I really like Bob's description of stance, his analogy to a tennis stance, and how it applies to your whole body not just your ski width. But... if we are never in our stance, how do we know if it's correct??
I'm wondering if we might actually be in our "stance" in our most neutral position between turns. Isn't that where we are at our optimal readiness to make our next turn?
Good question, TBall. I think that's where a lot of people go--that the "stance" is sort of a home base that we depart from and then try to return to in each turn, presumably in the "neutral" moment of the transition. But, while "turn neutral" may well be the point where our "real" position comes closest to our "ideal stance," I don't prefer to look at it quite that way.
Extrapolating from that idea, you'd have to conclude that we only have "a good stance," then, at that moment of transition. To me, that is far too restrictive a view of stance. Stance is more important than that. It is not a position that we ever
need to be in or strive for while actually skiing. It is more an image, a physical and mental attitude, that informs our movements (and "positions," if you hit pause on the video) continuously, all the time, when we're skiing. Stance reflects beliefs and understandings (and misunderstandings), such as "I think I should ski with my feet held tightly together," "I want to be low and aggressive," "my expert buddy told me I need to lean back in powder," "my coach tells me to crush forward on my boot tongues and keep my hips over my feet," or "my instructor told me to hold my hands high and in front like a truck driver holding the wheel...." Stance also reflects individual physical morphology and equipment setup and alignment (and misalignment), such as leg length discrepancy, canting issues, forward lean, and so on.
In other words, simply put, stance is something that can be adjusted with an understanding or belief change, or a tool. It is not our movements or our position at any moment, but its effects can be seen in our movements, always. Stance implies "readiness" (or not) to move the way we will need to move in skiing (or any other sport). In that sense, there are also mental and emotional components to "stance," as in "aggressive stance" or "relaxed stance." Note that many sports refer to a "ready stance."
Stance = Readiness