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Stance

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
There is a very good article in the November Ski Magazine by Stu Campbell, with Mike Rogan demonstrating that brings up a thread discussion we did a few months back on proper stance. What is proper stance?

It's been hashed over and over here what proper stance really is. The sequence starts on page 133 and gives some really interesting and good instruction with pictures on stance and edging in powder, steep crud, variable conditions and groomed. Followed up by some very good stuff about powder bumps.

It's obvious to me that in every sequence other than skiing on groomed shows a narrow, less than shoulder width stance rather than what most of the discussion recommended here a few months ago. In fact, the closer look pictures to the right of the large pictures show an almost boot to boot, knee rubbing stance that was frowned upon by many who enjoyed the thread.

I for one was getting the conception that that skiing like a bowlegged cowboy with my skis two feet apart was the proper thing to do. (My style is very much like that of Mikes in the pictures thank god)

I think for all of you out there who have this misconception should take a close look and read the captions. It's very very good information and some awesome looking skiing too.

Comments?
post #2 of 25
Lars--I'm afraid I haven't seen the article yet, nor did I read or participate in the thread you refer to, so my comments are probably worthless here. But was there really a consensus that feet should be shoulder width apart here at EpicSki? Do you have a link to that thread--I'm sorry I missed it!

Best regards,
Bob
post #3 of 25
For what it's worth, I'd say my typical "home-base" stance puts 4"-6" of snow between my skis. Sure, I'll make them as wide as I need to, whenever I need to, situationally, but a basic stance should be natural and uncontrived.

I would beware of any general instruction to adopt a stance of any particular width--narrow, medium, wide, shoulder-width, hip-width, six inches, etc. Stance is a personal thing, for one thing, and the only real measure of "right" is function. How does it work? Stance width affects balance, edge control, pressure control, and rotary (pivoting) movements.

Effective technique today relies on an "open" stance--which should not be confused (although it often is) with a wide stance. An open stance simply allows the two feet and legs to work independently, without interference from each other, and allows each to support movements of the other. Feet do not need to be very far apart for a functional open stance!

I like to say that your stance in skiing should be exactly as wide as your stance when walking or running. "How wide is that?" you ask? Right!

It depends. One of the best exercises I know for identifying your individual, optimal, functional stance is the Pivot Slip. In Pivot Slips, your feet should travel in two straight lines directly down the hill, while your legs and skis rotate smoothly beneath your pelvis, 180 degrees at a time, linking sideslips. This pivot requires that the two legs rotate independently, separately, although pretty much simultaneously, each about its own axis (two separate pivot points).

VailSnoPro's inimitable Pivot Slip (and a very functional stance)

I've often described the motion as how your legs move when you stand with one foot on each of two adjacent barstools and turn the stools with your legs. The movements, and the physics behind them, are very different from how you would move with both feet on the same barstool--which would require your upper body to get involved.

You can also simulate the barstools by standing with your feet on two sheets of heavy paper on a carpet. You'll quickly discover that you can turn either sheet using nothing but the foot and leg that's standing on it. And you can turn both at the same time. If you experiment, you'll find that you gain pivoting power when you move the sheets of paper farther apart. When they're too close together, and even moreso when you put both feet on the same sheet of paper, you lose the ability to pivot with just your legs, and you have to start throwing your upper body around or holding onto something with you hand(s). (Try it--these things are easy to demonstrate and to feel.) You'll also notice that when you stand 100% on one foot and lift the other off the floor, your upper body must get involved again to turn the sheet you're standing on.

So it's easy to see how important an open stance is when it comes to actively turning or pivoting the skis. And wider would seem better there. But width also affects balance, pressure control, and edging movements. We need to be able to stand naturally and in balance on flat skis, and to tip both skis to their right and left edges easily, using our feet. Depending on boot setup, too narrow a stance puts the skis on their outside (little toe) edges, and too wide a stance puts them on their inside (big toe) edges. Somewhere in between is "just right."

Stance width affects lateral balance and our ability to move laterally, obviously--when we need vigorous lateral movements, we open the stance wider. That's why tennis players, goalies, and linebackers don't line up with their feet clamped together.

But stance width also affects fore-aft balance and the ability to regulate pressure along the length of the skis. Back to the two pieces of paper. . . . Stand on them, one foot on each, a "comfortable" width apart, and play with rotating them left and right as you balance on your toes, then your heels, then your whole foot. Try to find a balance point that allows the sheets of paper to rotate about a point somewhere near the centers of your feet. This is a reasonable "home base" balanced stance. Now, pull the sheets of paper much wider apart--two or even three feet apart. As you've discovered, you can twist them with a lot of power, but what happens to your fore-aft pivot points? When you twist your feet to one side, you find yourself standing on the toe of one foot and the heel of the other, right? And it would be even harder to stay centered on your feet with ski boots on.

So--back to those Pivot Slips. Everything has to function well in this maneuver. It obviously requires powerful and long-range pivoting movements. But you also need precise edge control of both skis to control the edge release and sideslip. And you need accurate fore-aft balance to maintain the pivot points under your boots, and to keep the skis slipping straight down the hill without veering left or right. Pivot Slips also require an optimal degree of knee and hip flex. Too tall and too short both compromise the range of rotation available in the hip sockets.

You simply cannot do a good Pivot Slip with a non-functional stance. So practice Pivot Slips until you can do them well (expect lots of practice--it is not an easy drill). Experiment with your stance until you find what works best. And there's your answer to "how wide should they be?" (and many other questions!).

Best regards,
Bob
post #4 of 25
Lars, this was from my "Out of the zone" thread.

Quote:
* Feet a comfortable distance apart:
Distance will vary according to the body structure of the skier. Feet should rest laterally flat on floor without having to unnaturally push the knees to the inside or outside.
I think this KISS version supports the stance Bob is advocating via his much more detailed post.
post #5 of 25
A good way to find your stance is to stand with your feet touching and then walk them out to find where your feet are flat on the floor. You'll notice that your weight will fall toward the inside of your feet when they are too close and toward the outside of the feet when they are too wide. Walk your feet in and out to fine tune "perfectly flat."
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Lars, this was from my "Out of the zone" thread.



I think this KISS version supports the stance Bob is advocating via his much more detailed post.
Rick, the discussion was I believe called, "proper stance"

Neither you or Bob participated because it was in the Spring. I'll try to go back through and find it. Why I brought it up now was because I think it left many people with a wrong conception about what "wide Stance" means in relation to their skiing technique and learning ability. Bob put it into perspective very well in his post. Nice post Bob.

i was excited to see the pictures in ski magazine that really demonstrate the difference in stances used to ski different terrain and conditions. Check them out when you can. I've been around many people who think shoulder width means a stance that isn't normal for their frames and actually impeeds their progression. I also think it's important to discuss this at this time of year as the season is beginning. Many skiers out there try to improve their skiing without lessons, which I don't recommend. I think this will help.
post #7 of 25
Bob, much of that is a very good post. Great application of pivot slips and a reason to practice them. Your picture Dodads ROCK! "Howdoya do dat? Bolter
post #8 of 25
Nolo, that works well in boots. I'm canted several degrees thick inside and if I walk my feet out to flat without my boots on I'd be doing cowboy turns.
post #9 of 25
Good point, Dano54. In which case, the stance drill mentioned might be a diagnostic to identify if you're a candidate for re-alignment.
post #10 of 25
I have been reading a skiing instruction book which describes balance and stance. It seems to indicate that the newer the skier the wider the stance. The illistration is made of a new kid on a tricycle, the 3 wheels establishing a broader platform for the kid whos balance skills have not yet developed. Once the child gets the balance down he progesses to a 2 wheeler. So a wide stance is used by newer skiers who have not developed good balance and a narrower stance is used by more accomplished skiers who have developed good balance. Does this sound reasonable? And can a newer skier, intermediate level, have developed balance on skis enough to use this narrower stance?

Mark
post #11 of 25
That sounds reasonable, Mark. Most of us humans must first walk before we can run.
post #12 of 25
I wish instructors left stance alone and concentrated on balance and distribution of pressure between the feet. There is no question that as a skier improves, they will slowly fall into their natural stance. And natural stance will change as terrain and your intent changes.

Forcing a specific stance or expecting stance to remain constant is silly in a sport where you are in constant search for balance.
post #13 of 25
I can't agree with that, TomB. We build our house on a foundation of good stance. When the head of the femur lines up with the talus (the floor of the ankle joint) the associated tendons, ligaments and muscles can work efficiently and not waste effort on adaptive, compensatory movements to stay upright and power the skis.
post #14 of 25
I believe your body structure dictates alot about how wide your natural stance is going to be. I'm sure I'd be critiqued as being too narrow, but I have skinny legs as I conjur up excuses. I think your physiology biases your stance a great deal and when you try and adopt a stance that your body doesn't support very well you hinder yourself. I get my feet a foot or more apart , I feel like I can't get any separation and get my outside leg extended very far.
post #15 of 25
A thought on stance-width - it's often a matter of directional perspective.

The moving Gif of VailSnoPro has a constant directional perspective from the front. What if the observer were standing to his side? From that perspective, the observer would complain "But that's a Narrow stance!"

When doing movement analysis on the hill we can easily get fooled by our perspective. What meaning is there in 'wide stance' or 'narrow stance' when our skier is alternating between the two? At what specific point in a turn and from what perspective should we speak from? Even our independant-bar-stool balancing Laugh-In Go-Go dancer (remember those?) displays a narrow stance when looking from along the line of bar stools.

"Stance" is a very static-sounding term to most people and new skiers are likely to misinterpret a dumbed-down sound bite. It's one of those areas of instruction that if we go there in our discussion, I think we need to go there with a complete and meaningful explanation.

.ma
post #16 of 25
Having been accused of having too narrow a stance in years past (a byproduct of learning how to ski 35 years ago), I have had to work hard on developing an effective stance.

Like Bob, my own "natural stance" seems to put 4 - 6 inches of snow between my skis, but this will often change based upon the type of skiing and the conditions.

My students perform best when I can get them in an athletic stance that allows freedom of movement in every direction. As I'm sure many of you other instructors will attest, we can get the student in such a position easily by equating an "athletic stance" to being in a ready position to return a serve in tennis, or playing defense in basketball.

From this position a student will be able to find proper balance and turn their skis effectively.

Mike
post #17 of 25
Thoughts on stance:

QUOTE=michaelA;579808]A thought on stance-width - it's often a matter of directional perspective.

The moving Gif of VailSnoPro has a constant directional perspective from the front. What if the observer were standing to his side? From that perspective, the observer would complain "But that's a Narrow stance!"

When doing movement analysis on the hill we can easily get fooled by our perspective. What meaning is there in 'wide stance' or 'narrow stance' when our skier is alternating between the two? At what specific point in a turn and from what perspective should we speak from? Even our independant-bar-stool balancing Laugh-In Go-Go dancer (remember those?) displays a narrow stance when looking from along the line of bar stools.

"Stance" is a very static-sounding term to most people and new skiers are likely to misinterpret a dumbed-down sound bite. It's one of those areas of instruction that if we go there in our discussion, I think we need to go there with a complete and meaningful explanation.

.ma[/quote]


I agree that how a stance looks is affected by the angle you observe it from. We have the stance width, (how far apart the feet are laterally ), the tip lead (how far the inside foot is ahead of the outside one ), and the vertical relationship ( how far the uphill foot is above the downhill one ). Wide stances can look narrow, and vice versa. Good instructors will know this and chose their observation positions with this knowlwdge in mind.

I'm not sure that explaining the intricacies to our students is necessary. I think that informing them about a functional stance width that can vary with conditions will do the trick.

cdnguy
post #18 of 25
My thoughts are that stance is a result of all the other factors contributing to a turn and as soon as you try to manipulate anything related to your stance - your turn becomes inefficient/out-of-balance. Hence an artificially wide and artificially narrow stance will lead to balance and pressure distribution problems with your skiing. Messing around with vertical separation will do the same. I had a perception vs reality thread about this topic over the summer actually.
Later
GREG
post #19 of 25
totally well said..

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
My thoughts are that stance is a result of all the other factors contributing to a turn and as soon as you try to manipulate anything related to your stance - your turn becomes inefficient/out-of-balance. Hence an artificially wide and artificially narrow stance will lead to balance and pressure distribution problems with your skiing. Messing around with vertical separation will do the same. I had a perception vs reality thread about this topic over the summer actually.
Later
GREG
post #20 of 25
In a private lesson 2 yrs ago in Canada my 13 yr old son and his 15 yr old cousin were told to have a ruler length space between their boots!
post #21 of 25
Quote:
The moving Gif of VailSnoPro has a constant directional perspective from the front. What if the observer were standing to his side? From that perspective, the observer would complain "But that's a Narrow stance!"
Interesting point, MichaelA. I would argue that the stance remains the same width, even though the skis get closer together! Take a look at another illustration:

Pivot Slip

The skier is going straight down the hill, his feet traveling on two parallel (equidistant) lines. What appears as ski separation when the skis point straight downhill ("up" in the illustration) becomes "tip lead" during the side slip. The skis get closer and farther apart, but the stance width does not change.

It's important to understand this phenomemenon when doing pivot slips. If you try to keep a constant space between your skis, it requires you to rotate your pelvis, using entirely different rotary mechanics, body parts, and movements.

It may be easier to visualize when you leave the skis out of it--as with my "two sheets of paper" exercise, or just standing barefoot on a carpet and rotating your feet. If you pivot them about two separate axes, one for each foot, you can do it entirely with your feet and legs beneath your unmoving pelvis. If you try to pivot them both as a unit about one axis (as in standing on one barstool or one sheet of paper...or a monoski or snowboard), your feet still stay the same difference apart, of course, but your pelvis has to rotate, and you have to use your upper body to throw everything around.

In short, do not confuse "ski separation" with stance width!

Best regards,
Bob
post #22 of 25
bob...all these gif images you pull out of your hat are awesome. Did you make them all? Are you making them on the fly or do you have some big secret stash of animated ski images?
post #23 of 25
Hi Borntoski--I've made a few of them on the spot, but most have been recycled from previous posts or other projects I've been working on. I'm glad you like them! Sometimes there's just no substitute for a visual.

Best regards,
Bob
post #24 of 25
I always call for a close stance whenever a skier is skilled enough and it's functional. On gromed pists where we carve we should have a wider stance because its better for our balance, we can quicker mover our cm laterally by shifting weight from one ski to the other and the terrain is even and smooth. However, as soon as we move into terrain with moguls or chunky uneven snow or powder or trees we need to close our stance. In moguls a wide stance doesent fit between the bumps and in deep snow its easier to controll both feet as one insted of having two separate leggs to manage in varying snow consistance. If you have new wide powder skis and you surf ontop of the snow its different since you are in a way carving. Those of us that ski offpist are forced to use a close stance no matter how wide our skis are or how fluffy the powder is. Im talking about traversing across the mountain in order to get to the place we want to ski down. Its steep and the path is narrow and in order to fit and keep upright we need to have a narrow stance, lean towards the outside with our upper body and keep our weight on the downhill ski.

Just as examples of stance widths:
Close stance
http://sports.topeverything.com/defa...tent&ID=7180F6
Wide stance
http://sports.topeverything.com/defa...tent&ID=1A79EF
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado View Post
Interesting point, MichaelA. I would argue that the stance remains the same width, even though the skis get closer together! Take a look at another illustration:

Pivot Slip

The skier is going straight down the hill, his feet traveling on two parallel (equidistant) lines. What appears as ski separation when the skis point straight downhill ("up" in the illustration) becomes "tip lead" during the side slip. The skis get closer and farther apart, but the stance width does not change.

It's important to understand this phenomemenon when doing pivot slips. If you try to keep a constant space between your skis, it requires you to rotate your pelvis, using entirely different rotary mechanics, body parts, and movements.

It may be easier to visualize when you leave the skis out of it--as with my "two sheets of paper" exercise, or just standing barefoot on a carpet and rotating your feet. If you pivot them about two separate axes, one for each foot, you can do it entirely with your feet and legs beneath your unmoving pelvis. If you try to pivot them both as a unit about one axis (as in standing on one barstool or one sheet of paper...or a monoski or snowboard), your feet still stay the same difference apart, of course, but your pelvis has to rotate, and you have to use your upper body to throw everything around.

In short, do not confuse "ski separation" with stance width!

Best regards,
Bob
Mine is more like a question than answer. The proper stance in bump is narrow stance and it is so narrow that the knees are rubbing each other (Bob, I read Dan Dipiro's book on mogul skiing and it is great). Pivot slip (powered-rotary turn in his book) is one of the techniques Dan mentioned. If my guessing is right, proper stance is a lot more important than how efficient you pivot your skiis (in this case, you are pivoting both skiis on the same axis, a bit different from what you are saying) in mogul.
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