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Tips for proper stance

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Just attended ESA Stowe this weekend. What a great event.

Right now I primarily need to work on proper stance, staying forward so ankles, hips, shoulders are aligned and upper body is relaxed. I'm can visualize it with my eyes closed, recognize when other skiers are doing it, and have practiced it in the mirror, but I easily lose my way on the snow, particular with tricy conditions. Then I start to sit back, slow down, and burn my quads.

Any tips on how I might be able to FEEL my correct stance rather than SEE it? How to get back into it fluidly after a moment of getting off balance?
post #2 of 16
Q1) Standing still without your skis on: Hop! To jump and land in place you need to be centered.
Moving on skis: See above. Doing it while moving has the same requirement. Make sure your skis remain parallel to the snow at all times though.
Q2) Good turn, bad turn exercises. Move out of balance on purpose and move back in balance by reversing the movement.
post #3 of 16
One of my colleagues at Copper uses this with his "Ski the Sweet Spot" clinic guests: while in a straight run, lift one ski and continue to ski straight for a ways. Then, switch feet. If you are in the "sweet spot" of the ski, you'll be able to left that foot and continue that straight run. If not, you'll either drop that lifted foot or otherwise not continue straight. I thought it worth trying to see what I might learn. You may want to try it, too.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks. Am skiing tomorrow at my local hill and will give these ideas a try!
post #5 of 16
Let us know what you think and how they worked for you, when you can, please?
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
OK, I tried the hopping thing next to a mirror -- position looked good.

On snow today, again hopped. That worked too.

Tried exaggerating my "backward" and "forward" stances while skiing easy cruisers to lock in the right feeling. That worked.

Tired the "sweet spot" one ski thing, and that was harder. Will try that again when I have more time.

Finally, a supporter PMd me to suggest pulling my feet back a bit while still keeping the tips down. That seemed to realign my position too.

Mostly I went up and down groomed runs today, trying to maintain a forward stance through the turns, while completing my turns and trying to minimize skidding through them. I'm just gonna keep at it and sooner or later, it will come more naturally and I will be able to adjust and move forward more efficiently and quickly in steeper and mixed terrain.

One more question though: if I'm skiing on a twin tip with a center mount, is there anything else I should think about in terms of stance? I skied on my Volkl Attiva AC3s this morning (traditional mount) and my Solomon Mynx skis this afternoon and didn't notice any difference except that I find the Mynx less work to ski (and they're more playful).
post #7 of 16
Originally Posted by ski now work later View Post
I skied on my Volkl Attiva AC3s this morning (traditional mount) and my Solomon Mynx skis this afternoon and didn't notice any difference except that I find the Mynx less work to ski (and they're more playful).
Note: Your Volkls probably have Markers on them and your Mynxes probably sport Salomon bindings. These two different bindings have two different delta angles which affect your fore/aft balance. The Markers have about 4mm difference between toe and heel and the Salomons have about 2mm difference. This may sound trivial but will affect your balance noticeably.

Also, mounting locations on the ski will also affect fore/aft balance.

If you feel you have to fight to stay centered I would suggest having your alignment looked at by a specialist or experiment on your own with some shims between your boots and bindings. Once you find your personal optimum angle have it permanently adjusted to your equipment.

Switching between various bindings is not ideal unless they all have been adjusted with shimming to equal angles which are optimized for your personal needs.

post #8 of 16
You asked to feel the center. I have two different drills for you
First standing on flat snow. Have someone place their ski poles behind your bindings and slowly begin moving your skis forward. Your job is to not let your feet get ahead of you. Focus on what muscles fire and what sort of functional tension is necessary.

second the reverse traverse, where you make one side cut turn until you are facing directly into the fall line. you will begin to go backwards. follow the same tracks that got you there. while you are going backwards pay attention to where you are standing. Front? or back? This often is the best place to look for while you go forward.

these two drills are great ways to feel centered.
post #9 of 16
Mosh, would you explain your second suggestion a bit more clearly? I don't quite see what you are saying? I like your first drill that elicits functional tension!
post #10 of 16
I think he meant rise line not fall line, It's sort of like a train moving forward and backwards on a curved track.
post #11 of 16
Think about your boot cuffs. Rather than run "Forward, Forward, Forward" thru your head all the time, try feeling the boot cuff exerting equal pressure around the column of your lower leg. An old friend of mine from Southern Colorado used to say "Stop allowing your boots to hold you up. Stand on your feet INSIDE the boot."

I took that statement to mean that if I felt the back of my boot digging into my calf, or my boot tongue pressed aggressively against my shin, I was losing the sweet spot underfoot and was slightly (or badly) out of stance. I strive to feel the top of the boot around the entirety of my lower leg equally, and much of my stance is corrected by that, because I'm... well... standing up and not levering.

Best of luck. I'm going thru similar issues this season!

post #12 of 16

Here are 2 drills for you:
Stand on your skis on flat terrain.
Have a friend push both the tails of your skis forward.
Feel the movement (from the center of your body as opposed to your feet) you have to make to stay in balance.

On moderately steep terrain, stand with your skis across the slope.
Step your outside ski into a wedge position, with the tip slightly ahead of the downhill ski.
Can you see how this automatically puts your weight behind the heel of the uphill ski?
This is similar to what happens when you're starting a new turn and you don't make the move in drill 1.

The point here is that getting forward is not a permanent position for skiing. It's something you do at turn initiation to keep up with the skis accelerating into the fall line. Whether you think about pulling your feet back or moving your hips forward makes no difference as long as the relative positions change similar to the feeling in drill 1. And it's not just forward movement. The movement should be forward and diagonally into the new turn direction (aka "foragonal").
post #13 of 16
The dreaded reverse traverse is simply a traverse in reverse first go forward and with enough speed you can get to a point where you are pointing almost perfectly up hill. When gravity stops you, you will begin to go backwards. When this happens follow the tracks that got you there and feel where you are standing. That place will certainly be far closer to a "centered" stance. It will be easy to tune into with the tension that is a byproduct of that move.
post #14 of 16
Thanks! Now I understand! anxious to give that one a try!
post #15 of 16
I have observed that the currently fashonable "two footed" skiing tends to foster fore/aft stance issues. When standing/skiing supported by both legs we can get away with supporting ourselves in a much more rear biased stance than we can standing/skiing supported by only one leg. This is by over engaging all the big muscle groups of both legs.

Try this: Stand on two feet and flex into a rearward, heel pressure biased stance as far as you can. Now without changing stance or fore/aft bias, pick up one foot. If you do not do anything else, you will fall over backwards. (At least I do, maybe cause I'm old.) The leverage from tails of the skis are all that allow may of the rearward stances we see out there.

Having skiers go thru a series of one foot skiing drills on big toe edges, from traverses to uphill arcs fanned into full outside foot only turns, then linked can rebuild a more functional centered sance. Even better if this can be done first on skiboards.

I guide them toward awareness of required outside stance leg skeletal posture that provides the most support with the minimal functional tension. Once they can stand and ski strongly on one leg, I encourage adjusting that stance foot under the hip to find their ski/boot combo's full edge engagement "sweet spot" and play with it's functonal fore aft range, especially focusing on seeking a stance that provides ski tip engagement.

This same process can be then employed to develope this same skill set on their inside leg little toe edges.

They will feel taller or more extended, but will discover more lateral versitility when the other foot comes back on the snow. Then the legs can be balanced partners in the process of skiing rather than co-enabling crutches.
post #16 of 16
Almost forgot to add thousand step turns which are very closely related to what Arc is suggesting. To do these effectively the CoM needs to be relatively close to the "zone". The exact placement of the feet becomes secondary to the act of keeping the CoM moving through the turn. It also allows us to experience a strong core and "happy feet". For advanced skiers we can move this quickly to shuffling and gliding but it is important to maintain a strong focus on keeping a centered, yet dynamic stance.
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