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Which Equipment choices or adjustments REALLY matter to your skiing?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
metal...hhhhhmmmmm...rails!!!!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Interesting stuff on the eternal problem-makers: boots and skis. Not sure if agree with GrahamN regarding getting the right ski for the way you ski. I must have skied literally dozens of makes and models over recent years (let alone in the dim and dismal past) and although they are, of course, different, if you have a reasonably well-grounded technique, you should be able to adjust your skiing to accommodate, and get the best from, the ski's characteristics. I could give a few hints on how to do that but that's for a technique thread. Skis these days are absolutely superb; there are very few bad skis out there; some you might not like, not few that ain't splendid in one way or another. It's never been easier.

As for cranking up your boots PolePlant, well, apart from my Axminster solution of the other day (which didn't seem to strike a chord with many) your feet change shape and size as they warm up so you're best to start with them 'cranked' a bit on the easy side until you get a sweat up. For schmoozing on the piste you don't need too much 'crank' (assuming you can ski half-way decent) but I almost always screw them up good style before I go anywhere near steeps or bumps. A wee tip here for steeps or bumps which might work for some is to have the boot as firm as comfortably possible around the foot and the heel but fairly easy at the cuff. In difficult terrain you quite often need to get your seat a lot lower or be able to flex your knees and ankles (where the power in the turn comes from) more than on the piste so an over-cranked boot cuff can inhibit flex. If your boot is too stiff at the cuff and ankle (in other words, it doesn't flex enough) then the only lower-leg flex you'll be able to access will be your knees. Stiff ankles, flexed knees will put your weight back; not where it wants to be coming out of a six-foot-drop turn on steep, you'll either shoot out of the turn or, well, it'll be too horrible to watch.

I'm off to round off my edges under the binding. Never tried it but I bet you can do a two-kilometer sliding tackle on boilerplate. Begin your emergency stop in the morning and finish it at sundown. Yippee!!
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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?
Quote:

if you have a reasonably well-grounded technique, you should be able to adjust your skiing to accommodate, and get the best from, the ski's characteristics. I could give a few hints on how to do that but that's for a technique thread. Skis these days are absolutely superb; there are very few bad skis out there; some you might not like, not few that ain't splendid in one way or another.


couldnt agree more and that is why i gave new or specific skis such a low "rating" in terms of mattering to my skiing.

PolePlant too tight of boots can not only restrict the flex but literally crush your foot restricting blood flow which makes your feet cold, then stiff and with cold stiff feet your balance is affected more than a bit.

In terms of doing them up a good explanation is here http://www.profeet.co.uk/ski_tips.asp


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 12-11-08 18:37; edited 1 time in total
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see you in the park willie, i'll show you why you want 'em blunt!! Laughing
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
skimottaret, I've seen the "do up yer top buckles first" mentioned all over the place.

But for some reason - fat calves/head - there is no way I can do up those top two without doing up the bottom two first. The buckles wouldn't reach.

Is this common?
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Mosha Marc, ditto. I try to compensate by getting my foot as far back in the boot as possible to begin with. Once the clips are all loosely done up, I keep adjusting, so that the top ones end up tight and the bottom one is only tight enough to stop it from coming undone altogether.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
women typically have calve muscles that are lower down the leg and struggle to clip up boots, especially rental ones that are usually mens boots...

i guess the key thing is to ensure your heel is back and that you dont crush your instep down
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
skimottaret, I think that Profeet buckling-up stuff is about right. The main thing is, if a boot's over-tightened then you ain't gonna have no fun. And the sad thing for ladies is that the shops never seem to stock a broad enough range of ladies' boots.

the_doc, So when you're not in the park you can do a four-kilometer sliding tackle and arrive.... a stone's throw from the Highlands.
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update - i had two weeks of training courses in my new set up and it confirmed to me what i felt in the snowdome. My fore aft balance has improved hugely now that i have my Delta angle correctly set on my skis. I used to struggle with drills that focused on balance and now i am blazing them. My coach, a BASI trainer couldn't do one of the drills i set during training, which didn't make her too happy, but made me more than slightly smug Toofy Grin

My turn initiation has improved greatly and my turn shape is much more symmetrical now that my lateral adjustment has been dialled in.

I am now even more confident about my conclusions that alignment and balancing of equipment are of huge benefit to all skiers.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
It's probably partly all that delta-angle fitting thing but maybe you're just becoming a much better skier anyway. Or maybe you were just good anyway and a little bit of kit input got you sorted.

I always think: technique first, kit second. Also, skiing's exactly like golf - it's very largely what's going on in your head that counts as much as technique and kit and once you exorcise your ghosts you can get on with it unencumbered. Hope I don't meet you on the slopes - you might... ehm... blow me off... the hill.

Finally, I'm glad somebody around here got some turns in before Christmas. Good effort!

Merry Christmas!
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bump and update..... three weeks of hard technical skiing and absolutely dialed in on my equipment. Interesting to note that on a course with 8 people three of the better skiers ended up adjusting their equipment setups and the improvement in their respective skiing was almost immediate...

skier 1 - ex GBR team and pro racer, skied beautifully yet had a noticable knee wobble in and out during turns. his boot upper cuffs were not remotely set correctly and after adjustment his flaw disappeared.

skier 2 - ex freeride and moguls competitor, had a very low squatty stance that didnt help her in moguls and during GS turns. Her race skis had some odd heel plate making her a full 15 mm too heel high, this was removed and her skiing became more upright and extremely powerful.

skier 3 - FIS racer with race department set Fischer boots. he was overflexing in the ankle joint. his boots were set up for superG and had too much forward flex, simply removing the rear boot spoiler allowed him to be slightly more upright and skis didnt break away on steep short turns.

skiing equipment set up makes a big difference at all levels !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
another bump...

Finally managed to ski with some volkl karmas that i had really struggled to ski on before. They were really really heel high and too far back for me. after a bit of fiddling about i adjusted the delta angle and moved the bindings forward they skied really well on both piste and deeper stuff and i actually enjoyed being on em whereas pre adjustment i wanted to bin em...
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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
skimottaret, reading through your long post, I see much of the "equipment" changes you made had to do with customization to your particular physique!

For example, the 3 pairs of boots were fitted by 3 different boot fitters and clearly the first two were not done properly at all. Had you had the luck to have found a good boot fitter on your first try, you would have still have that pair...

That's quite different issue than what people would typically call "better equipment"! Buying more skis wouldn't have made you a better skier. Not even buying more expensive boots either! The equipment you finally ended up with weren't exactly "better" in the normal sense. They weren't even "different" equipments. They were only different and better because they were tailored FOR YOU!

If, the majority of skiers are similar to you, then there's no need to have multiple "level" of equipments. They just might as well lable boots/skis by size and a random model number because it's likely to fit random people! Each and every peice of equipment should be custom fitted to account for individual body shape and size. End of story!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I had the CEM and Andi treatment about four weeks ago. This involved new liners, footbeds and balancing. It also taught me that a boot can fit perfectly but also be putting you in completely the wrong place to actually ski.

After a weekend on the Grands Montets in a mixture of really good powder and chopped conditions, the results are revelatory. I'm more upright, I'm in balance and not struggling to get out of the backseat and I don't feel like I'm fighting the gear. The main differences seem to be the boot being more upright - I'm no longer being shoved forward and then counterbalancing by squatting backwards and I'm in much better balance generally as a consequence of the footbed.It isn't perfect yet. I'm going to need to muck about with the binding delta etc a little but early results are extremely positive.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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gorilla, good to hear there is another "believer"

abc, your quite right, for me being tall with big feet "customisation" has been much more important than "selection" but i am feeling more and more that seemingly minor changes can make a difference to all skiers after seeing the results with myself and skier 1,2 and 3 above over a few weeks. have also seen a few intermediates change quickly with a better setup.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Another 'believer' here'.
I just bought new boots with custom liners and wow what a difference. Despite spending over 3 hours having my last pair fitted trying about 10 pairs, it was all rather basic and purely about getting the foot in a boot that didn't rub. But it all seemed fine to me at the time. I had expensive foot beds too so I thought it must be good. I went to Mountain Air in Verbier and the boot fitter took one look at my feet and said they're too narrow for Nordicas and that I had fairly complex messed up feet altogether. So now I've got custom Intuition liners and 3 buckle Dalbello boots to really keep my foot stable with a little bit of tweaking to overcome the messed up alignment. I skiied in them for the first time today and although I nearly fell over as soon as I clipped my skis on and felt like I was skiing bow legged all day compared to my usual stance, it felt brilliant after a while. The difference was really noticeable, particularly tucking on the flat fast bits it felt really stable. There's obviously a clear difference between someone who knows about boots and someone who knows about feet too!
The word 'Pro' written on the side of the boots of course makes me ski heaps better.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
skimottaret, who made those observations though? They sound quite specialized and I doubt there are many people around able to accurately diagnose these sorts of equipment issues. It sounds like your skiers 1, 2 and 3 were all experienced and able skiers and will have skied with some good coaches but had all failed to spot the flaws with their setups.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Sideshow_Bob, well to be honest the skier 1 was me during movement analysis and feedback... the other two were by Andi M.. you are right though finding someone with the on snow and understanding of biomechanics is a tall order.
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CSki, Welcome to the club of the Dalbello and Intuition. I had the liners moulded by a totally disinterested shop assistant and they were hell. Brought them home and re-moulded them in my home oven after making neoprene toe covers and ankle bone protectors (just for the moulding) Now they are the warmest and most comfortable boots I have ever skied in. Oh and I had new footbed made at the Zoo last March to replace the cracked and beat up ones I had skied on for 7 seasons. Mine say pro too but I have the black clog so less people look at it Smile
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bump as i edited the OP
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skimottaret, You touched on tuition/instruction as a seperate issue but in terms of bang for yer buck i think this is where the greatest improvements are to be found.

We had lessons with fellow snowhead Stewart Woodward again at Xmas followed up by two more sessions with Rorie last week. Great instruction from both which has produced a marked improvement in technique, improved stances and most noticably.....skiing is not as physically demanding. Cool
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it was the gloves what done it for me. wink
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
skimottaret, I agree with your findings.

Boot fit and setup is important. Buy boots that are right for your feet and body type, not those that are necessarily the most expensive or best marketed. Then see a good bootfitter and get them setup properly.

Skis come in general categories; slalom radius, GS radius, Cheater, narrow under foot, moderate, mega, etc. Select mainly by the category that best serves the type of skiing you do most. Brand isn't so crucial, as most are comparably good. The tune you apply will make a noticeable difference in how the skis perform, regardless the ski.

Beyond that, it's all about the skills you have. A highly skilled skier can seem to make a poorly tuned ski dance, while a lesser skilled skier can struggle with a perfectly tuned ski.
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FastMan wrote:
Boot fit and setup is important. Buy boots that are right for your feet and body type, not those that are necessarily the most expensive or best marketed. Then see a good bootfitter and get them setup properly.
This is absolutely critical... it's not just the fit of the boots to your feet (which is important) but to your body (legs, body physiology) so that you are standing in neutral when you are pressuring the sole of your feet evenly. Too often, boots tip you forward or aft, left or right, or even rotate one way or the other because they encase both your feet and lower leg. As a result, you really want to make sure that the boot fits all of you, not just your feet.
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Here is a video of a skier who we have working with
Skier Pre and Post Alignment from InsideOutSkiing
before and after alignment. He had new boots fitted, footbeds shims and his delta angle settings changed. He has made good progress with his sessions but during his most recent post alignment he really was skiing much better and his fore aft balance highly improved.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Tue 22-04-14 18:57; edited 1 time in total
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skimottaret, I had pretty much all of the above done recently following a few things you mentioned on another post, where do I start? Well thank you is probably a good place I guess!

The results in the video above pretty much sum up the changes I felt!
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I thought a cool Beenie hat made all the difference...
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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
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
bump after some questions on another thread
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
without reading the whole thread im going to jump in with a very "on the fence" answer and say it depends on the person.

If you have wonky legs alignment is important, if you are a beginner the right skis are important, advanced you are more set in your ways, delta might be more important or mounting position, racers notice edge angle..

I'm a fussy git so if something is out of whack I will feel it pretty quickly.. so i tend to say all of the above. Though i dont believe fine tuning is so important, few degrees here or there will be irrelevant after snow conditions are taken into account, just needs to be in the right ballpark.
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dulcamara, interesting. After a couple of years messing about with forward lean/delta, I've been finding that the optimal window in terms of the boot/binding combination and my ability to balance is pretty small. At the moment I'm in a boot with 14 degrees forward lean and bindings across all my skis have 2mm delta. That's bang on and drops me nicely in the driving seat. Flatter bindings = backseat driving. More delta = backseat driving. 2mm more or less delta moves my hip back about 6 cm relative to my feet. Unsurprisingly that makes a huge difference to my skiing - I can ski at an acceptable level with a different setup but there is a night and day difference technique and level of fatigue.

I suspect I am unusually sensitive to how these things are set up and that it varies a lot from individual to individual. I suspect also that those skiing at a high level - so ISIA or equivalent onwards are simply biomechanically more suited to skiing and are able to tolerate a much greater degree of variation in how their equipment is set up.

That said, I'm even more convinced now than I was when I first responded to this thread in 2009 that equipment choice - so what ski or boot or whatever - matters much less than whether or not your equipment as a unit stacks you correctly and balances you to ski well.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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gorilla, Just me but I tend to find it doesnt matter how much I play with angles, as soon as I change skis it's back to square one, change snow conditions and my body position gets messed up as well. Same can also be applied if I am feeling particularly brave or have had a couple of beers wink

Your last statement certainly makes sense though...
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

2mm more or less delta moves my hip back about 6 cm relative to my feet


I'm trying not to be too cynical but this doesn't sound right. A 2mm delta across the length of your foot (say a foot long) should only change your hip position about 6mm relative to your foot (assuming the hip is about 3 foot up and keeping the same ankle angle). It seems odd that the equivalent of putting a piece of cardboard under your heel moves your hips so much.
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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?
You are right to be sceptical... Another way of thinking about this is that one of your bodies strongest reflex actions is when being pushed backwards. We are very sensitive to for aft movement because we dont like falling over and being out of balance for and aft even 6mm can be felt. In my case my Head bindings are 6mm heel high and I prefer 0 delta. With my boot length and height if I left the bindings at 6mm high it would put my hips 20mm out of position and my head 40mm out of position. This doesn't sound like a lot but do the following experiment. In a skiing stance on your skis with boots done up slowly lean forward until you feel the ball of your foot and then slowly lean back until you feel you heel. Do it repeatedly with your eyes closed and have some one check to see how far your shoulders move. In my case it is less than 40mm. So if I didn't correct my delta angle I would be starting out always out of balance on my heels and every time I wanted to turn I would have to recover to centre balance.
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And that makes sense. A 6mm delta on the foot would equate to roughly 20mm shift at the hips or 40mm at the head. It's the suggestion that a 2mm delta at the foot leads to a 6cm (ie 60mm) shift at the hips that seems excessive.

And we're all built and react differently so I can understand people having a preferred starting point but presumably we're quite good at adapting otherwise how could we cope with different slope angles?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

It's the suggestion that a 2mm delta at the foot leads to a 6cm (ie 60mm) shift at the hips that seems excessive.


Be glad it isn't your body that does it. If I'm out of balance then my body makes the adjustments it needs in order to bring it back into balance. In this instance it is shifting my butt down and back about 6cm pretty much irrespective of whether I'm out by a couple of mm or a cm or two. I am at an utter loss as to why this happens or why it is so binary.
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Quote:

Be glad it isn't your body that does it


I'm not so sure mine doesn't. From the way you describe it I guess it might be a "this doesn't feel right, prepare to bail out" response which I sometimes feel is how I ski. There are times when no matter what I try, my body is dropping back into 'ready for bail out' mode.

I suspect for me it's a lack of confidence / certainty thing. Something for me to think about here.
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gorilla, whack up some video of you skiing and we can have a look to see if perhaps it is equipment related. Also it would be interesting if you video yourself in ski boots and slowly flex and extend fully in a skiing stance, film from front and from side angle... then do same standing on one leg... If you want to be fully nerdy, try the whole sequence when clipped into your skis to see if the delta angle affects anything..

I do see this from time to time so not that unusual. Again natural reflex is to drop back onto the hill not dive down it when things are not feeling right..
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skimottaret, sadly I have no footage and am not likely to generate any for a while. More's the pity. I'll take some photos showing the effect of delta before and after later this week.
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Genuine question to all - don't you think forcing yourself to adapt to different delta / forward lean etc might actually be good for your skiing?

I do appreciate how weird it can feel to change these things - remember switching from alpine bindings with a ramped alpine boot to a flatter AT boot and fritschi's for the first time - vry strange! The thing is you do adjust after a bit and I think it helps you really feel for your centre of mass. After all we are moving that around relative to our feet / hips etc all the time when skiing.

Maybe it's not - actually counterproductive in forcing you to reset everything
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jedster, I suspect it is. I have a preferred set of resting (?) angles but its purely a comfort thing. But I've skied on lots of different rigs. Although, I don't think there was quite the variety in 1990 that there is now snowHead
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