MORGAN FROM FRANCE FINDS HIS RAMP ANGLE


When Morgan Petitniot from France first contacted me on September 2, 2014 (CASE STUDY: MORGAN FROM FRANCE – HIS STORY (https://skimoves.me/2015/11/30/case-study-morga…france-his-story/), I had not started to look critically at boot board ramp angle and Net Ramp Angle.

When I posted SKI BOOTS – WHAT’S YOUR ANGLE? and CALCULATING RAMP ANGLE, two years ago, I knew that ramp angle could affect the function and especially the balance of a skier. But I had no idea how critical ramp angle is. Through subjective experiments back in the late’ 70s, I had identified that a ramp angle in the range of about 3 degrees made it easier to ski. But I had not made any attempt to narrow down the range or pursue the issue further. Nor did I understand back then exactly how and why ramp angle affected a skier.

After Morgan sent me the video he made in which he documented his experiments with different boots and skis, (MORGANS’ EXPERIMENTS WITH BOOT SETUP: 2013 TO APRIL 2015 https://skimoves.me/2015/12/09/morgans-experime…13-to-april-2015/), the range of effects on his skiing that he experienced from different boots and skis far exceeded what I had expected. The problem was that there was no reference against which to compare the different components against and little or no structure to Morgan’s process that would have allowed him to control variables and isolate and identify the effect of each change.

Morgan started to make progress with his skiing after he discovered The Skier’s Manifesto and began applying my principles. While he got closer to skiing at the level that he wanted to reach, it became clear to me that something was still holding him back. It was about this time that the interactions I was having with those such as Michael was helping me to gain a better appreciation and understanding of the critical nature of boot board ramp and Net Ramp Angle.

After reviewing the video clip below of Morgan skiing on January 17 of 2016 I asked him to check the ramp angles of his boots and skis. The dated comments that follow are from our email exchanges subsequent to January 17.

Morgan has improved a lot since we started working together. To the untrained eye, he looks like he is skiing quite well. But there are subtle indications that he is not able to Get Over It (get CoM over the ball of his outside foot). Morgan senses and confirms what I am seeing.


Jan 18

Morgan: Ok David, on my Fisher ski boot I am at 3.6 degree net ramp angle. I had to screw à 5 mm plastic matérial under the toe pièce of my ski boot you see it on the attaches photo\

Feb 11

Me: The biggest change for most skiers is to maintain a compact stance throughout the turn. The knee is the joint whose angle changes the most. The ankle stays fixed in the resistive angle while the knee flexes on the inside leg and extends on the outside leg to move COM over the ball of the foot. Rotating the outside leg into the body and using the inside leg to steady the pelvis enables COM to be aligned and maintained over the ball of the outside foot.

I generally do not encourage laces on liners because they can obstruct the glide path of the ankle and pollute the mechanoreceptors in the ankle that are key to balance. The liner you are using appears to be very soft. So it is unlikely it is causing significant issues. In my experience, liners can cause more problems than boot shells.

March 6

Me: In the past few months I have learned a great deal about the importance of ramp angle. It seems as by chance I chose race bindings that have zero ramp angle  for my skis when I got them 2 years ago. I have since learned that very few bindings have zero ramp. I have checked many bindings last week and found that no consistency in ramp angle. They all seem to be different. Worse, it changes with boot length. This is a big problem. A few weeks ago, I reduced the ramp angle of the boot boards in my boots to 2.6 degrees from 3.0 degrees and immediately sensed a huge improvement in balance, ski control and the ability to absorb shocks.

A week ago I was asked by a relatively new skier to help her with her boots because she is taking her CSIA Level II course and experiencing difficulty trying to do the exercises. I checked her boots first. They were far too small, too tight and far too narrow in the forefoot. She has a small but wide forefoot. When I checked her bindings they had 1.9 degrees of ramp. Her total or net ramp is almost 6 degrees!

I am about to post on tests that can and should be done with the Stance Ramp. The first test is to double the 2.5 degrees of the ramp to 5.0 degrees. You will immediately feel unstable on the ramp. This is the minimal ramp that most recreational skiers have between their boots and bindings. Many skiers have far more.  The problem is that most recreational bindings available today cannot be shimmed. Please check your bindings. If they have anymore than 0.2 degrees or ramp it is difficult to adjust for this in the boot board. If your bindings have ramp, I suggest you try and borrow or rent a ski similar to yours with zero ramp bindings and do a comparison test. Also, please check your boot boards and, if necessary, adjust the ramp to about 2.6 degrees. You can do tests  by placing thin shims of polyethylene under the heel or fore foot between runs to fine tune the ramp.

Please let me know what you find.

The best way is to drop the heel by grinding or planing the boot board down. I use a very sharp block plane to do this.

Try and build a Stance Ramp as soon as possible. I will give you exercises that are very telling in terms of what works best. You can easily sense this. Make sure the material you use is very stiff. Reinforce it, if necessary. You can easily bend the Stance Ramp platform it with pressure on the balls of the feet unless it is very stiff.

Morgan: I answer you quickly. According to your advices about ramp angle on december 2015, I have bought my skis “ATOMIC REDSTER SL” because of the binding ramp angle = 0°

Actually my boot board ramp angle (in the Fischers) is 3.8 !!!

I will made the test with trying to lift the forefoot (i don’t know if i have sufficient space to lift up my foot about 5 mm)

I am testing 2 pair of boot (head raptor 130 RS with 2.5 boot board ramp angle AND Fischer RC4 withe 3.6 boot board ramp angle) Now the only thing I can tell you : After 2 weeks I feel better in Fischer (edging, shank angle, more balance) but my back suffer. In Head boot (edging more difficult, shank angle not sufficient, balance –) but my back is better. Perhaps there is something to explore unless you have already understand what is happen 😉

March 7

Skype meeting to discuss next steps

March 17 – A Happy Ending

Morgan: I have the pleasure to say to you that. My back don’t hurt me anymore 🙂 🙂 Total ramp angle 2.8 (ski binding 0, boot board ramp angle 2.8)

More power, more balance, more reaction of skis. Gliding with the skis straight away, more relax and stable position and the feeling of the center position.

Great !!!

 

 

6 comments

    1. I agree. The problem in many parts of the world these days is just having snow to ski on. I prefer firm artificial snow. But many areas don’t have snow making.

  1. Hi David . I have been reading your post and applying your Ideas since last year and am getting excellent results.I have been skiing the past few years on skis with a radius between 14 and 17 meters. I think I have gotten lazy on these skis relying on the sidecut to turn not staying over it and not knowing to stay over it. What has helped me to get over it is to ski short or medium radius slalom turns on a soft gs type ski (my skis have a 24 meter radius). Or if on slalom skis make turns shorter than the turn radius of the ski. If your not over it its very difficult. Also I have a pair of fischer soma rc4 27.5 black and white color which I dont ski because they are way to narrow for me. Thanks I really appreciate the skiers manifesto.

    1. Getting CoM not just over the inside foot but over the ball of the inside foot at ski flat during edge change in the transition phase activates the muscles in the (lower) leg that engages the inside edge and loads the shovel. It also sets up a strong stance. The ski world seems mystified as to why racers like Shiffrin are able to beat their competition by impressive margins. It could not be more obvious to anyone with reasonable knowledge what she is doing. She knows that no one can figure it out. She must be laughing to herself.

      I agree about doing short and medium exercise turns to hone the get over it move. The trigger is the impulse force that is applied with extension of the new outside leg (primarily at the knee). But an active release of the old outside ski (new inside ski) is also important. Even when a racer like Shriffin does not visibly lift the tail of the inside ski off the snow, She still releases all the pressure. When done right, short radius turns become a pure reflex move with a pendulum action.

  2. As I was reading the above I concluded; the optimum NRA needs to be between the 2 boot angles obviously. Twas happy to see that Morgan figured that out with the positive outcome! Boot boards and/or ramp angle can cause a ‘pelvic tilt’ which then puts stress on the spine (along with everything else). This can be experienced on the Stance Ramp. One experimental set up I skied gave me incredible lateral mobility but was incredibly tiring. At the end of the day when I took my ski boots off I could feel my scalp relax! I never knew that there were muscles in my scalp(?) or that it could become tense!!

    A couple of things I realize I forgot to mention in the Ramp/Zeppa article are;
    Raichle had an adjustable boot board way back with which one could adjust the ramp angle within the ski boot. Very handy and would be a great tool for all ski boots.
    When I leveled out the set of boots to attain the foot being in a parallel plane with the floor I had to raise the toe 5/8″!! Just for perspective, of course add and subtract a bit for boot length,1 degree in ramp angle for the average boot is about 1/8″. Unless the boot board is perfectly flat I just measure the degrees of the portion the heel rests on. Good luck measuring because unless you grind it flat it is really tough to get an accurate measurement in degrees. Good luck if a shop already ground the boot board for reasons only they know, because in my experience even the ‘best’ boot fitters don’t realize how important flat is and they can screw up a lot of things with haphazard grinding. Only way to determine you’ve nailed it is what Morgan did, skiing is believing!!

    1. Now that you mention it, yes, the boot board should be flat as in perfectly flat. I refer to this is as a monoplanar surface meaning flat in both the x and y planes. As far back as the late ’70s, a monoplanar surface was my standard starting point. I find laughable that claims are made for custom insoles and even orthotics that they can precisely control the joints of the foot, stabilize the foot in a neutral position or control pronation within a millionth of a degree and then these interventions end up going into ski boots or even shoes on top of none standard surface. Does anyone know whether the surface is flat, let alone know if there is a ramp angle and, if so, what it is? And what happens when the skier skis on a ski with a different binding or changes boots and slips their insoles into the liner?

      Here are two definitions that I wrote that are an integral part of the recent patent of which I am the lead inventor.

      Plantar Surfaces
      Monoplanar surfaces are used as a standardized starting point for the plantar and heel stop elements. As will become evident, adding additional surfaces to the plantar surface in conjunction with the application of compressive forces can influence or ‘manage’ the function of the foot and by association the function of the lower limb.

      Arch Height
      “In order to ensure consistency with regard to references to arch height”, for the purpose of the invention’, height of the arch’ means the height of the arch of the foot of a user as defined by; the shortest distance between a plane defined by joining the points of the plantar aspect of the foot under the heads of the first and fifth metatarsals and the calcaneus to dorsal surface of the foot above the medial cuneiform.

      Without standardized definitions and starting points for such things as plantar bases, the effect of boot work and custom insoles is a guessing game.

      “Only way to determine you’ve nailed it is what Morgan did, skiing is believing!!”
      I agree completely. There are lots of good stories and impressive sounding theories. But at the end of the day it is all so much fluff if it doesn’t work for the skier.

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