Great thread! I think there are actually three key factors:
- equipment alignment
- body alignment
For some things equipment adjustments like bootfitting is the correct way to address a body alignment issue - mainly if it is a structural alignment issue. But if it's a functional alignment issue, then you can address it with boots but that may just lead to other problems developing. As an example - in the photo above L&AirC's daughter, I would be curious if the problem is a weak right glute medius. Does her right knee collapse inward when she skis? If so - this is likely a functional/muscular imbalance issue and in my opinion is better fixed through improving strengthening glutes than through equipment alignment.
Some body alignment issues can be corrected on-snow through various exercises, but they can typically be corrected a lot more quickly off-snow via corrective exercises. This is a particularly fascinating area for me as I'm a strength and conditioning specialist (I work at a sports therapy clinic) as well as a ski instructor. One of my key focus areas is on doing functional movement screens for people to assess their asymmetries and then provide custom training programs that include corrective exercises. This is excellent for all athletes and frankly all non-athletes, but I am only now realizing just how incredible a fit it is for skiers (I've only been doing the screens since May). I don't think there exists another sport where performance is so tied to minor adjustments in movement ability.
I keep thinking about all the people I have taught who have trouble turning in one direction but not the other. This is unlikely a technique issue. Maybe an equipment alignment issue, but I now think it is more likely a body alignment issue. In fact what I've noticed is that virtually everyone that I have screened at the clinic has at least one left/right asymmetry doing the basic movements in the FMS (for details on the test, check out www.functionalmovement.com
). Beyond that, most also have poor mobility in their hips and/or poor stability in their core. How can that not translate to poor performance on the hill?
Am I just slow on the take and other instructors have been recommending off-snow exercises to their clients for years? I have a feeling I will have a lot of clients this year who break out of longstanding performance ruts by having them do corrective exercises (some stretching some strengthening) at home.