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Where is your Spine when you ski?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I have a question to all instructors and Coaches regarding the position of my "spine" when skiing?

Or perhaps better lets have a discussion on when YOU SKI.  

 

Is your spine I.e-. Tailbone pointing OUT behind you? OR somewhat IN towards your belly button?

 


Fs^^

post #2 of 14

Functional stances are really what you should be considering. I say that for a couple reasons. First is the idea that thinking too much about holding any part of the body in a position usually produces a static stance. Secondly, no two people stand exactly the same, so speaking in general terms think about using all of the joints in your legs to produce a balanced stance. I'm sure some will suggest tucking you tail is a good thing but doing so excessively isn't a good thing. Which is a rather wordy way of saying it all depends.

 

Perhaps the easiest way to discover your best stance is to do a drill I call hoppers. Think about how a basketball bounces as you dribble down the court and you get the idea of how much time you need to spend in the air. As the turn progresses bouncing becomes a bit more difficult but the additional outward fleeing forces will force you to focus on landing in balance. This also means you will need to leave the ground in pretty good balance. You will also find your spine's position will take care of itself.

post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Functional stances are really what you should be considering. I say that for a couple reasons. First is the idea that thinking too much about holding any part of the body in a position usually produces a static stance. Secondly, no two people stand exactly the same, so speaking in general terms think about using all of the joints in your legs to produce a balanced stance. I'm sure some will suggest tucking you tail is a good thing but doing so excessively isn't a good thing. Which is a rather wordy way of saying it all depends.

 

Perhaps the easiest way to discover your best stance is to do a drill I call hoppers. Think about how a basketball bounces as you dribble down the court and you get the idea of how much time you need to spend in the air. As the turn progresses bouncing becomes a bit more difficult but the additional outward fleeing forces will force you to focus on landing in balance. This also means you will need to leave the ground in pretty good balance. You will also find your spine's position will take care of itself.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FuntionalSkier View Post

I have a question to all instructors and Coaches regarding the position of my "spine" when skiing?

Or perhaps better lets have a discussion on when YOU SKI.  

 

Is your spine I.e-. Tailbone pointing OUT behind you? OR somewhat IN towards your belly button?

 


Fs^^

  If you keep your spine slightly rounded (tailbone towards belly button) it will allow you to more effectively use your hips...and THAT'S where your power as a skier originates-so was I coached as a racer. Keeping your back concave or "hollow" blocks your pelvis/hips from having a full range of motion, both fore & aft, as well as laterally.

 

  P.s. Due to anatomical differences, women can sometimes have difficulty with this...

post #4 of 14

Many skiers leave their spine in their car.

post #5 of 14

K. That is a fair question. Spine positioning?

 

To ski in balance (because we are movement in motion) the better skier will always use all the joints to absorb or apply pressure for positive results. Balance

 

If your back is straight or in a vertical position, that is pelvis forward, ankles and knees flexed you are in the back seat and loose the ability to maintain an effective athletic stance. Strength and Flow

 

Round your shoulders, curve your spine. As the lower joints bend as should your spine to drive your shoulders over the knees and knees over the toes. Tail bone over the heal pieces of your binding as you bend. Adjust accordingly.

 

And have fun.!!!!!

roflmao.gif

post #6 of 14

Have you heard the one about the spineless ski instructor? Oops I degress.

 

This is a great question.

 

A piece of advice that has served me well is "expose your belly button to the wind". I believe that would fall under  the "IN" answer to your question.

 

In addition to "functional" stances, we also talk about "tall stances". When you see someone bent over at the waist (tailbone pointing behind, spine angled way forward), it's pretty obvious that they are not going to be skiing very efficiently. But if you were to see someone skiing with a perfectly vertical spine (not necessarily in the back seat), you'd probably be asking yourself "what's wrong with this picture" because it would look odd and lead to some weird skiing. I have a good friend named Tony. Tony knows how to ski (i.e. Toe/Knee/Nose in vertical alignment = how to ski). As a reference point, the spine should be angled slight forward to achieve this. But as JASP has noted, a reference point does not mean a static position to be kept at all times. Also, you can't move your hips (great point Zen) and keep your spine perfectly vertical and keep your upper body at the same height off the snow (part of quiet upper body). If you move your hips while maintaining a quiet upper body, your lower spine will move a little. That's ok. Rounding your shoulders (bending the upper part of the spin slightly forward) is something that was a defining characteristic of a difference between Canadian and American skiing that was most evident in the racers. I'm seeing less shoulder rounding from north of the border these days. To me, rounded shoulders does not appear to impact performance a lot so you can take it or leave it.

 

I will add one caution here that I learned from golf: rotating the upper body around a bent lower spine (e.g. bending from the waist instead of the hips) is a sure way to ruin your back. The idea here is to bend from the hips instead of the waist (belt line). In skiing we don't rotate nearly as violently as we do in golf. And we mostly want the legs to turn underneath the body versus the upper body to rotate around the lower body. But we do have some turning of the upper body and we can develop forces in skiing (e.g. momentum) that are far greater than golf. I think everyone can benefit from learning the difference between bending at the waist vs bending from the hips. But only those with healthy backs should dare experiment with the difference between rotating the upper body around a spine bent at the waist vs bent at the hips (and even then only very slowly and very briefly). I'm not saying "don't bend your lower spine". I'm just saying "be careful".

 

Expose your belly button and remember what Tony Knows and you'll be skiing like a champ!

post #7 of 14

The rule of parallels suggest the spine and the shins stay parallel. Even that needs to be taken with a grain of salt since it will vary a bit during a turn. Turn around backwards and that rule goes out the window pretty quickly. That's why the idea of hoppers makes so much sense. It teaches a centered stance and exposes any joint biases that would inhibit our ability to perform the drill.

post #8 of 14

  In other words, if your butt is too far back, so is your COM-- making it nearly impossible to initiate on the balls of your feet...you end up being late at the beginning of every turn. Obviously a huge problem in ANY terrain...DRIVE those hips forward!!wink.gif

post #9 of 14

Being too far back with an upright spine is generally not a good thing. That being said, we see that sort of stance in these two montages. At least through the transition. Interestingly enough, the hips open up but can we actually say their hips are being driven forward? Or are the legs extending (reaching) to produce a more upright (and more centered stance) without any actual thrusting of the hips?

1000

 

1000

 

 


Edited by justanotherskipro - 11/5/12 at 8:55pm
post #10 of 14

  Sitting back CAN be advantageous...if you're a high-level racer. What you're seeing in the montage is no miragesmile.gif Probably not recommended for the all mountain skier, though. IMHO......

 

   P.s.note both racers backs are ROUNDED, not "hollow"...

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by zentune View Post

 

   P.s.note both racers backs are ROUNDED, not "hollow"...

As are the shoulders. Rounded. But it is the placement of the feet under the body that keeps your balance. From the waist and up the rest of your body is just counter balance. The whole skier from your toes to your nose is used to absorb or apply pressure for a desired performance. Because we are all built a little different there are slight differences in how we get the job done. Lets face it if you are off balance there is a reason. Below is a cheap video with a side of cheeze. BOS over COM for balance fore&aft.

beercheer.gif

post #12 of 14

Transitions where not much pressure is being applied to the skis allows these two guys to use an aft stance and a relatively upright spine. Here's another transition where more pressure is present near the end of the turn. Imagine if Jerry kept his spine as vertical as the racers did in the first two montages. It probably wouldn't have been a good thing.

Selected%20Images%20from%20Ultimate%20Skiingberg-straight-up-and-down-02-final.jpg

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone thanks for all the reply's, ideas, and suggestions. 

Fs^^

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek Head View Post

As are the shoulders. Rounded. But it is the placement of the feet under the body that keeps your balance. From the waist and up the rest of your body is just counter balance. The whole skier from your toes to your nose is used to absorb or apply pressure for a desired performance. Because we are all built a little different there are slight differences in how we get the job done. Lets face it if you are off balance there is a reason. Below is a cheap video with a side of cheeze. BOS over COM for balance fore&aft.

beercheer.gif

   You're right tekhed...good point! I've always liked to look at it BOTH ways, depending on the situation...you can either actively move the skis under you OR, you can actively move your body (hips/com, etc...) over your skis. Of course, then there's that whole un-weighting thing.....Beating_A_Dead_Horse_by_livius.gif I just liked this smiley for some reasonwink.gif

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