Most Common Barefoot Questions

Front Toe-Holds

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1. How do I get my foot to the strap?
2. How can I stop falling onto my back?
3. How should I drive?
4. Boom height?
5. How much Speed do I need?
6. Should I use Puppy Paws?
7. Dry land practice?

1. How do I get my foot to the strap?

Click here to read the entire article!

Let me first let you know that the front toehold is a great trick that not only looks cool but also is fun to perform. It is also a favorite for getting cool pictures! I can remember my first toe-hold and I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep that night! It is also note worthy that I believe front and back toe-holds to be the foundations upon which all great skiers are made! Anyone who has ever shared his or her personal barefoot dreams with me has had this very speech. I believe that it is way more important to have your toeholds in order than it is to concentrate on surface turns. Many people make this mistake, but not you. You know better! Learning and perfecting your front and back toe-holds and then taking them to the long-line where you perfect your balance on both sides of the wake puts you in an elite class of skier. With these skills, slalom, tricks (and especially turns), and even jumping are begging for you to realize your potential. It is this insistence on these basics that has helped me to help so many other skiers around the world to learn how to ski smart and to enjoy barefooting with the confidence of knowing that they possess the basics necessary to learn any and everything they are willing to pay the price for. So let me get to it!

You all know by now how I am going to approach this. If you are really serious about making this process easier on yourself, you need to not only have good Posture but also good Glide. And if you really like perfection, you will hold yourself to the standard of the Ultra Mega Glide from News from THE EDGE #14!

Most of the people I teach find it strenuous to reach their foot into the strap because of the increased resistance of their plowing heel. The most difficult part of this for most people is getting to where they can ride with their foot into the strap without losing their glide or balance (News from The Edge #3-Ankles and Angles). The good news for Clint (the dude who wrote me this request) is that this is not the problem. But let’s first get back to where we start. I recommend learning the one-foots and toeholds on dry land and then on the shoe-skis (we recommend Puppy Paws) with careful attention to Posture and Glide! The real concern is that you will lose great position as you become concerned with picking your foot up.

What I am surprised that I have not been asked is the following; “If I hold my shoulders back with my chest expanded as you suggest, how do I get forward over my foot?” This is a great question because it tells me that the skier has really taken their one-foot form seriously and has kept the pull in the hips by keeping their shoulders further back than their but! Having done this, how do you transition into the toehold position?

There are two reasons people have trouble with this transition. Assuming that the Ultra-Mega Glide stays consistent, people tend to lose their Angle as their foot rises toward the strap! The easiest way to solve this is to think of raising your foot with the foot turned inward so that the toes are turned to the inside with the heel turned towards the outside! If you practice this on dry land, you will see that this will keep your body angled toward the foot in the water. Remember we want to position your body so that your weight is on top of the foot in the water. If you keep your shoulders and hips parallel to the water it puts weight over the foot that you are trying to lift towards the strap (and thus counterproductive)!

Does this make sense?

Well then, if we have the above problems solved, this leads us to the problem of not feeling like you can let go safely after you have your foot in the strap! This can be accomplished safely by doing three things;

#1 make sure you have a soft and bent knee (News from THE EDGE #17-Tigger the Tiger)

#2 transition from a FULL grip to a FINGER-TIP grip within the first two seconds of having your foot in the strap

#3 transition from the shoulders behind the butt to the shoulders in front of the butt. This is best accomplished by crunching your abdominals so that you bring the bottom of your ribs towards the top of the hip bone…without losing the rest of your position!!!

At this point the pressure should be off your hands and securely on your foot in the strap (Make sure that your foot is deep into the strap instead of just on your toes)! It is now critical that you release your hands forward holding everything else quietly in position. The quieter your body stays, the easier it will be to ride in a balanced position!

I am a big believer in listening to your body and mind. If you do not feel safe, go through the above notes carefully on dry land and Puppy Paws until you feel secure in your method! Do not do a “Hail Mary” to get into the toehold position! This will yield “eye-peelage” followed by “Advil-poppage!”

If you do what I have outlined, your miracle will be awaiting you! Get your camera ready and start planning for the Santa Claus suit post card you will circulating to you close friends on Christmas! I sure hope you send me one!

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2. How can I stop falling onto my back?

Click here to read the entire article!

Falling backwards after letting go can be caused from several problems in your form;

#1 Plowing instead of gliding.

#2 Incorrect "Angle" in your set-up.

#3 Not "crunching after releasing your hands.

Concentrate on better starting form, a better set-up, a soft knee, and then crunching your abdominals before releasing your finger tips! Remember to move your hands as little as possible maintaining your angle in your hands, hips, and shoulders in order to keep your weight centered over the foot you will be standing on!

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3 . How should I drive?

See my newest instructional video on the toe-hold at my all new Virtual Ski School!

Driving for the toe-hold is relatively easy. I always drive to a comfortable one-foot speed and double check that the form has not decayed. As the skier puts their foot in the strap, I gently decelerate about 1mph. This should be done so gradually that it is unnoticed by the skier.

Why slow down? This allows the skiers foot to keep from plowing. It also has a calming effect on the skier if done properly.

Make sure this is mastered on dry land and then the Puppy Paws before going to the feet!

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4. How high should the boom be?

All boom heights and speeds are shown on my 2 hour instructional video.

See my newest instructional video on the toe-hold at my all new Virtual Ski School!

The boom should be about shoulder height for athletic individuals, but lower if there is a flexibility issue for older skiers.

How much speed do I need?

For a 180lb person, I would aim for 40mph and then gently slow down to 38-39mph after the have released their hands. It really depends on how good their form is.

The better the glide, the slower you can go!

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6. Should I use Puppy Paws?

Yes!!!! There is no substitute for using the best shoe skis available. Do not risk injury as well as hurting your confidence.

Master it on dry land training, master it on the Puppy Paws, and then enjoy the success on your feet!

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8. How do I dry land practice this trick?

This is the beginning of success.

#1 Read my article,

#2 carefully practice using your front toe handle (Front-Toe Handle - B219) on dry land (Let the Door Knob Barefooting Olympics Begin!),

#3 then on your Puppy Paws,

#4 and then you will own it on your feet!

Email me with your progress. I am expecting a miracle for you!

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The Footers Edge | Virtual Ski School

The Footer's Edge Training Center
Winter Haven, Florida
Fax: 1-509-756-4343