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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!!