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Driving the tips..?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Forgive my inadequacy and ignorance...
I thought that this was an obvious idea, but in reading something on another thread (basically that more upright boots made it easier to drive the tips) I have decided that I don't understand what it means.
Enlightenment, please? Thanks.
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Presumably all they're saying is that more upright boots make it easier to apply pressure to the front of the boots thereby applying more pressure to the front of the skis.

In reality though I'd say it has to depend on your stance, balance and ankle flexibility, amongst other things, so definitely not a one size fits all solution.
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OK, thanks.
My simplified understanding of driving the tips is that one needs to keep weight forward and keep the forward contact edge of the ski engaged - i.e. not be weighted on the tails or skidding/pivoting on the middles - or at least 'thinking' that. Bit like driving the foot at its 'bunion' position. Make any sense?
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Sounds about right to me. As well as keeping your weight forward you also want to be using shin pressure on the front of the boot (or using a booster strap as is being discussed in another thread ) to engage the front of the ski even more as needed. One of the reasons why advanced skiers sometimes want a stiffer boot as it allows them to exploit this even more.
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But, @Grizzler, where your weight is applied is a dynamic thing, not often on your tails but often moving from tip to centre as you progress thru the turn.
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@Grizzler, It's one of those phrases thrown around which are pretty meaningless on their own. I wouldn't worry. I mean, where are you supposed to drive the tips too ?

Another is 'Work the skis harder' and there are countless others.
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AndAnotherThing.. wrote:
I wouldn't worry. I mean, where are you supposed to drive the tips too ?


Laughing The nearest snow-covered mountain? Or is it more like a cattle drive; chase and round up your quiver..?
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Grizzler wrote:
Forgive my inadequacy and ignorance...
I thought that this was an obvious idea, but in reading something on another thread (basically that more upright boots made it easier to drive the tips) I have decided that I don't understand what it means.
Enlightenment, please? Thanks.

This was me, wasn't it? The thread where somebody asked why they felt more balanced on some skis than others and I suggested that the binding position may be the reason?

olderscot is right
olderscot wrote:
Presumably all they're saying is that more upright boots make it easier to apply pressure to the front of the boots thereby applying more pressure to the front of the skis.

It's all about leverage. For argument's sake, let's say the average person has 25 degrees of dorsiflexion in their ankle (the angle you can flex your lower leg to with your heel still on the floor). If your ski boots are set at 18 degrees forward in the neutral stance, then you can only add another 7 degrees of pressure from normal range of movement. So the difference between a "neutral" stance and a pressured one is fairly small and it's difficult to drive (pressure) the tips.

Modern boots seem to be around 13 degrees give or take so on the same ski you would have 12 degrees of movement to play with and the maximum dorsiflexion angle would considerably increase the pressure on the tips from your neutral stance. Obviously there's a point where the boot can be too upright and all your weight is back so as with everything in skiing, it's a balancing act.

The reason why I suggested moving the bindings forward in the other thread was because it's the only variable for most people for a quick fix. On a rental ski you can't change the binding delta angle, most boots have a fixed forward lean and internal ramp angle so the only option if you want to increase tip response is to shorten the overhang (move the binding forward). A shorter tip = more leverage, although again, it's a balancing act because too short will give you the feeling of "going over the handlebars".

If that doesn't make sense, imagine the opposite, a ridiculously long pair of skis. If you were on 5m long skis with your bindings 4m back from the tip, any forward pressure from your shin would be absorbed by the flex of the ski long before it reached the tip. Therefore, your inputs would be meaningless and the ski would be impossible to turn. But if your binding was only 1m from the tip, your inputs would make a difference and you'd have a chance of turning it.

On a far, far more subtle scale on a normal ski that's why more upright boots give you a greater degree of influence over the tip pressure and better control of turn shape and type: a lot of forward pressure engages the tip and promotes carving, less forward pressure uses the full edge length of the ski and promotes skidding. Both techniques are equally valuable on the appropriate slope. Obviously, in all these examples I am assuming that the edge angle is consistent; we all know that ski response is a combination of edge angle, pressure and steering inputs.

Basically, the combination of modern carving skis with wide (easily engaged) tips and a more upright stance gives a much wider set of parameters for different skiing styles (stance + inputs) to still be effective.

Hope that makes sense?!!
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Grizzler wrote:
OK, thanks.
My simplified understanding of driving the tips is that one needs to keep weight forward and keep the forward contact edge of the ski engaged - i.e. not be weighted on the tails or skidding/pivoting on the middles - or at least 'thinking' that. Bit like driving the foot at its 'bunion' position. Make any sense?

There's nothing wrong with skidding/pivoting on the middles in the right circumstances, e.g. skid turns on ice where you want maximum balance.

The point was more about how easy it is to change from a middle-balanced neutral ski position (passive, riding the ski) to a driving position (pressured, dynamic, using the ski).
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Quote:

7 degrees of pressure


@Raceplate, I'm not sure pressure is measured in "degrees" of movement? I think I see where you're going but I'm not sure that the way you're explaining it makes sense. And IME (I know, I'm weird), moving the bindings backwards and forwards results only in a mild sensation of more or less reactive skis but doesn't make a lot of functional difference.
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@under a new name, I'm not a physicist, was just trying to keep it in layman's terms. Leverage might be a better word. The leverage creates the pressure.
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@Raceplate, I'm not sure a more upright boot helps tho'. In my head more important is appropriate match of boot stiffness to skier skill & weight.

(While I am generally skeptical that binding angles make a huge difference to most people, I can accept that they do to some varying from my wife's total dislike for Rossignol to some people finding it very difficult to ski on badly matched bindings.)

An over rigid boot requires too much work for fun, a too soft boot won't transmit the pressure.

But I wil also agree this is quite difficult to articulate (i.e. in words, not your ankles).
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I don't disagree with that but that wasn't really the point. Of course, there are endless variables involved (including the flex pattern/shape/stiffness/rocker etc. of the ski) and it's the overall interaction of all those variables that will determine whether someone feels balanced or not. Agreed?

However, if all other things are equal (including the flex), then a more upright cuff gives you a larger degree of leverage than a less upright cuff and by consequence a greater potential variance in the tip pressure. Seems pretty logical to me. Not to mention a more upright cuff is a bloody sight less tiring on the thighs!
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@Raceplate, Thanks. Yes that all makes sense to me and follows my current line of thinking and on-piste findings ( over-analytical as I will no doubt be accused of being).
I'm still trying to decide how I like my boots set up. I used to like to ski with a high ankle flex (i.e. well bent) but, yes, it is very tiring: but I can keep my weight forward and feel that I'm driving the tips (or so I hope) and controlling the skis better. In more upright-set boots I am developing a different stance and different feel to how I pressure the boots, but I'm struggling to keep my weight forward (am female) and don't feel like I've got that aggressive drive - so for me the uprightness maybe equals less tip drive... Which is why it didn't fully make sense when I read your original comment. (I'm told that I have good ankle flexion and the bindings on my current main skis (men's) have I believe been set a tad forward for me. )
Probably just my crap technique tho' wink
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@Grizzler, couple of thoughts:
You probably already know that women's skis have the binding set further forward than a similar geometry men's ski. On women's skis it's to compensate for female anatomy (hips) although it's more to do with how the tail behaves than the tips. Therefore if you're a woman on a man's ski, you may well be too far back on the "recommended" binding centre mark. If they're on a rail, move them forward 1-2cm and see how that feels.

Have you changed boots to a more upright cuff and a stiffer flex? Your comments suggest that you're struggling to use the full range of motion from the more upright stance. The "more upright = more leverage" argument only works if you can actually access that full range of increased leverage. If the boot is too stiff then it would lead to less tip pressure, not more, because you haven't got the additional gravitational benefit of a more forward starting position.

Suggestions? If your boot has a flex setting, use the softer one. Move the binding forward. Use the same boots on a softer ski. Do more squats wink Ski faster (the additional g force from the speed will make it easier to flex the boot). I don't know what level skier you are but technique-wise, standing tall and concentrating on keeping a little tension in your stomach and arms forward will make it easier to pressure the front of the boot. I would also concentrate more on tipping the ski to engage the tip than pressuring it.

Edited for hungover incoherence Embarassed


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Wed 21-03-18 22:02; edited 2 times in total
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I would focus on 'driving the whole ski' not just 'the tips'.

If you look back at older photos right through to the present day the consistent picture when it comes to performance is a fully pressured ski(s) with the full edge length engaged and gripped to the snow.

This is carving.

Pre-shaped skis skiers had to pressure the tongue of the boot to bend the straighter, longer ski.

With modern equipment and shapes a lateral movement is far more important and productive than a fore movement.

And you'll immediately feel and see the difference as you transition to the next turn.
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@Mike Pow,
+1

@Raceplate, I don't think forward lean has much do do with ability to pressure the ski IN GENERAL. Forward lean is about getting a boot that fits your physiology and preferred stance. I find it easier to stay centered if I have more ankle and knee flex - am a bit "lower". In a very upright boot I have to bend at the waist more to keep centered and I think this is detrimental to keeping a quite upper body etc. But I'm pretty sure that is specific to my physiology (e.g., strong legs/backside - light upper body)
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@jedster, I prefer a slightly more forward boot myself.
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@Raceplate, I had thought that women's skis were set further forward - will check that (SpyderJon set up my skis this last time). The boots were recommended by a 'reputable fitter' - I don't think that there's too much stiffness once on a good roll, at reasonable speed etc ( and I can always slacken booster strap & top buckle a bit if I want less, depending on conditions) - but as @jedster says, I think I just have a body shape for wanting to be lower, and I use ( open, relax, bend at...?) my hip creases a lot to get me there. Try to keep arms forward, use pole plants ( or pseudo) a lot. Speed not so much at present (damaged knees, lost confidence, lack of wide empty pistes): probably why struggling more as, as you said, it's much easier to stay forward and get that drive when faster.
Standing tall is definitely not going to work with me! I'll fall over backwards.

[b]@Mike Pow[them Carving ( well, my version) feels fine and is, as you say, a much more 'all-ski' feel. Lateral pressure is definitely right here, not forward per se. I think I just like a very aggressive, driving, forward feel to my skiing, and it's when I'm in slalom, short turn mode that I find the most problems at the moment (edit - not necessarily true, just if I'm going slowly, on flatter ground or when have hit bumps and got thrown backwards in boots).

To be fair, I have always struggled getting and keeping pressure on the boots the way that I like it. Had one pair of customised boots once that had the right positioning, if nowhere near narrow enough ( which is, forgive the pun, a huge problem for me at the cuff/tongue area if nothing else) but still in search of boot and body combination that feels perfect. Still out experimenting, and learning, as you can tell. ( Edit - have recently found that putting some foam at the very top front of the shell/tongue is helping a lot in giving me feel in the boot pressuring department.)
Just got some new piste skis, so more to try on and learn from them. Very Happy
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@Raceplate, Re bindings -
see, for instance, thread below.
General quick Googling does seem to say female bindings more forward than men's.
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=611
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@Grizzler, I've lost the plot! Sorry, of course womens skis are further forward. I was cutting and pasting and have actually contradicted myself. I'll edit it when I get home so as not to confuse anyone else.

Laughably, it does mean that my original advice to move a binding forward if you want to engage the tip more would be right for you as a woman in a man's binding position.
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@Grizzler, oh, @Grizzler, I still fear you are overthinking it all...

Are there no excellent instructors in Scotland?
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under a new name wrote:
@Grizzler, oh, @Grizzler, I still fear you are overthinking it all...

Are there no excellent instructors in Scotland?


'Still overthinking', LOL+. Stop it, my sides ache. And yes, there are some good instructors in Scotland ...
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@under a new name, @Irrev, Knew that someone would eventually come up with that one. Scared that I might work it out for myself one day? No matter, I shall give up thinking immediately and never hope to get any better; or just become a standard uncaring numpty idiot on the slopes like so many others. Personally, I just like to understand what I'm doing; clearly frowned upon by those oh so much better than me who somehow managed to get there without ever working anything out for themselves. (Which might sometimes explain quite a bit.) Oh how I envy you.
And, yes, I'm sure that there are many good instructors in Scotland but: a) I'm not there; b) they weren't wanting to make themselves available when I went up the last several times; c) no instructor in any country ever mentions most of the stuff talked about on this forum: which can lead to various explanations of the reason why not...
Turning off brain now rolling eyes
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Mike Pow wrote:
I would focus on 'driving the whole ski' not just 'the tips'.

So would I for general skiing. But IMO tip pressure is more critical for short turns on steep slopes (early grip) so it has its place.
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jedster wrote:

@Raceplate, I don't think forward lean has much do do with ability to pressure the ski IN GENERAL. Forward lean is about getting a boot that fits your physiology and preferred stance. I find it easier to stay centered if I have more ankle and knee flex - am a bit "lower". In a very upright boot I have to bend at the waist more to keep centered and I think this is detrimental to keeping a quite upper body etc. But I'm pretty sure that is specific to my physiology (e.g., strong legs/backside - light upper body)
I've got no issue with that. It's just one variable.

As I said earlier,
Raceplate wrote:
there are endless variables involved (including the flex pattern/shape/stiffness/rocker etc. of the ski) and it's the overall interaction of all those variables that will determine whether someone feels balanced or not.

If you feel more balanced in a more forwarded leant boot, good. If you feel more balanced in a more upright boot, also good. My comments in this thread were never meant to be about whether more upright boots are better, they're just my view on how they may interact with your preferred skiing style.
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Grizzler wrote:
Personally, I just like to understand what I'm doing

Nothing wrong with that. I am also a theoretical skier and it is a recognised learning style. If the Philistines only understand, "ug, ski, ug" let them get on with it. Very Happy
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As I understand it the important thing where pressure is applied to the ski, not the boot. You don't necessarily need to be pressing into the front of the boots to have pressure on the tips of the ski.
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@Grizzler, uh, no.
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Just to elaborate.

Hereís an entire thread around a phrase uttered by someone on the internet that more or less no-one understands.

I am a very geeky sort of person. I take my skiing really quite seriously. I analyse myself, and as I head towards/over the curve of annual improvement (age seems finally to be thinking about catching up with me, maybe next year) I spend much time examining my performance, confidence, etc.

But I donít spend time over analysing random witterings from internet strangers. Who may, or may not, know of what they talk.
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@Grizzler, I think @under a new name, has it.

Spending time trying to improve your 'internal feedback' skills so that you are able to accurately know your state of balance fore\aft and laterally and where you are on the skid\grip range during an arc will pay dividends. It's only by having that awareness that you can meaningfully change your inputs to the ski and get a desirable change.

This is where video or a good coach can help by calibrating what you are feeling with what is actually happening.
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@under a new name, Seemingly one can't ask a very simply question, a small clarification of something which one doesn't understand, without being blasted for over-thinking, over-analysis etc etc. That's very sad as I see it, and very offputting to the average mere mortal.
It was just an off-the-cuff query that occurred to me when reading another thread, something which didn't make sense. It was helpfully and quickly clarified. I thought that a forum sub-section about technical matters was all about that kind of thing. Inevitably it gets a bit of thread drift, people adding helpful suggestions, personal anecdotes, etc. What's wrong with that? It's also to be read without taking everything as gospel truth and with reservation about the knowledge of the "strangers" concerned. I reserve my right to ignore them as you have the right to ignore me. But sometimes people are trying genuinely to be helpful or interested, or are learning or thinking things out for themselves too.
Over the years I have found this forum, and associated links to YT vids and other online resources incredibly useful in improving my skiing, making me think about what I'm doing etc. Sometimes the act of writing and replying to someone's questions or challenges can provide insight in itself. Yes, a good coach or instructor (and I stress good, because I've found very few so far in my admittedly-limited experience who are really good in their teaching styles and skills, as opposed to their skiing skills) are worth their weight in gold; but also can cost that, and are not on one's doorstep for much of the time (well, a lot nearer your doorstep than mine, by the looks of it).
Anyhow's let's close this apparently-tiresome thread down, and I shall follow other people's questions with interest in the future and try not to post any queries of my own to bother you unduly.
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@Grizzler, you donít bother me at all and I rather delight in your patent and honest enthusiasm.

I just kind of get the feeling, never having met you, (and this is meant in no derogatory way) that you are somewhat getting hung up on things that are either meaningless or nonexistent. In this case even the coiner of the phrase couldnít adequately explain what he meant and it took (raceplate, this isnít a criticism either, and for all I know youíre a BASI trainer) a known, working instructor to provide a simple and elegant statement of what ought (in current practice) be going on.

Skiing is not that hard. (By definition, a mindless, articulated approximation of a human skeleton can do it quite well, there was a vid some years ago of a Japanese simulacrum doing so, canít find it) It is also a preposterously ridiculous pastime. I mean, i could easily believe that the Fermi paradox exists because aliens have visited, but they landed in the Krazy Kanguroo at around 16:30 and fled in disbelief.

So... crack on.
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Oh, and (this is serious, honest) an amusing and in some places (Crafty skiing), acquire the Sunday Times ďWe learned to SkiĒ. Probably the best English language description of the whole learning to ski journey written.

Now, it is horribly out of date, but itís a fun read and some elements still valid. Actually, strike that, donít read ANY of the technique, other than ďavalementĒ. I have a copy. But you arenít getting it Happy
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@Grizzler, I'm with you on this. About asking questions that is - I still know nothing about driving tips and upright boots Toofy Grin

My signature below (newly acquired from the last bash) is for when my thinking is done and I just need to get moving.
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@Grizzler, Perhaps don't allow yourself to be put off, keep asking: analysis is vital, however over-rationalising is a noted issue in learning, which quite possibly you were evidencing. Being partisan, but the old adage of "lessons, lessons, lessons" holds good.
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When I was learning short carved turns on steep pistes, I think I would have benefited from the instructor telling me to 'drive the tips'.

It's not whether it means anything that's important, it's whether it helps the recipient deliver the right inputs to get the desired output. In this case, that actively carving full turns within a narrow corridor is hard work and you can't just tip the skis and let it happen. With all due deference, 'driving the whole ski' may be more correct but at my stage, is less easy to visualise what's required.
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Penry wrote:
When I was learning short carved turns on steep pistes, I think I would have benefited from the instructor telling me to 'drive the tips'.

It's not whether it means anything that's important, it's whether it helps the recipient deliver the right inputs to get the desired output. In this case, that actively carving full turns within a narrow corridor is hard work and you can't just tip the skis and let it happen. With all due deference, 'driving the whole ski' may be more correct but at my stage, is less easy to visualise what's required.


'Actively carving full turns within a narrow corridor' is quite straightforward.

On a green or blue run!

It involves a rolling of both ankles simultaneously - to the left for example - to tip the full length of both skis on edge to create a right to left movement.

To change direction, both skis are flattened for a fraction of time, and then both ankles are rolled simultaneously - to the right in this example - to tip the full length of both skis on edge to create a left to right movement.

Where it becomes difficult is when the terrain steepens to a red or black gradient. Then the build up in speed on snow becomes terrifying.

To successfully perform short turns within a narrow corridor on steep terrain whilst keeping the speed on snow in check there has to be a blending of pivotting/steering, edging/carving & pressure control.

It can't be achieved by 'actively carving full turns' IMHO.

Hope that helps.
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Grizzler wrote:
@under a new name, Seemingly one can't ask a very simply question, a small clarification of something which one doesn't understand, without being blasted for over-thinking, over-analysis etc etc. That's very sad as I see it, and very offputting to the average mere mortal.
It was just an off-the-cuff query that occurred to me when reading another thread, something which didn't make sense. It was helpfully and quickly clarified. I thought that a forum sub-section about technical matters was all about that kind of thing. Inevitably it gets a bit of thread drift, people adding helpful suggestions, personal anecdotes, etc. What's wrong with that? It's also to be read without taking everything as gospel truth and with reservation about the knowledge of the "strangers" concerned. I reserve my right to ignore them as you have the right to ignore me. But sometimes people are trying genuinely to be helpful or interested, or are learning or thinking things out for themselves too.
Over the years I have found this forum, and associated links to YT vids and other online resources incredibly useful in improving my skiing, making me think about what I'm doing etc. Sometimes the act of writing and replying to someone's questions or challenges can provide insight in itself. Yes, a good coach or instructor (and I stress good, because I've found very few so far in my admittedly-limited experience who are really good in their teaching styles and skills, as opposed to their skiing skills) are worth their weight in gold; but also can cost that, and are not on one's doorstep for much of the time (well, a lot nearer your doorstep than mine, by the looks of it).
Anyhow's let's close this apparently-tiresome thread down, and I shall follow other people's questions with interest in the future and try not to post any queries of my own to bother you unduly.


Keep asking.

How you process the information and put it in to practice is all that matters.
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