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Narrow/Wide Stance and Balance/Stability - Page 2

post #31 of 92
This is a very ineteresting subject that appears to have many parts and parcels.

While difficult to determine width of stance, since it still needs to be based on functionality and the skiers frame size, for the purpose of this post one can assume "narrow" is feet close enought that boots and skis could "bang' and wide is at hip width or slightly less.

On the point of moving the center of mass "into the future" of the turn I would only say if a skier is unable to make the move "into the future" in a wider stance the skier is unable to make the move in a "narrow" stance also. However the skier is able to "fake" the move in a narrow stance since the skier has less of a platform that requires giving up their turn to move into the next turn. In fact the skier probably never moves into the turn at all. Possibly by encouraging the widening of a skiers stance the instructor will assist the skier in discoverying things about their skiing such as dynamics, creating angles, etc. which the skier has never experienced previously. I have personally moved skiers to wider than hip width to create absurd moves allowing for the skier to discover angles and movements or the lack thereof. Then as the skier is slowly allowed to narrow in the stance, becoming more functional for there stature, the angles and dynamics are still there in a lessor form for their functional stance. In addition the skier will maintain, for the most part, a "move into the future" which allows the skier to "pull" the skis downhill rather than the skis pulling the skier down the hill. A natural and easy release if you will allowing a smooth transition. It is almost impossible to make a wide track turn without a "move to the future". Now we have angle, balance, correct movement of the CMA, and early release of the skis.

For stance in crud, bumps, and soft snow I can only relate an experience that may be all telling. Several years ago I had the pleasure skiing with Jay Evans for a few days. At the time "Baby" Jay as friends MAY call him, youngest to ever win a spot on the PSIA demo, was a current member of the team. Stance happens to be one of Jay's pet peeves. One day, always ready to start an in depth discussion, Jay asked the demo team if they skied with their feet apart. To a person the answer was yes. Jay grabbed a boot from every member and showed them the inside of the boot. Gouges on each members boot. He then showed each member his "clean" inside boots. No you don't he exlaimed. They all commenced to hit the snow working on moving their stance out for a better stronger platform and the ability to create better angles and dynamics. In our group of 5-6 people we had some very excellent skiers. It so happen the night before we had received about 10" of Sierra cement which, by the time we were on this particular slope, the cement had been horribly cut-up. Jay asked the group, except the two of us, to ski halfway down the run so they could watch us high speed wide track down to them. He wanted to prove a point and widen their stance so it was as he said more functional. Now believe you me I am no Jay Evans and I had some real concerns. I believe I was picked only because I tended to ski in a wider stance than the rest of the group; he felt I would be comfortable. He was wrong but I wasn't about to let him know that. However the plan as he outlined was to prove to the group you can ski anything better even in a real WIDE stance. Wider than the hips and out beyond shoulders if you can. Granted this was a demo with a purpose and normally you would not ski in this wide of a stance. His last words were "wide as you can get them!" Well high speed for him was mock 1 for me. I didn't get out of his trail or his snow dust and we flew; laughing so hard I thought we would both make a spectacular auger in. We didn't but we couldn't quite stop so the others had to ski down to us. That very afternoon I watched Jay as he made the sweetest "wide" track run down this great bump field. You should have been there! Awesome. There must be a lesson in there somewhere as I keep trying to ski like Jay. You can watch him on The Art of Carving video.

Last, because I have rambled far too long, I would like to address tip lead in a kind of sideways approach. ATS & PMTS, and I will not get deep in either, both promote the use on the inside ski to release into the turn. However I believe both have forgotten to some extent we have (2) skis. The next time you have an opportunity to ski, after you initiate the turn with your inside ski, start moving or sliding your outside ski forward to align your outside ski tip with your inside ski tip. In effect attempt to eliminate any tip lead between your skis after you start the turn. Use caution because you can over do it causing yourself to "back seat". You will also need to discover for yourself at what point to start and then stop the movemment. I have worked with some skiers from a very slight wedge to start the learning process. I believe you may create some of the prettiest round turns you have ever made. If you have ice like we do there is a good chance you will fall in love with it.

Yes you can move a ski forward and rearward while standing on it!

Have a good day and of course think snow. we are still 100 days away. Me, I hope I will head west before then.

"May the force be in your mind and not in your turns."

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[This message has been edited by Floyd (edited August 18, 2001).]</FONT>
post #32 of 92
SnoKarver and Floyd,
Thanks for your detailed and extremely helpful discussions. Now, I cant't wait to get on the snow to implement this technique(Thanksgiving day for me at Bretton Woods). Pierre eh!,
I assume that this is your special move that you have talked about in previous threads when you said that you had a real skill in negotiating the bumps, but that it was difficult to describe.
post #33 of 92
>>While I simpathize with you if I had followed this advice I would still be a "Dirty Sperm Turner" as Todd would say. I skied narrow for close to 40 years.<<

Hey, I never said "Dirty"
post #34 of 92
No worries! Always found that "Sperm Turner" hit home enough on its own.

"Remington" - ugh!
post #35 of 92
Perhaps we should also consider the difference that a physical body type makes. No matter what the current 'style' of skiing, a wide body is going to feel more comfortable with a wider stance, whether the body is muscular or fat. Similarly, a heavy body, whether it's pure muscle or not, is also going to feel more comfortable on a wider 'base' - a wider stance.

A smaller, thinner body, whether it's a small frame or a tall frame or what have you, is going to have a naturally narrower stance and therefore feel more comfortable on it. "Gymnast"-like ability on skis is also often accompanied by a gymnast-type body. Perhaps this is all more connected to natural body type and physical shape than we realized!

Regardless, I think that since world-cup racers etc. have used both stances very effectively in the last 10 years, and that since stance also varies depending on the terrain for most skiers, we could probably keep up the Aristotelian (sp?) debate indefinitely...

post #36 of 92
Good discussion going here, I've been away since Friday. Pierre, I did indeed understand what you were saying. didn't see any soap box action. Thanks for "going out on a limb".

SkiProfessor you said:
>>I would be surprised to hear from any competent free skier that a narrower (single platform) stance with nearly equal weighting does not have great advantage in soft snow, crud, and powder.<<

I attempted to find Todd's post on this very issue but couldn't. He firmly believes a wide stance in powder is actually more advantageous. Floyd's post is certainly along the same lines.

Couple of questions here. Isn't tip lead a symptom rather than a cause? If so shouldn't the instruction focus more on the actions you want rather than the symptom of one tip being too far ahead? It's easy to see tip lead differences but couldn't the danger of focusing on tip lead be that when it gets way on down the line of instructors they see the problem, "oh you have too much tip lead" and not what to do about it. Suddenly "tip lead" could become the new buzz word. I think this can appear fad like if not backed up (I'm not implying that y'all don't back it up just that when it trickles down it could become that).

So what are the fundamentals in movement you're looking for?

Pierre and Floyd talk about getting the body out "into the future" are you essentially saying the same thing? Maybe "falling into the future"?

Pierre, I'm certainly curious about this bump technique now!

While searching I found this interesting little discussion and history lesson from Ott on a close stance: "Close stance/NEVER locked" http://www.epic-ski.com/ubb/Forum4/HTML/000228.html it has photos too!
post #37 of 92
Tip lead is a function of balance/stability.If you have one foot in front of the other, by a foot length, how is your lateral stability? Compare this to feet being lined up, toes even. Use you own stance.

By keeping tip lead to a minimum, outside forces are not going to bounce you around, such as ice chunks, holes, etc. Moreover, you are in a position of balance/stability.

post #38 of 92
In all the lessons I've taken, not once has the topic of excessive inside tip lead come up.
post #39 of 92
O.k. I'll put tip lead in the cause category then.
RickH, that seems like a very simple and direct example to get your point across. It's definitely more stable from side to side with the feet even. However, if the feet are offset (one in front of the other same width apart) than you have better fore and aft stability with reduced stability side to side - a compromise. This is static though obviously.
post #40 of 92
Tip lead is not all that bad or inefficient if you tend to do your turns mostly weighted on the outside leg and remember to eliminate the tip lead before you finish the turn (otherwise you will find yourself in the back seat). Lots of decent skiers do that and don't suffer because of it. Just take a look through any ski magazine and see how many good skiers have a tip lead. I don't think that eliminating tip lead will improve a skier all that much if that skier continues weigh the outside leg through a turn.

Having said that, I firmly believe that in modern skiing (short, shaped skis, wide stance, two-footed turns) tip lead is inefficient (increases your counter, puts you in the back seat), so that is why I suspect that more and more instructors are addressing the problem.

I have worked hard myself eliminate my tip lead. Unfortunately coming from years of in-line skating did not help, because any skater worth his/her salt will have a tip lead at high speeds (turn or no turn) because for-aft stability increases tremendously. In fact, with a slight tip lead I can skate over gravel, grass or any rough segment of road (as long as I have some speed and the segment is short enough to preserve my speed). In my experience the best cure for tip lead is to open up the stance and carve with both skis. You will almost immediately realize that tip lead in such a position is not comfortable!

My 2 cents.
post #41 of 92

Modern skiing does not mandate wide-stance, two-footed turns. I agree that tip lead is inefficient, but in all styles of skiing; ie, narrow, wide or Hobart's gorilla turn. I ski with dynamic balance, no active rotary movements and minimal tip lead, if any. It is about efficient as one can get.

post #42 of 92
Thread Starter 
Hi Bob,
Thanks for your thoughful (and extensive!) comments. I'm somewhat at a losss on where to start in a response so let me begin by talking about models. A primary issue underlying the discussion in this thread is the difference between various "models" of sking. In general, models do not necessarily need to represent the real world, their main intent is to predict what will happen under certain situations. Of course in skiing most of us think we are modeling the real world (at least the one based upon our own conceptualizations). Usually we determine the value of a model ("validation") based upon how well it works in predicting the outcome. In the case of skiing and the issue of wider vs. narrower stance we could actually try to validate the various models in their ability to accurately represent the real world situation by analyzing video of various skiers combined with the use of some of the rather sophisticated dyanmic modeling systems of human movement that now exist. (If validated in such a fashion I would say the model because a description). However, for now I think our discussions is based, for the most part, by our own conceptualizations of the problem.

With that said, I will respond to your comments by saying they don't make much sense to me. My personal observations and experiences run quite counter to your explanations:

- Most types of skiing turns I have ever seen made by an accomplished skier involves a movement of the center of mass down the fall line.

- The example of a wider stance in other sports also doesn't hit home for me. Tennis players and others use a wider stance so thay can more effectively push off the "outside foot" - a major problem for many skiers. (I would agree, however, that for racers this is an important component of a turn when properly performed within the kinetic chain of a racing turn).

- You say you see skiers with extrememly narrow stances pushing their tails to the outside at turn initiation. I have not intended in this discussion to talk about extreme narrow or wide, only a relative differnece between wider and narrower within very reasonable limits. With that said, I see the problem of skiers pushing their tails out MUCH more frequently with a wider vs. a narrower stance. In fact, an important component in helping them to discover a turn where they need not push their tails out is to have them narrow their stance (and it is extremely effective).

- Whether in a wide or narrow stance, an accomplished skier need not push off anything into the new turn (especially with a narrower stance). The weight transfer is all it takes in either case if properly done.

I could go on, but I think the bottom line is that your model of skiing is quite a distance from my own. I don't care or think its really too important to argue about which is right or wrong. Most important is that for someone trying to learn to ski better the model makes sense and works. I expect you believe that your model does both, I certainly do about mine. There are clearly those who have responded here that have a model that is close to yours. On the other hand there have been a number of favorable responses indicating peoples ability to understand and hopefully utilize the one I describe (although I certainly do not make claim of ownership in any way). I can certainly tell that Sno Karver, Cheap Seats, Rick H, and others share some (many?) of the same conceptualizations and experiences that I do and it seems that they have been successful in using them for themselves and others.

Hopefully, this discussion will at least allow people to better see the differences between the models being presented and help them to choose one that works best for them. What we should be especially careful of is that we don't act as proponents of models that are not very effective. This, however, probably requires objective testing which to my knowledge has never been performed in the area of ski instruction. So, for the mean time, I guess we'll just have to work with our own best judgements.

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[This message has been edited by skiprofessor (edited September 02, 2001).]</FONT>
post #43 of 92
I will let Bob speak for himself on the totality of your remarks. Wide does not, as you say imply a push off solution. What Bob (and I) believe is lightening and tipping the inside foot is a quicker and more accurate way to "fall into the future" (did you coin that phrase...I love it, fits in well with my "anticipatory balance" thoughts). I have always seen push-off more related to narrower stances. Regardless this thread once again enters the realm of relativity.
Once again, "natural, functional and uncontrived" stance is what it is about. To me, if you are deviating from natural or functional, it will feel alien, either too wide or too narrow. I believe this may be one case where when it feels good....it is!<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Robin (edited September 02, 2001).]</FONT>
post #44 of 92
Hey Tom B.

Thanks a ton for hat lead - that was very nice of you. I bought one! Anything I can do for you, let me know.
post #45 of 92
Thread Starter 
Hey Bob,

You sure you're not interested in a Ph.D. dissertation. You would certainly wouldn't have trouble giving more detail when asked by your advisor! Alas, your response is of far too great of volume for me to have the time to respond to each point. My basic response to most every point made remains that you are operating on a very different model. One that you fervently believe in but one that doesn't fit my own perceptions and experience. I see a reference in you response to very narrow stances. This may be a problem as I've tried to talk about the differences of wider vs. narrow within a reasonable range.

When I stand on the floor with a wider stance and try to weight one foot and unweight the other I can readily recognize the source of fear that I think so many skiers perceive causing them to push their outside ski tail out and shifting their center of mass over the outside ski (up the hill) in an effort to get balanced on the inside edge in the desired direction as soon as possible. When I narrow my stance I am able to balance to a much greater extent over my weighted side (without shifting my center of mass over) as I "fall" to the inside (unweighted ski).

As I've said before good skiers can learn to make good turns with a range of stances. They can decide for themselves what works best for them and what they like to use. However, your model implies to me a teaching/learning progression which from my observations does not work very well (at least not without a lot of continuous coaching) and is a source of limitation and frustration for many skiers. The effect of having them narrow their stance (side to side & fore to aft) works extremely well in getting them over this hump. You can argue all you want that these limitations and frustrations don't occur with good teaching based on your model but there still seems to be a huge group of such skiers whom my experiences tell me can be easily helped by employing the model I have tried to describe. At this point I too have been far too repetitious and so I will close.
post #46 of 92
This says it all about my pal Bob:

"I didn't have to time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one".

Ernest Miller Hemingway.

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[This message has been edited by SCSA (edited September 03, 2001).]</FONT>
post #47 of 92
SCSA, did you start reading Hemingway before or after Babbit?

Note to self: Pick up a book of literary quotes.
post #48 of 92
Against this particular caliber of debator you need not pull out the 'big guns' of a book of literary quotes. Something along the lines of ---> http://www.some-guy.com/quotes/stupid.html <--- should serve you fine.
post #49 of 92

Our similarities are different.
post #50 of 92

I'm taking deep breaths... "Nice SCSA, nice SCSA...".
post #51 of 92
Yeah I caught that too. Threatening people that we all like is not the way to make friends. How come when my dad reads your posts he always says "sounds like 2 buddahs"? Refuses to explain it to me.
post #52 of 92
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few."
Shunryu Suzuki

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[This message has been edited by skis&snow (edited September 03, 2001).]</FONT>
post #53 of 92
Michelle, on your website you say that you developed shaped ski technique and contributed to shaped ski design. One day I'd like to hear more about that!

I hope you never fear those mountains in
the distance
Never settle for the path of least
I hope you dance....<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lisamarie (edited September 03, 2001).]</FONT>
post #54 of 92
OK, Lisamarie, the technique is still in development - I haven't finished working out the kinks as they apply to some aspects of advanced skiing myself! And as you can tell, any skiing is going to continue getting discussed and argued about forever, the more expert the skier the more 'their' opinions on skiing are right.

But yes, I did develop the technique that applies specifically to shaped skis (a lot of how skiing gets taught got changed a great deal when shaped skis came out). A lot remains the same, obviously, especially within PSIA.

"Caution: Cape does not enable user to fly."
-Batman costume warning label

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[This message has been edited by skis&snow (edited September 03, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by skis&snow (edited September 03, 2001).]</FONT>
post #55 of 92
Hi skis&snow,

So are you a gang member or a gang leader?
post #56 of 92

I suggest that you be very careful coming out with a technique on shaped skis. Harald Harb has copyright protection on all of his material. So, be aware that infringements cost money.

post #57 of 92
jeez, I've been carving for about 30 years and skiing and teaching on shaped equipment for about ten....do I need to send Harald a royalty checque?
post #58 of 92
Rick H,

Here comes the tsunami...
post #59 of 92
Same here Robin - and we were carving long before HH was putting books out, so I wouldn't worry about it!
post #60 of 92
Ok...so I suffer from latent, semi-spontaeous posting remorse...but...

Who gets intellectual property rights to the use of poles? Anton Zadarsky? (maybe the use of just one pole) Short skis? Cliff Taylor?
Skis with tips? The slope-headed cranium who scrawled Hoting Ski on a cave wall?
Like tipping the little toe edge is new! There ain't no there, there that wasn't already there....there, I said it again!

Harald can claim the acronyms tho! And keep them....too much alphabet soup anyway! PSIA,PMTS,AASI,USSA,SELR.........
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