Saturday, January 14, 2017

Why the ski "Tip" lift is important, for all skiing levels?!

Harald Harb: "The biggest change in the body while skiing and making turns happens during the transition from one set of edges to the other."

Why is the lifting of the tip so prevalent with expert skiers, World Cup racers? Were they taught to do it this way? In most cases no. They evolve this movement because it's more efficient, they discover it works and they keep using it. 

                                           What does lifting the tip do?

Simply, it engages a different and correct set of muscles that activates a stable hip through the release and transition. Most skiers don't recognize that there is a profound hip lateral angle change as well as a ski edge change at the transition and as the CG moves toward the new turn. The hips slide over from one side to the other in transition to align the body for the forces, coming up in the new turn. This involves setting up the proper counteracting and counterbalancing movements. 

Some will ask what are counteracting and counterbalancing movements? They are explained in my book, "The Essentials of Skiing",  books and DVDs about these topics are available on my web site;
The tip lifting movement also stops the skis from shooting forward, critical for all levels of skeris and junior racers who end up in the back seat. The movement comes from the tibialis anterior muscle on the front of the shin. And engages several other key mid-body and torso muscles that hold the upper body over the skis during the transition. This happens through the engagement of the kinetic chain.

 But "How" is this accomplished? And why is the "tip lift"  part of this important phase of skiing?


Top swiss slalom skier. Counteracting and lifting the tip.

Lifting the old stance ski has been around as long as great skiing has been around. 
In this photo you see Harald Harb's old outside or stance ski being lifted at the tip, while the tail of the ski is still on the snow.  2013 video! This video is on my Youtube site.

Marcel Hirscher best skier in the world for the last 9 years lifts the ski tip to release the stance ski.

Ozz National demo Team one of the best skiing teams in the world,  releasing the old stance ski by retraction and tip lifting.

Stefano  Gross, Italian National Team, one of the best slalom skiers in the world ski tip lifted to enter the turn.

Gross balance transfer by retraction and tip lift.

                                                    After the tip lift?

After the tip lift, the skis transition to the new edges, the next step for skiers should convert this into a tip down ski tail up or level ski relationship. This demonstrates a profound ability that only a few of the very top skiers have. This is called foot pullback in PMTS, we have been teaching and coaching this for decades. We knew early on that extending (pushing your body up) was slow and extending the hips forward was not what was happening with the top ski racers. The best skiers pull the knee up toward the chest and lifting the toes causing the tip to lift. The tip lifting starts a process and prepares everything at and above the ankles,  to engage the kinetic chain. This prepares for effective fore/aft balance properly and quickly.

Harald Harb tip lift to release in a 2013 video.

The expert skier has a releasing process with three distinct steps: bending, flexing, relaxing, and or retracting the old stance or outside ski leg, that is step one. Retracting means pull the leg up, the knee up, toward the chest. This causes weight or balance transfer to the uphill or little toe edged ski. With an expert skier, this begins the crossing of the body toward angles for the new turn. With an intermediate skier, because they generate fewer forces due to smaller or lesser angles, tipping the newly released ski (toward its little toe edge) is an important additional movement. Even in world cup skiing, the skiers are trying to tip the newly released ski onto its little toe edge, before the outside ski comes to the edge. This is accompanied by pulling and tipping that ski closer to the newly developed stance ski. This gives the skier a more focused concentrated body alignment over the outside ski as they develop the increasing drop into the arc with their body for the new turn.

If you are watching world cup skiing on TV, it is very easy to see who will be fast,  and it is not from more aggression like the commentators like to endlessly tell us. It's who is the best ski bender in the group. How do you become the best ski bender? Two ways, feet closer when developing the new angles above the gate and developing bigger angles faster. Faster angles are developed by faster retraction (flexing or bending) of the old stance leg. The faster the angles are developed the sooner the release out of the arc is accomplished. A real speed killer is pushing on the ski or extending the leg to get out of the turn. Pushing on the ski either at the end of the arc or during the arc stops the tipping movement that should be increasing tipping and angles. This is where it gets to be all about timing the point of most pressure. If your pressure comes too early you have to release and set again. or commonly known as double edge set or late edge set.

This is why it's very frustrating to listen to the TV World Cup commentary, they have it backward, the skiers are "NOT"  trying to get early pressure, they are trying to get early angles, so they can time when they get the most pressure to the exact right point in the arc.


Joan Gómez said...

Can you give us more about this movement? As a ski instructor I'm always teaching how to ski over the new outside ski but I use to lift the tail of the inside ski...

Unknown said...

very clear photos-until camp i did not think of 'lift and retract' as pictured here early in the release. i was probably lifting straight up, without the phantom pull-back, till Chuck mentioned early tipping at this point. i think, 'premature phantom or little toe edge' to myself. now i see the lifted tip in your photos

Steve Schow said...

Excellent overview of "why" to use those movements Harald!

Unknown said...

Good stuff AS USUAL HARALD. Gerry Renaldi died this week he was 71.

Harald Harb said...

The recent updates to this post, should answer your questions.

Joan Gómez said...

Yes! Thanks again!

Unknown said...

Great advice. Performing tipping exercises on blue runs made huge difference for me. Suddenly I was able to stay forward on steeps, make sharp turns and control speed much easier. Also, short turns became much better That is what really shocked me, the ease with which it can be done compared to the past struggle. Thank you very much.

Unknown said...

Harald - thanks for a clear explanation of why pushing or early pressuring does not produce an efficient turn. I teach on a plastic slope in England and cringe when I hear instructors say ' push out or push on the ski to turn' - it does not work and now I know why!

Unknown said...

Dear Harald,
I'm currently in Laax in switzerland, I've tried what you've described in this post and I have to admit that it feels much easier to make a turn.
After watching your pmts video two weeks ago on YouTube I'm following your blog. I find it very interesting and inspiring, hope you will describe more of skiing secrets :).
Adam Adamski.

Unknown said...

Your last few Blogs have help clarified what I been studying. You can see it when you watch WC skiing. Your photos and description make a lot sense. Also Dianna did a boot fitting on 1/14/17.My transition now is much quicker and with less effort.Thanks

Harald Harb said...

Thank you for your comments, we really appreciate teh following.

Unknown said...

You are "finishing" your turn, generating energy for the transition to the next turn..

Morgan Petitniot said...

Hi harald, just seen your link on twitter and What a very clear and well explained post !!! I am looking forward to play with this counsciously ;)

Cinderchutes said...

Thank you, interesting. Can this be applied to powder skiing with different timing or slight alteration of the movement.

Distelfink said...

Hello Harald and thank you very much. Using the PMTS Instructor Manual and Essentials book and videos, my skiing is being rebuilt. Seeing gifted racers' tip lift I was wondering where and how it fit within the PMTS movements. Now I understand. The timing insight explained older observations and was a wonderful bonus. Hopefully I will participate in one of your camps next season.

pengencang payudara said...

Jual Lift

Unknown said...

"The expert skier has a releasing process with three distinct steps: bending, flexing, relaxing, and or retracting the old stance or outside ski leg, that is step one."

So what are steps 2 and 3?