Big Toe Position

Jelder

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I suspect all my questions are likely either 1) dumb, or 2) have already been discussed a million times but my search function ability sucks.

Here's today's: is it good practice to keep my big toes pulled up into the top of my boots? This seems to help the balls of my feet stay engaged , and also keeps some tension (dorsiflexion) in my ankles.

Thanks as always!
Jay
 

Henry

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I don't ski well with the muscles in my feet tensed. I did find one time that I was clenching my toes, it was not intentional, and it was a drawback. For a short time I concentrated on keeping my toes loose in the middle of the toe box. That was a help for that condition.

What else can you do to stay balanced as you'd like? One way is to experiment with different thickness spoilers between the boot shell and liner in the calf area. Make something temporary like folded trail maps or maybe something thicker. See if you can find your balance spot. If you like the result, some boot shops sell the spoilers. Heel lifts, 1/4" or 3/8" tapered thickness, help some skiers and are just wrong for others. You can experiment.
 

markojp

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Think of pulling your instep to the top of the boot. This effectively fires the tibialis anterior muscle to close your ankle and bring you into the cuff of the boot without levering on the ball and crushing the cuff.
It also brings your CoM about 3" forward, which can transform your skiing. Let your toes relax
 

Delicious

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Think of pulling your instep to the top of the boot. This effectively fires the tibialis anterior muscle to close your ankle and bring you into the cuff of the boot without levering on the ball and crushing the cuff.
It also brings your CoM about 3" forward, which can transform your skiing. Let your toes relax
Awesome description!
 

graham418

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Here's today's: is it good practice to keep my big toes pulled up into the top of my boots? This seems to help the balls of my feet stay engaged , and also keeps some tension (dorsiflexion) in my ankles.
I wouldn't say to do it as practice, but as an exercise to do on a run to see how your weight shifts in your boots is interesting and enlightening
 

jimtransition

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This debate has been done before, but to offer a contrasting opinion, I'd recommend worrying about what you're doing with your hamstrings more, they are much more effective at pressuring the front of the boot/ski. Also, pressing on the front of the boot the entire turn is counterproductive, feeling the back of the boot at the end of the turn is fine.
 

markojp

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This debate has been done before, but to offer a contrasting opinion, I'd recommend worrying about what you're doing with your hamstrings more, they are much more effective at pressuring the front of the boot/ski. Also, pressing on the front of the boot the entire turn is counterproductive, feeling the back of the boot at the end of the turn is fine.
I don't disagree at all. In a couple of progressions I use, I'll do some work specifically to engage the hamstrings, but for many, working first with small changes close to the snow as we can get is often a necessary first step. Lots of pretty decent skiers have no idea that their feet can work actively in their boots.... then we work up the chain. :)

The goal of closing the ankle is to develop and feel pressure on the bottom of the foot from metatarsal pads, through the arch, and back through the heel while keeping our feet contained under our CoM ... the bottom of the foot starts to feel like a magnet being pulled to the snow surface. Combine that with active lateral foot tipping in the boot, and skiing can change radically for people struggling with starting turning movements higher up the chain. This gets sorted, then we can work on the DIRT, how to maintain dynamic balance and structure at higher edge angles (or lower in extremely steep terrain/bumps) and overall versatility in different tactical applications.
 
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razie

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No, it never worked for me. @markojp and @jimtransition have it - it's the TA and the hamstrings mostly, not some toe muscles :geek:

Pulling the toe up doesn't get any more control, in fact it may encourage plantar flexion, which is the opposite of dorsiflexion - but digging the heels back and "clamping" the boot with the top of the foot/instep and the heel brings control back, especially when the boots are free to move back and forth (transition) and then the hamstrings are useful in moving the boot back. When you're standing strong on the outside foot, you don't need to control it that much, you can't really move the boot fore/back anymore, because of the pressure, just don't let it shoot ahead too much as you release - shifting focus on keeping the inside boot back does the trick while "on the power".

If your calves hurt at the end of the day, it means you're back and pedalling instead (push the BOF down or plantar flexion) - which should only be a compalensatory movement, not a way to ski...
 
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jimtransition

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I don't disagree at all. In a couple of progressions I use, I'll do some work specifically to engage the hamstrings, but for many, working first with small changes close to the snow as we can get is often a necessary first step. Lots of pretty decent skiers have no idea that their feet can work actively in their boots.... then we work up the chain. :)

The goal of closing the ankle is to develop and feel pressure on the bottom of the foot from metatarsal pads, through the arch, and back through the heel while keeping our feet contained under our CoM ... the bottom of the foot starts to feel like a magnet being pulled to the snow surface. Combine that with active lateral foot tipping in the boot, and skiing can change radically for people struggling with starting turning movements higher up the chain. This gets sorted, then we can work on the DIRT, how to maintain dynamic balance and structure at higher edge angles (or lower in extremely steep terrain/bumps) and overall versatility in different tactical applications.
Fair enough if it works for you, I find people improve a lot quicker with a focus on being able to move their feet through the turn, rather than move their feet in their boot. I also don't personally feel much pressure along the base of my boot, it's much more on the sides/cuffs.
 

Kneale Brownson

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Jay: Study what Sean Warman explains here:
Sean introduced me to this concept years ago by having me sit in a chair with feet in socks and feel raising the arch of one foot and sensing the tensioning that goes on inside the lower leg. Then raising the outside of the foot and feeling the same activities. After being able to raise one little toe side while raising the other arch while seated, he had me stand and do the same with weight on the feet. Then he had me put on my ski boots and go try it on the snow. Hard to do now that you must boot up at your car. I could help with that a bit if you want to PM me about it.

Oh, and to answer your question here, I like to feel my big toes touching the footbeds at all times.
 
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markojp

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Fair enough if it works for you, I find people improve a lot quicker with a focus on being able to move their feet through the turn, rather than move their feet in their boot. I also don't personally feel much pressure along the base of my boot, it's much more on the sides/cuffs.
Again, I don't disagree at all. I'll say quickly, in many instructional threads, if one body part is mentioned, the assumption is that the author excludes all else in their coaching. . This couldn't be farther from the truth. Yes, simple dorsiflexion doesn't address tipping a ski on edge, and for the record, I most certainly talk about tipping/flattening, engaging hamstrings and the back of the chain, opening the ankle and stroking the ski, etc.... just not all at once. :)
 
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markojp

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In my experience "stroking the ski" is an advanced skill. One needs to be using the ankle functionally first for both fore-aft and lateral control of the ski.
100% there with you on that one!
 

JESinstr

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Sean introduced me to this concept years ago by having me sit in a chair with feet in socks and feel raising the arch of one foot and sensing the tensioning that goes on inside the lower leg. Then raising the outside of the foot and feeling the same activities. After being able to raise one little toe side while raising the other arch while seated, he had me stand and do the same with weight on the feet. Then he had me put on my ski boots and go try it on the snow. Hard to do now that you must boot up at your car. I could help with that a bit if you want to PM me about it.

Oh, and to answer your question here, I like to feel my big toes touching the footbeds at all times.
After reading some of the posts up stream last night, I played around (bare footed) regarding the creation of tension in my foot and lower leg. I found that raising/lifting the little toe side of the foot ( of which I am an advocate), created the in boot tension sensations I usually feel while on skis. So I went out today and really focused on lifting the little toe side of my new outside ski and with some additional focus on pelvic counter, I experience a noticeable increase in edge engagement. So IMO, it is not about lifting the toes as much as it is tilting the foot, and on up the kinetic chain. When you think about it, if you want to establish an edge angle, the tilting of the foot has to come from the outside.

As to my inside foot, as many here advocate, the tension comes from keeping/pulling the foot back underneath combined with a progressive shortening of the inside leg as the turn develops.

Instructive video Kneale. Thanks for posting.
 

Kneale Brownson

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The best part about raising the outside of the outside foot is that it does not make that leg ridgid like trying to press down on the inside of the outside foot (as in press down the ball of the foot or the big toe of the foot). I think progressively raising the arch of the inside foot adds to the shortening of the inside leg.
 

JESinstr

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Just a follow on to what @Kneale Brownson stated above as it relates to beginners.
In a wedge configuration, the skier is pre-positioned on their edges with both skis directed toward each other.

We need to emphasize that control comes from the raising and lowering of the outside of the foot vs the inherent urge to push down on the inside edges. As hard as it might be to comprehend, the student needs to understand that they are managing pressure developed by the skis as they move forward and not trying to create it with a pushing action. IMO
 
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