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Discussion Starter #1
Hey there,

In the UK at the moment, "foot steering" is used as the preferred technique for correct turns. Back in the day, a lot of people (me included) were taught using "shoulder steering", which has pretty much been dropped now.

I was just wondering if these are terms used in the U.S and Canada? And also if there's been a similar move away from shoulder steering, towards foot steering/foot peddling?

Cheers, Gavin
 

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I think I kind of understand what you are trying to say. Foot peddling is not familiar to me. Could you explain that? I understand the shoulder thing though.

With the shoulder technique, I really don't think that you should abandon that. Shoulder steering is important for many situations especially if you are doing freestyle. Spins, butters, and jibbing requires you to turn your hips and shoulders to perform these maneuvers. Also, while you are carving, I don't see how it would be possible to do deep and tight carves without the use of your hips and shoulders. For normal skidded turns and just general cruising I can understand just using your feet. That's how I ride when I'm going mellow. I rock my board from toe edge to heel edge with my feet while still going straight. Is that what you are talking about?
 

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upper body works on steeps with retraction of the lower body.

Foot steering is nice, but I feel the "key" is upper and lower body seperation.
  • Upper body stays balanced in the direction of travel
  • Lower body flexes and extends to handle the what the board is doing
and leading stems from the eyes (where are you going) to the upper body getting balanced to the lower body absorbing the dynamics of the sidecut and reaction to the snow. So for ME I work from the top down not the other way around. But I never passed my instructor exams even though I can always school the schoolers. What do I really know, is just what works for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I should start by saying that I'm not an instructor :)

My first intro to foot steering was a DVD call Go Snowboard. It has some pretty good instruction for turning, from beginner to advanced, all based around using the feet to control the board. Which I'm assuming is what people have collectively called "foot steering".

They highlight 3 elements:
- pressure control
- edge control
- steering

The steering part is where the term "peddling" comes from - as they liken it to one foot pushing down, as if on a peddle, while the other foot lifts up, in opposition.

I always thought their introduction for beginners was quite "technical", but the advice for intermediate and advanced turning is excellent.

I later found that this method seems to be the approach adopted by British instructors, which is where the interest leading to this post came from.

It's a while ago now, but I wrote a review of the DVD if you're interested:
Go Snowboard Instructional DVD

Cheers, Gavin
 

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upper body works on steeps with retraction of the lower body.

Foot steering is nice, but I feel the "key" is upper and lower body seperation.
  • Upper body stays balanced in the direction of travel
  • Lower body flexes and extends to handle the what the board is doing
and leading stems from the eyes (where are you going) to the upper body getting balanced to the lower body absorbing the dynamics of the sidecut and reaction to the snow. So for ME I work from the top down not the other way around. But I never passed my instructor exams even though I can always school the schoolers. What do I really know, is just what works for me.
Totally agree with this post.

I just don't understand why instructors over there are making you abandon upper body steering.
 

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Totally agree with this post.

I just don't understand why instructors over there are making you abandon upper body steering.
x2

It seems a lot of instructors are lazy or something. Turns should be initiated by your core (hips) and your shoulders. Teaching students to scrub off speed and steer with their feet will get them down the hill faster the first time, but as they progress, they'll have to relearn everything or be f-ed. All your balance and body control comes from your core, so if you ignore that as your speed increases, you'll be headed for Smashyville.
 

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Your hips and shoulders are what make snowboarding fun when you get good. By being able to manipulate both body segments and throw your whole weight in the right direction at the right time, you can achieve huge carves, powder slashes, freestyle moves. I can understand maybe for the beginner to stick to foot steering, but if you try and not use your shoulders I think your only going to cripple your riding.
 

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Actually, in my experience, most movement originates in the hips. Then the legs/shoulders follow from this.

Try a little experiment next time you are out riding to see if its true. With a centered stance, try turning using your 'core', your hips and abs. Then try turning focusing just on your legs, and try turning focusing just on your upper body.

Really, the upper body/lower body thing is not that important. Its all one movement, it shouldn't be broken up. Its good to focus on specific things like shoulders and knees to see how they affect turning, but in the end, its just one body moving at adapt to snow, terrain, and equipment.

As for pedaling, i never learned that as a beginner practice, it takes a fair bit of balance to do it well. I use it for introducing light carving.
 

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The reason is that your feet are closer to the board and snow so movements like flexing or extending your ankles will cause the board to make contact with the snow quicker then an upper body movement(Much more effeceint and effective). You still want your shoulders to be making the movement in the same direction as you are turning unless the riding task(i.e. doing a basic turn, popping a 180, etc.) calls for a different movement.

It probably isn't so much that they have moved away from teaching upper body as the emphasis and how they talk about it has changed.
 

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x2

It seems a lot of instructors are lazy or something. Turns should be initiated by your core (hips) and your shoulders. Teaching students to scrub off speed and steer with their feet will get them down the hill faster the first time, but as they progress, they'll have to relearn everything or be f-ed. All your balance and body control comes from your core, so if you ignore that as your speed increases, you'll be headed for Smashyville.
They aren't being lazy in this regard. If students don't have the concept of using their lower bodies.( i.e. feet or uphill edge presses into snow downhill lifts) a lot of time they will leave their boards very flat. Then when you use a upper body movement they are more likely to have their downhill edge catch in the snow causing a slam. Yes your core is the center of your balance and yes your hips can be a powerful turning force. But they are further away from the snow so take a longer time to initiate. With the shoulders they are not so much a turning force, as they are a stance indicator as a limiter or releaser of freedom of movement through to your lower body. By this I mean that if you are trying to turn left but your front shoulder is turned right your spine is bound up and your hips can only turn so far to the left. By turn the lead shoulder to the left as well you spine is able to come back to center and your hips are able to turn that much further to the left.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah, it's my understanding that the feet ultimately control the board.

Some instructors use basic upper body movements to effect movement of the feet, which will then control the board. Other instructors teach the direct manipulation of the feet ("Foot steering").

For example, I think (not totally sure on this) that the CASI start beginners with Shoulder Steering, but move to Foot Steering later on, at a more advanced level.

Just to be clear, I know that a lot of stuff in snowboarding requires upper body movements, and I know that the upper body must be dynamic during turning... but I don't think turning the upper body is required to make turns or carves, with the foot steering approach.

There's a pretty good carving example here:
YouTube - Advanced Snowboarding Tips : How to Carve on a Snowboard
 

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You're correct. Upper body use isn't required for normal carves. If you just want the sidecut to do the turn radius for you, then use just your lower body. If you want deeper, tighter carves, upper body is going to come into play.

Also, how do you navigate mogul fields? How is one to whip the tail around and make almost 90 degree alternating turns without using upper body or hips?

I want to see someone riding a mogul field using purely foot steering without launching off one head on.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I want to see someone riding a mogul field using purely foot steering without launching off one head on.
Good point :)

Sure, there are times when you need the upper body, especially for freestyle, but also for riding...

So just going back to the start of the thread, I'd say the concepts of both foot steering and shoulder steering are known of/discussed/used, over in the U.S and Canada...

Thanks for all the input guys!
 

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I just think learning all the mechanics is a good idea. It just seemed to me that you were saying that the instructors completely srubbed upper body out of the turning/carving picture.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yeah, in some ways I think they have. I'm pretty sure the BASI approach (british association) focusses entirely on foot steering.

Like I said though, I'm not an instructor, and I haven't seen instructors teaching people to ride in more varied situations, like moguls for example.

But - that was the reason for the original post - to see what people think, see if it sounds strange, see if anyone knows the CASI/AASI approach on this, etc.

What I'd like to see is someone showing good carving technique on a really steep, hard run. In all the videos they pick some blue run or something and make the turns look good.

I can do that. I want to see it on something really hard :)

Cheers
 

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I hope Snowolf chimes in soon. He's our resident instructor and is really good at explaining these things. He has a few videos of harder terrain.
 

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What I'd like to see is someone showing good carving technique on a really steep, hard run. In all the videos they pick some blue run or something and make the turns look good.

I can do that. I want to see it on something really hard :)

Cheers
Can see it all the time in the movies, but for us mere mortals it hard to catch on tape due to the terrain, speed and no heli...sometimes from the chair...however you can see evidence of good carving by looking at the lines drawn. The other thing is that dropping big lines is usually done on good pow days where you probably do more leveraged carving instead of foot work.

I get to see folks drop this line and the like quite frequently.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk_MTbAgaYQ
 

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x2

It seems a lot of instructors are lazy or something. Turns should be initiated by your core (hips) and your shoulders. Teaching students to scrub off speed and steer with their feet will get them down the hill faster the first time, but as they progress, they'll have to relearn everything or be f-ed. All your balance and body control comes from your core, so if you ignore that as your speed increases, you'll be headed for Smashyville.
actually most of the normal type of turns and even dynamic ones are started with your lower body, mainly with the flex/extension of your knees and putting pressure on the balls of your feet or heels.

the reason why we teach people not to lead with their shoulders is because that then causes it to be much harder to put pressure on your edges if your upper body is facing down hill as opposed to being stacked right over your board with all of your weight right above the edge that is engaged.

leading and turning with your shoulders is what will usually cause skidded turns and people who have what i like to call "rudder" foot. when someone just kicks their back leg back and forth like their back foot is a rudder on a boat.
 
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