Legs Together help?

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Legs Together help?

Postby perplexed » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:24 pm

Hey everyone, so recently I've been reaping the benefits of this crappy east coast season with the early spring skiing. The moguls at Okemo this Sunday were mint. Anyway, while having a ton of fun, I noticed that my leg position was a little off. I don't think it's super terrible, they were a little less than shoulder width apart, but enough to look sloppy. I figured no problem, I'll just be conscious of keeping my legs together. I kept the mantra in my head for the next few runs and concentrated on squeezing my knees together. It sort of worked, my upper thighs were glued, but my lower legs were still separated. I noticed the greatest amount of separation right after absorbing/before extending. Afterward I tried keeping my boots locked together, and that felt really awkward, almost like my skis were in constant threat of crossing over each other, and consequently my control/balance suffered. I was looking at some videos from earlier in the season where the bumps weren't that big(the moguls this weekend had massive troughs) and still noticed that my lower legs tended to drift apart. I wanted to ask the awesome skiers on this forum about how to correct this. Is it just a bad habit that you need to mentally correct and follow through with, or are there more technical aspects to take step by step? Thanks in advance!
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby BushMogulMaster » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:58 am

Flats drills!

If you want good bump technique, it has to start on the groomers. Practice short turns on the flats, focusing on keeping your feet/legs together. Practice initiating turns solely with lead change. Once you can comfortably make short radius turns on the flats with your skis together, then give it a go in the bumps. Adding the third dimension before conquering the turn in two dimensions can throw you off balance quickly.

Bump posture can be reduced to a "simple" formula that applies both IN and OUT of the bumps: stacked position, feet together, hands in front, shoulders square. You need to ski like this on the groomers in order to ski like this in the bumps.
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby perplexed » Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:40 pm

I totally agree. If I'm not skiing bumps I'm always working on something in the flats. On flats I don't have much difficulty with keeping my entire legs together, and I'm always off to the side of a run doing quick turns so I don't find that too difficult anymore. I was thinking about it yesterday and I realized that the bigger the mogul/larger the trough, the more my legs would come apart. During extension I would bring my legs back together, but as soon as I hit a large bump, everything below my knees would blast apart, and then I would suck them back together, and the cycle would continue. I'm thinking of putting all my energy into squeezing my boots together and rolling with whatever happens, but I wanted to ask for your opinion first because you guys have crazy good technique. Should I post a couple videos perhaps so you can see where I'm going wrong more clearly? I never had any formal training so my goal is to keep on learning and to learn as much as possible by seeking advice and trying my best to emulate those who are better than me.
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby BushMogulMaster » Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:06 pm

perplexed wrote:I totally agree. If I'm not skiing bumps I'm always working on something in the flats. On flats I don't have much difficulty with keeping my entire legs together, and I'm always off to the side of a run doing quick turns so I don't find that too difficult anymore. I was thinking about it yesterday and I realized that the bigger the mogul/larger the trough, the more my legs would come apart. During extension I would bring my legs back together, but as soon as I hit a large bump, everything below my knees would blast apart, and then I would suck them back together, and the cycle would continue. I'm thinking of putting all my energy into squeezing my boots together and rolling with whatever happens, but I wanted to ask for your opinion first because you guys have crazy good technique. Should I post a couple videos perhaps so you can see where I'm going wrong more clearly? I never had any formal training so my goal is to keep on learning and to learn as much as possible by seeking advice and trying my best to emulate those who are better than me.


Video would be extremely helpful, to see exactly when/how your legs are coming apart at absorption.

Another question: what kind of skis are you on?
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby perplexed » Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:38 pm

Thanks for the help by the way and I'm skiing on Hart F17s

bullet proof and small

https://youtu.be/x1TDkGdJ864

https://youtu.be/5P_zRHJ_gP0

a bit larger/softer with fresh snow (sorry it's sideways)

https://youtu.be/r2dhQySDF1I

Huge troughs/super soft and fun (these were from this sunday)

https://youtu.be/nQmbRNFvyBU

https://youtu.be/zfbmM6ALNbo
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby BushMogulMaster » Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:17 pm

Thanks for posting the videos. Makes my job much easier.

First of all, you're obviously a strong skier, so don't be too hard on yourself! Good work! Mogul skiing is the most difficult discipline in the sport, and most skiers never make it as far as you have from a technique standpoint. Keep it up.

Now, on to the topic at hand. I'd say the root of your problems is that you're too far in the backseat. Your weight is mostly on the tails of your skis, and your body is taking a pretty hard impact as a result. Watch https://youtu.be/nQmbRNFvyBU at YouTube's 25% speed feature and you'll see your head being jarred pretty good at each bump as your tails slap the mogul, and your tips are in the air. Your tips never actually re-engage in the snow. But mogul turns have to originate from the tips of your skis!

With your weight so far back, you're not really controlling your skis. You can't. You're basically at the mercy of the uneven terrain under you. And your legs separate because you're not balanced on the skis. And your upper body struggles to remain quiet, as you will note in the side-side upper body movement in the first video you posted.

Again, go to the flats. Check your posture. If you're truly "stacked," you can draw a vertical line from the balls of your feet, through your knees, through your hips, through your chest, up and through your head. In that position, you should feel a strong forward pressure of your shins against the tongues of your boots. That pressure will transfer through the balls of your feet to the tips of your skis. You MUST maintain that forward balanced position throughout the turn, and throughout absorption and extension. If you loose that position, you will loose control of your skis, your feet will separate, and your speed will get out of control very quickly. And fight the common urge to simply hinge, or bend at your back, to get forward. You want a (more or less) straight back. Stacked at all times.

Lead change initiates the turn from the tip. As you transition to the "new" downhill ski, one knee slightly tucks behind the other, tilting the ski on edge, and that shin-boot pressure DRIVES that downhill tip into the snow, initiating the mogul carve. The tail either follows all the way through as you absorb, or washes out slightly as you complete extension and head into the next turn.

But if you're riding your tails, none of that actually happens. And I suspect in your case, when you're on the flats, you're staying forward better. That's why your skis stay together, and everything seems to jive. But when you get into the bumps, you ride back on the ski. As your balance shifts backward, the rest of the mogul turn can't happen the way it needs to.

The most effective way to correct this is by "thinking with your hands." While the ultimate poling goal is to keep your hands in a comfortable position in front, when you're trying to correct your posture and weighting, try DRIVING forward with your hands. REACH. Really reach out for the next pole plant. As your hand drives downhill, it will pull your whole body position forward.

Good luck! It will all come together. Mileage is your best friend in the bumps, as long as you're working on the right techniques!
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby Blanton » Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:02 am

Work on skiing slower and keeping your skis on the snow. Weight on the downhill ski.

When your friend is filming from below he shouldn't be able to see the bases of your skis at any time.
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby perplexed » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:01 pm

Very interesting I really appreciate your time and criticism. Ive actually ben confused about this for a while. When skiing flats, I notice lifting up my toes and transferring weight to the heels in order to maintain the shin-tongue pressure. Im still in a forward position, it's just that my heels are the contact points, if that makes sense.. Is this the correct position that I need to keep 100% of the time in bumps? If so, how would I drive my ski tips downward if my weight is on my heels, even if my overall position is forward? I know im wrong, im just sharing my mindset so you can see where my thinking is off. Once i begin extending, if i lengthen the legs and throw my hips forward, my ski tips would remain pointed up because of the upward flexion of my foot. Should I point my toes downward during extension to push my tips down? Next time I go out I'll put all my time in skiing slower and really driving my arms, and hopefully once I know what goes on inside the boots, something will click
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby BushMogulMaster » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:32 pm

perplexed wrote:Very interesting I really appreciate your time and criticism. Ive actually ben confused about this for a while. When skiing flats, I notice lifting up my toes and transferring weight to the heels in order to maintain the shin-tongue pressure. Im still in a forward position, it's just that my heels are the contact points, if that makes sense.. Is this the correct position that I need to keep 100% of the time in bumps? If so, how would I drive my ski tips downward if my weight is on my heels, even if my overall position is forward? I know im wrong, im just sharing my mindset so you can see where my thinking is off. Once i begin extending, if i lengthen the legs and throw my hips forward, my ski tips would remain pointed up because of the upward flexion of my foot. Should I point my toes downward during extension to push my tips down? Next time I go out I'll put all my time in skiing slower and really driving my arms, and hopefully once I know what goes on inside the boots, something will click


Yeah, you definitely don't want your weight on your heels. Your weight should be at the front of your feet, specifically on the balls of your feet. In fact, USSA's coaches' handbook even talks about putting so much forward pressure onto the front of your feet that you can't even wiggle your toes.
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby perplexed » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:19 pm

Ohhhhhhhhh, so that's what I've been doing wrong this entire time!! That's exactly what I've been looking for! I'll be spending this entire weekend in the flats getting the new weight distribution into muscle memory. Seriously, thank you so much, it's like you unlocked a new door for me.
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby perplexed » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:49 pm

One more thing, I apologize for being a pain, but it's confusing to think about what my foot should be doing inside of the boot because you can't see it in other skiers. Does keeping max pressure on the balls of your feet involve not only throwing your hips forward, but also using constant plantar flexion of the ankle? I read your guide, and the pulling your heels back and up towards your butt during absorption was a really good visualization, but what is going on inside the boot? Plantar flexion to keep weight on the balls of the feet? Then once you extend, from what I'm taking it as, you throw your hips forward, engage your hamstrings to pull your feet back and keep them stacked under your hips, and maintain plantar flexion to drive your tips back down. Is this the right train of thought?
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby skinnyskis » Thu Mar 03, 2016 12:46 am

Clip your toenails before attempting this (you will know right away if you are in a balanced or stacked position):
http://wiki.freestyleski.com/boots-undone/
Great advise and discussion here BTW
Skiing with good posture since 2008 - thanks MS.net
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby perplexed » Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:58 am

Cool drill, I'll spend time with it this weekend. I'm still unsure of what my ankles should be doing thoufh. I found I can keep my weight on the balls of my feet while plantar flexing and dorsiflexing. To maintain shin pressure, I understand to keep weight over the balls of my feet the whole time, but should I maintain constant dorsiflexion/plantar flexion/ a combo of both? Etc. The ankles are the missing link to my understanding of the stacked position.
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby mitch236 » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:08 am

I'm certainly no expert but I would think that if you actively plantar flex your foot, you will end up in the back seat. Try it now on the floor, if you push the balls of your feet into the floor, you will fall backwards. I think you want to "feel" the pressure on the balls of your feet because of being forward. Again, while standing, lean forward. You should feel the pressure on the balls of your feet. I think that's what you are trying to achieve in your boots.
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Re: Legs Together help?

Postby perplexed » Thu Mar 03, 2016 3:52 pm

that is true, but then how does one achieve pushing their tips into the troughs? If you pull your heels up and to your butt while absorbing, as BushMogulMaster wrote in the guide, it seems like plantar flexion is the only thing that would aid in this. Bush also wrote that you should put so much pressure on the balls of your feet that you shouldn't be able to wiggle your toes. Again, I can't accomplish that without plantar flexing and doing a calf raise almost. I always dorsiflexed in my boots, but since ski boots resist against your shin, my weight would always end on over my heels, even if other skiers thought I looked forward. So this basically reverts back to my "one more thing" post to Bush. Maybe I didn't look hard enough, but I've never found any advice on what the foot/ankle should be doing in the ski boots while bumping. If he could go over how the ankle should be flexing to maintain heavy ball of foot pressure through a complete absorption/extension cycle that would really clear this up. I've been trying to find the answer for years.
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