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Stance - Wide or Narrow

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
WvSkier said in the Rotary Bad post:

And, last but not least - the most preferable for most skiing...

4) Torque - independent leg steering that eminates from the femur in the hip socket. Only can be accomplished with the feet apart and moving each leg independently.

Thank you Bob Barnes, and his Encyclopedia of Skiing. I built two complete lesson plans around these concepts for my Level III exam.

End of quote*************************

(I wish he'd print it again to. People refer to it a lot and I tried to order it and add it to my library.) (I also saw someone mention an on-line or electronic format. Can you buy it as a PDF?)

Ok - stance. As I've been branded somewhat - here are my musing on Stance.

I ski with both a narrow or a wide stance. If I'm doing PMTS style moves they do not work properly without a narrow stance. If I'm doing a slalom I find the wider stance allows more of an atheletic push off to propel into the next turn.

In the narrow stance thinking, it's a very subtle and easy move to simply collapse your former down hill leg to switch edges. But if you actively try to add some push to accelerate even more pushing on your new outside ski at this transition phase only moves you upward.

In the wide stance thinking, since your angles are much less upright it doesn't take much of body going down the fall line so that a push on your former inside leg/ new outside leg really gets you going into the new turn.

In the narrow stance world you can also accelerate into the new turn, but this is done by heavy tipping of the downhill ski while the weight is still on that ski before it becomes unweighted as the new turn develops.

Personally I prefer the narrow stance as getting the job done with passive movements is simply easier. But I can revert to a wide stance and sort of Push off into the new turns as an alternate style if I need or just choose to.

I have observed that some race styles use the wide stance at transition but pretty much have the legs together as the turn develops (feet are apart though but you can see their knees touching) which is actually a mix of both stances. Or to put it another way - wide at transition, narrow in the turn.

Any other pros and cons from people that do both styles?
post #2 of 43
Sorry John in a wide stance I do not push off the new outside ski. That is called rotary pushoff. The mechanics that I use in a wide stance are not different from a narrow stance. What is different is that in a wide stance I tend to use more of a pedaling action verses and tipping, angulation action. Everything else is sammy same.

There are areas where a wide stance is very beneficial to me. I much prefer a wide stance where I want low relative edge angles, not much CM movement in relation to my feet and very tight round turns. That would include steep tight terrain and bumps. If I am doing medium radius carved turns on blue terrain my stance is suprisingly narrow.
post #3 of 43
John,

when you observe the "race styles" for wide stance, is it really that the boots are close to each other. look at the tracks left in the snow. I would suspect that the tracks in the snow for most racers will be spaced about the same all the way through the turn. it's the fact that one leg tipped so far over that it almost touches the other leg. almost knee to boot rather than knee to knee.

Most of the instructors here would still consider that a wide stance.

That is one of the reasons we advocate a wide stance. So you can have the freedom to move that far over your edges without running into your other foot. If you were in a narrow stance and got on that high of an edge, you would not be able to engage your outside ski.


DC
post #4 of 43
"Wide stance". Wide? Relative to what?

There is a stance that is wider than boots locked together.

There is a USEFUL or OPTIMUM stance in each circumstance - I have not been persuaded that wider is better in bumps.

Before we debate " Is wide better?" it would be neat to state WHAT is wide, and WHEN and WHERE that particular width would be most useful.

The world is overburdened with political correctness (same as theology). Let's leave theology out of the discussion and stick with utility and pleasure.

If it works for me and I enjoy it, I don't give a sweet petoot whether the racers do it or not.
post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 
I'm just trying to learn the reasoning and understand. I normally am narrow but I see a lot of both on the slopes.
post #6 of 43
oboe wide is what we hashed out in an earlier Epicski thread. You know what wide is. Narrow is anything with the outside of the boots hip width and under and wide is anything over. Harb uses a narrow functional stance. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #7 of 43
Yah John but the wide you see on the slopes is intermediates bracing against their skis. Few good skiers ski well in a good wide stance. That is almost as rare as hens teeth. You may not even recognize it.
post #8 of 43
Thread Starter 
I normally ski narrow and most with a wide stance seem that they are working too hard. But in the quote I started this out with, it seemed some were saying a wide stance is a good thing. So I was trying to understand from others perspectives when is it a good thing.

But as another poster noted, what is wide.

For me wide is still less than shoulder width.

If a skier is wider than that and skiing well, your right, I don't recognize that. There may be some out there, but most look like the intermediates you describe.
post #9 of 43
If people are looking for some auto-magic formula for the correct stance width for anyone at anytime, you might as well be chasing several rabbits all at once.

At any point in time, on any pitch of slope, at any speed, in any snow, the width of stance should simply be a functional reflection of intent (expressed as tactical choices). That intent (tactics) dictates the technical application (based on skill) of options avaliable to any given skier.

An optimised stance for any skier first depends first on their body structure, strength, and flexability. Then those factors are applied with their technical development to produce their tactical options, of which the stance is a function.

For any two people skiing side by side, the best stance for each may result in one skiing wider and one skiing narrower.

Deliberatly choosing narrower or wider can be a way of enabling (or inhibiting) your intent. Any choice should represent working knowledge of cause and effect, or the desire to explore and aquire that knowledge.

I love analysizing WC skiers, and exploring in that direction. But the physical capabilities with they apply extreem edge angles at extreem speeds to function in their extreem energy environment is all pretty irrelevant to the most important things we are trying to achomplish with most of our students.

Be open and flexable to working out stance issues on an individual basis to enhance individual outcomes based on awareness and actual cause and effect. Don't look to burden any student with some xyz stance theory that may not provide the further growth and enjoyment they desire.
post #10 of 43
Careful there John M. Harald Harb is not really narrow by some standards. He skis pretty much the outside of the boots hip width. He doesn't weight the outside ski exclusively and let his inside foot drift over and start banging on his inside boot.
post #11 of 43
Quote:
If people are looking for some auto-magic formula for the correct stance width for anyone at anytime, you might as well be chasing several rabbits all at once.

At any point in time, on any pitch of slope, at any speed, in any snow, the width of stance should simply be a functional reflection of intent (expressed as as tactical choices).
Kill joy, what cha tryina do. Make sense ah supmmm. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #12 of 43
Arcmeister, THAT is a great post. INTENT! INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES!
post #13 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Pierre:
Careful there John M. Harald Harb is not really narrow by some standards. He skis pretty much the outside of the boots hip width. He doesn't weight the outside ski exclusively and let his inside foot drift over and start banging on his inside boot.
Gosh - not when I've seen him.

To be precise since I may be mis-interpeting, he skis with a slight space between his boots. (2 to 3 inches but often closer) (also, why the infatuation with Harold - Pierre, you keep bringing him up) (oh - other correction - the tracks in the groomed stuff do indeed show the weight is on one ski - though I'm sure this isn't what he does in powder, but there aren't many tracks you can study in powder) But, maybe he does it different when you watch him.

[ March 09, 2004, 09:37 PM: Message edited by: John Mason ]
post #14 of 43
oboe
I'll second that [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #15 of 43
One simple thought on this subject.

If you want to start aspiring toward higher edge angles widen your stance. It immediately gets your outside foot out from under your CM, and creates room between the legs which allows for aggressive tipping. A narrow stance will not allow for high edge angles.
post #16 of 43
What has the shoulderwidth got to do with anything, unless you are a tailor? 'Wide' is arbitrary enough, surely the hip is the only useful referencer point. Hip width apart?

But it gets muddier....measure your hips accross the outside say 16", now is that the gap between your boots or the width to outside edges of the boots? Boots touching, gap = zero, so widen gap to 16". I don't think so...

If the intention is to align the femurs square to the pelvis (i.e. along the body's upright axis) for biomechanical strength, then the boots need to be apart by your hipwidth less one boot width , the 16" measured to the outsides of the boots, but then in by one bootwidth, and recentred again. Yawwnnn

When we've finished with the sliderules and the lasertheodolites, isn't the comfortable atheletic standing position the one your body knows best, somewhere between the extremes? Too narrow and our knees knock and prevent both skis remaining on the snow at high edgeangles. Too wide and the supporting muscles are unbalanced and tire.

So if its both wide enough and narrow enough its probably just right.
post #17 of 43
Since reading this and other threads about stance, I've been paying close attention to the stances of the good skiers I see on the mountain.

When I started skiing again last year, I thought none of the skiers on the mountain were very good, because their feet weren't locked together, side by side, the way we used to do it 'back in the day'. I've had to admit that most of them were skiing quite well.

I feel addicted to keeping my skis very very close together - it's a hard habit to break!
There's an odd feeling of satisfaction when I hear the inside edges of the skis clicking together during a transition between turns.

I'm working on it.... I don't have a support group, but I'm trying by willpower, and imitation, to get my feet a bit further apart, and distribute my weight more evenly. Maybe I should start a support group 'Knock Knees Anonymous'.

I was doing it in 6 inches of fresh snow yesterday, and it felt more stable, but very strange. Isn't that what makes bad habits so hard to break? The new ones feel strange?
post #18 of 43
Consider monohull and catamaran boat turning characteristics.
post #19 of 43
Within realistic limits,

Wider stance emphasises Stabilty over Agility

Narrower stance emphasises Agilty over Stability.

[ March 10, 2004, 10:23 AM: Message edited by: Nettie ]
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by Nettie:
Within realistic limits,

Wider stance emphasises Stabilty over Agility

Narrower stance emphasises Agilty over Stability.
Wider stance emphasises both Stabilty and Agility. One can react considerably faster from a wide stance. When you get ready for action and need a quick reaction you get in a wide stance. Period.

I generally narrow my stance when I don't carve and widen it when I carve. In bumps it is always narrow.
post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by LesA:
Consider monohull and catamaran boat turning characteristics.
As someone who's been sailing longer than he's been skiing (30 years sailing, 27 skiing), I don't understand this comment. Multihulls turn like dogs, but monohulls can spin on a dime on top of their keel (or centerboard). Haven't you ever had to backwind a jib on a cat to get it all the way around? I can spin a monohull 360 degrees without filling the sails, but to get a cat past 100 degrees is quite tricky unless you have a LOT of speed (which is why cats are so fun - they go fast).
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by JohnH:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by LesA:
Consider monohull and catamaran boat turning characteristics.
As someone who's been sailing longer than he's been skiing (30 years sailing, 27 skiing), I don't understand this comment. Multihulls turn like dogs, but monohulls can spin on a dime on top of their keel (or centerboard). Haven't you ever had to backwind a jib on a cat to get it all the way around? I can spin a monohull 360 degrees without filling the sails, but to get a cat past 100 degrees is quite tricky unless you have a LOT of speed (which is why cats are so fun - they go fast). </font>[/quote]Skis close together would turn more like a monohull and wide apart more like a catamaran.
post #23 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by TomB:
One can react considerably faster from a wide stance. When you get ready for action and need a quick reaction you get in a wide stance. Period.

I generally narrow my stance when I don't carve and widen it when I carve. In bumps it is always narrow.
Period, then a codicil.

Why do slalom racers have a narrow stance and downhill racers a wider stance then?

You say in bumps (where you need to be agile with both feet moving with often considerable differences) you have a narrow stance.

I stand by my opinion.

See LesA's post above or tr doing short turns on a steep black in a gorilla stance.
post #24 of 43
Nettie,

True, a narrow stance helps your feet be more agile in some situations (bumps). But if you want an agile body that can move laterally very fast a wide stance is infinitely better.
The fastest way to move a ski on edge is from a wide stance. All you have to do is colapse the new inside ski. You can try that in your living room.

BTW, why do you say that a SL skier has a narrow stance? Most of them have a hip-width stance. Legs may come together during turns due to extreme edge angle, but the tracks left in the snow still show a healthy separation in the skis.
post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally posted by Nettie:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by TomB:
One can react considerably faster from a wide stance. When you get ready for action and need a quick reaction you get in a wide stance. Period.

I generally narrow my stance when I don't carve and widen it when I carve. In bumps it is always narrow.
Period, then a codicil.

Why do slalom racers have a narrow stance and downhill racers a wider stance then?

You say in bumps (where you need to be agile with both feet moving with often considerable differences) you have a narrow stance.

I stand by my opinion.

See LesA's post above or tr doing short turns on a steep black in a gorilla stance.
</font>[/quote]I think I know what has been bothering me about turns in wide stance. The wider the stance the harder it is for me to turn the uphill ski on the outside edge and I feel like I am straining and the whole position does not feel comfortable. Sure, I have greater lateral stability but I do not feel "smooth" and relaxed in my ride as I do in a more narrow stance. Maybe it is just a matter of adjusting your stance according to the circumstances.
As Nettie pointed out, wide stance turns seem to be more akward for me on steeper slopes.
post #26 of 43
Les

As has been pointed out many times, "wide" is relative to the individual skier. My take is that you're too wide if you can't get your uphill ski on edge because your feet are too far apart. Wide for me is hip width and if I go shoulder width, I experience what you do. I go a little wider on steeper terrain. It just seems to give me more stability and still allows me to get on edge with the uphill ski.
post #27 of 43
LesA said:
Quote:
I think I know what has been bothering me about turns in wide stance. The wider the stance the harder it is for me to turn the uphill ski on the outside edge and I feel like I am straining and the whole position does not feel comfortable.
Could be that you are trying to angulate with the hips and counter to much in the wide stance. Less counter and shorten and lengthen the leg instead of moving the hips to far inside.
post #28 of 43
TomB said:
Quote:
True, a narrow stance helps your feet be more agile in some situations (bumps). But if you want an agile body that can move laterally very fast a wide stance is infinitely better
Now think about what you just said. If I want to have more control over the speed down the hill of the center of mass through my ability to move it laterally in bumps so as I can turn more out of the fall line, wouldn't I want a wider stance? If I stay in the bottoms of the trough more I don't have to go up and down as much either.
post #29 of 43
TomB, I thought we were getting away from skiing with the upper body and focusing on getting the job done as much a possible with the legs and more importantly the feet and ankles.

I will alter my statement to

Within realistic limits,

Wider stance emphasises Stabilty over foot and leg Agility

Narrower stance emphasises foot and leg Agilty over Stability.

If, now we disagree it is between the type of skiing you favour and the Canadian system (which has more emphasis on lower legs moving to support CM and less on moving CM over the feet).

I still don't see slalom racers with a stance as wide as downhillers or speed racers.
post #30 of 43
Slalom skiers need to narrow their stance to squeeze through the flushes. Mogul skies need a narrow stance to get both skis as much as possible onto the same part of the bump. Bump skiers also need to avoid large edge angles, which is an important benefit the wide stance to racers. I don't think it has anything to do with a trade off between agility and stability. And the catamaran versus monohull analogy does not apply at all. The difference in turning between those boat has more to do with the fact that cats generally are lighter and monohulls can generate some turning force by heeling to lee, and their greater mass carries them through the turn better.
For myself, I don't think much about stance width. I have noticed that, in high speed carved turns, a wide stance at the transition seems to make it easier to get to high edge angles at the apex, but I'm not sure why that's true, or even whether it is true for everyone or just a characteristic of my own skiing.

Regards, John
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