I've learned quite a bit from the Weight Distribution thread. I got a good idea what I want to do this season. What I've also read from a number of discussions here makes me think hard about old and new techniques, intermediates and WC racers. I have come up with a unified theory for ski racing and instruction regarding stance width and weight distribution on smooth, hard snow which I hope will provide you with some entertainment (and give me some more food for thought).
In case you haven't read any of my previous posts, let me tell you about my extensive racing background. Mammoth has two runs that are almost always closed to the public for racing or race training when I am there. I always stop and watch, but never dare to inquire how I can sign up to try a run or two for fear that the racers who may have seen me ski would hurt themselves laughing. But I do watch a lot of videos of racers at the highest level. Last but not least, I come here (and elsewhere) asking questions and process information.
Beginners always have a wide stance with their COM between their feet. They want a good base of support (BoS) and always ski two-footed. Racers, even the same one, have wider, narrower, more two-footed, entirely one-footed, inside ski lifting,... the whole enchilada on display. I suppose the main concern for beginners is not to fall whereas for racers it is speed and higher speed. Everything the latter do is to optimize for speed given the constraints of the course, which means, roughly speaking, minimum pressure, minimum edging to hold their chosen line. As pointed out to me, depending on whether it is SL or DH and everything in between, the weight distribution and stance width is to achieve this optimization. Skiing one footed on a long radius turn is slower than skiiing more two footed on a surface with friction that increases with pressure. But the weight "naturally" shifts to the outside ski more and more as the radius gets tighter and/or the speed higher like a car going through a twisty canyon road. And when the road is very twisty (SL) it is faster to ditch the car and get on a motocycle, or likewise skiing mostly one-footed with a narrow stance. Racers probably don't give a hoot about BoS - they can ski one footed with their hands tied. They want to optimize for speed, and if that results in a wider BoS, it is just a by product, not the intent. So, very very good skiers don't ski one-, two-footed exclusively or with a fixed stance width. It all depends on the speed, the turn, the ski etc. But that has nothing to do with BoS just as bikers don't think about, can't change, BoS on their two-wheeled toys (and they do crash or stick a foot down if they mess up their turn). Am I in the ballpark?
But intermediates (me) are not "very, very good skiers" by definition. So, they (I) should first learn to be able to ski one-footed through the entire turn, to have the balance to do that, before fussing around with weight on the inside ski. Unlike racers who may worry about too much grip that slows them down. For me, more grip is always better. And there is more grip with more edge pressure on one ski. I guess this is a very old school technique that still works very well with modern skis. I think the proper progress for a student is to get off the beginners two-footed stance and be able to ski one-footed solidly as the first priority (a skill that also includes other stuffs like tipping, angulation, whatsnot...). Then the next level is the ability to pressure or put weight on the inside ski for whatever intent a skier at that level wants to do. A skier who needs two skis for BoS is stuck at the intermediate level. Time spent on technique refinemens without the ability to ski one-footed (old school good skiing, I guess) is a bit like putting the cart infront of the horse. But insisting (not sure anyone here does) on exclusively one-footed skiing is not supported at the highest level. However, one-footed skiing is a huge component of good skiing on modern skis that must be mastered first. Do I sound right?
All joking aside, I think my reasoning is correct to first oder. But I am prepared to be slammed - better to be wrong and learn than never to know.