Inside leg in carving

Michael Blythe

Booting up
Skier
Joined
Apr 2, 2019
Posts
13
Location
Bellingham, WA USA
I think I should be shortening the inside leg (and/or lengthening the outside leg?) more when trying to carve medium to long radius terms - to get more angulation vs too much inclination, but not sure how to think about / approach it. Do people have good drills and/or cues for focusing on this?
 

LiquidFeet

lurking
Instructor
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
5,263
Location
New England
I think I should be shortening the inside leg (and/or lengthening the outside leg?) more when trying to carve medium to long radius terms - to get more angulation vs too much inclination, but not sure how to think about / approach it. Do people have good drills and/or cues for focusing on this?
@Michael Blythe, can you currently do railroad tracks, leaving thin pencil-wide tracks in the snow, on low-pitch terrain? I'll respond in more detail when you answer. The reason I'm focusing on RRtrx is that you'll need this before successfully making medium and long radius carved turns.

Here are three videos. In the first, Sean Warman shows what you do with that inside foot and leg. Carving starts with tipping the foot inside the boot, which brings along tipping the lower leg to get more edge angle. The mental focus is on the inside foot, lifting the arch to get that ski edged. At the RRtrx stage, focus on tipping, not on flexing, with the sign of success being pencil-thin tracks. Of course both feet tip, but focus on the inside one since it's the leader.

Here's Deb Armstrong showing a single half-turn to the skier's right, made by tipping the inside foot and lower leg. This tipping makes the skier get bow-legged. Notice the pencil-thin tracks. The angulation is a by-product that supports balance.

And here's what tipping left-right-left-right straight down a low pitch cat track looks like. This is the actual RRtrx: incomplete turns staying within a narrow corridor. There is no ski rotation. Can you do this now, leaving consistently thin tracks? You'll need to be able to do this before increasing the turn width to get medium radius and long radius turns.
 
Last edited:

Dakine

Far Out
Inactive
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Posts
1,155
Location
Tip of the Mitt
I hate the description "tipping the feet in the boots."
it is misleading and physically wrong.
IMHO, you cannot tip your foot in well fitted boots!
What you can do is articulate the various bones in your foot to change the pressure distribution on the footbed and cuffs.
You can press on the LTE, you can press on the BTE and you can shift the pressure distribution laterally.
Changing the pressure distribution inside the boot is translated into changing the pressure distribution on the ski.
If your boots are so loose that you can actually move your whole foot significantly, you have a problem.
.......:popcorn:
 

S.H.

USSA Coach
Skier
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Posts
920
Location
New England --> CO
I hate the description "tipping the feet in the boots."
it is misleading and physically wrong.
IMHO, you cannot tip your foot in well fitted boots!
What you can do is articulate the various bones in your foot to change the pressure distribution on the footbed and cuffs.
You can press on the LTE, you can press on the BTE and you can shift the pressure distribution laterally.
Changing the pressure distribution inside the boot is translated into changing the pressure distribution on the ski.
If your boots are so loose that you can actually move your whole foot significantly, you have a problem.
.......:popcorn:
define "significantly"
 

James

Out There
Instructor
Joined
Dec 2, 2015
Posts
15,780
^
Based on that, then yes, you can tip them significantly. If you tip to little toe, the big toe side is not coming off the footbed.
I get your point, but if your boots are so tight your feet get locked up then the bones in the foot can’t rearrange themselves and you’re ruining it’s function. You now have club foot/wooden foot. No one’s talking loose boots with an inch shell fit here. It is the conundrum of the ski boot though. Constrained freedom.
I think it’s actually more dangerous to lock up the foot and particularly leg shaft then to have too much movement. Within reason. I’m pretty sure I tore an acl that way.
 

Chris V.

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Mar 25, 2016
Posts
743
Location
Truckee
I'd say it's a little bit of movement (change of position) of the foot, and a lot of this:
What you can do is articulate the various bones in your foot to change the pressure distribution on the footbed and cuffs. You can press on the LTE, you can press on the BTE and you can shift the pressure distribution laterally.
James nailed it, too.
 

Chris V.

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Mar 25, 2016
Posts
743
Location
Truckee
I get your point, but if your boots are so tight your feet get locked up then the bones in the foot can’t rearrange themselves and you’re ruining it’s function. You now have club foot/wooden foot.
Think about this issue with respect to footbed selection, as well.
 

Rich McP

H20nSnow Elsewhere
Skier
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Posts
332
Location
Breck whenever possible
Teacher: What I want you to do is articulate the various bones in your foot to change the pressure distribution on the footbed and cuffs.
Student: Articulate WHAT?!?! WTF are you babbling about?
Teacher: Tip your foot.
Student: Oh! I get it. So do this? (does it, teacher sees everything he expects to see as a result)
 

crgildart

Gravity Slave
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
12,215
Location
The Bull City
For me breaking the old school habit involves a conscious effort to increase the space between my knees pushing my inside knee inward and a little away from the outside knee. That allows me to engage the edge of the inside ski more effectively making two distinct arc tracks instead of one smeared one. The more I practice that the less I have to think about it when I want to carve new school turns.
 

Dakine

Far Out
Inactive
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Posts
1,155
Location
Tip of the Mitt
^
Absolutely!
It is also part of the movement pattern that keeps the hip from rotating into too much counter.
New school skiers are very two footed while those who wrestled longboards use a lot of counter and are more one footed.
In general, I like to think in terms of where the pressure is being applied rather than in terms of movements.
That's why I like discussions where the focus is on what is happening in the boots.
It's all about Ankleation.
 

Rich McP

H20nSnow Elsewhere
Skier
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Posts
332
Location
Breck whenever possible
For me breaking the old school habit involves a conscious effort to increase the space between my knees pushing my inside knee inward and a little away from the outside knee. That allows me to engage the edge of the inside ski more effectively making two distinct arc tracks instead of one smeared one. The more I practice that the less I have to think about it when I want to carve new school turns.
There is - for me - also the thought of flexing the inside leg. After the turn has begun and is set - shaping phase - flex it more; stand on it less; get it out of the way; fall on to it; bend you knee; whatever thought gets you more inside. If your outside ski is already carving, and you flex the inside leg more, you get a tighter turn. IOW, get on your outside ski even more than you think you already are.
 

Noodler

Just call me Sir Turn-a-lot
Skier
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Posts
4,709
Location
Denver, CO
For me breaking the old school habit involves a conscious effort to increase the space between my knees pushing my inside knee inward and a little away from the outside knee. That allows me to engage the edge of the inside ski more effectively making two distinct arc tracks instead of one smeared one. The more I practice that the less I have to think about it when I want to carve new school turns.

Careful. There are nuances here. Moving the knees around does not accomplish the same thing as foot inversion/eversion. There's meaningful change in how the turn is supported when you change the pressure across the base of the foot. Yes, you can "edge" using knee angulation, but the quality of the edging support is much higher when you start with the base of the kinetic chain instead.
 
Last edited:

LiquidFeet

lurking
Instructor
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
5,263
Location
New England
I think I should be shortening the inside leg (and/or lengthening the outside leg?) more when trying to carve medium to long radius terms - to get more angulation vs too much inclination, but not sure how to think about / approach it. Do people have good drills and/or cues for focusing on this?
....I can make RR tracks on moderate terrain.
Good. This means you don't need to learn how to maintain two carving skis, nor how to sense the carve when it's happening.

I am guessing that the medium radius and long radius turns you seek require more turn completion than you are currently doing. The longer amount of time you spend shortening the inside leg, the rounder the turn and the more completed it will be. The speed at which you shorten the inside leg determines the radius of the turn. Faster will produce a shorter radius. Slower will produce a longer radius.

For completed turns, keep shortening the inside leg to bring the skis around and across the hill. As you flex that inside leg, feel that inside foot sliding up alongside the outside lower leg. See if you can get it up even with that knee by the fall line (a future goal!). Keep the torso uprightish as you do this to keep pressure focused on the outside ski and to keep it carving; adjust appropriately to maintain the sensation of carving. If the skis slip, either bring that inside foot more up under you or lean the head/shoulders more outward over the outside ski. The thing you are adjusting to maintain the carve is the platform angle. If you complete your turns, you should get nice round ones.

As you complete each turn, keep tipping the inside foot while shortening that inside leg past the fall line. The tipping and shortening will cause the inside ski to bring its foot back up under your hips. Start shortening the outside leg after the fall line too, which will bring its foot back under you alongside the inside foot. You will stay low and topple automatically into the new turn as your feet get up under you - like magic. Tip the new inside foot inside the boot to its little toe edge, keep shortening its leg, and you'll be in the new turn.

IME, the outside leg extends without conscious effort to keep its ski on the snow. I don't think about it, but racers probably do all kinds of independent things with that outside leg and foot. Others here will focus on different things I'm sure. Looking forward to the discussion.
 
Last edited:
Top