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Ski Nov Instruction article - Page 3

post #61 of 70
The only racing that relates to recreational skiing for 99.9% of us is slalom. Even in GS these days the speeds and forces are too high to relate to recreational skiing. The racers adopt positions and techniques to handle these forces that they would not choose to use otherwise. In addition, the photos sometimes show racers off balance and trying to regain balance, or using the technique needed to round the next gate if it isn't in the arc of the ski's sidecut, not the technique they'd choose if the gate was positioned differently.

The forced wide stance with the legs separated puts the center of mass between the feet. This is stability, not balance (I know, splitting hairs here). Training wheels on a bicycle make it stable. Riding without the training wheels is balance. I'd rather be balanced on one edge or two, the inner edge of the outer ski or inner edges (inner of the turn, not the skis) of both skis, not "stable" with my CM between the skis.

How wide apart are our feet when we're moving...walking or running? How wide apart are bicycle pedals? There might be a message for us here.

post #62 of 70
I have always thought about width of stance as the distance between our feet. That being the case, is why I said we use a wider stance in steeps or high edge angle skiing. Yes there is vertical separation and the thighs and shins may be close together but the distance between the feet on the snow is wider. Look at the skiers on steeps at edge change and you will see a functional wide stance. Once in the completion stage the feet are still far apart eve though the leg shafts are close together.

The important thing is, I think we all agree is theory, but describe it differently. I am of the old school definitions and am in agreement with 4ster.

I personally do not like the look of a forced wide stance that I see some race coaches advocate. It may be functional in certain circumstances but not everywhere. It's just ugly on the flats. Use it where it works and is functional.

post #63 of 70
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
I personally do not like the look of a forced wide stance that I see some race coaches advocate. It may be functional in certain circumstances but not everywhere. It's just ugly on the flats. Use it where it works and is functional.
Yes Bud.

This is the crux of the problem though. The mis-interpretation of both the words "wide stance" as well as mis-interpretation of WC ski photos. Unless you are very clear about what wide stance or narrow stance means, you can end up with skiers using a forced-too-wide stance (and I know of many teachers and coaches teaching exactly that) or the reverse, a too-narrow-boots-locked-together stance which is equally dysfunctional.

When you don't even think about how far apart the feet are, they will go wider at the fall line and narrower at the transition, automatically. Or they will go wider on steeps. It just happens naturally when the stance as I have defined it above is left in a comfortable place and not forced wide or glued tightly together. There is no need to really even think about it and from what I see all over the mountain, is misleading many skiers to talk about it.

You're far better off focusing on what the body is doing or needs to do, rather than how the skis will track wide or narrow on the snow in different situations. As an instructor you need to understand that, but students don't really need to know it. What they need to be told is what to do with their body to ski well, forget about ski track width.

So if that is your goal, to talk about it with a student, what are you going to tell them? The body movements are that legs are a nice comfortable (not too wide, but not glued together) stance, about the same as if you are walking. And the movements are that one knee comes up and then the other, like riding a bicycle or using a stairmaster. There should not be excessive "widening" of the thighs except for special situations. Thinking about how far apart the skis are on the snow has shown to be extremely misleading to many many many skiers.

I hear what you're saying, many people think of the word "stance" as their feet. If I'm in a golf lesson, the guy says using a wide stance and I would immediately look down at my feet to see how wide they are. This is one reason the word "stance" IMHO is not a good word to use related to this concept.
post #64 of 70
To me stance width is measured perpendicular to a line representing the net force acting on us and that tilts as we turn. On a tight turn, my feet can be very far "apart" on the snow, yet I know my stance is narrow because I am worried about the proximity of my family jewels to a very sharp edge.
post #65 of 70
Okay, I said I was bowing out of this thread awhile ago, but I've been sucked back in…

I never meant to promote an overly wide stance. I was picturing the width of the feet, & how that may change depending on the terrain, dynamics and conditions. To me it is important to achieve equal edge angles on both skis through the turn.

I would advocate a biomechanicaly functional neutral stance, that may change to adapt sound ski technique to different circumstances.

I would not advocate a feet glued together stance, because leg locked, hip swiveling, heel pushing, arm swinging, edge jamming is IMO not sound ski technique. (No offense to those who do it, do it well & love it!).

I suppose the width of stance means different things to different people. Perhaps we should think of a stance that allows the legs to working independently.

Different body types require different stance widths to functionally use the legs independently.

There appears to be a huge difference in the width of madman Matthew Prangers feet & say Bode Miller. I'd say they are both pretty good skiers with different body types.

I have had fun with groups of skiers experimenting and playing with different stance widths. Really going to the extremes on both ends of the spectrum, and getting out of the comfort zone. They usually find advantages and disadvantages with each. Eventually they tone it down and find a happy medium.

I am in the process of fitting some new boots. Part of the process for proper alignment is to measure the distance between the bones at the top of the pelvis. Generally this would equal the width of the feet. I found that a comfortable neutral stance for me was slightly wider. I am interested to find out if this changes as we get closer in the alignment & canting process? Perhaps Bud can shed some light on this and how alignment might change stance width.


post #66 of 70
Thread Starter 
Allright! It seems like we are getting a consensus.

Rogan's overly wide stance is innapropriate for the groomed terrain he is on and is in fact hindering his ability to make a simultaneous edge change.
post #67 of 70
[quote=Sidecut;588024]Allright! It seems like we are getting a consensus.

post #68 of 70
Rogan's overly wide stance is innapropriate for the groomed terrain he is on and is in fact hindering his ability to make a simultaneous edge change.[/quote]

Sometimes exageration is used for demonstration purposes.
post #69 of 70
As far as stance width when evaluating skier's alignment, I have used the width of the iliac crests from point to point as the reference for outside edge of boot to outside edge of boot for basic stance. For awhile I would ask skiers to choose their skiing stance and found that most were much wider than a normal walking stance and coax them to use a more natural width. I don't care what width they choose to ski but to properly align them I use what looks natural. Currently I have multiple spacers I use between boot soles to insure they are standing square and maintain a good reference stance width. These spacers range in one inch increments from 4" to 8" but the ones I use the most are 5 and 6. Again these are used to place the skier in the same position as hip width.

IMO, When the feet are farther apart than the hips the skier is force onto inside edges unless they roll their knees out, consiquently compromising a strong stacked structure and increases stress on the knee joint. So I personally do not balance a skier's boots to a wider than hip width stance.

post #70 of 70
Thanks Bud,
Sounds like we are using the same process "width of the iliac crests." I will stick with that, as I am trying to reduce stress on the joints.
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