or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

"Wide Stance"

post #1 of 111
Thread Starter 
Interesting reading through Ghost's racing vs. recreational thread.

As I read through the early discussions, I couldn't help but wonder if the term "wide stance" or "athletic stance" isn't as dated as uphill\downhill ski.

"Wide stance" in sport has mostly been a one dimensional concept- having the feet hip to shoulder width apart in the vertical plane bisecting the body front to back and the ground beneath the athlete "flat", or basically perpendicular to the bisecting plane. In this position the femurs are "A-framed", or forming a pyramid with the ground. It is possible to maintain a triangulated relationship while turning on a ski slope, but it's highly undesirable (puts both skis on inside edge).

Based on femur position during intense inclination\angulation (when properly executed), the femurs are more parallel, making the "stance" in the traditional vertical plane "narrow". If you were to raise the skier perpendicular to the slope without changing the leg or foot positions (i.e. eliminate the inclination), the skier would be standing on one leg with the other foot mid-air at knee level, very close to the knee of the extended leg. Changing nothing other than the angle of the "ground" the skier is in a narrow stance in the bisected shoulder-hip plane described above.

Since so many dimensions are now in play with upper level skiing, maybe "stance" needs to give way to "dynamic foot\leg position" or some other reference term. For me, the word "stance" is a rather static term anyway.

Just a thought....
post #2 of 111

patrol vs instructor

medmarco:

Your post remided me of something I have been hearing for 30 years from instructors describing the way pro patrolers ski. Many insturtors claim they can spot a patroler from half-way down the mountain by their technique. As opposed to the style conscious instructor always worried about carving the perfect turn, your typical patroler has a "wide stance" that is bomb proof and viturally unchanging in all conditions. Ski instrutors definition of correct technique has gone through may incarnations over the years, but the patrolers still ski the same. If it aint broke, don't fix it.
post #3 of 111
Thread Starter 
I'm not advocating any radical changes... just thinking out loud.

My comment was not HOW to do it, but what is happening physically during the turn. I think I side with Ghost that in high angulation\racing turns the "stance" is technically not wide. Nor is it narrow in the strictest of definition, because the feet are in different planes (relative to the hips\shoulders) and so are the femurs. However, the femurs are more parallel, which is similar to a traditional narrow stance.

On the same fixed course (e.g. a GS), all skiing the same modern ski, I doubt there would be much difference in body position between an elite racer, an elite instructor, or an elite patroller. Efficient skiing is efficient skiing.

I just think calling modern technique a "wide stance" is a bit of a misnomer. Kind of like referring to automobiles as "horse-less carriages"- they are, but they really aren't. The frame of reference changed with technology.
post #4 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by medmarkco
Kind of like referring to automobiles as "horse-less carriages"- they are, but they really aren't. The frame of reference changed with technology.
Automobiles? I haven't heard them called that in years!

I thought even Americans called them "Cars" now.

Oh, and Car is short for... yup, Carriage.
post #5 of 111
Thread Starter 
'Tis true... car.. carriage. Actually today's vernacular in the US is "ride"... as in pimp my ride.

However, those in the industry still refer to themselves as automobile manufacturers\dealers

JAMA- Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association
ACEA- European Automobile Manufacturers Association
AIAM- Association of International Automobile Manufacturers
AAM- Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
NADA- National Automobile Dealers Association (as in NADA resale guidelines)
yada.. yada... yada...

They've secretly tried to change it to Car Manufacturers Association, but the truck guy always object.

My father spent his 30+ years working for Cadillac Motorcar Company. So Cadillac, being at the vangard as they are,: did try the "car" route, but today they are typically referred to as pimped out "slades" (Escalades).
post #6 of 111

whtmt

Medmarko: We have moved away from the term "Wide Stance" for something closer to what I believe you're suggesting. That is "Functionally Open Stance". This term allows for the skier to place his/her skis open to a width that creates efficiency while promoting more accurate movements from the skier.

For instance, making short radius turns with a functionally open stance on gently rolling green terrain would probably be much narrower than the same turns on a 40 + degree slope. If a skier skied on the 40 + degree slope with their skis in a width similar to the one they used on the green terrain, then their boots would probably be touching. This would not allow for the amount of angulation and corresponding edge angles, which they might find they needed, to secure solid edge engagement to hold their turns. By touching, the boots would prevent the legs from tipping sufficiently to the inside and simultaneously prevent the upper body from tipping far enough to the outside so that sufficient angulation was created to offset the forces that the steep terrain provided.

So maybe "Functionally Open" is more in line with what you're suggesting.

whtmt & Mackenzie 911
post #7 of 111
Carving is significant in contemporary skiing. Carving requires angulation. Angulation requires widening the stance. When large amounts of angulation are present the legs may be quite close together but look at how far apart the feet are!
post #8 of 111
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whtmt
Medmarko: We have moved away from the term "Wide Stance" for something closer to what I believe you're suggesting. That is "Functionally Open Stance".
Thanks whtmt! I like that... "functionally open". Describes exactly what I wanted.

Had to rethink my triangle analogy and the femers\pelvis\etc. - doesn't work skeletally. But works in relation to CoM. (Hello! All those diagrams finally sank in)

The base of the triangle (distance between foot1 and foot2) is "functionally open" (and relatively constant) in relation to the 2D force vectors associated with CM as the triangle becomes increasingly more obtuse during angulation.

Cool... now I can go to sleep. (I think my brain shut off long ago.)

Happy 4TH!
post #9 of 111
mdemarkco: If you were to raise the skier perpendicular to the slope without changing the leg or foot positions (i.e. eliminate the inclination), the skier would be standing on one leg with the other foot mid-air at knee level, very close to the knee of the extended leg. Changing nothing other than the angle of the "ground" the skier is in a narrow stance in the bisected shoulder-hip plane described above.

Huh? If you do not change leg/foot positions at all (this includes relative to the ground), then you end up in a wide stance.
post #10 of 111
Thread Starter 
Hard to describe, so I'll try to show.

If skier is repositioned so forces (very simplistic view) are aligned as if skier is standing on flat ground, the corridor of forces is narrow (less than shoulder width) compared to what one would think of as a "wide" stance. Since the actual forces involved in the turn are far more complex than the uni-dimensional approach I've taken here, the whole idea may be flawed.

By drawing a line from CoM to each foot, the resulting angle could be defined as "functionally open" but not necessarily "wide", which is why I like whtmt's term.

Not really an important issue... Ghost's thread just challenged me to consider the concept from another perspective. Now that I have, I think I like "functionally open" rather than wide\athletic to describe dynamic posture throughout the turn. It's really more about the image the word "wide" and "stance" puts in my mind.
525x525px-LL-vbattach236.jpg
post #11 of 111
medmarkco, if the skier in the above photo was able to roll off his current edges and put his bases flat to the snow, where would his feet be?
As part of going from one turn to another, his bases will go through a point where they are flat, then the turn continues, and his legs have now swapped position.

Does he achieve this by lifting his leg up, or by switching edges?
post #12 of 111
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat
medmarkco, if the skier in the above photo was able to roll off his current edges and put his bases flat to the snow, where would his feet be?
er... "functionally open"

Yes, during transition, athlectic\wide stance certainly applies. During the dynamics of the turn, especially under high-angulation, the definition just doesn't fit in my feeble brain. I need something that describes the whole turn and not just the transition.
post #13 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by medmarkco
er... "functionally open"

Yes, during transition, athlectic\wide stance certainly applies. During the dynamics of the turn, especially under high-angulation, the definition just doesn't fit in my feeble brain. I need something that describes the whole turn and not just the transition.
Perhaps this is where we ask Bob Barnes to produce the video of PSIMan.

The "Functionally open" stance is a similar width as the tuck when schussing.
Here's a thought... instead of having your skier on skis, put him on pipes cut in half. One under each foot. Now, attach these pipes to the ground, in such a way that they are a fixed width apart, but can rotate.
Now watch the skier's movements.
post #14 of 111

Over Simplification

I am definitely out of my league with you guys in the analysis department, but from my extremely non-technical perspective it seems to me that as speed or slope angle increases the feet get farther apart when carving the turn until you get to shoulder width, which is where most advance higher speed skiing occurs. The guy in the tilted picture could be turning at 60 mph on the flat or a 60-degree slope. In both cases functional technique puts his feet the same distance apart.

If you look at the picture from any perspective the racer’s feet/skis appear to be about “shoulder width” apart, they are just not vertically under his shoulders. (Actually they are a bit wider, but he is in a somewhat extreme situation.) Throughout the vertical/horizontal planes, if your skis/feet are always the same distance from each other it simplifies things immensely. Isn’t this one of the (only?) real constants in the flow of body movements involved in the full range of skiing turns? I always thought you have a stable relationship of your ski “width” upon which you impose angulation and pressure, but maybe I’m just thinking like an old patrolman.
post #15 of 111
Thread Starter 
I think we're basically in agreement with how the positioning develops. I have seen Bob's cool PSIAman. And just as you say, WTFH and mudfoot, when PSIAman's skis are simultaneously rolled and PSIAman is articulated to counter the forces of the turn he will look just like Bode. The skis will remain basically the same width apart as they were at transition.

In my mind I'm drawing a very esoteric and literal distinction between "wide stance" and the body position that develops in a well executed GS turn.

... the other "wide stance"...

While "experimenting", I have entered medium radius turns from transition by rolling the outside ski on edge, but allowing the inside ski to start an "outrigger" path (feet around shoulder width apart). With some funky maneuvering, I allow the outside ski to carve and my upper body to angulate as much as possible against the extending outside leg. (Outside shoulder actually has to tip to the outside of the turn.) The inside leg retracts, but is outriggered (very little pressure) and basically "flat" with the hill. A-frame city. The feet are slightly more than shoulder width apart. Apart from being a very hideous image, dangerous, and highly inefficient, it does produce a wide, athletic-type stance that one might use on the line of scrimmage or hunkered down for a tennis serve. Certainly not what I would want to see anyone attempt if I were to say "maintain a wide or an athletic stance throughout your turns".

Semantics... I can just see some wiseguy some day saying, "you said an athletic stance..is that not what you meant? Maybe you should communicate better." Ring any PSIA bells when someone is trying to bust your chops? All in good fun, of course. I still like "functionally open" or "dynamically balanced", but not trying to force it on anyone else.
post #16 of 111
The picture above is an example of what USSA refers to as the "parallel stance." Even though he has taken it so far he can't really maintain perfectly parallel shins, it's still basically that stance. Whether it's wide or narrow is irrelevant: it's the ONLY position he can be in and still maintain the high edge angles he needs. The whole "wide or narrow" debate is only about what the stance needs to be as the skier comes through the transition between turns.
As far as I know, the major US teaching organizations don't use the terms "wide " or "narrow" when referring to stance. PSIA teaches the "functional stance," meaning a stance which allows you to balance and move freely, and to develop whatever edge angle you need, but I don't believe the manuals specify a particular width anywhere. USSA recommends the "athletic stance" at the transition (for racing). That's the same stance used by hockey and soccer goalies, tennis players receiving serve and players in any number of other sports. That might be wider than shoulder width, and quite a bit wider than would be comfortable for relaxed skiing on the groomed. It's also way wider than what you would use in moguls.
Finally, stance width needs to change for conditions. You may be able to ski fast GS turns with a narrow transition stance on the groomed in the morning, but by mid-afternoon when there are soft spots, ice and ruts, you will be much more stable using a wide stance at high speeds. OTOH a narrow stance is much more effective in moguls. Anyone who skis with the same stance width all the time regardless of conditions is limiting their ability to enjoy the sport.

BK
post #17 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by medmarkco

While "experimenting", I have entered medium radius turns from transition by rolling the outside ski on edge, but allowing the inside ski to start an "outrigger" path (feet around shoulder width apart). With some funky maneuvering, I allow the outside ski to carve and my upper body to angulate as much as possible against the extending outside leg. (Outside shoulder actually has to tip to the outside of the turn.) The inside leg retracts, but is outriggered (very little pressure) and basically "flat" with the hill. A-frame city. The feet are slightly more than shoulder width apart. Apart from being a very hideous image, dangerous, and highly inefficient, it does produce a wide, athletic-type stance that one might use on the line of scrimmage or hunkered down for a tennis serve. Certainly not what I would want to see anyone attempt if I were to say "maintain a wide or an athletic stance throughout your turns".
That's actually a pretty effective drill for teaching people to trust that their skis will hold at high speeds and high edge angles. If you are really doing what you describe, your feet get quite a bit wider than shoulder width. Part of the drill is to get going really fast and get your feet as far apart as possible, with one leg fully extended and the other fully flexed. Once you learn to trust your outside edge, the next step is to get that same high angle while still maintaining a parallel inside ski. Even with the flat inside ski it's not all that inefficient because most of the weight ends up on the outside ski, which can carve pretty effectively. For most intermediates, it's probably an improvement in efficiency. And "hunkered down for a tennis serve" is pretty close to the stance USSA recommends for the transition between high speed turns.

BK
post #18 of 111
Bode Klammer, I would agree; for teaching intermediates to carve, best to get the outside ski carving first and then worry about tidying up the inside shin.

Medmarkco, this has been a great thread, good suggestion; perhaps what is needed is simply to define the width of the stance as the physical distance between the feet, measured across the snow (whether that snow is horizontal or at 60 degrees).

And to make sure that a "wide stance" is not necessarily taken to mean a large amount of daylight between the legs.
post #19 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Bell
Medmarkco, this has been a great thread, good suggestion; perhaps what is needed is simply to define the width of the stance as the physical distance between the feet, measured across the snow (whether that snow is horizontal or at 60 degrees).

And to make sure that a "wide stance" is not necessarily taken to mean a large amount of daylight between the legs.
Now, I haven't read through the whole thread, but the idea of a clear cut and dry distance needed is not effecive. People are built differently, thus the difference will be different from person to person. This is one of the reasons that a functional dynamic distance between the feet is now referenced. I personally have argued this with DEV team members and Examiners, for me, the concept of shoulder width was REDICULOUS. Thus, people started thinking hip width, again, problems, hip width refered to the distance between the femurs in the hip sockets, not the exterior of the thighs (this was directly from a current PSIA-E examiner). Again, people cannot readily visualize this either. Now if I am repeating info already said, please forgive me.

In my honest opinion, stance width is truly, unable to be defined for all people. What is important is that they are not boot locked, nor do the boots interfere with the skis ability to edge properly and that the skier is able to be balanced at speed or standing still and ready to react to any given circumstance.

If I'm totally out in left field as pertains to the discusion, please ignore my ramble.
post #20 of 111
I´m reading old threads back here now.
I found some long discussions on stance width from 2001 (have not seen the following years yet).
I suspect that much, if not all, has already been discussed earlier, esp. with regard to PMTS and HH.

That´s not to say it should not appear again - if there is a will...

We had similar discussions over here. Seems to be a very inspiring issue. Moreover, there might be some changes of opinion in progress. While we hardly can argue that "functional width" is correct its definition (how much is that?) might be source of endless debates.
I noticed somewhat narrower stance in Austrian Europe Cup racers I could watch for three days closely in action training slalom than what the wide track ambassadors Mario Matt and Manfred Pranger use. They were very tight slalom turns and there was no time and reason for shoulder width. You don´t ski very wide in a hairpin either.
I´m not even sure if it´s any opinion shift. But, as I promised, I´ll do my reading first. I also want to discuss the issue with a trainer (good friend of mine) who is around our Sarka Zahrobska now. Etc.

Just a side remark: as Manus writes, it´s not so easy to define. Shoulder width? Hip width? How much is that? Even the hip width, though defined, is not unambiguous. Anatomically (in women), there are both distancia bicristalis (29 cm) and distancia bitrochanterica (32 cm).
post #21 of 111
Just a side remark: as Manus writes, it´s not so easy to define. Shoulder width? Hip width? How much is that? Perhaps it is a starting point which a skier can later evolve to his/her own style.
post #22 of 111
In the simplest tems we are bipeds. The most natural (and probably effective) technique should be an extension of our walking stride, which is obviously different for each individual. As my old Montana buddies use to say, "You step on the right and then you step on the left, what else do you want to know?"

I would think that "stance width" only makes sense in terms of the individual's natural walking posture. If the visualization is walking then you can never be boot locked. Generally the faster you ski, the longer you hold the edge, the slower the walking motion gets. I am not an instructor so I don't know if the concept has any teaching value, but I've always loved the sensation of making GS turns at high speed while visualizing walking down the mountain in slow motion. If your feet are too far apart or too close together you lose the natural "walking" transition from ski to ski. Balance becomes easier because you are always on your way to the next step/ski, which precludes getting locked into a turn. That's why I never liked the feel of snowboarding, because I wasn't bipedaling.
post #23 of 111
Feet "hip width apart" is a starting point only. Some racers cant their equipment inward to facilitate a wider stance, some don't. The idea is to provide a stable platform (contact patch with the snow). As the edge angle changes the area of contact remains constant even though the legs seem to open and close. Perhaps a more precise way to describe this would be maintaining the width of that contact patch. Try to notice the ski tracks and what the feet are doing first, then move up the body to discover how that skier made those tracks.
post #24 of 111
Manus, I was not saying that we should define an "ideal" stance width, just questioning how we should actually measure stance width in the first place.

As I see it, there are two issues under discussion here:

1. How wide a stance should be "dictated" by ski teaching organisations, if at all? We have had different anatomical shapes, and tactical requirements alluded to, specifically moguls and going through a flush in slalom. (Checkracer, do you remember when Bernard Gstrein experimented in the late 80s with going through a three-gate flush on one ski in order to lessen the amount of necessary turning?)

2. In the specific case of making a race-type carved turn like Bode in the photo earlier in this thread, can we call his stance "wide" just because his feet are a long way apart on the snow, or is this a misleading term because of the lack of lateral angle between his femurs? As Medmarkco suggested at the beginning of the thread, do we need another term?
post #25 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
Feet "hip width apart" is a starting point only. Some racers cant their equipment inward to facilitate a wider stance, some don't.
That reminds me of a quote from Chad Fleischer, talking about when he tried that. He found he was able to achieve much bigger edge angles and starting getting some great GS time trial results. But after 2 weeks he started to suffer chronic hip problems.
post #26 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot
medmarco:

Your post remided me of something I have been hearing for 30 years from instructors describing the way pro patrolers ski. Many insturtors claim they can spot a patroler from half-way down the mountain by their technique. As opposed to the style conscious instructor always worried about carving the perfect turn, your typical patroler has a "wide stance" that is bomb proof and viturally unchanging in all conditions. Ski instrutors definition of correct technique has gone through may incarnations over the years, but the patrolers still ski the same. If it aint broke, don't fix it.
Most of the instructors I talk to about patrollers and the way they ski, It's not the stance that really stands out but the shoulders. Most ski patrollers (not all) have a distinct roll in the shoulders. Nothing wrong with the move as it is a bomb proof powerful move to get things going, Just not as "pretty and efficient" However if I had to get a bundle of bamboo poles turning so they don't upset my skiing or hold me up in deep wet sticky snow, you can bet I would have this move in my skiing too,

DC
post #27 of 111
Stance includes so many parts of the body, but the hips never change width. The femurs like your windsheild wipers (assumming you have two) rotate around these fixed points. The contact patch (bottom of the skis) is the other end of the box. By changing edge angles your legs adjust but they are not the real focus. Maintaining constant ski width and equal edge angles is. Interestingly enough this is not always the case in racing. Some manuevers require a more independent use of the legs. Stemming, stepping and a-frames are tactical moves that come to mind.
It is easy to get distracted by what the legs are doing, try to describe what the skis are doing and this should become clearer. Sort of a here's what the skis are doing and a here's why method.
post #28 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by dchan
Most of the instructors I talk to about patrollers and the way they ski, It's not the stance that really stands out but the shoulders. Most ski patrollers (not all) have a distinct roll in the shoulders. Nothing wrong with the move as it is a bomb proof powerful move to get things going, Just not as "pretty and efficient"
DC

Ah, the infamous "patrol roll." I used to patrol in Montana at an area with one snowcat that was always broken down. On a good day maybe one or two intermediate runs got packed, and consequently we had to ski "natural conditions" everywhere everyday on a mountain that had every aspect. Having to be the first ones up and the last ones down the patrol all started to adopt the same survival style, wide stance and the shoulder roll. Form does follow function. As a matter of fact it looks like Bode has got more than a little "roll" going in that picture.
post #29 of 111
and consequently we had to ski "natural conditions" everywhere everyday on a mountain that had every aspect. You mean that isn't a regular ski day.;-)
post #30 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider
and consequently we had to ski "natural conditions" everywhere everyday on a mountain that had every aspect. You mean that isn't a regular ski day.;-)
I put "natural conditions" in quotes because Montana snow tends to have a high mositure content and sets up a little too well. We used to joke sometimes that "frozen door knobs" would be a relief, because the conditons were more like skiiing though a frozen version of the equipment room at the high school gym.

When you have to ski all day 5 days a week it is nice to get a little smooth snow once in a while. I would guess that at any area, unless it is a huge powder day, you end up on packed snow a part of each run, or for an occasional entire run. If you take that completely out of the equation it makes for a long day on the legs, hence the need for a conservative survival style.

I tend to avoid the packed stuff too, but Montana Snowbowl in the 70's was pretty funky. 2,600 vertical where nothing got packed for days at a time, even the roads and outruns, so your legs never got a break top to bottom. When you ski beyond the point of exhaustion almost every day in funky snow it defintely starts to affect your style. Look at a skier making it down the mountain in god awful conditions and you see what works. Chances are they'll be skiing like a patrolman (wide stance and shoulder roll).
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching