • Instructor
  • 100 Posts
  • **
  • Posts: 156
  • Location: WNY
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #49 on: January 14, 2013, 08:59:43 am »
What you're all overlooking (except Jim - he got it) is that your tinkering with your equipment is based on the assumption that you are able to accurately self-diagnose AND differentiate between a technical deficiency and a gear limitation. Just because you think something is helping, does not mean it is helping. Without a knowledgable third party to actually evaluate the situation (setup and technique) you're just blindly guessing at a solution to a problem that may or may not even exist.

Like I said above, the number of skier who I know that can do this accurately, I can count on two fingers... And even they rely on a third party or video to ensure their "feelings" aren't lying to them.
All-Mountain: A common descriptive term for boots or skis that are designed to perform equally poorly under a variety of conditions and over many different types of terrain.

ToddW

  • 4-6 Year Member
  • 200 Posts
  • ****
  • Posts: 320
  • Location: Westchester, NY
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #50 on: January 14, 2013, 09:26:31 am »
Jedi Master rare?  Sure it is.  Even lateral alignment, which is relatively easier for a skilled skier to sense, is sometimes off in internationally competitive athletes.  This is part of the reason why a sponsor/boot change can be such a big deal for them.

 This shouldn't surprise since highly developed fore-aft is not common.  As an example, I recently observed two days of a gathering of a couple hundred technique-minded skiers (masters academy and pro jam).  I saw only a handful venture out of the back seat and only one (a trainer from their national organization) actually work a ski fore-aft.  These people actually care about technique, but I'd wager that many of them will never experience the forward half of the fore-aft spectrum. 

Gary

  • 6+ Year Member
  • 1000 Posts
  • ******
  • Posts: 2590
  • Location: Rochester, NY
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #51 on: January 14, 2013, 09:31:11 am »
Hmmmm....sensory feedback is a wonderful thing....
for me...if I tinker one way and the results don't produce the desired results, I may try something else.

Actually in my first outing with HH, he noted I was to far back in my stance and had some canting issues....which we resolved. First outing with JC...he thought for all mountain and bumps, I had too much ramp angle in my boots...postive adjustments were made. But I have made numerous tinkers over the years based on what my goals are.

So yes Greg, no doubt having a skilled third party helps but please don't take the "tinker" out of me.....just when I think I've got it...haha!

I think too that if you are tinkering and you still don't have the desired reslts, Gregs right.... get someone who know'swhat  to look for....but keep in mind....you're the only one that knows what you're feeling and ultimately if you're satisfied with the results.

G

LivingProof

  • Global Moderator
  • 400 Posts
  • *
  • Posts: 892
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #52 on: January 14, 2013, 09:56:18 am »
Svend,
On our upcoming trip to NY, on Sunday, we get to ski with Helluva. I would encourage you to ride some chairs with him and talk about set-up. He always has a video camera with him and I hope to do some video work with him, you are welcome to join up while we do this ( speaking for me that is, but, hopefully Greg will agree ). I believe that no one in this forum sweats the details of set-up as much as he does. When he speaks, I listen. He and I are doing some PM's about my getting work done by the person who works on Greg's boot in Elliocottville. I want to see what the video produces first.

You are correct that my boot change will change some aspects of my skiing. Don't know what they are yet. One aspect is that the new boots are 10 mm shorter, and, I adjusted the heels (only)  forward, resulting in a slight shift in the mounting point related to the ski center. I hear your point on moving equipment on your Fischer Progressors. If you know a ski is not working compared to others, and all else is constant, an equipment adjustment just may be the solution.

I agree with Helua's argument that change without analysis by a trained second set of eyes is a crap shoot. I'm not against tinkering, but, change is a time of opportunity and danger. How do you know which direction you are headed toward?  A small anecdotal story. Two years ago, I changed my golf irons which are custom fitted to an individuals swing to make sure when the club contacts the ground, it's flat not oriented to the toe or heel of the club. We did all the standard tests, but, without video. Shortly after getting my clubs, I was taking some instruction and my pro showed my on video that my swing had changed. My clubs were fitted to an incorrect swing.

I do know that there are many drills, from Harb and others, on improving fore/aft. They seem to be doing good things for my skiing this season. Will Helluva's video concur, we'll find out in a couple of weeks.

dan.boisvert

  • 100 Posts
  • *
  • Posts: 102
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #53 on: January 14, 2013, 11:01:38 am »
A quick clarification on Glen Scannell--he does equipment setup and technical coaching at Waterville Valley, NH.  He's independent, but does/did a lot of work with Waterville Valley Academy racers.  He has a rather lengthy ski resume, but learned bootfitting from HH and has a blue cert in PMTS.  He has also mostly gotten out of the ski business since last year, and the bits of time he's still allotting to it are very hard to get.

I think there are two discussions going on here--one about what recreational skiers do to make their existing skiing feel better to them, and one about how to get good at skiing.  I ended up skiing a bunch with the racer Jim mentioned (worked out great for me that he broke his leg and couldn't train :D ), and we spent most of our time working on fore-aft and what PMTS calls counterbalancing.  As he explained it to me, being "forward" is really close to being "backseat".  The range isn't "forward to back", it's "FORWARD to forward", and that's how you have to approach it if you want to get performance out of your skis, and be able to lay down the trenches Jim described.  We skied on a couple different mountains, and the only skiers he ever pointed out as forward enough were the national team guys who were training at Waterville one day.  Everybody else we saw (racers, instructors, normal schmucks like me), was backseat.  I think people here have very different definitions of "forward", and suspect Greg has the same definition as the one given to me last season.

I also think that intermediates fiddling with ramp and binding delta is mostly an internet phenomenon.  Sure, good racers experiment with stuff and video/clock it to see how it works for them, but I don't think I've ever run into an intermediate in person who spends time fiddling with those angles.  At least for me, I get my skis mounted wherever the shop or guy I bought them from had them, and then I go ski.  That's not to say there couldn't be improvements made to my setup, but that's far from being the limiting factor, and I'd rather spend my time on technique which will carry through to every set of skis/boots I ever own.  I just don't feel like a degree here or there makes that much of a difference.  I'm not going to magically start getting world cup starts just because my binding delta is fixed by a degree or two, or even my lateral alignment.  I still need to learn how to ski..

Svend

  • 4-6 Year Member
  • 1000 Posts
  • ****
  • Posts: 1107
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #54 on: January 14, 2013, 11:31:27 am »
The Progressor 9's, on the other hand, are quite different, and small changes in these variables clearly made big differences in how the skis behaved.  That behaviour was pretty obvious, and any decent skier would not fail to notice it:  bindings too far forward = tails washing out; not enough forward lean = get way forward to engage the shovels; too much heel lift = disconnection from tails.   
My basic point to Mike was more than that, however.  My thinking is that the gear has to be set up correctly first, before fine tuning of technique begins.  Otherwise the skier in his technique is always compensating for equipment setup problems, which, it seems to me, is particularly pertinent in the fore-aft balance discussion.  Eg. why fight to get forward if all that is missing is a little forward lean shim?

Seriously guys? Are you telling me that it's all wrong? The above comments are not minute little details....this is pretty basic stuff.  Fundamentals that even intermediates should get right so that they can progress without fighting the gear and tiring themselves out. 

Add to that the FEELING of being balanced, stable, able to absorb uneven terrain without being thrown off kilter.  How anyone can tell another skier what they are feeling or experiencing is a bit of a stretch. 

But it seems to me we might be talking on somewhat different levels here.  Gross, basic variables vs. fine tuning the details. 

As for skiing with Helluva in Ellicottville, I'd be delighted to make some turns with him and clink glasses over a pint.  But just to be clear, I'm going there to have fun and share some laughs with a great bunch of guys, and really don't want to turn the day into a clinic.  (No disrespect intended, Greg...I'm sure you don't want to have your instructor's hat on all day either...).


jim-ratliff

  • 6+ Year Member
  • 1000 Posts
  • ******
  • Posts: 2739
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #55 on: January 14, 2013, 12:11:30 pm »
Add to that the FEELING of being balanced, stable, able to absorb uneven terrain without being thrown off kilter.  ......

But it seems to me we might be talking on somewhat different levels here.  Gross, basic variables vs. fine tuning the details. 
I've always "felt" pretty balanced.  After all, I was an athlete in high school; why couldn't everyone see how balanced I was?

More seriously, I've often wondered which is the fine tuning and which is the gross basic variable.
I can feel the difference in skiing from moving my bindings 2 cm forward (less than an inch).  Don't I get the same or more effect by moving my shoulders and upper body forward 1 1/2 inches (and that ain't very much)!!
If I increase my forward lean angle from 19 to 21 degrees, isn't that the same as moving my hips forward 1/2 an inch (or maybe just keeping my hands more up and forward)?
For me, at least, I'm beginning to think that I've been fiddling with the fine tuning stuff (hardware) before I ever got the gross basic variables (my body) adjusted?

Liam and LP's golf analogies are pertinent.  IF YOU HAVE A GOOD GOLF SWING, then the stuff they say about gear is correct (for the current swing).  Hmmm.  Actually, I guess that even if you have a BAD golf swing you can still get complementary gear for that swing.
Do I have a good SKI SWING?? nope.  Which is easier to change??  The hardware!! (cause my software is 64 years old and fighting against MUSCLE MEMORY).


So which are the basic variables and which are the variables than could then be used for fine tuning?


Quote from: jimr
And don't misunderstand, I do move my bindings around to see what I like and am 15-25 cm forward on Fischer and Head skis, less on the SKi Logics).
« Last Edit: January 14, 2013, 12:30:57 pm by jim-ratliff »
"If you're gonna play the game boy, ya gotta learn to play it right."

HeluvaSkier

  • Consider me the reason you should pay attention...
  • Instructor
  • 100 Posts
  • **
  • Posts: 156
  • Location: WNY
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #56 on: January 14, 2013, 12:28:29 pm »
Svend,
Gary and LP can both attest to this: I don't offer any coaching or discussion of technique unless it is explicitly asked for. Even then I am selective about how much detail I actually provide. I don't have a burning desire to share what I know with someone who genuinely uninterested. Though, I think you will understand my frame of reference once we have skied together.

That said, I love to ski and and have fun with good people, so we will undoubtedly have a great time.
All-Mountain: A common descriptive term for boots or skis that are designed to perform equally poorly under a variety of conditions and over many different types of terrain.

Svend

  • 4-6 Year Member
  • 1000 Posts
  • ****
  • Posts: 1107
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #57 on: January 14, 2013, 12:57:59 pm »
Hey Greg, thanks for saying that.  Sounds like we're both on the same page.  And just to be clear, it's not that I am disinterested -- to the contrary, I'm very open to learning and getting advice.  But there is a time and place for everything, if you get my meaning.  I am looking forward to meeting you and Mike and the rest of the guys, a few of whom I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting either.  It'll be good to take a break from a hectic life and just ski for a few days.

As for some of the other responses, I am honestly rather baffled by the general gist of the posts and a few of the more pointed comments, at least one of which bordered on outright condescension.  Time for a break....

« Last Edit: January 14, 2013, 01:00:34 pm by Svend »

epic

  • Instructor
  • <100 Posts
  • **
  • Posts: 85
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #58 on: January 14, 2013, 04:24:03 pm »
I also think that intermediates fiddling with ramp and binding delta is mostly an internet phenomenon.

I think it would be fair to say that most intermediate skiers (heck take out intermediate) have never heard of ramp and delta and have no idea of how to change it or what a change could do for them. That doesn't mean that they could not benefit from changing it. My wife went from basically not skiing, to "hey let's go skiing" when I changed her bindings from toes down to flat. Her Tyrolia bindings were 8mm toes down and her quads would be burning within minutes of putting her skis on. With her KTi bindings which are darn close to flat, she is good to go. Huge difference, and there is no amount of coaching that could have made that change for her. She isn't the only one.

jim-ratliff

  • 6+ Year Member
  • 1000 Posts
  • ******
  • Posts: 2739
Re: Fore Aft Balance and how to get there.
« Reply #59 on: January 14, 2013, 04:33:27 pm »

Very Interesting -- and glad she now enjoys skiing.
In your opinion, is this change in feel for your wife somehow implicit with the position of the foot, or is it because raising the toe 8mm has the effect of decreasing forward lean, and she had been squatting back against the forward lean.  As you said in another post, more or less forward lean doesn't always result in a more or less forward position.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2013, 04:39:38 pm by jim-ratliff »
"If you're gonna play the game boy, ya gotta learn to play it right."