Sunday, January 22, 2017

Counter acting, hip flexibility no one talks about.

To be a great skier you need incredible amount of hip flexibility. To be a very good skier and advanced skier, you need "some" hip flexibility, and counter acting, without it you will suffer. 

Watching the world cup's best skiers shows that these athletes are not only amazingly strong, thick muscled, but very flexible with the hips. More directly, they can twist their hips back away from the direction of the skis. This ability give you stronger edge hold, new turn preparation and "Super Phantom", little toe edge holding ability. 

In everyone of these photos, my skiing shows hips counter acted. And as with the best skiers in the world, you see the same hip to ski relationship. Remember many announcers and instructors get this relationship incorrect. They state it incorrectly as well, and they define it incorrectly. It's not where your hips face relative to the falline or bottom of the mountain, it's where your hips face relative to where your skis are pointed.
Here, Hirscher shows the line across the front of  his hips almost parallel with his skis.

My hips are facing my outside ski boot, not toward the tip of the skis. keep your outside pole tip behind you boots this will greatly help your development of counter acting. 

My left hip is back my pole tip pointed straight downhill chest and shoulders are facing toward my outside ski boot.

Marcel's hips again show extraordinary counter acting. 

Mikaela's hips face toward the right, her skis are pointed left. Her inside hand, pole tip and arm are forward ahead of teh inside hip.

Below, this is not counter acting, this is square, leaning and "A" framed, inside foot weighted, with no tipping. PSIA Demo Team.


Unknown said...

great pics

Unknown said...

Test it out
While standing on a slope, have someone Tug on you from below with hips countered, and then try it with hips square. See which one is the stronger position. This test will resolve any debate

crazy_delicious said...

Do you question whether all skiers should counter all the time? Ron Lemaster ties the need to counter to body type in this analysis of two WC skiers: Also, terrain type--especially the need to quickly transition into the next turn or tuck a shoulder to get by a gate--seem to be a factor. There are many examples of Hirscher squared up in GS and slalom turns. And other skiers, like Ligety, seem to ski squared up all the time. What are your thoughts on countering being more of a situational technique rather than an absolute one?

Harald Harb said...

Thank you for the comments and the questions. Counter Acting is a fundamental, or as we call it in PMTS Direct Parallel, "One of the Essentials". Every skier and racer should learn what it is and how to create it in their skiing. If you don't have it to call on when you need it, you will be severely handicapped and lose critical time in many parts of a race course. You can't ski bumps, or powder well without it. That said, it's valid to say at times, some racers like Ted Ligety don't use very much counter action. The reason, they can hold an arc without it because they have such other great attributes, such as super strong ankles and feet. Most skiers don't have this ability, so without counter acting they skid and lose edge hold. Even Hirscher, the best skier of the decade; can't ski like a Ligety he has to use more counter, so does, Stefano Gross. You also have to know what you are looking at. Ligety has limited hip mobility, this is why his slalom skiing is so poor. It maybe due to injury and back problems, but he can't get his torso to move laterally over his outside ski. This is why you see him leaning so much. Most of the top skiers even Ted, increases their counter acting, as the forces build up. This happens near the bottom of the arc. If you don't teach it, you leave a huge hole in a skier's development. Let the skier evolve and determine how much counter action they need to use, but don't ignore it.

Unknown said...

you say keep the outside pole behind your boot but in the next frame point out your pole tip being down the slope. Can you clarify - thanks. finding your words helpful in getting me off the dreaded intermediate plateau.

Harald Harb said...

If you draw a line from my boot to the pole "tip" it's still behind or even, it's becomes obvious that the further you finish the arc across the falline the more downhill the pole tap will be. However, it's still directly below and even with the boot.