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PNWRider 04-02-2012 03:20 PM

Results from this past Sunday
 
[Reposting my experience on Sunday with a new thread for visibility]

Alright, just got back from Cypress Mountain near Vancouver BC.

Here is what I tried and the results:
1) Developed a feel for a 60-40 weight distribution on flat ground in order to try to reproduce it on the slope.
2) Grabbed my pants at the front knee while on the slope. This helped a lot in keeping my weight centered or forward (but I still leaned backwards on a steeper green; more on that later)
3) Did toe-side falling leaves as Snowolf suggested on the top (steeper) part of the run. I definitely need more time on the toe-edge. Feet start to burn very quickly.
4) On the middle of the run I did heel-side garlands
5) On the lower part of the run, I linked turns. After two goes like this, I was able to link turns from the top of the run!

After the lunch break, my fiance and I went on a steeper green run. I had some challenges here. The run is very narrow (Panorama @ Cypress) so I had difficulty making toeside turns because I was afraid of falling off the side of the run! I also had more trouble keeping my weight forward/centered because the is steeper than the "Easy Rider" run I was doing before. Also, Panorama was much icier due to the higher traffic.

Additional questions/sticking points: I noticed that my toe edge takes longer/more pressure to engage than my heel edge. My theories are one or more of the following.

1) Either my weight is still not forward enough. On the easier green, I don't think this was the case today
2) Or I'm not bending the front knee enough/not rotating it inwards enough
3) Or maybe there's something wrong with the edging on my board? My board is five years old now but I've hardly ridden it so I doubt this is the case but I've also not taken good care of it and some of the metal on the edge is slightly rusted.
4) I find it near impossible to make a toe-side turn on hard-packed snow that is almost ice; the edge is not able to grab hold and then I freak out thatI'm not turning, end up leaning too much to try to make the board turn, and then fall.

I tried the cowboy technique that Snowolf suggested on some turns but haven't integrated it in fully yet.

What do you guys think?

Donutz 04-02-2012 03:40 PM

I find toe-side harder because I don't have help from the bindings to get the board up on edge -- I have to work it with my ankles. On the other hand, leaning toeside is easier.

What I've found while working on my carving, is that you're never as far up on your edges as you think. It may feel like you've got the board up on a 45 degree angle, but if you have a camera on a pole you'll see your edge barely an inch above the snow.

I also found that when I'm really agressively carving, being even just a little bit back-seat reduces my edge hold dramatically.

aiidoneus 04-02-2012 10:27 PM

Without video it is difficult to say why your toeside is a little slower. Like you have listed, it is usually not enough weight on the leading foot and not rotating your core. A lot of beginners also ride open, this means that your shoulders are not in line with the board. Instead they tend to rotate their upper body so that it faces down hill. This can also cause problems with toeside turns. Assuming your weight is forward, try looking uphill as you turn on your toeside. This should help keep your body better in line with the board during the toeside turn and make rotating your core with the turn easier.

snowklinger 04-03-2012 11:17 AM

Something that will help you guys toe-edge is to maintain your heel-side stance, so that your knees are bent, shins pushing against the tops of your boots (in a good way, not like the dude with shinblisters), even as you ride on your toe edge. It may seem obvious, but I know if I have to do a cattrack or somesuch at the end of the day when I'm tired, focusing on your lower legs like this not only alleviates discomfort but also forces proper technique.

My feet and ankles always get uncomfortable when I don't let my boots and bindings do their job, which is easier to do than you would think.

PNWRider 04-03-2012 11:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowolf (Post 500372)
For your toeside issues, lets break this down into two categories; equipment and technique.

As always, thank you for the detailed reply. I left my gear in Vancouver since I will be up north again this weekend, but will check everything on Friday. I had someone set the bindings five years ago and haven't looked at them since then.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowolf (Post 500372)
Okay, if your equipment checks out, all that`s left is your technique. Don`t feel bad

I'd prefer if it's technique that's the problem :) That's in my immediate control. Most stores have returned their stock so it's hard to find new equipment if it turns out that I need to replace equipment.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowolf (Post 500372)
the single most common issue that comes up with people having a hard time initiating toeside is the "open shoulder syndrome". Are you riding down the mountain on your board twisted at the waist and facing forward?. Your shoulders need to be perpendicular to your front foot. With a duck stance

I'm pretty sure I'm not counter rotated. I was grabbing my front pant leg with my hand perpendicular to the length of the board, which keeps my shoulders perpendicular to my front foot. Nevertheless, I'll ask my fiance to observe me on Sunday.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowolf (Post 500372)
First, is your front shoulder over the nose of the board or even rotated over the toe edge? If not, as Captain Picard would say, "make it so!".

This is definitely not the case. I need to remember to do that slight rotation of the front shoulder over the toe edge.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowolf (Post 500372)
Secondly, where is your back hand?

I'm pretty sure it's near my back leg, but I've read you say to others that sometimes people are not even aware of their arm sticking straight out. Again, I'll ask my fiance to check for me.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowolf (Post 500372)
Here is a great little drill you play with on easy green terrain. As you make turns, keep your arms loose and at your sides. As you go to make a turn, move the front hand in the direction of the turn and at the same time move the back hand the opposite way. As an example with a regular rider, as you go to make the toeside turn, move the left arm so your left fist is out over the toe edge of the board. At the same time, move your right arm so that your right fist is out over the heel edge of the board. As you make quicker, more aggressive turns, move your arms quicker and more forcefully.

A little confused here. Even as an exercise, this is just a slight, subtle rotation right? Not more than till the edge of the board?


Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowolf (Post 500372)
I really think you are not leaning as forward as you think.

You are probably right. Given that I was leaning really far back before, I'm probably just slightly back of centered now, which is still killing my toeside turns, but feels a lot more forward relative to the previous position. I'll work on the exercises.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowolf (Post 500372)
The reason that you are not feeling the board respond on hard pack or ice is simply because you are not being aggressive enough with these movements. The firmer the snow, the more resistance there is to your edge engaging so you need to use more force in these movements to get it to engage. Keep at it and try not to get too frustrated. This will all click at some point. It does for every rider. Just keep at it.

I've read several times that the movements should be gentle and slow. On hard pack, should I be more forceful in pushing the toe edge down then? I'm able to turn heel side on hard pack pretty easily. Perhaps this is a clue that I really need a LOT more weight on the front of the board for toeside.

There's probably another two weeks left at Cypress Mountain, end of april at Stevens, and then end of May at Crystal. Since my knee is battered after a day of riding, I can manage once a week at most. Btw, I find it much less painful to flex the knee than to torque it (cowboy technique). I had dislocated the right kneecap years ago so twisting motions on the rear knee are the issue. Good thing I ride regular!!

PNWRider 04-03-2012 03:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snowklinger (Post 500411)
Something that will help you guys toe-edge is to maintain your heel-side stance, so that your knees are bent, shins pushing against the tops of your boots (in a good way, not like the dude with shinblisters), even as you ride on your toe edge. It may seem obvious, but I know if I have to do a cattrack or somesuch at the end of the day when I'm tired, focusing on your lower legs like this not only alleviates discomfort but also forces proper technique.

My feet and ankles always get uncomfortable when I don't let my boots and bindings do their job, which is easier to do than you would think.

Could you point me towards a video or photograph showing whawt this looks like? I've been trying to visualize this without success. Every intro video I've seen talks about pressing down with your toes and lifting your heels, but I've read a number of times that you really want to let the boots and bindings take your weight when on the toeside so as to ease the force on your feet/calves/ankles. I'm doing calf lifts in the gym three times a week, but I imagine that I could use my boots a bit more to take my weight.

donkey 04-03-2012 03:46 PM

Snowolf, I've always been interested in watching a video of you ride, i'm sure it's pretty awesome. Got any videos?

PNWRider 04-07-2012 05:39 PM

Ok, back in Vancouver and examined my gear setup:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowolf (Post 500372)
On the equipment side, place your boots in your bindings and strap them in. Look to see if your boot is properly centered on the board. If it has more heel overhang than toe, you may need to adjust the binding`s heel hoop for a smaller boot. Most bindings allow this adjustment to shorten the foot bed.

I don't think my binding allow me to adjust the heel hoop or I'm not sure what part of the binding is the 'heel hoop'. The boot looks to be centered on the board, as is the binding.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Snowolf (Post 500372)
If everything checks out okay here, look to see if your "toe ramp" sometimes called the "gas pedal" is extended out enough so that the entire toe box of the boot rests on this. If the toe of the boot is just hanging over the edge of the binding, you are loosing valuable control surface here.

So this was an issue. My boot was almost hanging almost 2 inches over the toe edge of the binding. I extended the toe ramp out as far as I could. There's probably still half and inch of overhang, but much better than before. Hopefully, this makes a difference. I also
increased the angle on my front binding to 15 degrees and kept the rear binding at 0.

Things I'll work on tomorrow:
1. Shoulders should be parallel to my front foot. Since the binding is set at 15 degrees, I assume my shoulders should match this.
2. Back hand over the tail of the board
3. Lean more forward
4. Drop the front knee down and in


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