Originally Posted by Clayton
Vertical seperation is entirely distinct from stance width. Harald skis in a narrow stance in general and his legs are never significantly spaced during the course of a carved turn as shown. Looking at the picture above and concluding that a wide stance exist is an error that many seem to make.
If you "stood Harald up straight" you would find his legs touching each other. Hardly a wide stance.
As I said before, I think it's a mistake to associate stance only with leg spacing, because they are not one and the same things. You can have your legs touching but still have a wide stance on the snow, as Harald shows. His body is angulated way out over the snow and his skis are fairly far apart. To me that's a wide stance. The ski spacing, the body angle, and the ski edge angle are all connected in that wide stance. The legs are the flexible/shearable mechanism that connects it all together. Like linkages, you can position the legs so that they're close together, but the result is a wide stance at the feet. Indulging my Mech. Engr. tendencies, here's an illustration of that "linkage":
(thanks to dewdman42 in the "stance" topic for the underlying image)
The dashed line is the net result of the stance on the snow. Even though the leg linkages are very tight together, the net result is still a fairly wide stance.
As far as the notion of "vertical" spacing goes, which I find misleading, here's another more proper way to break out the components of the stance:
Here, the dashed hypotenuse of the blue triangle is the actual net stance on the snow. This is what leaves tracks in the snow and is what actually matters in my opinion, no matter what you call it (stance, spacing, whatever). The stance hypotenuse consists of two components, axial and normal to the legs. The normal component (the short side) is a measure of leg to leg spacing, and is small here, meaning the legs are fairly tight together. The axial component is what people are loosely referring to as "vertical" spacing, and this is quite large -- it makes up the bulk of the actual net resultant stance on the snow.
This is a case, which I see a lot here on Epic Ski, where ski lingo gets careless/generous with the geometry of the situation, hence people referring to "vertical" space and things like that. It adds a lot of confusion. It's not the "vertical" space, it's really a combination of the axial and normal components that give the resultant stance on the snow (ie, geometry -- square root of the sums of the squares of the sides). If you cast the mechanics into widely accepted geometry and mechanical notions, it falls apart and is easy to analyze. And I think it's easier to talk about as well. No big deal, it's just been a conventional way to discuss stuff going all the way back to the ancient Greeks.... (who, I am told by Cliff Claven, skied quite a bit on their trade routes