Skip to content

Truth in Ice: Pressure

Photo: Cranberry Sunrise 1/19/21.

Part 4 in a multi-part series on skiing/snowboarding on hard snow.

The late comedian George Carlin had a routine called ‘Icebox Man’, in which he reviews his difficulty identifying leftovers.

Perhaps the worst thing that can happen is to reach into the refrigerator and come out with something that you cannot identify at all. You literally do not know what it is. Could be meat, could be cake. Usually, at a time like that, I’ll bluff. “Honey, is this good?” “Well, what is it?” “I don’t know. I’ve never seen anything like it. It looks like…meatcake!

Did someone say ‘edge-pressure’?

Or is it edgepressure?

I think someone got confused back in the day, invented a conflation to conceal their lack of knowledge, and this phrase has since propagated like flying carp.

Or flaying crap?

Snowboarding and skiing offer an interesting interpretational challenge: Changes in edge angle, and changes in where you stand/how you stand on the platform both register in the feedback loop as a change in pressure. As in, how hard is the platform pushing back at my feet when I do ‘X’?

As slow-moving novices, if we lean too much, or too little into the turn, nothing good happens. We finally make progress when we can balance atop the narrow, fickle edge of the platform.

This principle holds for low glide rates, when the platform hasn’t ‘come to life’ to the extent the rider can find lean angle equilibrium against that platform.

Once sufficient momentum has developed, the platform becomes a floor to stand against, rather than a balance beam to teeter on.

It’s reasonable then, to see how ‘edge pressure’ gained a foothold in the vernacular, though it’s not rational to perpetuate that concept.

There are movements that change the angle of the board to the snow. These are edging movements. Their basic timing and mechanism were introduced in Truth in Ice: Timing of, and Mechanism of edge rise and fall.

There are movements that affect the magnitude and distribution of pressure applied to the platform. These are pressuring movements. They fall into two categories; net pressure, and fore/aft pressure.

Net pressure describes the ‘amount’ of useful pressure expressed or contained within the athlete/platform/surface system. Net pressure is the result of the tilted board trying to change the path of a rider’s COM, while the COM resists that direction change.

Fore/aft pressure relates to the distribution/concentration of pressure along the length of the platform. Fore/aft pressure can affect turn radius, and also how well one end of the board can follow the other through the arc.

These three movement types are the discrete elements of platform manipulation. If you treat them independently, turn diagnostics are straightforward. If you mash them together, you’ll be chasing your tail, especially when the surface gets hard.

Next: Net pressure

Published inUncategorized
%d bloggers like this: