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Riding vs. Driving

litterbug

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
At the risk of inciting a riot I wonder what you all think about this.

So yesterday I'm taking a break from the wind and the stinging snow by visiting my usually terse bootfitter to literally iron out a wrinkle in one of the flaps above the boot tongue that was causing me some pain (I must have mis-buckled the boot before putting it in my Hot Gear bag). Afterwards, he appeared to approve of my Geishas and strongly suggested replacing the demo bindings because I'd enjoy them even more without the extra weight. :D

Then I asked him about boot flex because I've become unsure whether my boots are stiff enough. We've made several changes, so I'm not sure yet, but I told him I'm concerned that with what I call a lot of weight for my height the boot might not be supportive enough. He noted that my boot is "only" a 90 flex and allowed that it might be so (why am I talking like a southerner all of a sudden?).

Then he talked about "driving" versus "riding" a ski. It was getting late and I had more skiing to do so I didn't ask for a full explanation, but he did say that people who ride their skis don't necessarily need very much support from a boot, whereas driving the skis requires more stiffness. Although those last few runs were fantastic I regret not taking more advantage of his talkative mood to pump him for all kinds of info.

I think that nowadays I drive my skis--I actively initiate turns, flexibly control the movement of my mass both along my ski and down the hill, make all kinds of turn shapes, and use rhythm and turn completion to control my speed (although yesterday's weather chaos generated a lot of Grateful Dead psychedelic jams). Of course I still lapse and bobble and fall back at times, but more and more of my skiing is active and directed. Does this sound like driving? Of course I'd like it to be, because he appeared to approve of driving more than riding, and despite my age I still like the approval of a nice looking guy. :rolleyes:

Oh, and by the way, for some reason unwrinkling the boot flap seemed to make it fit very well; my toes are still in there quite tight because of the pads behind my heels, but he said they'd pack out again. Too bad because now I won't get to see him before he quits and goes off to school. :(
 
#2
Makes sense to me.....a ski that you can flex, you can drive. A ski that is too stiff will take you for a ride!

....Ummm, that last part does sound a little off-color...:redface:
 

litterbug

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
Oh, I was talking about boot stiffness, and although I circled around a bit my question is really whether I'm driving or riding.
 

B.E.G.

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
It makes sense to me! To use a probably poor example, I've mentioned a friend of mine who has skied for years but never developed technique. She can ski quite a few blues but in a wedge, she just never took a lesson after her very first, and she's also fairly easy-going about skiing (she's never just going to aggressively GO down a run and try to carve her way down). I would say that she "rides" her skis, rather than "driving" them. Then on the other end of the spectrum are some of the people I've skied with who are lifelong skiers with amazing technique - they DO drive their skis.

For me, I characterize it as - when you ride your skis, your skis are equipment - you tell them what to do and they get you down the mountain. When you drive your skis, you make the skis a part of yourself and working as a team you get down the mountain together.
 

litterbug

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
Yep, see my signature--I put it in there when I paid for the Geishas cuz I felt like we were already such good buddies! And yesterday they were even more part of me. Oh, I'm so looking forward to Sunday.
 

maggie198

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
It makes sense to me! To use a probably poor example, I've mentioned a friend of mine who has skied for years but never developed technique. She can ski quite a few blues but in a wedge, she just never took a lesson after her very first, and she's also fairly easy-going about skiing (she's never just going to aggressively GO down a run and try to carve her way down). I would say that she "rides" her skis, rather than "driving" them. Then on the other end of the spectrum are some of the people I've skied with who are lifelong skiers with amazing technique - they DO drive their skis.

For me, I characterize it as - when you ride your skis, your skis are equipment - you tell them what to do and they get you down the mountain. When you drive your skis, you make the skis a part of yourself and working as a team you get down the mountain together.
Well, a wedger certainly isn't driving their skis. But you can ski parallel and still not be driving them. Riding the skis is a more passive stance, where you are more in the back seat and not over your skis, not putting forward pressure on your boot tongues whe initiating a turn, to engage the tip of the ski to start a carve. At least that's been my take on it from clinics. Many women seem to be park and ride skiers. Our expert divas can correct me if I don't have it right. :smile:
 

litterbug

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
Well, I definitely want to be a driver, and given your posts I think that's exactly what I'm working on. I rarely "charge" down a hill, though it's fun sometimes, but on (my version of) steeps and when going faster I ski harder. These days I feel like I'm really using the ski's sidecut in my turn, but even then I'm shifting my cm and where it presses on my feet as well as playing with how to time my transitions and change my turn shape. I'm pretty new to some of those things but I love that I'm now confident enough on moderate terrain or at speed to turn all the way to the edge of a run even when it leads down a big slope.

What Wally said was that feeling like my boots 'bottom out' when I hit a bump means I need a stiffer boot. I think by 'bump' he meant moguls, and since I'm not skiing moguls I'm alright for now. I definitely feel my boots flexing when at the apex of a turn and am bothered by the lack of pressure on my shins if I don't tighten my buckles up after the boots warm up. So I suspect that as I become a stronger skier on more advanced runs I might need more support.

Still, my boots seem to perform great for where I'm at, so I'm pretty sure I won't need new boots for a while because I've read threads about ways for a bootfitter to make a boot more supportive with shims and such (maybe moving the cuff more upright too?). And I seem to have become pretty good at finding good deals now, especially when there's no rush to snap something up. It's not like I'm Speed Racer or anything. :D
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
Alternate interpretation:

He might not have meant "riding" as a bad thing. He might have been talking about using the ski's natural tendencies to turn rather than forcing it.

One of our really good instructors talks about letting the ski do the work. When I asked him if my boot was too stiff, he said that flaws in technique can make it seem like your boot is too stiff.

When I was able to apply some of his suggestions, boot stiffness just didn't seem to play in at all.
 

litterbug

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
I'm going to delete my post because it was too whiny for my liking. I stuck my foot into a coyote trap and got bitten by a mean boys at epicski and I feel stupid for taking it so seriously.
 

maggie198

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
I'm going to delete my post because it was too whiny for my liking. I stuck my foot into a coyote trap and got bitten by a mean boys at epicski and I feel stupid for taking it so seriously.
Lol, you made me laugh so hard! I know just what you mean... :D
 

litterbug

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
Lol, you made me laugh so hard! I know just what you mean... :D
I'm still pissed off about it! What the heck's wrong with me that I even care? Has the casual abuse of others at epicski ruined me for skiing forums? Am I going to start using exclamation points and question marks throughout all my posts to make them seem more important than they are? Am I going to start deciding that other people's humor is offensive and hijack their threads?? :hurt:

There. Maybe I've got it out of my system. I did delete my gmail notification of last night's obscene rant from joeshoto (which apparently was removed by a moderator), and I unsubscribed from the thread in question, but it irks me that what used to be a funny little jest turned into someone else's platform on which to pontificate. :mad2:

Oops. Now I'm being mad instead of whiny. Is that one of the stages of grief?
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
Please. I've seen that rubbish at epicski, and I'm pretty sure that's why Ski Diva exists. Who needs all the testosterone-soaked chest thumping.

And as for the flame wars? Those epicski people are absolute *amateurs* compared to the ones who hang out on cat forums. I have yet to see anything at all in the ski community chatter that can hope, even at its most vituperative and arrogant, to even be considered for competition with online discussions of indoor vs. outdoor cats...and nothing that even shares the same gravity field as the declawing debate.

Back to the ride/drive issue.

I definitely do both. The only way I get through a mogul field is by driving my skis. And if I'm on a good pitch that is at all choppy, driving is more comfortable than riding. On a groomer, I'm more likely to ride them a bit. La, la, la, la, big lazy swooping turns, la la. Or, sometimes, I am Feeling My Oats, and it's driving them, lots of snappy short-radius turns, all the way down.

Other than circumstances where riding isn't really feasible for me - I *can't* competently navigate a bump field if I'm riding, only driving - I don't see that one is any better than the other. You want to rip the slope, go for a drive. You want to make your way down in a mellow way, ride them.

I don't see any reason to have gear that wouldn't support both. Then you can choose.
 

maggie198

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
Please. I've seen that rubbish at epicski, and I'm pretty sure that's why Ski Diva exists. Who needs all the testosterone-soaked chest thumping.
What she said. :laugh:

And as for the flame wars? Those epicski people are absolute *amateurs* compared to the ones who hang out on cat forums. I have yet to see anything at all in the ski community chatter that can hope, even at its most vituperative and arrogant, to even be considered for competition with online discussions of indoor vs. outdoor cats...and nothing that even shares the same gravity field as the declawing debate.
Whoa! Reminds me of a reptile website I used to visit all the time (DS kept reptiles, I won't mention what ones). It was amazing how many battles broke out over trivial things. It got to the point where I'd go on just to watch the asinine pissing contests among the males. :fencing:
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#14
And as for the flame wars? Those epicski people are absolute *amateurs* compared to the ones who hang out on cat forums. I have yet to see anything at all in the ski community chatter that can hope, even at its most vituperative and arrogant, to even be considered for competition with online discussions of indoor vs. outdoor cats...and nothing that even shares the same gravity field as the declawing debate.
I guess that's why they call it a cat fight.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. :bag:

Back to your regularly scheduled program.
 

litterbug

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
I guess that's why they call it a cat fight.
Hee hee hee. I love the idea of cat wars. I have been caught in the crossfire of some flame wars, I just hadn't ever been directly targeted quite as viciously as this.

The sad thing was that there were already 3 way too serious helmet threads going, and the OP of this one meant it as a meta-thread for those of us who just wanted to crack irrelevant jokes ("if hell freezes over will we have to wear helmets?"). One guy decided that the joking, teasing and dry humor was disrespectful to the very idea of helmets (seriously!!) and took it over, so now it's just another iteration of the limited number of endlessly-reiterated things you can say about the subject. Booooring!

As for driving and riding, I'm right with you, Serafina. I'm not sure what to call some of the defensive skiing I did today, but I'm mostly a driver--except when I'm on one of those silky smooth (or even mildly cut up) runs where all I might want to do is change the tempo a little on different slopes.

One thing I noticed is that I have a need to get up on my toes--not the ball of my foot--when I start a turn in order to engage the tips. It feels like I need to have my leg more upright than the boot tongue will get me, if that makes any sense. This may mean that I'm still hanging back (or that I've gained weight in my backside!!). But I didn't have this problem when I was really in the back seat, so I'm not sure what's going on. Still, my Geishas stayed right with me no matter what.
 

litterbug

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#16
I guess that's why they call it a cat fight.
Hee hee hee. I love the idea of cat wars. I have been caught in the crossfire of some flame wars, I just hadn't ever been directly targeted quite as viciously as this.

The sad thing was that there were already 3 way too serious helmet threads going, and the OP of this one meant it as a meta-thread for those of us who just wanted to crack irrelevant jokes ("if hell freezes over will we have to wear helmets?"). One guy decided that the joking, teasing and dry humor was disrespectful to the very idea of helmets (seriously!!) and took it over, so now it's just another iteration of the limited number of endlessly-reiterated things you can say about the subject. Booooring!

As for driving and riding, I'm right with you, Serafina. I'm not sure what to call some of the defensive skiing I did today, but I'm mostly a driver--except when I'm on one of those silky smooth (or even mildly cut up) runs where all I might want to do is change the tempo a little on different slopes.

One thing I noticed is that I have a need to get up on my toes--not the ball of my foot--when I start a turn in order to engage the tips. It feels like I need to have my leg more upright than the boot tongue will get me, if that makes any sense. This may mean that I'm still hanging back (or that I've gained weight in my backside!!). But I didn't have this problem when I was really in the back seat, so I'm not sure what's going on. Still, my Geishas stayed right with me no matter what.

The cool thing I tried today was retracting my old outside leg to initiate a turn by tipping the old inside ski. Verrrry interesting! The timing seemed more trickly than my inside leg extension turn, but it did produce some very definitive transitions.
 

litterbug

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
Oops--I was just getting ready for bed and remembered that I did have trouble with the tips on the Rossi S80s until I had the rental tech move the bindings forward a centimeter. It definitely didn't happen when I was on the Geishas on Thursday. Today's tech--not my guys at the Motherlode--probably set my bindings too far back. Whew!

And I'm sorry about the double post. My connection has been hanging up quite a bit today so I think I just posted twice.
 

SarahXC

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
A bump on an old post... I have been thinking about this question in relation to the ski as opposed to the skier? I haven’t tried that many different skis but have noticed that some “want” to be driven (for sure the qst 99) while others seem to prefer a more riding style of skiing (dps Nina 99 as one) What qualities make a ski like to be ridden versus driven? I get that race skis are like that but these are two 99 underneath all mountain skis? What things in the construction make the difference? (If this should be a new thread please feel free to move it)
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#19
I don't like it when the terms "ride' vs "drive" are opposed to each other.

One can ski in a way that maximizes the ski's tendency to turn, which is manufactured into the ski. This tendency in a ski is called its "self-steering" effect. It has to do with the shape of the ski and the willingness of the front, middle, and back of the ski to flex - both the long way - and the short way - across the ski. Knowing how to use the ski's performance potential in this way is good, and blossoms as one's skills advance.

Some skis are made for groomer skiing by aggressive skiers who prioritize speed and who know how to use the ski's self-steering capabilities. These skis get bent skillfully as those skiers put the skis up on edge and move in the direction the skis are pointing, rather than in some other direction (they are carving). The skis bend under significant pressure/forces as they reach the fall line. These people are definitely said to "drive" their skis.

Some skis are made to bend at lower speeds, under less pressure, when they are tipped at lower angles. These skis will exhibit their self-steering capabilities at low speeds when used by skiers who know how to carve. Are these people "driving" their skis? I think so. Do skiers who like to use the term "drive" use it for these people on these skis at these lower speeds? I don't think so. But the effect of these skiers' movement is the same, except for the speed. So the use of the term "driving" is confusing. In use it often refers to more than what is happening with the skis as they move along the snow. It refers to speed and high angled carving.

What does "ride" mean? That term is even more confusing. It can refer to snowboarding. People on snowboards "ride" instead of "ski." But that's not what's being discussed in this thread.

"Ride" can mean a skier is using the ski's inbuilt capabilities instead of muscling it about, ignoring its self-steering potential. The skis will be traveling in the direction they are pointed, carving. When used this way, the term is a compliment. .... But it also can mean the skier is being passive on that ski as it carves, refusing to bend it, which is considered a negative criticism. Whoah.

But when "ride" is opposed to "drive" by some speaker, that person is probably meaning "ride" means not bending the ski (when skiing on a groomer) and thus not using that bend to shape the turn. In other words, the skier is keeping the skis near-flat and allowing it to skid. They are "spreading peanut butter" instead of "slicing a tomato," two frequently used metaphors. If they are getting any use out of the ski's shape, it's the side-cut alone and not any bending that is contributing to the turn shape. If these skiers are traveling in a direction different from the direction the ski is pointing, they may not even be "riding" the ski. In this case, they probably are not utilizing its performance capabilities much.

So "ride" can be a compliment or a complaint. Or you are talking about snowboarders.

"Drive" is usually a compliment and it usually implies some advanced/expert skier going fast on a groomer and bending the heck out of the skis.

I don't like either term. Too easily misinterpreted by people. And evaluative gendered assumptions certainly get bundled in.
 
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liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
And to complexify the situation, there is a type of skidded turn that utilizes skillful carving movements but does not produce a carve in its technical sense. People call this type of turn different things. As far as I know, there is no dominant term for this turn. I've seen "scarve" and "brushed carve." It's sorta carved. Its radius will be smaller than the ski can make even when bent to its max in an arc-to-arc carve at speed. This type of turn can be done at slow speeds. The turn does utilize the ski's self-steering abilities, no matter whether the ski is constructed for fast high-pressure turns or not.

The body mechanics that produce this turn are not well described in PSIA resources (well, not described at all as far as I can tell). They are described in depth in another teaching system, but that system has some problems that I am reluctant to describe here.

Is a skier making these turns below-warp-speed "driving" the ski, or "riding" it? Who knows.

And how about mogul skiing turns??? They are all over the chart mechanics-wise.
 
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