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post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
Balance and balance some more, I'm convinced; balance is our game. Ride the skis around as W suggests. Balance and balance some more. Dance!
post #2 of 66
I wouldn't argue with that.

Yet great dancers study and practice technique, expression, focus, strategy, etc.
post #3 of 66
There are entire religions based on balance, so why not a sport?

If you had to boil skiing down to one word other than itself, balance would be a darn good one!
post #4 of 66
Yep, in this sport balance is the golden egg.
post #5 of 66
Ahh yes, I agree.

But...what is balance? Balance of what?

Forces? Diamond Corners? (Yes--that's it!) Equilibrium? What is "dynamic balance"?

I've always thought it interesting that, since many people go the physics route and say that balance = equilibrium, and since equilibrium means all the forces acting on us cancel out--adding to zero--we're faced with a paradox of balance: Balanced skiers can't turn, and turning skiers can't be in balance! (Because turning involves acceleration, and acceleration happens only when forces are not in equilibrium.)

So I conclude that balance on skis simply means...not falling over!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Best regards,
post #6 of 66
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post
So I conclude that balance on skis simply means...not falling over!
In simplest terms, yes.

Yet there are so many ways to balance and ski without falling over, and such different performance characteristics accompanied with each. For most skiers not falling over is the only focus. For those who explore beyond, a new world of possibilities and pleasures on snow awake.
post #7 of 66
Small subtle correct movements to maintain balance. Sometimes balance can be regained if the CoM is moving in the desired direction from an out of balance position.
post #8 of 66
Balance shmalance. I want to stay centered so that I can create, direct, and resolve the imbalances needed to move me where I want to go and keep my butt off the snow.

post #9 of 66
Originally Posted by fatoldman View Post
Balance shmalance. I want to stay centered so that I can create, direct, and resolve the imbalances needed to move me where I want to go and keep my butt off the snow.

If you're creating imbalances, then you're not staying centered from a lateral balance sense. Creating imbalance is all about intentionally leaving center.

In fact from a lateral balance sense, skiing centered is skiing with the balance point located dead nuts center of the balance platform. That equates to skiing 50-50 inisde/outside foot when a two footed platform exists. A pretty inefficient state of balance to strive for as the default during a turn.

If you're talking fore/aft, trying to always stay centered narrows the balance option parameters negatively and needlessly, limiting the manner in which you can move about on the snow. Gone are the options to load the shovels at the start of a turn, or the tails at the finish. Those options are skills that need to be developed. If you strive to avoid out of center fore/aft states, you sacrifice the important performace enhancements they provide,,, and are destined to flounder when your great intentions to stay center balanced fall short, and you find yourself mistakenly in a place you've not developed the skills to be.
post #10 of 66
I would say that with skiing, perhaps more than many other sports that I can think of, it is about total mastery of being in and out of perfect balance. Or does the word "balance" necessarily mean to be in a perfect state of static balance or does it mean to have complete command over just how much you intentionally put yourself out of balance or decide to be completely in balance, on demand? I view the skill of "balance" as being a mastery of both balanced and intentionally imbalanced states. To be "in balance" in skiing to me means to flow in and out of states of balance with complete control.

Walking is like that too, just not as extreme as skiing.
post #11 of 66

Obviously we have different interpretations of the the term centered.

For me being centered isn't just a point but a range. If I stay within that range I will be able to effectively control the tipping, pointing, and pressure distribution of the ski that I need to get around.

For me the term balance has been the one that is limiting because there is only one point at which we will be in balance at any moment.

post #12 of 66
Equal proportions.

What is "dynamic balance"?
Movement nd change, with everchanging harmonious proportions between stability and mobility.

From a paper titled:

Jackie L. Hudson
California State University, Chico, CA, USA

"Balance, like coordination, is understood by virtually everyone to be a critical component of skillful movement."

"Another, newer, definition of balance is
harmonious proportions. In this sense a balanced diet would have harmonious rather than equal proportions of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. The predicament for biomechanists is to determine specifically what aspects of balance should be in
either equal or harmonious proportions."

"But, as Kreighbaum and Barthels (1990, p.
310) point out, true equilibrium in human activities is practically nonexistent because "the body is always experiencing some kind of movement change." Greenlee (1981), in a qualitative text, uses the terms harmony, loss of balance, and

"In sum, balance is defined here as the harmonious and contextually appropriate interplay of stability and mobility of the body with respect to its BoS. Presumably, less skillful performers and less successful performances are characterized (in many cases) by less harmonious or less appropriate control of
stability and mobility."

It is a short paper, and a worthwhile read.

Personally I like the concept of "harmonious proportions" and dynamic balance, rather than equilibrium, because it allows us to go beyond static and equal into the real world of movement and change serving our intent as we maintain an upright body position. Like everyone has noted, equal doesn't exist when we have movement and change, but we can have stability and mobility existing in harmonious but unequal proportions, serving our behavior goals. The tai chi symbol represents this concept of harmonious proportions very well. And just like in the tai chi symbol, in effective skiing we always have a little mobility left in our stability, and a little stability left in our mobility. Otherwise we would fall, or stop moving.
post #13 of 66
RicB, , excellent. Thanks for that...
post #14 of 66
Thread Starter 
Most excellent RicB.

Balance becomes "a sense of well being."
I have deliberately increased repetitions of exercises that challenge student's balance in most progressions. I'm happy with the results. Students improve faster, confidence is established earlier.
Feathering a turn or carving one - if our goal is too ski most efficiently - the skier free to ride the platform (skis) without fear of falling off the platform achieves success earlier than those without a sense of well being.
Best wishes to all.
post #15 of 66
Thread Starter 
oops, repetition and efficiently are spelled wrong above, I'm out of balance, can't edit the post.
post #16 of 66
From a Thesaurus I found the first synonym of balance to be...


Stable in motion.

Balance is also a verb.
post #17 of 66
Originally Posted by smiley7 View Post
oops, repetition and efficiently are spelled wrong above, I'm out of balance, can't edit the post.
fixed it for ya. you're back in balance
post #18 of 66
Great comments. And I find myself in harmony with RicB a lot!

However, to tweak the question. I find skiing more about transcendence than anything else--including balance. This applies in the planes of mind, body, and spirit.
post #19 of 66
What happens when you dance and expect someone else to lead
post #20 of 66
Controlling change of balance.
post #21 of 66
Weems, I would agree that transcendence encapsulates the Soul of Skiing, but I'll stick with balance as the "without which, nothing." Skiing has (at least) three dimensions, Body, Mind and Soul/Spirit, just like the Catholic Church. Ric's "harmony" has its roots in Eastern religion, but they are all more the same than different. Skiing has the power to unify a person's disparate parts, at least for a few turns. That's pretty powerful.

Dancing can do that too. Think Astaire and Rogers--in great dancing, who leads is irrelevant. It's all about harmony, like Ric says.

Dancing is a great metaphor for good skiing.
post #22 of 66
I have equated skiing with dancing for years, could not agree more.
post #23 of 66
I find skiing more about transcendence than anything else--including balance.
We practice our form to be formless.

Ric's "harmony" has its roots in Eastern religion
Philosophy, Nolo, Eastern philosophy. To be more specific, the philosophy that is tai chi chaun. A philosophy based on the natural world or in harmony with the natural world. There's that harmony word again.

However the paper I was quoting is very western in origin. Sometimes we are in harmony with nature despite ourselves.
post #24 of 66
I agree with Ric's "harmony."

But I'm feeling contentious, so I also agree with FatOldMan's "Balance shmalance."

On one level, balance is an over-touted luxury that instructors and skiers often tend to obsess unnecessarily over. From the "Skills Concept" with its great big "balance" circle underlying everything else, to this very thread, it would be easy to think that instructors and our students can't move if we aren't in perfect "balance."

To hell with balance, I say! Balance is a nice luxury, much worth fighting for. But being out of balance is not the end of the world, not a reason to give up and stop skiing until we get back into it!

Fight for balance. But ski anyway! Accept imbalance, and learn to deal with it, and to ski through it.

I recall Stu Campbell, arguably the most balanced skier who ever lived, once saying about the same thing!

We strive for perfection, and there's no doubt that the "perfect turn" cannot happen without "perfect balance." But as Ron LeMaster once said, one of the attributes of all truly great skiers is the ability to get their skis to perform from a variety of positions, and a multitude of states of imbalance.

So there!

Best regards,
post #25 of 66
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
What happens when you dance and expect someone else to lead
Well, when we count on what we expect to happen happening, we set ourselves up for disapointment. If we can let go and just listen, feel, and be in the moment then our responses are timely, appropriate, and grounded in what is real.

My most memorable runs are the ones I don't remember the details of. Where time slows down, yet the energy flows continuosly down the hill. Where the respones happen faster than I can think about them, yet the movements are slow motion. Where the energy is freeflowing, yet the effort is minimal. A place beyond expectations. I think Fred and Ginger spent way more time there than I.

Oh how I can carry on.
post #26 of 66
Although I don't go quite as far as Bob, I also don't look at balance as the essence of skiing.

If skiing is dancing, is balance the essence of dancing as well. I thought it was expression through movement.

I don't belittle balance, but it's a big squishy word. Certainly harmony is part of it. But also, so is resilient alignment through the kinetic chain. So is movement anticipating acceleration and deceleration.
post #27 of 66
Bob, I dont' see the opposition you allude too. Centered is certainly one way to view it. Or maybe what FOM is really speaking of is center of pressure. In other words where do we maintain our center of pressure relative to our base of support.

Another quote: "One explanation for this dearth of research is that our traditional conceptions of balance may be too limiting if our
goal is to measure and modify balance in the context of sports."

"Judging from the vernacular, most observers of movement can recognize obvious problems with balance. Typically, to "lose balance" means to fall or fail to maintain balance. Being "off balance" means to deviate from the expected,smooth control of balance; this term is applied broadly to the mover who is at risk
of losing balance as well as to the unorthodox mover who is, say, throwing from the right foot when the left foot was expected. In their favor, these popular terms allow us to distinguish poor skill (i.e., inability to maintain balance) from mediocre skill (i.e., inability to control balance) even as some unusual, but contextually appropriate, movements are misclassified. Unfortunately, the colloquial language does not extend to the description of positive examples of balance or to the quantification of any examples of balance."
post #28 of 66
Where did the idea come from that alignment and anticipatory goals are not an integral part of the harmony of balance? I think that is whole concept of the paper I quoted. The idea that our traditional concepts of balance, which are rooted in the "static balance" school are not up to the task when we bring the behavior goals of specific sports into the equation.

I don't think of balance as being the essence of skiing either. Though I do feel that a "proportional harmony of balance" exists in all examples of "good skiing". Which is why I have no problem with the "Big Bubble of Balance" in the psia skills concept. Not only does our balance need to have harmony in the interplay between stability and mobility but our skill/movements need to be in harmony with our balancing goals as well. So even though we may give up balance in one part of our body, we can transfer our balancing (stability) to other parts of our body, until we are ready for our anticipatory movements to bear fruit through our newly established base of support.
post #29 of 66
No opposition intended, Ric. As I said, I agree with your perspective about balance, harmony, flow, and dance-like movement characterizing great skiing.

And yet, as others have suggested, great skiing is also characterized by near-constant imbalance, too--the cyclical falling and being caught that we experience so obviously as we dive into carved turns.

And my "to hell with balance" statement alludes to yet another attribute of all great skiers: the ability to ski "regardless," to ski through imbalances, to perform at a high level and improvise movements even when bucked way out of balance.

As I just described in another thread, balance in one frame of reference is imbalance in another.

It's all part of the dance!

Best regards,
post #30 of 66
Thread Starter 
A state of mind, balance is. Cannot be denied. Let's dance in the rain.
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