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Boot Canting, Forward lean, sole angle and binding Delta

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi,

I have been listening to the Global skiing podcasts recently ( http://www.podcastgarden.com/podcast/globalskiing ), and there is a lot of talk by the interviewees (e.g. Harald Harb, Ron LeMaster, J.F. Beaulieu) about their boot/binding setup. They also talk a lot about body dimensions, especially Femur length vs Tibia Length.

I've been struggling to get more forward pressure on the tips of the skis to initiate the turn, especially short turns. I'm 6'3, 90kg with longer legs than usual, but also a longer femur than tibia. I'm physically strong and ski at a reasonable skill level, holding BASI Level 2 instructor and working part time at an indoor slope, and part time on a mountain. When I bend my knees I feel it puts my weight back, and the only way I can get my Centre of Mass forward again is to flex forward at the hips/waist. The steeper the terrain the worse it gets. I can carve well on flatter terrain, but as the angle ramps up I struggle to initiate and complete the turns cleanly. I can skid/smear/slarve shorts, but not carve them.

When I stand in my boots I see the my Patella is behind the toe of the boot. Also, standing in the shells with only my custom insoles in the boot, my shin is much closer to the medial side of the boot than the lateral side.

My question is, how does one know if this is an equipment issue, or a technique issue. If it is an equipment issue, how do you determine if it is the boot forward lean, the boot ramp angle (boot board and sole) or a binding delta issue. And for the lateral alignment, how do you know if it is the cuff canting, or some sole angle adjustment that needs changing?

For information, I ski several set-ups. My boots are Head Vector 130 with intuition liners and custom insoles. Skis are either Head iSpeed with standard Head bindings, Croc 165 SL WC with Marker X-Cell 16 bindings, and Blizzard Bonafide with Marker Jester Bindings. I find it easier to get forward pressure on the heads that either of the other skis.

Many Thanks for your thoughts.

D
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Duplo, it certainly sounds to be a set up issue in the outset. Not being able to get pressure at the start of the turn could be binding delta or it could be forward lean on the boot ( minor adjustments can be made to the boot forward lean with spoilers) the leg being closer to the medial side than the lateral is the cuff adjustment on the boot, the latter is more difficult to fix on that boot as the adjustment only allows for you to move the cuff outwards rather than onwards ( cuff adjustment is accommodating not correcting) it may be that you can shim the cuff over a bit to balance up the difference ( footbed should be checked prior to this as it at be it is not doing its job properly) but it may also need some under boot canting, this is possible on the vector as head make a canted sole pad of up to 2 degrees. You can also internally shift the foot using SBS shims inside the boot

Hope that helps
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Duplo, Physically you sound very similar to me, although more experienced; I share the same issues & I have to say I've often wondered too if the issues are a result of my size & shape. I will follow this with interest.
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I would recommend a trip to Bicester to see Andi Mcann and Colin Martin (snowheads @ CEM), they are the experts in this field.
I recently had a full boot/ ski alignment session with Andi after having boots fitted by Colin a couple of years ago, and ended up with quite a few tweaks. Firstly my lateral positioning in the boot was adjusted, like you I was not laterally central in the boot; then a slight heel lift under the footbed was put in; finally my bindings were shimmed to put me in the best position to balance fore /aft. Overall, my balance and posture on skis has improved and notably when I ski now I find one leg skiing much easier, and quad burn/fatigue is a thing of the past...
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@Duplo, I'm 3" shorter than you but also, am all legs. After reading Ron LeMaster's book, I experimented with binding delta and forward lean and settled at a flattish delta with lots of forward lean in the cuff. Boots always felt too upright, making me feel too tall on the skis and, as you have experienced, bending at the knee just led to going into the back seat. Now skiing on freeride boots that have an adjustable forward lean but, even at the maximum lean setting they felt too upright so, I modified them to go slightly beyond the max. setting and they feel much better. A session with CEM and Andi McCann is something you could consider. Colin fitted some race boots for me a few years ago and using the plumb bob on the knee method to assess lateral alignment, fitted a one degree shim to the left boot. He mentioned that I may need slightly more than one degree and after experimenting myself, have settled on 1.5 degrees. I now ski on pin bindings and fit the shim under the binding on the left ski. All of this makes skiing so much easier as I'm not fighting the equipment as much as I used to.
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Hi, Thanks for all the replies so far.

Regarding the lateral alignment, if I was to stand on a hard floor and add thin bits of card to the lateral side under the boot, how would I know when I have good alignment? Am I looking for the calf/shin to be equidistant to both sides of the cuff? With the under the sole shim plates, would they still be snug enough in the bindings? Wouldn't that create a wedge shape between the sole of the boot lugs and the top of the lugs just where they are seated in the bindings?

Is it worth experimenting with magazines etc under the heel/toe of the boot to mimic different delta? Again, what am I looking to achieve in terms of patella placement, ankle/shin/knee/femur angles and my COM over the boot?

I've just measured the Marker X-cell bindings and the Delta is 0. The Jester bindings have a difference (delta) of 5mm higher at the heel. Both of these can be shimmed. The heads I don't know the delta as they are at work, but I guess because they are a system binding they can't be shimmed.

Thanks again
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Duplo, assessment on a solid surface is part of the process but you also need to know how things will react on an uneven surface the process starts with
The footbed
Then the cuff
THEN under the boot
So unless everything else is perfect there is no point playing around under the boot
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Hi @CEM,

Point taken. The foot beds are new this season, so I'm sure they are doing their job. With regards the cuff canting, could I use an unused spoiler from an old pair of boots to shim the lateral side of the cuff? (maybe more posterolateral as I may need some more forward lean also)

D
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@Duplo, I'd recommend posting a video of your skiing before relying on others to decide whether it is gear related...
A bad workman and all that....
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Duplo wrote:

Point taken.

Not really.
Quote:
The foot beds are new this season, so I'm sure they are doing their job.

Them being new doesn't mean that they are doing what you need them to do.
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@Duplo, one thing at a time. There are some things here that you can probably get sorted out without seeing a professional. Your cuff alignment is the obvious one. From what you describe that is definitely out of alignment and you need to get it sorted.

Beyond that, it starts getting pretty involved unless you have the ability to adjust boot forward lean and shim your bindings. It is also very difficult to know whether you have done the right thing or not, in the absence of professional advice. You can try the Ron le Master squat test (google it) - basically get into a tuck position when stood in your bindings and see where your armpits end up relative to your knees. Aligned = good, too far forward or back = bad. This is pretty bucket and is not a substitute for getting a pro to look at your balance.

Regarding binding shimming - if you have got flat skis fitted with QK inserts and have the means to make shims out of HDPE sheet then this is pretty routine. If not, then it is a pain. Best of luck.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Duplo, have a look at this: http://www.ronlemaster.com/presentations/AlignmentAndStance-Whistler-12-2009.pdf . Note the forward/backward lean test on slide 30.

If in doubt - see a bootfitter. This is very difficult, if not impossible, to get right by yourself.
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Thanks for the help. I'm totally open to seeing a boot fitter, but I just wanted to first get an idea of what the problem might be, or if it even is an alignment issue at all verses a technique issue, and then play about with any non-permanent variables myself to see if I can make a difference. I'll have a look that article and test and see what I can come up with.

Thanks all,
D
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@CEM, now after re-reading your first post maybe I understand your point better. The footeds were moulded in the sitting position, so should support my arch from dropping when weighted. So, assuming the shape of them is OK, it could be that some thin wedges under the footbed inside the boot may help the lateral alignment without having to look at the cuff?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Duplo- Here are some ideas on DIY experimentation with boot and binding set up...

Binding delta- Attach a suitable binding to a flat ski with quiver killers. Home made plastic shims of different sizes under toe or heel. Rough starting point before buying shims- A Skia trainer and some business cards taped to the heel or toe of your ski boot to see how binding delta affects your balance.

Canting- Same process as binding delta, use under binding canting shims from Tognar. Rough starting point before buying shims- Business cards under your boots when standing on a flat surface, when combined with a plumb line to check the tracking of your knee when you flex forward.

Tilting the surface that the foot stands on- Foot Foundation sell a DIY kit containing one each of their in boot lateral tilting shims, or you can make your own with layers of 0.5mm thick pvc tape stuck to your boot board.

Heel lifts- varous sizes available on eBay.

Forward lean- Foam between inner and outer boots, behind your leg.

Cuff alignment- Adjust the boot canting rivets, or foam taped inside cuff on lateral or medial side.

As an instructor you probably know someone who can watch your skiing and give you feedback after you change each of the variables above.

Worth saying that by the time you've bought all the different shims etc to experiment with, it would have been around the same cost as paying somebody to do it for you, but you strike me as the sort (like me) who enjoys the learning that comes from DIY experimentation.

Final thoughts....

Do you have a good footbed?

Is the shell cuff gap on either side of your leg equal when you stand on your footbed inside a boot shell (with no inner boot)?

What's your ankle flexibility like?

Also, do your knees track in/out/straight when you flex up and down in a skiing stance (measure with a plumb line)?


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Fri 2-03-18 18:58; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Oceanic wrote:
Here are some ideas on DIY experimentation with boot and binding set up...

Tilting the surface that the foot stands on- Foot Foundatoon sell a DIY kit containing one each of their in boot lateral tilting shims, or you can make your own with layers of 0.5mm thick pvc tape stuck to your boot board.

I use layers of strips of cereal packet for this.

Have also made heel lifts the same way.
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rjs wrote:

I use layers of strips of cereal packet for this.


I like the 0.5mm tape because you can build it up it up in layers to make a gradual slope rather than an abrupt series of steps, but maybe cereal packet is thin enough that it doesn't matter?

Worth adding that you need a roomy shell to use in boot tilting. Also in boot tilting, for bow legged folks, uses a 'fill the gap' approach, which may or may not be better for a given skier than the canting 'move the knee' approach.
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Quote:

the only way I can get my Centre of Mass forward again is to flex forward at the hips/waist.


@Duplo, I really would start and focus on technique rather than gear.
What you described above is basically what you have to do to adjust your centre of mass. Pelvis position is all part of it... not just bend ze kneez...

Joking aside, get yourself a lesson on the mountain with a minimum ISTD instructor or get some video feed back before even considering attacking your equipment!
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Oceanic wrote:
Worth adding that you need a roomy shell to use in boot tilting.

I use it in 93mm last race boots, I did need a small punch around the navicular bone to make it work though.
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So many pieces of useful and not so useful information in this thread
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@CEM, titter
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@CEM, it is an internet forum after all. wink
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Duplo,

Oceanic said:
Quote:

Also, do your knees track in/out/straight when you flex up and down in a skiing stance (measure with a plumb line)?


I use a laser line and view the knee tracking from a mirror reflection...there's many things to get right or slightly biased in the best direction.

The experienced pair of Colin and Andi is a very difficult duo to better and i confidently expect/know my setups are inferior to their offerings - but for me it's a case of 'needs must be'. Like others i enjoy experimenting - but without a doubt, a little knowledge is / can be a dangerous thing...
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I like flangesax's advice, can we see you ski?

I enjoy a bit of mansplaining as much as the next guy, but I'd feel more comfy weighing in if i knew what sort of skier I was talking to.... also ski vids are fun Happy
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@Duplo, Just wondering if you got anywhere with this?
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Thanks again to everyone for posting and offering advice and information. Lots of info to go on, and the experimentation won't be quick!

@McKenzie, I have experimented a wee bit so far. I have decided that the problem is only with the X-cell bindings which were set with a delta of 0mm. My other skis have a delta of 4mm and although my skiing is not perfect on them (far from it!), I do feel able to get over the front of the skis on them. I have taken a 2mm shim out of the X-Cell bindings to give a 2mm delta. This improved things somewhat, but I'm going to try shimming he heel to 4mm to see if that improves things further. I experimented also with spoilers in between the boot shell and liner and didn't really get on with them, but am maybe going to return to that possibility once I've played about with delta a bit more.

As for the lateral plane, I think there are just too many variables, most of which would require modification of the boot or expensive shims to experiment with, so I'll probably book in to a boot fitter for alignment assessment. Will update you further if you like, although I doubt it will be very soon!

D
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
....no videos then Sad
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
A friend of mine has the same issue. At a Harald Harb course, he ended up with 6mm spacer under each boot heel. Much happier now.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
That was me. I have freakishly long femurs which have always made staying forward a challenge.

It was a 3 mm spacer. The max they would put under my boot heel was 4 mm to leave plenty of boot thickness left after routing.

I also have Head bindings with 7mm of delta. The combination has been working well for me this season.

This might give some extra perspective: https://bretcontreras.com/how-femur-length-effects-squat-mechanics/
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@earlyriser, that's a very informative link.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Duplo wrote:
When I bend my knees I feel it puts my weight back, and the only way I can get my Centre of Mass forward again is to flex forward at the hips/waist.


If you flex only at the knees, where else is your COM going to go, other than back ? You mention compensating with your hips, but don't forget there are 3 'ski joints' Wink
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flangesax wrote:
Quote:

the only way I can get my Centre of Mass forward again is to flex forward at the hips/waist.


@Duplo, I really would start and focus on technique rather than gear.
What you described above is basically what you have to do to adjust your centre of mass. Pelvis position is all part of it... not just bend ze kneez...

Joking aside, get yourself a lesson on the mountain with a minimum ISTD instructor or get some video feed back before even considering attacking your equipment!


This.

And I question why they would want their COM forward just to initiate the turn and they then want their COM forward to finish the turn. What happens inbetween? All sounds a bit obsessed with 'being forward'.

Haven't read it all but has boot stiffness been mentioned? Inability to flex at the ankles could be a number of things but I see lots of people on the hill unable to flex their 130 boots so ar5e goes backwards and it must all get really tiring.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Pruman wrote:
I question why they would want their COM forward just to initiate the turn and they then want their COM forward to finish the turn. What happens inbetween?


What happens in between...

As the skis enter the fall line the slope under the skis is steeper than it was when the skis were pointing across the hill. If the skier does not actively move their COM forward at this point, they will end up in the back seat. Ron LeMaster explains it better than I can, he calls it the 'virtual bump' concept in his book.
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earlyriser wrote:
That was me. I have freakishly long femurs which have always made staying forward a challenge.

It was a 3 mm spacer. The max they would put under my boot heel was 4 mm to leave plenty of boot thickness left after routing.

I also have Head bindings with 7mm of delta. The combination has been working well for me this season.

This might give some extra perspective: https://bretcontreras.com/how-femur-length-effects-squat-mechanics/


Thank you for this link.
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