Friday, May 28, 2010

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Biomechanics and lower leg dynamics.

To help understand this post, please refer to the Photos in the last three posts:

There is an interesting point to be made about the Austrians and their slalom skiing. Especially if you pay attention to the amount of outside leg length used to keep the pressure building by the Austrian skier compared to the US skier. Almost all flexing and tipping is done with the inside leg by the Austrian. He used almost all inside ankle and leg movements to change what he wanted on the outside leg. The outside leg is controlled by the ankle, which gives the knee some slight passive angulation (frame 2and 3). (Kinetic chain in action) After the critical point at the gate, the Austrian skier uses flexing of the outside leg, to control pressure and direction.

The American skier has more knee drive (to acquire angle) and has to work harder to achieve high angles to get his outside ski to hold and turn. His outside boot is almost booting out. Unfortunately, for him the method he uses includes femur rotation, which is steering. This has immediate negative consequences to his stance ski performance. He is steering his outside leg, although he wishes he didn't have to. Here is a "case and point" where leg steering demonstrates poor results that kill a skier's turn. Is he doing this on purpose? No.

He is forced into this by his boot set up or alignment. Notice how all the Austrians have a stronger boot set up? Check the third skier's alignment in the Blog. It's much riskier to be set up outside or positive as the Austrians are, but it does eliminate almost all need for leg steering. Especially unwanted outside leg steering caused by a soft alignment set up. They know this, leg steering is a killer in all skiing.

Why then do I so often acknowledge passive leg steering happens in PMTS technique. Because it does, but it's totally different leg steering. PMTS's goal is to accomplish the same type of steering, as the leg steering you see in the Austrian skier, (passive, kinetic chain, leg movement, keeping the body in balance) not active femur steering.

Just like the Austrian skier, PMTS resulting femur movement is passive. It is minimal and it is controlled with and by correct ankle tipping and flexing movements. In the PMTS system, our muscles are not trying to twist the femur, as instruction in traditional methods advocate. At the highest level of skiing racers avoid steering at all costs. This comparison shows why.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Comparison of two World Cup Skiers

Setting up the turn with lower body; tipping with no or little pressure on the skis.

Inside leg flexing and added tipping angles move CG closer to the snow.

Pressure and hold increase at critical part of the arc due to the ski reaction to tipping and flexing leg movements

Balances and pressure are in control and a flexing release is used.
This is brilliant skiing, no extra movements, everything in perfect balance. in the last frame upper body perfectly facing stance boot, ready for release.

Entering the arc the outside ski loses grip and skids tail. Upper body rotation follows as grip is lost.

Angles increase as counter balance increases. Knee angulation excessive, pressure to the ski late.

The outside ski has not reacted well, because it isn't developing strong enough hold and pressure; more forward leverage and a steering femur are necessary to keep it directed, this keeps the ski hooking uphill.

The knee has a much bigger angle to the snow than his ski boot and ski. The ski boot and ski are not reacting to his method of tipping. This doesn't happen with the Austrians I'm showing. It's a real problem and it's mostly mechanical, there are no movements that can fix this.

A leg extension is the only alternative, in this case to exit the turn, because the knee is so far committed to create grip and hold it isn't ready to release. The knee can't release, if the skier still needs hold and edge grip. This results in loss of speed, direction and rebound energy.

Although the difference between a winning Slalom skier and a 10th place slalom skier are often considered to be minimal and the gap between the two, seems attainable; many WC racers never bridge the gap. The comparison between these two skiers tells the story. Take particular notice of the ski angles to the slope in the last photos of the comparison. Not edge angles. Also take note of the times framed in the photos.

Why Austrians ski differently than US Ski TEam

Hirscher feathers his skis with a combination of tipping and inclination. The reason for the inclination is his alignment. Note: A bowlegged his set up.

He increases counter-acting of his body to his skis, aligning himself for edge pressuring and hold to come.
Note the outward bow of both legs

This set up often makes Hirscher stay in the upper phase of the arc too long and causes a late hard hit. This requires amazing strength, strong ankles and aggressive skiing.

I am not advocating that all skiers or racers take on such a clearly aggressive boot set up like the Austrians. There is a nice in between, or middle road. Finding it is the key. We strive for it with all our skiers that come to camp or visit our ski shop for alignment.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Baseline comparison of alignment and leg angles.

Soft Alignment:

Refined alignment often seen on World Cup.

Boot alignment applies even with World Cup racers.

This alignment is "soft", showing the knee too far in and upper leg rotated. This causes lots of tail skid as seen here.

A Tirol folk group plays for the guests.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hintertux Camp 2010

The Olperer in the background.

We have been here now for almost two weeks. The best snow year ever. Today, Sunday May, 9th turned out to be a sunny powder day. Video footage to come.