CASE STUDY: MORGAN FROM FRANCE – HIS STORY


INTRODUCTION

Morgan Petitniot first contacted me on September 2, 2014 to ask permission to translate my blog posts into French and post them on his own skiing web site. I was happy to accommodate Morgan.

Over the coming months, we struck up a friendship and communicated with each other on a regular basis. Morgan was passionate about skiing and motivated to learn to ski at the highest possible level. As I did, he encountered equipment problems that he recognized were impeding his progress. So he started asking why. A big breakthrough came when he,  “…… started to think that probably the soft snow acted under my skis like a platform that permitted me feeling in balance”. At that point, Morgan did what most skiers would do. He purchased tightly fitting boots with a custom insoles. The boots felt good in the ski shop and on perfectly groomed runs. But they were a disaster on more challenging conditions. Morgan started looking for answers outside the ski industry.

He found The Skiers Manifesto. He started applying information from my posts. By April of this year, Morgan was ready to work on his technique and I was ready to help. This is Morgan’s story in his own words, with minimal clarification or comments on my part.

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I am Morgan. I am 40. I live in south of France (FONT-ROMEU Ski resort). I love skiing so much that, when we moved my wife and my 2 childrens, to live in Font-Romeu, I started skiing seriously. It was in (2012). I was so involved to ski well that I get a course with a ski instructor. I demand him to explain to me all he knows, even technical aspects, to bring me quickly to a better level.

Problems started immediately. He said to me to ski like him and behind him and reproduce the same movements. I was with a 50/50 (50% groomed, 50% free ride) 180 cm skis with 80mm lift under foot. It was impossible to (for) me to reproduce the movements until, after 2 hours analysing why I was struggling. I took his (the instructor’s) skis (slalom Salomon 9S). And instantly I was able to carve a turn. At this moment, I thought that equipment was a huge key in skiing success. Of course, now I could carve a turn with this type of ski, but to learn skiing it is not a good thing.

But I didn’t know how ski boots should be to me the major factor of improvement. As the believe said: block the ankle, squeeze the forefoot, high flex and tighten shell set up. In the fall I buyed a pair of skiboot, a custom insole and squeeze my foot in all parts. I started to feel more precise. Obviously, such tight that when I was moving one toe all the boot was moving. Precise: OK but efficient? No. I could ski well (feeling) in a perfect snow condition on groomed slopes. I remember that I was saying to me:”Yes I got it” but on the black icy slope, that was a disaster. I started to think that probably the soft snow acted under my skis like a platform that permited me feeling in balance. Today thanks to David’s knowledge shared on his blog I know that I was right. But no one tell me the story.

For the first time in 2013 I saw me skiing (on video). It was the worst day of my skier’s Life ! I saw me totally blocked, tall, with little flexion at the ankle, knee and hips. So I applied that I was understanding on skier’s manifesto.

1/ I disconnected the liner and leave the part that lies on top of the forefoot. I was in Lange Ski boot (ZB 150 WC : 92 mm last). I had to “velcro” the upper aspect of the liner in order to it stay in place.

It increased dramatically my ankle flexion possibilities about 30% but not enough.

RESULTS : was That for the first time I was able to better in holding an arc in icy condition. But not enough.

2/ After reading and understanding the importance of CENTER OF PRESSION (PRESSURE) aligned to the GROUND REACTION FORCE , The importance of the reference shank angle and above all THE PRONATION,  I changed my ski boot. I tried 2 models : head Raptor 130 RS and FISCHER RC4 130. Those boot are very different in geometries, shapes and orientations of the feet.

RESULTS : Much better with Head Raptor to tip the skis on edge but I was feeling blocked at ankle and I could not reached my reference shank angle.

 

Great with Fischer RC4 because in this boot I can respect the point that david explained to be crucial :

– My soles feet can spread when I am balanced in one foot.

– With a little expansion at the medial aspect of the shell, at the medial ankle bone : My bone can move as I pronate without blocking.

– I can reach my reference shank angle with a minimal contact on the upper part of the tongue

– And with my feet resting on a flat boot sole and a flat stock footbed with all things explained above I can feel the pressure under the ball of my feet.

It was in April 2015. And I remember That I said to me :”Now I can work on technique and improve my skiing”

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In my next post, I will detail my analysis of Morgan’s issues using the video he sent me.