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The Fall Line

SO WHY IS IT AGAIN THAT SKIS HAVE CAMBER?
By Cathy Margiotta
Posted on 12/2/2017 1:11 PM

Or, how to finally use that rebound energy you paid for when you bought your carving skis.


My sincere hope is that you see a link between this blog and the previous ones about your Tibialis anterior muscles and the fall line. Strange at first, but yes.


Back in the age of wooden ships and skis, a guy would soak a nice piece of birch plank in water so that he could bend it around something to give it a slight arch. When the wood dried, the arch would stay in place and the guy would begin shaping the plank into a ski.


They knew what was obvious: if you stood on a flat board in a stash of powder the board would bow up in the center and would be hard to slide over the snow. So the arch, or camber, makes the ski flat when weight is applied to it and gives it less resistance to forward movement. Modern name-brand skis get their camber from wood or metal cores that are bent under pressure by some sort of machine. Who has time to soak stuff in a water bath, anyway?


The most important thing here is not the manufacturing process, however, but the fact that camber gives skis a sweet spot, just like a baseball bat or tennis racquet. If you use your Tibialis anteriors correctly, you guide your weight so that your shins press on the tongues of your boots and the balls of your feet press down on the sweet spots of both skis. Proper lower leg alignment, then, keeps the skis optimally bent, which now means 1) you can edge like crazy and 2) have more surface area of the base in contact with the snow for more control.


So, for example, when you are carving a right turn:

  1. Keep your left ski on the snow by engaging your left ankle and shin.

  2. Your entire leg from the femur on down works as a unit to hold the ski flat on the snow.

  3. When you finish the turn, relax your left leg and voila! The ski rebounds to its arced shape and the energy released propels you toward the next turn.


Think of it as jumping on a trampoline with one leg. When you combine this jump with your new concept of the fall line, you now have a place toward which you redirect the energy: to your new fall line!


Easy peasy.

  Member of the Blue Ridge Ski Council