Pro Development

K2 Kung Fujas

Today was a day for getting used to new skis and working on technique. Fed up with trying to work with ski manufacturers and small minded shop keepers I just decided to go out a buy skis and free myself up from any commercial ties. My choice was encouraged by finding some excellent skis on sale and I ended up with the K2 Kung Fujas 179cm. This is a twin tip ski – almost as wide at the back as the front – and 102mm wide beneath the foot. It has a double rocker set up. I’d tried the wider Zag version  – the H112 – and found it to be horrible – but the reviews for this K2 ski were universally excellent (Freeskier Magazine) I’d liked the off-piste performance of the H112 so figured that a narrower and lighter ski of similar design might work out well as a good all rounder – and this turned out to be correct. 

The skis felt good immediately and only got better as I grew to understand them. Pivoting is incredibly effective – on piste. They are smooth in pivoting but grip well on ice at the same time. The ski is not so wide underfoot that it causes problems. Add another centimetre (H112) and the width makes piste skiing very unpleasant due to the ski levering the boot against the inside of the leg. The ski gripped well in a steep icy couloir – no trampoline-ing as happens with parabolic skis on steeps.  Likewise on the steep icy and dangerous terrain the ski was light enough for swinging into jump turns without any negative issues. On steep, icy bumps the double rocker made the skis feel creamy smooth – once I remembered to do compression turns! In deep snow with a thick – non supporting crust – they gave the confidence to turn without jumping after settling into a rhythm. In carving on the piste I found that the width threw me a bit and limited my dynamic range for the moment – but on the only occasion that I pushed this issue I was pinged twice into the air on turn completion because the skis are so lively and reactive. Once I get used to the skis in a few days time I’ll be able to test this aspect out more thoroughly. The turn radius is longer than the Zag Big but I’m not sure this will remain the case once I’m more comfortable with them. 

Overall a fantastic ski and with the packaged tough Marker Griffon 13 binding amazing value on sale through Intersport at 489€ altogether. Now I’m floating around inside my ski boots with the skis being so resposive so I can see another purchase on the horizon already.

The video here is on steep off-piste (which is why the ski bases are visible) and I’m checking out the skis as well as a few technical issues with hip alignment. Gareth was doing his best to render the Sony optical stabiliser ineffective…

Hip Alignment

Gareth has been dogged by a technical issue that is very common – that of “leaving the foot behind” and blocking or resisting at the hip joint. This then has knock-on effects involving arm carriage and rotation. No amount of trying to push the foot forward would appear to cure this – in fact it left him with very badly bruised calf muscles.

Isolating the hip and pulling it backwards – instead of pushing the foot forwards – appears to be the answer to this issue. In the video above this is what Gareth is focusing on and it is clearly working for short turns – he is staying very well centered over his feet and not “leaving the foot behind”. The only change made was to pull the hip backwards. This solution is derived from studying the body mechanics of correct walking and running – then adapting them to both cycling and skiing. The muscles in the leg right down to the sole of the foot are all aligned differently and there is much less strain taken up by the quadriceps. I’m practising the same thing in the top video and it permits me to be very flexed without that causing muscular tiredness. I’m not “fall line” skiing, the turns are more rounded but the principle remains the same. The hips are re-aligned during the turn transition. Normally in short turns upper-lower body separation is considered to “wind up” the body with the spine twisting in a counter direction to the turn – shoulders facing downhill. This actually causes the (outside) hip to advance forwards relative to the shoulders. What we are doing here is the opposite – pulling the hip backwards during the turn, but allowing the shoulders to follow the turn – so the twist in the spine is now in the same direction as the turn. This tightens up the core muscles and protects the spine – plus permits a much greater level of athletic activity in general. The difference is very difficult to spot visually. What is clear is that the “foot left behind” issue is not a “cause” it is an “effect” of the hip moving in the wrong direction.

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