Originally Posted by tdk6
try to see if we can come up with an corelation because I think there might be one. I vary my stance width a lot while skiing and Í can ski both very wide and very narrow. I would like to draw a parallel between skiing and cars/motorbikes. Wide stance = car, narrow stance = motorbike. On a racing track nothing beats a F1 car, in the sand pit nothing beats a motorbike.
Ah.. now that is interesting. a very interesting distinction indeed. Can you see how it would be easier for a guy on a motorbike to lean from one side to the other? In fact the F1 car can't even lean at all! One might say that the F1 car is more stable. Ok. You can't fall over in an F1 car. You can fall over on a motorbike. However, to make a high performance turn on a motorbike, you WANT to lean over and you want it to not be too difficult to lean over from one side to the other, which would be very difficult to do on a car.
Some people feel that a narrower ski stance makes it easier to transfer your CM from one side to the other. Less stable? yes..perhaps it is. Perhaps the destruction and reconstruction of balance is part of high end skiing when moving your CM back and forth across a narrow BOS(base of support).
On the other hand, if you are straight running, a wide stance would obviously be more stable and preferable. There have been other threads here that talk about specific moves which racers may use where a wide stance or narrow stance may be more effective in certain situations for faster course times, but not necessarily for "easier" or more effortless recreational skiing.
In general, if you have a comfortable, relaxed stance, about walking or running width, you will be in a position to make most effective use of your stacked up body in skiing. There are times to go narrower for a purpose. Some examples include slalom racing where you need to keep your skiis as close as possible to the poles. Another example is in bumps where there is a narrow line to follow, but more importantly, if your skis are closer together they are more likely to be deflected in the same or similar directions. This applies to powder and crud also and that is also why in those situations you want to go for more evenly weighted stance..so that the skis are deflected more or less together in the same directions. You can also carve some ripping turns with a narrow stance (note stance is not ski track width, but rather the distance between the thighs).
When would you want a wider stance? When you need to recover from something like loss of edge, when you're straight running. Honestly I can't think of many recreational situations that really warrant a stance wider than walking/running width. Rick wrote a great thread a few months ago about making a race turn transition using a wider stance in order to make the transition happen faster. However I point out that while this move may be very effective on a race course, it is also more athletic to perform. I would not recommend it for most recreational skiing at all, though all ski skills are good skills to have in the toolbox.
In my opinion, for the vast majority of recreational skiing, people should generally be standing about as narrow as they can comfortably go without locking their boots together. Anything wider would be very situational and occasional. There are so many advantages to skiing with a narrower stance, its more comfortable to stand that way and it looks better too.
A more politically correct way to suggest things is to say "functional stance" which has no meaning whatsoever. Its basically saying "use whatever you think works for you". Unfortunately this can result in people skiing around with their feet locked together at one extreme or with cowboy wide turns at the other, in both cases...not functional at all, even if someone nearby thinks so.
the final thing I will say is that if your legs are wider then your hips, then you are going to be creating skeletal blocking when you need to make your transition from one turn to the other. Your leg will essentially be getting in your way instead of acting like a vulcrum. Yes, if you are very athletic, in this position you can still release the blocking leg so that it does not block your Cm from toppling across, but for the vast majority of skiers, they will find this difficult and likely will NOT do a good job of unblocking that leg. They would get better transitions by narrowing their legs to hip width or narrower.