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 Post subject: Heelside turns/steeps/soft boots/strap bindings
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 1:38 am 
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So all this talk about boots etc. has prompted me to ask this question that I've been meaning to ask for a while but just haven't gotten around to yet.

I ride in soft boots/strap bindings, and I generally feel pretty comfortable in just about all conditions. However, a couple incidents this year reminded me of one case where I get sketched out sometimes. That is when doing heelside turns in steep chutes (45 plus) in spring (i.e. firm) conditions. I find that heelside it's a lot easier to slip out, chatter, or otherwise not maintain control in the turn in these conditions, whereas if I flip over to toeside I have no problems in exactly the same stuff.

So I'm wondering:

1) Is it just me? Or is this common?

2) Any suggestions?

A couple things I've found which improve the situation:

- I find that keeping my knees together and thus flexing the board a bit helps keep the edge hold.

- A while back I started using Burton C14 bindings. The highbacks were so stiff and high that if I used any forward lean, they would kill my calves. I recently switched to P1's, which are little more forgiving, and have an easy tool-less forward lean adjustment. I found that adding some forward lean helped out, and with the P1's it's easy to set it back to no forward lean for skinning.

Any other ideas?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 7:12 am 
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You're not alone. This seems to be the major problem area for riding firm steeps. I think there are several contributing factors, the biggest being that we are anatomically designed to balance better on our toes than on our heels, so it's harder to keep the optimal edging angle dailed in. There may also be some psychological tendency to lean back too far, and not stand directly over the board. Then there is the dreaded boot/binding drag.

I think you have the right idea with the shin angle and keeping your knees bent.

Suggestions, I don't know, carry an ice axe and don't try to snowboard on ice. You might consider experimenting with stiffer components.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 4:06 pm 
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huevon wrote:
You might consider experimenting with stiffer components.

Like... hardboots??

DOH! :)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 4:50 pm 
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heheh, yeah... well bro, it must be that you have obviously just never tried the heelside turn, because if you had, you wouldn't be all confused and asking questions like this. :roll: :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 5:38 pm 
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I'm love forward lean, in the proper setting...um, pretty much anything but deep pow!!!!! It will probably cause you some pain at first but if you try it a day or two at the resort I'm sure you'll notice how much harder you can edge on you heelside. Those C are stiff and real high too...u'r right there.

Have you rotated the highback so that it is parallel or more parallel to your heelside edge? If you're running high angles this could also cause some pain from the high back pushing into the back of your calve. then you can add more forward lean

:D

also, not to bust out my AASI association on you but :lol:
1) head looking where you want to go...on heelside especially force yourself to look over your shoulder further across the slope as you make your turn thru the apex rather than looking down the slope.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:52 pm 
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Thanks for the tips. Some comments:

mtnrider wrote:
I'm love forward lean, in the proper setting...um, pretty much anything but deep pow!!!!! It will probably cause you some pain at first but if you try it a day or two at the resort I'm sure you'll notice how much harder you can edge on you heelside.

Yeah, I tried it at the resort first. I tried various settings, from nothing to cranked all the way. Definitely can feel the difference (and the tired calves after a while in the most extreme setting!). Even with that though, in the conditions I described, I still don't feel as dialed as I do toeside.

Quote:
Those C are stiff and real high too...u'r right there.

I think the C14 highbacks were even higher than the current C60's. Right now I'm using P1 Carbons. The highback is stiff, but more forgiving than the C14.

Quote:
Have you rotated the highback so that it is parallel or more parallel to your heelside edge? If you're running high angles this could also cause some pain from the high back pushing into the back of your calve. then you can add more forward lean

Yep, highback is rotated. I'm running shallow angles, like 6 back 18 front. The back highback is not rotated, the front one is. The cool thing about the P1 is that the forward lean is independent of highback rotation.

Quote:
also, not to bust out my AASI association on you but :lol:
1) head looking where you want to go...on heelside especially force yourself to look over your shoulder further across the slope as you make your turn thru the apex rather than looking down the slope.

I think the main problem is at the end of the turn, especially when I'm survival turning and want to stop (which is of course where you *really* don't want to slip!). So at the point where I slip I'm usually at the end of the turn in the sideslip position, i.e. facing downhill w/board across fall line.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 10:48 pm 
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mtnrider wrote:
also, not to bust out my AASI association on you but :lol:
1) head looking where you want to go...on heelside especially force yourself to look over your shoulder further across the slope as you make your turn thru the apex rather than looking down the slope.


as another AASI intructor, i would agree that the problem is mostly technique, not gear.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:00 am 
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I'm the opposite jim, I feel much more comfortable and in control on my heelside edge.

How much angle do you have in your front foot?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:26 am 
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jimw wrote:
I think the main problem is at the end of the turn, especially when I'm survival turning and want to stop (which is of course where you *really* don't want to slip!). So at the point where I slip I'm usually at the end of the turn in the sideslip position, i.e. facing downhill w/board across fall line.


I too start to lose my balance when slowing down to stop. Especially if I mistakenly start putting my hands out behind me or trying to sit down, this will definitely kill your edge. This is the time that an axe comes in handy. After a couple skethy lessons, I just don't try to stop on firm steeps unless I have an iceaxe to use as an anchor. Otherwise I'd say it's best to just to keep moving, and don't teeter on any one edge for too long.

(yes, even on hardboots :shock: :lol: )

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volando vengo volando voy
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:48 am 
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huevon wrote:
I just don't try to stop on firm steeps unless I have an iceaxe to use as an anchor. Otherwise I'd say it's best to just to keep moving, and don't teeter on any one edge for too long.
(yes, even on hardboots :shock: :lol: )


This sounds dangerous to me. :shock:

You NEED to be able to stop at any given moment (or shortly thereafter…obviously we can't stop instantly).

Know your edges.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 8:21 am 
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On an board, when the snow is too firm for tracks (my definition of too firm) my edge balance gets worse the slower I go. It's not that I can't usually come to a stop, it's just that once I'm stopped, it's really pretty hard to just balance that single edge on an anorexic line of little ice crystals. If I get in a nice axe stick though, I can relax and not have to worry about it too much. It's just easier that way.

I've never slipped more than 30 feet though, and that time was because I was in soft boots. :twisted:

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volando vengo volando voy
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:21 am 
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huevon wrote:
It's just easier that way.

Not to mention safer…in those conditions.
huevon wrote:
I've never slipped more than 30 feet though, and that time was because I was in soft boots. :twisted:


That's funny, I was thinking the opposite. Based on what you described with it being harder to keep your balance when slowing down, it sounds like the high-responsiveness of the hardboots is working against you by making every slight change in balance more noticeable.


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 Post subject: Um...
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 12:28 pm 
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I could set up camp on the toeside edge in hardboots, and it's because of the responsiveness. Heelside balance issues at a stop are because of the awkwardness of reaching behind at a stop, made worse by lack of response in boot/bindings. Rather than stop on the heelside, why not slow down and hook uphill at the last bit and then snap the board around to the toeside. That way you are facing the slope and can plant an axe for a rest/survey as you plan your next move? I'd rather look over my shoulder to plan than try to balance uncomfortably and think. Sometimes doing both is a real exercise in futility, esp. if you are in survival mode already.

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