Extend vs Flex (taken from video thread)

Chris V.

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What I see--World Cup skiers throughout the turn cycle, and at the transition in particular, ski with a far more flexed posture than 99.9% of recreational skiers. They also work the fore-aft far more. This extreme flexion is pretty much the defining characteristic of slalom and GS racing at that level. Racers may or may not use some element of old ILE extension, and may use it to a greater or lesser degree, but that's a matter of tactics and choice, and I suspect of much less importance than the fact that they are all using such deep flexion as a dominant tool for obtaining ski performance. So to me all this debating is overblown.

The interpretation of transition through extension that less skilled skiers generally employ is to stand tall and stiff, and do it in a vertical direction, which you certainly won't see World Cup racers doing.

A couple of you have made the point that flexion alone won't cause a release. True--what causes the release in my experience is changing the differential in flexion between the inside and outside leg. That can result from relaxing the old outside leg, from standing up more on the old inside leg, or a combination of the two. Whichever way you do it, it alters the relationship between the COM and the BOS, allowing the body and the skis to take different paths, and as a result tipping the skis over onto the new edges. Getting the timing of this right--and starting the release way earlier than do most skiers below the expert level--is something many of the pundits are constantly harping on. Sorry if that's too basic.
 

Rod9301

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In turn where you are pumping for speed you are often doing both, first you extend/push before the fall line. This causes an upwards movement/acceleration. Then after the fall line you retract/relax in order to to have a proper float into the next turn. (You need to flex otherwise you have not range of motion to push with in the next turn)
You need to extend the outside leg around the fall line and after so you can withstand the high g forces skeletally instead of with your muscles.
 

dj61

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I know nothing Razie. Obviously you are the only one that knows anything. I hope you can fix Mikaela's skiing, you are her only hope!
What is wrong with her skiing? Bronze, silver and gold medals on WC.
 

geepers

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Flexing alone won't cause a release? Flex both your legs in the middle of a turn to the point that nothing is touching the snow, and you won't be turning any more. It's not that complicated folks. Forces cause turns. Remove the force; remove the turn.
Yes, taking both skis off the snow will result in tangential motion so turning stops. Trouble with that line of reasoning is that it will not by itself induce any lateral toppling from old to new turn.



Either we laterally pivot around something still in contact with the snow or we project CoM and BoS on different paths prior to release. Or some of both.
 

Average Joe

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From my cheap seat I'd say reducing force would be the simple answer to the question.
If I want to reduce force on my ski, flexing requires the least muscular effort, and is the quickest. Of course, a flex to release transition also requires an extended leg at apex, level hips, shoulders, and a quiet upper body - multiple elements are in the mix.
An extended transition starts with a more compact stance and begins by increasing force on the ski, until the legs can sufficiently unweight.
Of course there are always blends of both, and terrain certainly factors in ( for example, steeps tend to bring us down at apex or trough, and extension becomes necessary at transition).
 

Steve

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As @geepers said, simply flexing won't initiate a turn. Imagine that you're finishing a right footed turn; you flex the outside (right) leg, but lean uphill. A turn will not happen.

You need to simultaneously move your COM downhill. That will cause the skis to tip to the new edges and a turn will start. Otherwise you'll just fall onto your inside ski.
 

François Pugh

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Skiing is more than just releasing the old turn, but flexing does release the old turn.

If you want to link turns, you can "topple" which requires a fulcrum (or two), you can rely on internal forces to position things appropriately or you can set up the new turn with prior impulse and momentum. The more setup you have the less internal forces you need, e.g. legs and skis already headed in correct direction and rotating as needed, while body goes straight. Of course you can blend it all together any which way you choose. It all adds up.
 

François Pugh

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On a race course, the turns are chosen for you and you only have a limited choice of line. Free skiing, it's your roller coaster; put the the turns and rolls where you want them. Transition when and how you like. It's fun to pop up and come down. It's fun to speed over to the other side. It's fun to dive into a turn. It's all good, and you are the composer.
 

LiquidFeet

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As @geepers said, simply flexing won't initiate a turn. Imagine that you're finishing a right footed turn; you flex the outside (right) leg, but lean uphill. A turn will not happen.....
I've actually taught a lesson to a gentleman who did that. He was exceedingly reluctant to let his upper body go downhill. He'd flex the new inside leg as I directed, but then lean his torso uphill, so skis would continue on a straight track across the trail. Then he'd extend his new outside leg to push his torso over the skis and the turn would finally happen. I watched in disbelief.

He continually leaned back in both directions, along the ski and on the hill. I worked with him on that for the remaining time in the lesson, but the fear causing that reluctance to allow his body go downhill would not let go.
 
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Blue Streak

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I'm lost on what the heck you're arguing about then. Clearly all skiers use extension and flexion when they ski. I thought you were specifically talking about release types. If you're not, then fine. I guess we're done polluting this thread. Now we can just get back to personal videos.
:popcorn:
 

HardDaysNight

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What I see--World Cup skiers throughout the turn cycle, and at the transition in particular, ski with a far more flexed posture than 99.9% of recreational skiers. They also work the fore-aft far more. This extreme flexion is pretty much the defining characteristic of slalom and GS racing at that level. Racers may or may not use some element of old ILE extension, and may use it to a greater or lesser degree, but that's a matter of tactics and choice, and I suspect of much less importance than the fact that they are all using such deep flexion as a dominant tool for obtaining ski performance. So to me all this debating is overblown.

The interpretation of transition through extension that less skilled skiers generally employ is to stand tall and stiff, and do it in a vertical direction, which you certainly won't see World Cup racers doing.

A couple of you have made the point that flexion alone won't cause a release. True--what causes the release in my experience is changing the differential in flexion between the inside and outside leg. That can result from relaxing the old outside leg, from standing up more on the old inside leg, or a combination of the two. Whichever way you do it, it alters the relationship between the COM and the BOS, allowing the body and the skis to take different paths, and as a result tipping the skis over onto the new edges. Getting the timing of this right--and starting the release way earlier than do most skiers below the expert level--is something many of the pundits are constantly harping on. Sorry if that's too basic.
A breath of sanity. You are correct! Certainly not too basic for this gang apparently.
 

Noodler

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As @geepers said, simply flexing won't initiate a turn. Imagine that you're finishing a right footed turn; you flex the outside (right) leg, but lean uphill. A turn will not happen.

You need to simultaneously move your COM downhill. That will cause the skis to tip to the new edges and a turn will start. Otherwise you'll just fall onto your inside ski.
Simply flexing does initiate the new turn (at least for me and the way I ski). When I remove the stance leg from providing the support for the turn, it transfers the support to the LTE of the inside leg and starts the toppling move since the forces of the turn are heading down the slope. I'm not sure why you feel a need to "move your COM downhill". I don't actively need to push (ILE) or anything else to have that happen. As long as you have sufficient CB/CA, the flexion release kicks off the turn.

I guess there's just a difference in opinion on what "release" means. To me, I take it very literally. It means I have released the pressure/BoS from the old stance leg. If that movement doesn't start a turn for other skiers, then they're lacking in other fundamentals in their body position at the point of that release.
 

Steve

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I've actually taught a lesson to a gentleman who did that. He was exceedingly reluctant to let his upper body go downhill. He'd flex the new inside leg as I directed, but then lean his torso uphill, so skis would continue on a straight track across the trail. Then he'd extend his new outside leg to push his torso over the skis and the turn would finally happen. I watched in disbelief.

He continually leaned back in both directions, along the ski and on the hill. I worked with him on that for the remaining time in the lesson, but the fear causing that reluctance to allow his body go downhill would not let go.
Simply flexing does initiate the new turn (at least for me and the way I ski). When I remove the stance leg from providing the support for the turn, it transfers the support to the LTE of the inside leg and starts the toppling move since the forces of the turn are heading down the slope. I'm not sure why you feel a need to "move your COM downhill". I don't actively need to push (ILE) or anything else to have that happen. As long as you have sufficient CB/CA, the flexion release kicks off the turn.

I guess there's just a difference in opinion on what "release" means. To me, I take it very literally. It means I have released the pressure/BoS from the old stance leg. If that movement doesn't start a turn for other skiers, then they're lacking in other fundamentals in their body position at the point of that release.
I think LF's post addresses what I said, but yes, if you are a good skier making turns with some speed the force of the turn will allow the flexion to start a new turn without having to actively move your COM downhill. But that assumes that the forces are working during the turn. As she said for a low level skier flexing the outside ski will not do it by itself as they tend to lean uphill.

So in a pure basic sense, it's not enough. However, as you said if you have angulation and are balanced over the outside ski you're not leaning uphill and a release will start a turn.
 

Loki1

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Simply flexing does initiate the new turn (at least for me and the way I ski). When I remove the stance leg from providing the support for the turn, it transfers the support to the LTE of the inside leg and starts the toppling move since the forces of the turn are heading down the slope. I'm not sure why you feel a need to "move your COM downhill". I don't actively need to push (ILE) or anything else to have that happen. As long as you have sufficient CB/CA, the flexion release kicks off the turn
Noodler, let me ask you. Can you flex/extend the outside leg during a turn without releasing and starting transition?
 

Noodler

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Noodler, let me ask you. Can you flex/extend the outside leg during a turn without releasing and starting transition?
Yes, as long as the amount of flexion is insufficient to transfer the BoS to the inside ski LTE. Once the stance ski is retracted far enough to transfer the BoS, then the toppling ensues. There must be sufficient turn forces and/or counterbalancing for toppling to happen.

There has to be a BoS somewhere at all times as we ski. In good ski turns it is transferred from ski to ski. I think we can all agree on that. What I've been describing is a one-footed release. I haven't gotten into the other types of flexion releases to not muddy the waters in this discussion, but there are other ways to release the skis through flexion. However, they all accomplish the same thing, releasing the BoS to initiate the new turn.
 

Loki1

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Yes, as long as the amount of flexion is insufficient to transfer the BoS to the inside ski LTE. Once the stance ski is retracted far enough to transfer the BoS, then the toppling ensues. There must be sufficient turn forces and/or counterbalancing for toppling to happen.

So first off, all flexion doesn't cause release. Correct? The next question would be can you flex and transfer BOS to the LTE and it still not cause a release and transition?
 

Noodler

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So first off, all flexion doesn't cause release. Correct? The next question would be can you flex and transfer BOS to the LTE and it still not cause a release and transition?
You need to define your use of "release" before I answer your question.
 

razie

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Tom G has a very good feature on "getting off the merry go round" on flexing to release and how that is an effective means to topple - if that's of interest.

I think his reasoning is that to get off the merry go round, you have to let go... and that's how you let go... i.e. "release"

Flattening the ski is obviously important, not least because that way you get to engage bigger angles in the next turn, but seems secondary, theoretically at least as you can't flatten it while holding it engaged with 2g of pressure, although I would focus on that flattening very strongly...
 
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geepers

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I guess there's just a difference in opinion on what "release" means. To me, I take it very literally. It means I have released the pressure/BoS from the old stance leg. If that movement doesn't start a turn for other skiers, then they're lacking in other fundamentals in their body position at the point of that release
Sometimes the 1st thing I release is the upper body at the hips. The legs flex a split second later because I'd rather not pole vault skyward over the old stance leg. But the trigger came from the hips. Same thing as above wrt the fundamental body position.

@razie, that hip 1st release is a TG suggestion (or at least where I heard it 1st) in the merry-go-round vid you noted.

Aside: always thought flex to release specifically as both legs flexing.
 
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