Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz
Spent some time in Colorado with Tom Burch and a couple of hours with Ric Reiter this month and they said the same thing. Skiing on the balls of the feet is bad. It actually opens the ankle and puts you back. The center of the foot and the "home base" is towards the back of the arch, front of the heel.
To be put more accurately, it CAN "open the ankles and put you back",,, if done incorrectly. If you shift pressure to the ball of the foot, rather than balance. Just press down on the ball of the foot and the ankle opens, and the calf levers into the back of the boot, and balance remains centered, or even as Ric and Tom told you, can move aft.
Fore balance is actually achieved with by closing (dorsi flexing) the ankle, or extending the knee. You can only achieve significant loading of the front of the ski from a fore balance state. From an aft state, any attempts to lever into the front of the boot cuff with the shin only results in getting pushed back further on the heels. The more you pressure the heel, the more you limit your ability to balance fore, and the more you restrict your ability to load the front of the ski.
This is easy to demonstrate to yourself standing in your skis at home. By simply standing with extended knees, then flexing the ankles and doing nothing else, you easily load the front of the skis so heavily the tails lift right up off the floor. Notice how pressure is distributed along the base of your foot? Yep, right up front. Now try to do the same thing with strong pressure on your heels and little on the front of your foot. Good luck getting that tail to lift,,, ain't gunna happen. And notice how squatty your stance gets in your attempt to do it. Think that's a strong skiing stance? No way Jose!
My analogy is that of a crowbar, the higher up the handle you hold it the better leverage you get. So pressing on the tongue of the boot gives better pressure to the tip of the ski then pressing on the front of your foot.
Yep, that's true. It's a matter of degree, and how much front loading you desire to apply. Remember though, when you're horsing against the front of the boot cuff it directs more load to the front of the ski, but is also degrading the efficiency of your balance platform. Even more than the degredation that comes from concentrating all pressure on the ball of the foot with limited cuff pressure. Which you decide to do depends on what you're trying to achieve. Each has its time and place. But when energy efficiency and an optimal balance platform are of primary interest, fore/aft centered with limited cuff pressure is the gold standard.
This focus and the focus on the back of my arches and/or heel has really helped me feel more centered in all terrain.
Sounds like you were focusing too heavy on fore as the default, and laying on the front of the boot to get there. If that was the case, the moving back was a step in the right direction.