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outward rotation of front binder


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Many skiers suffer from poor dorsiflexion (ability to forward flex your ankle). This could effect the ability of the skier to move COM forward. Has anyone experimented with rotating the front binder to allow for the ankle to flex further in a way similar to rotating the foot outward during a squat.
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Currently, I ski with .3 front foot toe rotation right of center and .8 heel rotation left of center, LFF. When I do squats, my foot rotation is the opposite direction. I stand on the ski differently than most people.

 

This is maximum rotation in the heel and occurred because my binding became loose and moved on it's own. I noticed I was skiing better than normal so I checked my fin and bindings and there I was.

Lpskier

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This is a little bit of an interesting one to me. Summer 2015 I discovered that my front strada binding had a slight outward canter at the toe and I was skiing very well with it aligned like that. I am talking very slight, just a couple degrees. I believe this is because I am a little duck footed to begin with and over time my foot naturally torqued the binding to that position. Unfortunately this also loosened the screws in the binding plate and I had a day where the binding had cantered much farther than usual and I couldn't run my opener. Conclusion is under certain circumstances a very slight canter may be able to help but be careful and increased hip flexor mobility may remove the need entirely. This year I skied with what appears to be a flush forward front binding and set new tournament best 3 times compared to twice last year.

 

 

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@ski6jones, I think anything beyond a very small amount has a substantial negative effect.

 

To the idea of slightly outward toes like when you squat from the opening post:

I do a lot of squats and I have seen the business end of over 400lbs on that lift. I don't think cantering your toes out in that lift has as much and effect on your ankle flexibility as it does the motion of your hips and torso. If my feet are flush forward then there is no room for my body to move down between them along the Z axis, instead my but needs to go back and subsequently my shoulders forward. This creates a number of negative effects, the two I'll focus on are that it puts the load into your toes rather than your heels so your push will be through your quads rather than hamstrings and glutes which will also strain the knee joint. Secondly with shoulders forwards and butt back it will place extra load on the low back which can cause injury quickly. My point is that I don't believe outward pointing toes do anything for ankle flex in a squat but they are very important for the proper movement through your hips so that your torso can remain upright and you can place the load into the correct muscle groups.

 

How does this relate to skiing? The short answer is that I don't think it does. From my eyes there are few reasons cantering the boot might help some skiers

1. if you are naturally duck footed then it will be hard to have your front foot flush forward because it will mean you are twisting you front leg inward so that your knee is no longer pointed forward but slightly in, so cantering to match your duck footedness could help with that.

2. Depending on your hip mobility, when you move to a position with on foot in front of the other you may become slightly duck footed and then refer to reason 1

3. The slight outward canter can in some cases benefit your off side turn at the expense of your onside but a slight adjustment you may not notice on your onside but could make a difference on the offside.

 

For reasons 1 and 2 my first instinct is to stretch more, if you increase your hip and low back mobility your stride may naturally become less duck footed and the need to canter you bindings may disappear. From spending a lot of time stretching my hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, and low back I no longer need to canter my bindings at all.

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My feelings are as follows

 

I am 100% sure that binding rotation and binding spacing tuning options are only understood by a few skiers.

 

I am negative about Ballers exploring this stuff because in my experience it leads to them being lost in the wilderness. I know a few of the worlds elite have skied with their feet cocked on all crazy ways but the vast majority of the best skiers in the world have their front foot pointing straight.

 

My experience as a coach is that when I have straightened bindings and removed all sorts of lifts, shims and angle pieces the skier has almost always skied as well or better.

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Rotating your front binding affects much more than ankle mobility. It changes the amount of hip and shoulder rotation. It also affects how the front edges of the ski engage, usually making one side worse.

 

If your goal is to get more weight over the front of the ski, exaggerated front ankle flex isn't actually necessary. The two things that will help the most are ensuring your rear binding is as far forward as possible, and if you use a double boot system, that the rear heal is free to lift away from the ski at least 1/2", if not more, even if this heal lift is inside a slightly loosened rear boot.

 

Even if your rear heal is locked down, you can still bury the front of the ski with next to no front ankle flex, just by "leaning" forward. The front foot acts like a fulcrum, and as the rear foot lifts, it drives the front of the ski deeper into the water. Just don't break at the hips in the process.

ntm4wt1z24vt.jpg

The REAL issue hindering moving the COM more over the front of the ski is that it feels unsafe. After all, too much can send us out the front. But a simple awareness of how our natural self-preservation instinct wants to keep us back over the ski's tail, can open the door to safely exploring the ski's tip in baby steps. And mastering the front of the ski is one of the things that separates great skiers from mere mortals.

 

 

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I was hoping nobody would ask that @mbabiash. It's a fair question, but as @Horton suggested, binding rotation isn't cut and dry. What it does for/to one skier can be different from how it affects another, depending on both technique and physique. So making generalized statements on a forum like this is not a good idea.

 

What I will say is that I did a lot of testing with this about four years ago, rotating both boots in both directions. In the end, I ended up with both bindings straight. To me, it seemed the inevitable trade-offs all ended up being net losses. In other words, one side of the course got hurt more than the other side got helped.

 

I think if you have physiological concerns like knee, hip, or ankle issues that can be mitigated by binding rotation, then go for it. The effects of binding rotation are small enough that any good skier can adapt to the resulting asymmetric changes. But if you're healthy, straight is good—and for a reason you may not expect.

 

The ball of your front foot doesn't just apply pressure to the front of the ski. It also monitors tip-pressure. And I believe this monitoring of tip-pressure is a really big deal. The vast majority of your skiing is controlled by subconscious mental processing. Degrade the quality of tip-pressure feedback on one side of the course, and we undermine the quality of the data available to our minds on that side of the course.

 

I can't prove it, but I suspect that setting the front boot straight may be the best way to monitor tip-pressure somewhat equally on both sides of the ski. It's pure speculation, but interesting food for thought.

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@SkiJay for as long as I can remember I have cocked my back binding to help get my feet closer together and because I thought it was anatomically more comfortable. I've always assumed that the performance was negligible. I furthermore always assumed that front binding angle was critical and scary black magic.

 

Would you suggest I rethink my attitude towards back binding angle?

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@Horton I think you should probably stay with what you've adapted to, especially since you've used that setup forever.

 

That said, the back foot presents a more predictable tuning opportunity than the front, so it's safer to say what most people can expect from changing it. I'm assuming your rear foot is rotated towards your little toe cause that would be more comfortable than the alternative. So if you rotated your rear binding to straight or even beyond, it would reduce the amount of smear you get on your heal-side turns, and possibly increase tip-engagement and smear on your toe-side.

 

The toe-side change would depend on how you personally react to the change, but the adjustment would make it easier to open your hips to the boat for everything on your toe-side (off-side) from the pre-turn through the toe-side cut. If your ski tends to smear more on the heal-side than it does on the toe-side, then this may be a good way to improve symmetry in the course.

 

Otherwise, if it ain't broke ....

 

(EDIT) It's worth noting that Mapple's heal video showed his back foot rotated towards the little toe, and his off-side worked just fine. So once again a cautionary note, these little changes do have effects that can be helpful. But I'll encourage my kids learn to ski well on nice neutral setups. I tune their skis to how they SHOULD ski, not so they become dependent on special setups.

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@SkiJay Interesting stuff. I personally hate my heel side turn and plan to reinvent it next year. I wonder.... Naaa going to leave the bindings alone and work on my skiing.

 

Thanks for the thoughts. Makes sense to me.

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A lot of good comments here to think about. I cant my back boot and for awhile the front one as well for a simple reason along the lines of what Razor posted. I am duck footed. Some people are pigeon toed and others walk and stand with both feet pointed straight ahead. That is the way we were born and whether it is related to the direction our knees are pointed from birth or the orientation of the hips or both, I don't know. What I do know is that if I don't cant my back boot, (LFF) I am literally unable to place the ball on the inside of my foot on the sole of my boot. That's how uncomfortable it is for me to have both my feet pointed in the same direction especially with one foot trapped behind the other. In that position with my foot rolled to the outside, when it comes to my onside turn I can hardly edge the ski at all. So if you can ski comfortably with both feet straight ahead then I think that is the way to go. Otherwise, turn at least one of the boots (probably the back one) in whichever direction allows your hips and knees to align naturally for you.
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FWIW: "Canting"

The term "canting" is often used on this forum to describe binding "rotation." But the term has been in widespread use for decades in snow skiing, where canting refers to leaning or tilting a boot toward one side or the other to affect how flat the ski rides side to side. This definition is further supported by the Oxford Dictionary: Have or cause to have a slanting or oblique position; tilt

 

I respectfully suggest that we adopt this pre-existing definition because ski tuning can be confusing at the best of times and it may help if we all speak the same language.

http://7304-presscdn-0-43.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/ski-boot-canting.png

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@SkiJay - Thank you! Semantics can be huge in some of these threads; reading them sometimes sounds like a fingernail scraping on the chalkboard.

 

The "X"-"Y"-"Z" axes (the only plural word for 3 different noun forms) should be described such that any binding rotation(s) can be defined along the appropriate axis.

 

Roll = "X", Pitch = "Y", Yaw = "Z", so in this thread;

 

...a "Z" rotation is being discussed ("canting", "canter, "cant" applies to an "X" rotation).

 

...not that I have an axis to grind... :)

 

 

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