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Say Goodbye to Your Toes

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Say Goodbye to Your Toes

Postby Williamtele » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:12 am

Okay, so this isn't about wearing boots that are a size too small, or skiing without socks when it's 20 below. It's just a simple metric to think about when you're out on those first runs of the season.

Fore-aft balance is something that most of us struggle with early in the year, whether we're on alpine or tele gear. It's a little more challenging with tele since we have that extra degree of freedom in our heels so I always like to tell alpine cross-overs and intermediate telemarkers that as soon as you start down the hill you should say goodbye to your toes. Basically what I mean is that you shouldn't be able to see them because your knees are blocking the view.

Except in extreme circumstances, there is no point when you should be able to look down and see either foot. If you are maintaining an athletic stance, with knees and ankles flexed and shins driving the boot cuffs, your feet should be shadowed by your knees. Try a few turns as a test. If you can see your back foot, chances are that you are committing the dreaded "poodle," which will draw heckles from the chairlift and may require that you pick up the tab at the bar. It means that your leg is so stiff that a poodle could walk through the gap between your legs (I sort of made that up, but I think I'm close). Pull that rear knee in underneath your butt so it's actually in front of your hip. The front leg is a little more subtle. If you can see your front foot as you come through the turn, your leg may be stiff, your shin is angled forward and the weight is on your heel. Pull it back underneath your knee and feel how the shin re-engages with the cuff of the boot. Ahhhh, the weight spreads to the whole foot and edge pressure moves forward (hopefully). One mental trick that I use is to drive the lead change with the knees instead of the boots. That keeps things lined up so you don't have to constantly make corrections.

You've got plenty of time to look at your toes when you're not on the hill. When you're ripping in the woods or at the resort keep them out of sight and watch what happens.
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Re: Say Goodbye to Your Toes

Postby capecodtele » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:02 am

I like this....I seem to have a hard time putting pressure on my shins on my lead ski, especially when I start getting tired. It tends to feel like the rear ski is a rudder and the front ski is just along for the ride, thereby not having anywhere near equal weighting.
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Re: Say Goodbye to Your Toes

Postby HarryTele » Sat Dec 24, 2016 1:46 pm

First post!
I'm always looking for simple tips to help beginners (and me). This is great.
I had been told many years ago that the dreaded "poodle stance" referred to how almost all show dogs are taught to stand in an exaggerated stretched-out stance, with their back legs way out. Why the poodle was chosen specifically I don't know. I guess it's more insulting than "doberman stance", or something similar...
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Re: Say Goodbye to Your Toes

Postby Hindfoot » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:10 pm

When I ski with my boots in "Ski Mode" it seems almost impossible to flex my front knee forward enough to be above my boot toe without lifting the boot heel. So I always ski in "Walk Mode" to increase forward range of motion. The problem may stem from my Garmont VooDoo 75mm boots, which in ski mode are locked very upright. It also may be due to heel height of my Axl heel piece relative to the toe. Am so used to skiing with the lock mechanism of my boots unlocked that it seems to put me in the back seat to lock it. Been meaning to experiment with heel shims taped onto the binding heel supports, but never seem to get to it as I'd rather just ski. Suggestions, anyone? Am wondering how many here ski with boots in walk mode?
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Re: Say Goodbye to Your Toes

Postby flyingcow » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:41 pm

Hindfoot wrote:When I ski with my boots in "Ski Mode" it seems almost impossible to flex my front knee forward enough to be above my boot toe without lifting the boot heel. So I always ski in "Walk Mode" to increase forward range of motion. The problem may stem from my Garmont VooDoo 75mm boots, which in ski mode are locked very upright. It also may be due to heel height of my Axl heel piece relative to the toe. Am so used to skiing with the lock mechanism of my boots unlocked that it seems to put me in the back seat to lock it. Been meaning to experiment with heel shims taped onto the binding heel supports, but never seem to get to it as I'd rather just ski. Suggestions, anyone? Am wondering how many here ski with boots in walk mode?



It could be as simple as heel lifts under the liner of your boot. VooDoos (same gut a Prophets) lean pretty decently forward. If you feel like you're in the back seat, consider realigning your foot in the boot.
Far less perfect than Zim.
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Re: Say Goodbye to Your Toes

Postby Hindfoot » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:00 pm

Flyingcow...Thanks for the suggestion. Would consider it, but have had major remodeling done to the boot shells to fit my ankle bones, and raising my heel within the shell might cause problems there as well as lifting my heel out of the shell's heel pocket if I raised it enough to alter my stance. Since these boots were new I've had custom footbeds in my liners and these have some heel lift built in, which may be part of the reason for having to have the shell pressed out for my ankle bones. Towards a solution to this problem I recently bought some used T-1s that have an adjustable angle ski mode lock, which my VooDoos do not, but have yet to try them as since I re-baked the liners to fit me, my son has been borrowing them to ski with me so far every time I might try them. Wish it were more simple. I do not mind skiing always in walk mode, but feel I might be missing some control for some situations if I could use the ski mode. My VooDoos may have decent forward lean built in for walk mode, but to lock into the ski mode I must lean back as hard as I can to get the ski mode pin to lock into place, and the mechanism is not possible to adjust. Nor is drilling another hole possible, even if it were drilled right next to the old hole it would then change the lean angle drastically too far forward.
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Re: Say Goodbye to Your Toes

Postby The Court General » Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:27 pm

Thank you for the advice! I am new telemarking this year and this (and all of the other tips) really helped me out this weekend! Thanks to all for the tips! Keep them coming!
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