Disclosure

The sole purpose of this blog is to articulate what I have learned over the past 40 years about the mechanics, biomechanics and physics of skiing in the hope that it will help to encourage the application of sound principles of science for the betterment of this great sport. Although the following US Patents and associated international patents were granted to me all these patents have expired and are now in the public domain for all to use and enjoy. I have no association or affiliation of any kind with the ski industry. Nor am I involved in any capacity in the sport for other than for my personal enjoyment and to assist other skiers and racers as time permits.

9 comments

  1. Hi David, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, always with great interest. Posting this here since some of the more relevant articles to post under are closed for comment.

    You’ve recently written that you haven’t come across any technical discussion on the role of the foot that resonates with you. There is a former racer in Austria who was on the WC around the time you were who largely shares your opinion on the role of the foot, footbeds and boot shaft issues and has written about them, albeit only in German. If you’re interested, I can point you towards the pieces or paraphrase the more relevant details.

    In the meantime, I have a question for you relating to the limitations imposed by the shaft/buckles/tongues of most boots – does the Raichle Flexon Comp/Full Tilt/Dalbello Krypton solve this issue?

    1. Thank you for your comments.

      Habit 5 of Dr. Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, teachs to Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. People tend to form opinions based on their own experiences. If they are influential, they tend to gather a following who parrot their opinions without questioning their validity.

      I read a lot material and watch videos (usually on YouTube) to try and get a feel for the positions (often opinions) of various parties who are discussing the technical aspects of ski technique and equipment. What I often find is that what a skier, ski pro, coach or even a World Cup racer is saying bears little resemblance to what they are actually doing. But they assume others will ‘get it’ by watching.

      A good example is where a skier should feel the weight in a turn. First off, weight and pressure are vague, nebulous terms. But a typical response to the question “where should the weight be?” is “in the center”. The center of what?

      I am very interested in the positions of Austrian racer. I would appreciate if if you could paraphrase the relevant details.

      The Raichle Flexon Comp could be made to work very well for those with the right foot and leg shape provided the boot was set up correctly. The fixed shape of the flexon tongue made it possible to create a range of low resistance shank movement (ankle flexion) within the front and rear cuffs. The front cuff also enabled specific loading of the instep of the foot. I haven’t had any experience with the Full Tilt/Dalbello Krypton. But with some modifications the Raichle Flexion could provide superior functional environment for the foot and leg compared to the overlap boot format.

      Note that I refer to functional environment for the foot and leg and not fit. The term Fit is a static concept that correctly implies an objective of lower limb dysfunction which is what it achieves very well.

      1. Thanks for your thoughts on the Flexon Comp. According to Full Tilt, their Classic model is from the Flexon Comp mould, and the only thing that has been changed is the liner. It’s currently an Intuition liner with a tongue rather than the wrap-around design. As someone who uses a 30.5 Mondo, and only because there aren’t any suitable 31.5s, for me fit is necessarily always about removing material rather than limiting mobility. It’s something of a battle and largely why I take such interest in your posts.

        The coach in question is Nicola Werdenigg. Funny you should preface your interest with misgivings about former skiers – somewhere she mentions the problem of racers not having to think about how they do things, then upon retirement finding themselves in the position of coaching or sitting behind a microphone and having to provide an expert explanation, and hence resorting to coaching manual dogma. Interesting too that you should mention being “centred” as your example – this is a concept she has argued strongly against, preferring the concept of aligning the body with the ski and the various forces at play, the emphasis being on unhindered movement, often in automatic adaptation via the CNS rather than the adoption of positions sanctioned by coaching manuals. Full piece here: http://skilexikon.info/Alignment/ . There was a longer article about it, but I haven’t been able to find it.

        She sees the basis of this to lie in gait mechanics. http://kunstpiste.com/2011/04/go/ Title: “Walking, the basis of skiing”. Quick summary: a poor gait affects the rest of the body. Her position is that a natural gait involves the foot pointing forward, and that a gait in which the toes points outward may be caused by nappies in infancy and too much sitting shortening the thigh muscles. As a solution she suggests taking time to get used to walking barefoot as much as possible. Incidentally, though not here, she also advocates a bare foot within the ski boot.

        Here a piece on the importance of ski boots allowing harmonious movement forward over the ball of the boot and ankle flexion, and not being so tight as to prevent the muscles of the foot from working, while offering lateral stability http://kunstpiste.com/2014/11/skischuh/ The recommended solution, hence my opening question, is the Raichle design.

        Another position you might find interesting, since it is in stark contrast to the recommendations of the USSA, concerns muscle tension. http://kunstpiste.com/2011/03/korperspannung/ In short, she is against skiing with consciously pre-tensed muscles, be they in the core or elsewhere, arguing that it limits breath intake and prevents the muscles from firing at the very moment you need them to. She also suggests it’s a poor substitute for balancing.

        Where you appear to disagree is on the ideal ski width and the timing of weighting the outside ski – if conditions allow, she prefers what most North Americans would refer to as a White Pass turn, while emphasising that it’s all situationally dependent. Nevertheless, I thought you might be interested given you both have a serious interest in cause over effect to a degree seldom encountered.

      2. Thank you very much for the detailed information. I will try and contact Nicola through a European connection.

        In short, she is against skiing with consciously pre-tensed muscles, be they in the core or elsewhere, arguing that it limits breath intake and prevents the muscles from firing at the very moment you need them to. She also suggests it’s a poor substitute for balancing.

        The issue is fascial tension which involves a stance with the mnajor muscles configured in isometric contraction. I am confident Nicola will agree with this premise.

        I will assist you as best I can to help you to get your boots configured. I am with you all the way with fit being something of a battle. My experience has been that it is more of a war. BTW, I prefer the term functional environment instead of fit because fit implies static.

        Please keep the comments coming.

      3. Thanks for the offer to assist with boots. That is very much appreciated. I’ve found a fitter who may be willing to try stuff. If you wish to discuss skiing with Nicola directly, I’d be happy to put you in touch.

      4. I will be addressing the issues of creating a functional environment for the foot and leg in the ski boot as well as creating connections of the key mechanical points of the foot with the structures of the ski boot in a systematic manner in a sequential series of posts. Much of the material is already covered in existing posts which I will be revising and republishing.

  2. Hi David
    I m reading all your post and It’s veru interesting.
    I am a Italian ski teacher and I train some boys.
    I ask you if you could help me to work to improve the fluency in the little steep in one of thiese boys.
    Can I send you some video of this??
    I m apologize for mi english and hope you find the time to reply my.
    Tank you for now
    I waited for you

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