Originally Posted by cdnguy
This thread started with the opinion that the ski mag pics often show a stance that appears to put the skier in the back seat. (very low hips, and upper body forward). I suggest that this stance has the skier's center of mass right smack over the middle of his skis, strongly balanced. The forward movement of the upper body counteracts the backward movement of the hips, leaving the center of mass where it belongs.
In the recent edition of SKI PRO ( the CSIA magazine) the Eastern Technical Co-ordinator has a short article about "Staying in the middle". Writing about good fore-aft balance, he refers to a picture of a skier in that exagerated position. "Although his hips are over his heels, his shoulders are over his toes. All the body joints are working together to keep him balanced over the middle of his outside ski."
Canadian Guy makes a good point here. There is a big difference between a beginner who is just trying to balance in something similar to this position and an advanced skier who is correctly in it. The beginner collapses their torso forward, bending the spine, and relying on the "phantom foot" of the ski to support them. The advanced skier has bent the legs for balance, edging and movement, with the only place for the leg to go being toward the chest. (Anatomically, that's the only place for the legs to go here: see photo #3 of Benni here: http://www.snowsportmoves.com/example1.html
The beginner is locked into something that looks like this pose, but really isn't. Their body is collapsed forward, unable to coordinate effective leg movement. The advanced skier's legs are free to move, along with the rest of the body. The beginner is like a person who has just been punched in the stomach, bent over in a defensive reflex, but unable to move too well. The advanced skier is in the classic crouch position of athletics, poised to adapt to changes as they come along. (See this position of an alpine boarder: http://www.snowsportmoves.com/crouch.html
.) The spine is bent but still elongated, aligned with the force of the turn, with the sacrum and lower back moving as if to drop down between the hips and legs, although it never does that.
By the way, if you look at "hot" Sonja and Anja in the "Slalom" section here of Youcanski.com videos, Sonja collapses forward a bit in finishing her turns, which might come from the older "jam" turn technique, something that Anja never had to do, since she pretty much grew up on the new skis: http://www.youcanski.com/video/video_index_en.htm
. I also think that Anja, like Janica, is very deliberate in picking her line. The two of them aren't just trying to get through the course, they have real strategies, things that are well beyond what I know.