I've been waiting to get back on the snow before commenting. Luckily, my first day back today had the remains of a 16" storm that ended yesterday. Having played for a day (I wasn't thinking about things all that much) with some of Skidude72's ideas and my own I have the following thoughts:
My own thinking on fore/aft balance differs considerably from Skidude72's. Basically, I don't understand his belief in the effectiveness of the following:
|Hence for powder, the deeper snow does exert a force on our feet, in the opposite direction of our direction of travel. Thus to stay in balance, we need to recognize this difference and accommodate it. This is done by having our COM further back relative to our feet then would be the case in say skiing a blue groomer. Thus we are not "sitting back"....we are staying centered....balanced....but to do so does require an adjustment.
A critical issues for many skiers I see on the slopes is being "back." This includes both sitting back and having the COM too far back. A big change for most skier occurs when they get a sense of how to better control their fore/aft balance and utilize that control in their skiing. Inevitably I think that control almost always involves learning to move the pelvis/hips forward and/or holding them there. I believe that many skiers lack the awareness of how to use the hip extensors in order to do this. Of course along with moving the pelvis/hips forward comes a need to adjust the knee and/or ankle. This, however, seems much more natural to most people as they adjust these without having to thing about them if they are shown how to move their pelvis/hips forward or hold them forward with fore/aft movement of the skis beneath them. This also is somewhat contrary to Skidude's focus on knee and ankle position being the critical elements of fore/aft control.
Thus, whether or not the COM needs to move back a couple of centimeters in softer snow and powder seems to me like the wrong focus. Given the propensity to move too far back demonstrated by most skiers, I would think the critical issue remains to show them how to hold their pelvis/hips in a stable, balanced position in the fore/aft direction and make corrections accordingly. If they can learn to do that, then I think the optimal positioning of the COM can be easily (and automatically) found by feel.