All things ankles... :)

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by markojp, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Industry Insider Instructor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,567
    Location:
    PNW aka SEA
    A good pre-season thought... A little older, but Debbie Armstrong pretty much nails it.

     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
    L&AirC, Lorenzzo, QmaartenQ and 6 others like this.
  2. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    934
    Location:
    NYC
    :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: Good video.

    The indoor shot with her flexing her ankles in her socks is the key.
     
    oldschoolskier, socalgal and markojp like this.
  3. Nancy Hummel

    Nancy Hummel Getting on the lift Instructor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2016
    Posts:
    141
    Location:
    Snowmass/Denver
    Good video. Some guys that I worked with at Breckenridge used to talk about "Bobby and Susie Ankless" and the Ankless family reunions that are held at ski areas everywhere. If people used ankle movements instead of flexing the knee and hip, their balance and ski usage would improve tremendously.
     
    markojp and slowrider like this.
  4. PTskier

    PTskier Putting on skis Skier

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2017
    Posts:
    84
    Location:
    Washington, the state
    Acquaintances knew the Armstrong family. They said that when Debbie was free skiing, she skied like a winning racer. When she was on the PSIA payroll, she skied like an instructor. I am not a PSIA fan.

    Poor video. As usual, it did not show HOW to do what they said, how to "balance over the feet." My 130 flex boots are on the stiff side for 130, and I wouldn't want anything softer; very little ankle flex is possible. Friends who got stiffer boots than they thought they wanted, either on the suggestion of a fitter or because the stiffer flex were the ones left at the time the sale was on, don't want to go back to softer boots that allow more ankle flex. Flexing the hips & knees correctly is great for balance. Another advantage of stiff boots is that when one is thrown off balance the stiff boots gives them something to lever against to get re-centered. And, any inputs to the skis are transmitted more quickly and precisely with stiff boots. Debbie was in old Nordica Dobermans. 130 flex if I spotted the model I thought I saw. She has the strength to flex those boots, but maybe she took out the cuff bolts to make the video look better.

    Balancing vs. bracing happens during a turn. It is about avoiding the sideways slide braced against the ski vs. balancing on the skis and riding them around the curve. The bracer is usually on their heels, often with the outside leg stiff. The balancer helps themselves when they're on the balls of their feet.
     
    1chris5 likes this.
  5. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Industry Insider Instructor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,567
    Location:
    PNW aka SEA
    :nono:

    PT bud, this isn't about PSIA, Harb, CSIA, etc... It's not about Deb Armstrong racing or doing anything other than delivering a very simple, straightforward message about flexing the ankle. Leave the second hand anecdotes at home.

    For many rec skiers, the idea that skiing starts with small movements inside the boot is a game changer. And of course one can't flex their ankles in a ski boot as a tennis shoe. Don't be 'that guy'. Contribute something positive. If that's not possible, show yourself to the door and don't steal the silver.
    :beercheer:
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
    L&AirC, 4ster, Dumphish and 5 others like this.
  6. razie

    razie CSCF Coach aka Sir Shiftsalot Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    Posts:
    241
    Location:
    Ontario
    Many good messages: direct attention to the ankles, flex the ankles (dorsiflex to be more precise) and use the entire foot fore/aft range of motion, bending the ski from the middle, "ski [with] your feet" etc.

    One sort of issue I would see is that most skiers are so far in the back seat, that telling them to not bend the front of the ski (too early) may "encase" them in the back seat. I still remember the first time I got into a WC GS ski, put it on edge and was praying "turn, please turn, damn you, turn !!!"... It only started to turn (somewhat) when a buddy coach asked me to place my hips on the tips of the ski!

    Not sure about the bracing part - I also understand that to be more lateral, but maybe that's exactly what she meant: don't just put it on edge and brace against the ski statically, while it turns, but be more active, specifically fore/aft...? I'm guessing... but she does say "balance on your feet as opposed to bracing against your equipment" - so more likely she means "not leaning on the back of the boots and/or not hang off the shins"...
     
  7. graham418

    graham418 Getting off the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2016
    Posts:
    436
    Location:
    Toronto
    This video shows an excellent exercise for the ankles, and knees. Notice how level and steady the upper body is.



     
    gozoogle, Swede, Olesya C and 2 others like this.
  8. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    934
    Location:
    NYC
    I have skied with Debbie Armstrong a long while back in Taos prior to her move to Steamboat. She is a beast on skis. No need for her to take a a bolt on a 130 boot to flex it.

    She is a really good instructor. Able to help us mortal recreation skiers with the basic fundamentals and expand our horizons. She is definitely PSIA but that is not a bad thing. She is also something else. A lot of something else. A good thing.

    As a side note. I have noticed several different posters on occasions in few different threads with off the cuff disrespects toward PSIA and instructors. The general attitude is that the instructors are one trick ponies confined to groomers. PSIA is like your favorite 4 letter word. Let me tell you, I am not a instructor but that can't be further from the truth. At least with the instructors I free ski with regularly. Whether they are PSIA or CSIA. Perhaps you guys are hanging out with the wrong instructors. :nono: Think it's time for you guys to trade up.
     
    L&AirC, jimmy, Chris Walker and 9 others like this.
  9. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Industry Insider Instructor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,567
    Location:
    PNW aka SEA
    It gets old, doesn't it?
     
  10. oldschoolskier

    oldschoolskier Getting off the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2015
    Posts:
    758
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    PT.... boot stiffness is a very individual thing based on a lot of variables. As to its importance to the video it is not important for the message presented.

    BALANCE is, and where it happens. Short sweet and simple.

    The rest, well that's another discussion or two or three.

    Nice find @markojp :thumb:
     
  11. AmyPJ

    AmyPJ Let's go! Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    2,225
    Location:
    Ogden, UT
    Thanks, @markojp, this is a good reminder before the season starts. I plan to hit the bunny slope the first day and work on a lot of drills to try to erase some bad habits I've acquired over the years. I struggle with ankle flexion in dynamic snow, so this is a good reminder to think about skiing with my FEET.
     
  12. 1chris5

    1chris5 Getting on the lift Skier

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2017
    Posts:
    186
    Location:
    Chester Springs, PA
    Thanks for your thoughts. Lemaster notes, "Some world class athletes, including Bode Miller, have been known to deliberately punch bulges in the shells of their boots over the navicular bone to provide increased mobility... Many of the best athletes prefer boots that allow little or no movement of the foot and ankle." (Ultimate Skiing, pg. 127).
    I have been thinking about this very issue with regards to my son. I am thinking about getting him 70 flex Lange's on eBay because he is a lazy skier and I think a race boot may force better technique starting at the feet and ankles.
    As a recreational skier I like focusing on one thing; like dorsal f!exion in the feet and ankle, but I am beginning to wonder if most of the real action happens with the balls of the femur in relation to the balance axis?
    It seems that Lemaster indicates that the majority of racers, at the time of writing, agrees with your point. Bode is a genius on skis so I can't discount his opinion on flexion. There probably is no right answer, but more to do with body type. Especially, at the highest levels of ability.
     
  13. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Industry Insider Instructor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,567
    Location:
    PNW aka SEA
    Being aware of and able to work with small movements in the boots doesn't mean 'loose' boots. Liners are not ridged, nor are footbeds. Firm perhaps in some cases, but it's entirely possible and necessary to be able to fire muscles in the foot and lower leg. That Bode needs room at the navicular in a plug boot wouldn't be at all surprising. Most folks do.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    Swede, 1chris5, BGreen and 1 other person like this.
  14. Philpug

    Philpug The Ski'er Admin Pugski Ski Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Posts:
    11,240
    Location:
    Reno, eNVy
    I talk about the ankles a lot when boot fitting, if they cannot flex the ankles, they cannot flex the boot.
     
    1chris5, BGreen, crgildart and 3 others like this.
  15. Nancy Hummel

    Nancy Hummel Getting on the lift Instructor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2016
    Posts:
    141
    Location:
    Snowmass/Denver
    I do not think there is enough emphasis on ankle movements in recreational ski lessons.

    Many skiers struggle with fore/aft balance and ski in a rigid position. Teaching ankle movements allow appropriate adjustments to fore/aft balance and also help people understand that we are always flexing and extending and not stuck in some pose. Learning to flex and extend joints proportionately helps with balance and allows turns to flow.

    I have been working on this in the bumps. I realize the minute I get uncomfortable, my ankles stop moving and my skiing deteriorates.
    Focusing on opening and closing the ankles has helped me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  16. crgildart

    crgildart Gravity Slave Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    3,799
    Location:
    The Bull City
    In the Goldilocks world of boots what is preferred. a little on the soft side of perfect or a little on the stiff side of perfect? I believe most with low experience would prefer the braced ankle overkill..
     
  17. razie

    razie CSCF Coach aka Sir Shiftsalot Skier

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    Posts:
    241
    Location:
    Ontario
    Good question! Honestly, I believe that most with low experience never even touched the front of the boot, so "braced" would not apply to them, not in the forward direction ;)

    ... even if they touch it, they're probably in like 50-60 flex "beginner" boots and would just fall right over due to lack of support...

    I like the way you put "braced ankle" though. That invokes painful race boot like tightness... and I think most would be better served by good tight fitting boots, so their ankles can become useful.

    But here's another angle on the "support" issue. How much can we flex the knees in stiff boots? Does bracing against the cuff apply to just skiing with more flexion, i.e. more dynamic?

    Warren W has a very good section on this issue and a good discussion of boot setup from this point of view (cuff stiffness, but also height and angle etc).
     
    Tony S likes this.
  18. Nancy Hummel

    Nancy Hummel Getting on the lift Instructor

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2016
    Posts:
    141
    Location:
    Snowmass/Denver
    Not sure what you mean. I see lots of intermediate level skiers with a stiff, downhill leg, leveraged against the front of their boot, foot behind their hip and most of their weight on the uphill ski. This is usually a fear issue, too steep terrain issue or lack of understanding issue, not an equipment issue.
     
    KingGrump and markojp like this.
  19. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Industry Insider Instructor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    1,567
    Location:
    PNW aka SEA
    Most that don't have experience just don't know. Most would prefer the comfort of Sorels. Most inexperienced skiers won't like the price tag of stiffer boots. Most inexperienced skiers have little idea that even their 80 flex boot is anything more than a hard, plastic, brick.
     
    Muleski and razie like this.
  20. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

    Joined:
    May 4, 2017
    Posts:
    46
    What Armstrong says in her vid is great and IMO accurate.
    What we are all missing and not applying to her words of wisdom, is the fact that the force against which we use dorsiflexion changes from gravity (pulling down) to centripetal (pushing up) as the turn develops depending on edge angle and velocity. In addition, since the ski is a flexible tool, managing our balance against the ski is variable depending on where along the ski length we want the created centripetal force to be concentrated.
     

Share This Page

We respect your privacy. your information is safe and will never be shared