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Old 12-20-2010, 10:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Steeps and heal edge

Would anyone care to give me some pointers as to why it seems much harder to hold heal edge on steeper terrain. Does this have to do with perpindicularity (earlier post), flexability of the ankle-knee vs. knee only and or other. I'm annoyed when I continually loose my edge on steeper terrain with harder surfaces. Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-20-2010, 11:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Please ignore gross misspelling.
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Old 12-21-2010, 01:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It depends on your stance. If you ride like a duck (front binding positive angle, back binding negative angle) then the following applies (it may apply to some extent to other stances as well):

1. You get a much higher angle between your toe edge and the snow than your heel edge and snow (simply because of the way your body is designed). The higher the angle the stronger the hold you have on edge.

2. You can apply more pressure/force on the toe edge than on the heel edge (again, simply because the way your body is designed). The more pressure you apply the stronger the hold on the edge (given the right angle).

In a duck stance, holding a heel edge well requires lots of practice to get the right balance/angulation (and flexibility and strength) but it will come eventually.

On the other hand, if you use 0 degrees or positive angles on your back binding then you will also use a slightly different body position, your muscles in a different way and overall different balance to pressure the heel edge and in my opinion these stances make it easier to pressure the heel edge.

By the way, there shouldn't be a ankle-knee vs. knee only comparison. You should also be using your ankles when on the heel edge. When on the heel edge lift up your toes and try to touch the shin, don't just leave your ankles flat...

Last edited by thetraveler; 12-21-2010 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 12-21-2010, 02:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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one of the tricks to hold an edge, on either side, is too think of your front foot pushing slightly down the hill and your back foot pulling up and into the hill. all that is needed is a little movement on the board (think mm). This helps to engage your edge into the snow. Another cause is when we turn to heelside we tend to "park and ride" because we stay focused down the hill rather then across it. Try this with the above suggest of exploring your ankle flexions and you should see some results.

P.S. If youare still having problems try increasin the angle of your highback. This can help to compensate for the difference of range in motion in flexing vs extended your ankle.
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks all for input. Sounds as if I need to spend some more time on the steeper stuff to get that heel side dialed in. I thought I had that forward lean and weight downhill concept down until I got on some steep hardpack this last weekend. Couldn't hold heelside for shit. Kind of embarassed around my skier friends as I chattered down the hill.
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Old 12-23-2010, 02:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The most simple answer is that: Humans don't balance on their heels. Have a friend shove you hard enough to make you move a few feet. As you scurry to catch your balance you will notice that you bend your knees, maybe bend at the waist a little bit, drop your center of gravity and put most of your weight on the ball of your feet.

When you weight the ball of your feet then your toes, and ankles/calves can affect the forward&backward pitch of your body without too much trouble.

When you are on your heels, these muscles have less influence over your body position. Go ahead and try standing straight up normally while lifting your toes off of the ground. Your knees want to straighten and you have to use your hips, back and upper body a lot more to keep your balance.

I used to teach cheerleaders how to do stunts (like these) and we always tell the flyer (the girl being held in the air) that if she balances on her heel then niether she, nor her base (the guy holding her up) will be able to control the stunt effectively because your upper body is too slow at making the quick, micro-adjustments necessary to maintain stability. If the girl is on the ball of her foot, then she can flex her calf muscle and adjust her ankle with ease.

Next time you're next to a cheerleader that flies in stunts, check out her legs. Even if she is skinny, she probably has some developed calf muscles.

One advantage snowboarding has is that your can bend your knees quite a bit to make up for the control that your calves lose. However, if you've ever done the wall-sit in gym class... then you are well aware that your thighs don't like that kind of constant, continuous strain. My thighs are usually less baked after a 2 mile run than 1 mile down the mountain.
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