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Stance: Narrow or wide?

post #1 of 85
Thread Starter 
[edit: skimag.com is down now, not sure if these links will work -aarrrrghh!]
[o.k. it's working, though they take awhile to load.]

Alright, I've got some articles here. Not a very good list but a start:

Advocating a wide stance:

"Balancing Act: Side-to-Side Balance" , Steve and Phil Mahre [Photos]http://www.skimag.com/article/instru...?alias_id=1953

"Independence is Power" , Stu Campbell [Photos] http://www.skimag.com/article/turnin...m?alias_id=134

"Why I ski With My Feet Apart", Felix McGrath [No Photos]http://www.skimag.com/article/turnin...fm?alias_id=87

"Out with the Old in with the New" , Stu Campbell [Photos] http://www.skimag.com/article/instru...?alias_id=3609

Advocating a narrow stance:

"I'm a mogul specialist, but I also love to play in glades, powder and crud. Regardless of the terrain, I'm quicker, more powerful and stable in a tight stance than an open one"

"Why I Ski with My Feet Together", Nelson Carmichael [Short,No Photos]http://www.skimag.com/article/turnin...fm?alias_id=88

Then there's Lito and Harald.
(Couldn't find a Lito article right now)

Non Commital:
(Photo has natural stance width, and not)
"Powder Principles: Law 3: Stance:" , Steve and Junior Bounous http://www.skimag.com/article/instru...m?alias_id=571

Not on stance, but since the general ski thread "ski articles" got into famous skiers freeskiing I thought this was fascinating:

"Gold Medal Roundtable", Michel Beaudry http://www.skimag.com/article/feature.cfm?alias_id=818

"And then there's tiny Tamara McKinney. Arguably the most talented ski racer in American history, Tamara explodes every cliché ever developed about ski racing. Fine-boned and light as a feather, the free-spirited Californian has an incredible touch on her skis. She floats between the turns, hardly touching the snow, yet when she puts her skis on edge, she can channel more power into her arc than most people twice her size. "

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[This message has been edited by Tog (edited May 16, 2001).]</FONT>
post #2 of 85
This obviously confuses me a bit. I see those with their skis together, and I see how graceful and smooth it looks. Yet others say to get those feet apart a bit. it's more stable. This is true too. So what's desirable?

I'll read some of those articles and drop by here again. The insides of my boots are scuffed- an indication I have my feet close together most of the time at least. But then I tend to let them float apart too. Maybe I should ski on my hands, or butt and solve the whole question!

Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #3 of 85
Close and far are relative terms. If you're used to having your boots constantly in contact with each other, then 2-3 inches feels like 2-3 feet. I'm 6'2" with a 34" inseam, and I generally ski with about 6" between my feet. If you're not watching from directly in front or behind, 6" can look like 2" or even 0". And yes, every once in a while, my boots will still whack into each other. My hip sockets are a good foot apart, so call it what you want. It's wide enough to have a good stable platform and to use my feet, but close enough to be quick from edge to edge and to not have my skis getting yanked all over the place.
post #4 of 85
I second Pierre Eh and JohnH.
the part about it feels like 2 ft even though its only 2 inches. soo right. I used to skied feet together/locked. the insides of my skis and boots would prove that. to be more agile I needed to move the feet apart. The first time was an exercise called cowboy turns (another thread (children PMTS)someone mentioned them but they sound different) where we ski like we just got off a horse. as wide a stance as we can. It sure felt like my feet were way apart, then I caught a glimpse of my shadow and was shocked at how little light was between my legs. maybe 2-3 inches.
Long leg, short leg, I equate to a wider stance. I would think it's pretty hard to keep the boots or foot in contact with the other leg as HH tells you it should be done. and on super side cuts with those real wide shovels/tails would catch on each other as they pass during a weight shift or ski change if the boots were together.

Most of the good photographs I seen are pictures not straight on, no turning but are pictures of skiers making pretty hard turns or at least turning. A good turn will usually put the feet "vertical distance" wide but the lower legs I found will almost always be close together so it looks like a closed stance to the untrained eye. Like mentioned above probably making people think this is the right way to ski.

By the way, thanks for the links. <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited May 16, 2001).]</FONT>
post #5 of 85
Thread Starter 
Check out this photo of Harald and another skier. They're skiing off a cornice. You can't tell the separation in Harald's stance but the skier on the left clearly is not going to land with feet close together!
post #6 of 85
That is Harb's son.
post #7 of 85
does that mean someone needs to tell Harrison to get with the program? put those feet together!
post #8 of 85
If you are skiing on shaped skis, especially if they are free carve, free ride, all mountain, or what ever other marketing names the ski industry gives this catagory, I think because of the ski width especially at the toe, by default, you have to ski them wider, at least during transition from one turn to the other....maybe the following will help.

So on the slopes you want to fly,
with no unnecessary "trips,"
You want to look good, as you try
.. but ski those skis,... how wide?

So you say you want to fly,
but make it a "safe" trip...with no slips,
then ski those boards between your
hips..... and arm pits.

Bye bye
post #9 of 85
My dad tried the modx pro with the technique he learned at the Lito clinic and did a couple of yard sales when in the transition he "stepped on his own toes" as he put it because the stance was too close. It was pretty entertaining if not embarrasing. He was kind of thinking if those skis are good enough for Lito, why not me. (maybe because Lito is a rep and has to ski on the equipment he represents?) He finally went with Salomon X-Scream series.
post #10 of 85
I have watched Lito's "Breakthrough I & II". Is there an update? When I watched these, I didn't have time to stop-motion and run the tape backward/forward to examine the moves and the results in the skis, but I had the distinct impression he did a bunch of what I call "mincing steps" where his feet were close and his hips rotated a bunch as a consequence in order to turn. Reminded me of that Martin Short character with the Glenn Plake-ish hair when he would jump from one foot to the other and wiggle his hips in order to land in the same spot with either foot.
post #11 of 85
Yes there is an update. Breakthrough III and how to take what you have learned onto the new shaped skis.
Both of his first videos were based on "straight ski" technology however I noticed at the time he was skiing Salomon equip 9000 skis which were the first of the "super side cut" skis. pre-Elan Parabolics. Everyone thought those Salomons were extreme. (I loved them by the way) Those were some real quick turners for their time.
post #12 of 85
Thread Starter 
O.k., check out this narrow stance demonstrated by Trygye Berge ski school director of Breckenridge:


I guess it's about as narrow as you can go!<FONT size="1">
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[This message has been edited by Tog (edited May 16, 2001).]</FONT>
post #13 of 85
whaaa, he's scary looking!! big white teeth that match the white stretch pants! Make him go bye bye.
post #14 of 85
Ohhh, man, he skies like Stein Erickson!

Yupper, that was the way, back then.
I love that poster, too bad it's $20

May have to get it anyway. One of the
beginner runs at Breck is named after him.

Boy, that poster would be a great addition
to my "skiing museum"

¯¯¯/__ SnoKarver snokarver@excite.com
post #15 of 85
Hee, hee, it's a piece of history anyway...

Yea, he'd be a hit near 5th and Hennepin in downtown Minneapolis, too.

Just read some more of your stuff on your website Gravity. Funny articles, especially about computers.

Dumb boxes, you have to tell them EXACTLY where to go...
post #16 of 85
OK, a little bit of 'help me out here' stuff:

I skied with Powderjunkie last Sunday; Timberline. Had a great time. He showed me the inside ski lift drill. I quickly found myself sitting back when I didn’t realize it! My guess is in this heavier snow it is easy to get slightly into the backseat without knowing it. I would make a turn and lift the inside ski only to find myself having to slam it back down fast, next to the outside ski. This showed me one of two possible errors: 1) sitting back (but I was still negotiating the turn ok) or 2) I had too much of a lean to the inside of the turn. This tells me I may be relying on my inside ski a bit too much during a turn. What do you think?
After a few tries I got the hang of it. I would lift the inside ski and bring it slowly to the other ski and gently set it down. I realize this is a drill only, but I cold really feel the outside ski take over in a very controled and balanced manner.

Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #17 of 85
Leave Stein outa this..............

Or.............. I'll fill the posts about the merits of the "comma" position that make Wacko look like a choir boy.

And like Wacko brought Snokarver...... I'll bring my friend "Jim from Taxi".
post #18 of 85
and I'll bring Cosmo Kramer, OOOooohhhh Yeahhhh

Speaking of.... I was watching about 5 minutes of an old movie Transilvania 6-5000, and Michale Richards was in it! He acted the exact same way as he did as Kramer! I almost fell out of my chair!<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by JohnH (edited May 17, 2001).]</FONT>
post #19 of 85
Hey folks, the runs are still the same as they were in the 50s when we all skied like Tygve Berge or Stein, only maybe not as well, and if you have never seen these skiers ski then, you can't imagine how solid a run can be with that technique.

I have seen Stein Ericksen take a flying leap of a hundred feet past Sam's Knob restaurant and land in steep mogul field which looked like parked VWs and never miss a turn or look awkward.

As skis and techniques evolve, everything thirty years old will look and be "retro", they will laugh at our technique in a couple of decades, but thinking that those older styles didn't work is a mistake, they were dictated by the equipment of the times.

When skis were so stiff that ALL the weight had to be carried on the downhill ski just to make it turn, the inside ski had to be kept in close contact just to keep it from flapping around like a flat tire. Pressing it to the weighted ski kept it tracking along since it was advanced and the downhill boot and ski shovel kept it from crossing.

If one of you were to ski the 210 Kneissl White Stars of the vintage that Tygve Berge is skiing in that poster with modern two footed technique you couldn't make them turn, I bet.

As for his outfit, to me it looks a lot sharper than those baggy overpants skiers are wearing nowadays. Those stretch outfits looked espaecially nice on Sigi

post #20 of 85
leave it to Ott to pull us back to some more sane time..

post #21 of 85
And hopefully another Sigi story?
post #22 of 85
Ott- Don't take anything I said about "retro" style skiing to be negative. I simply don't like the looks of it today. I don't have enough expertise tosay, however, I suppose stance has widened in response to technology.

SnoKarver-You said it very well when you described PMTS as "looking" European.
post #23 of 85
Thread Starter 
Ott good post. Ya know I like this photo. He looks like a very well balanced and powerful skier. The picture's got that "Better living through skiing!" sense.

SnoKarver you going to get this? If you don't I might but you've got more connection to Breck..

So what's the date of this? He's got aluminum poles with metal/rubber baskets so it's not 50's right? Wouldn't it be early-mid 60's?

The technique. Isn't his outside ski leading the inside? Did he change his grip with the left hand or does it just look that way?

It looks like a lot of work to get yourself in position for each turn but maybe it's really no different than today.

Ott, were turns generally large radius back then? What happened to technique in the moguls? Still this much counter?

Did people really need to ski on 210's or was it just the way it was? Just like did we really need to ski on similar lengths just five years ago?

So if we pried his legs and feet apart and gave him less counter wouldn't it look just like current technique?

post #24 of 85
If someone can figure out the boots, we might be able to date the picture. I can't figure out whether they are lace or buckle and they are very short. Koflach by chance or early Lange. The non leather pole baskets indicate circa 1966-1968. Someone said White Star and I know that was "the" Kneissel ski, however, I swear I see a little red color on the top, hence, a red star racer perhaps?

Yes tog, skis were long, the litmus was to extend your arm and skis were about as tall as you could reach.

I think bumps had a different shape. Remember, there were no snowboards and no one was on a 170 cm ski.
post #25 of 85
Rusty Guy, I didn't take the "retro" remark as negative, as a matter of fact, anything emulating the past is correctly referred to as retro, a lot of good thing from the past are brought back.

Tog, Trygve Berge was indeed in Breck in the 60s, Breckenridge, as a ski area, didn't exist before that. The only ski area in Summit County then was Arapahoe Basin, where in 1961 a season ticket cost $80 and a daily ticket was $3.75, Willy Schaeffler was the ski school director (and a founder of PSIA, BTW), and they ran a special for a total of $57 which included 6 days skiing, 5 nights lodging in Dillon or Frisco with two meals per day.

Look at Trygve's boots and you can see that his upper one is leading. Those were steel poles in those days, I still have some Heads, but the basket looks like a Scott basket (the Heads have five spokes) although the Scott poles were gold on the upper half and silver on the lower. It just looks like he has a reverse grip on the pole, it actually is correct.

It's not more work to ski like that than it is now with the wide track. In the position he is in, it is obviously a high speed long radius turn, showing off the correct Austrian technique of the time, which was essentially to initiate the turn with up-unweighting and counter rotation and then ride the skis around in fairly static position, determining the radius via edge control by rolling the ankles (easier done with leather boots) and forward pressure against the tongue, thus making the tip bite more or less.

I wish I had the URL for Wedeln that Dangerous Brian put up here in one of the threads, it shows what short swings looked like in the Austrian Technique. At the time this poster was shot, the skiing world learned first of what skiing with a stable upper body meant, only skiing from the hip down, and it was done and looked EXACTLY as the present shortswing with rebound, only with feet together, flat edge wipes on the flats, more edge set on the steeps. Because of it's translation into English as "tail wagging" a literal translation, people reading it in magazines and books thought they had to wag the tails, so they sat back and pushed their heels around, when in actuality, tail wagging was a description of the EFFECT of wedeln, you didn't have to do it, the tail wagging just hapened when you rebounded and brushed the tails of your skis under you and to the other side, I can still make two turns a second while wedeln. In the moguls you skied just like you do today, from the hips down, mostly knee action, though at that time we thought that skiing should be done on the snow, no one thought that getting "air" was anything special. We often took off from the upper side of one mogul and landed on the down side of the next, but we didn't do grabs, etc. An occasional Royal Christy or Mambo under the lift "populated with young things" as one book says, was about it. Except of course Stein Ericksen's layout flip at 2 p.m. every Sunday.

210s were the norm because ski shops sold the length by having you put an arm straight up and cup your fingers over the tip, so for most males in the six foot range, 210s were it. 215s were considered downhill racing skis. There is something to be said for the stability of these longer vintage skis.

At the time of this poster, Kneissl sold us certified instructors the White Star or Red Star slalom skis for $20 and refunded $10 if we turned them in at the end of the season. (For years I skied on Lange boots for free).

I had the White Stars in 210 and the Red Stars in 190. The Red Stars were very narrow and not much good for anything but very quick slalom turns, even top slalom racers preferred the White Stars, even though they were considered a "combination ski". I think I remember only the White Stars had yellow bases, bit it was so long ago. The boots at the time were leather double laced boots, (inner and outer, and got wet by noon) and he is wearing long-thongs, a six foot leather strap which went from a ring on the side of the turn table heel, up around the ankle and back down through the ring on the other side, back up around the ankle again to join up with the buckle by the first ring. It made the boots much more rigid.

My, how long this message has turned out to be, I apologize.


PS: edit: Trygve Berge is a film director in his native Norway, he directed a couple of wildlife films in 1993 and '95.
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[This message has been edited by Ott Gangl (edited May 17, 2001).]</FONT>
post #26 of 85
Thread Starter 

Awesome response thanks.
I -really- think he's left ski tip is in front of the inside one by maybe 1 1/2 inches. I've leaned against the wall and proven to myself that even with his legs like that this is possible. Maybe it's just too hard to tell from this angle.

Anyway why so little to no inside tip lead?

I believe I found the link you're talking about. Anyone who's interested in this technique should really take a look at it. It's quite long. Here's the thread:

"Wedelning-Quick Turns with just the feet" http://www.epic-ski.com/ubb/Forum4/HTML/000210.html

and here's the clips posted by stephan:



This second clip is not wedeln though is it?

I'm a little confused on the technique. In one place on that thread you say:

>>So if you or anyone wants to wedel down the slope and there is daylight coming through between your legs, you are not wedeling correctly, though you might be skiing great.<< -Ott Gangl

Then later at the bottom after stephan's post:

>>Wedeln can be done with feet together or several inches apart, but they must move independently, contrary to some beliefs, you can't wedel with knees locked<< -Ott Gangl

How does the technique change with shaped skis?
Does wedeln have anything to do with way you like a lot of rake (fwd. lean) to your boots?

Also, while I've got you here I need to know what 'verklempt' means. (Don't have it here so is this correct spelling?) I was looking at a review of gs ski from 95/6 or 96/7 and in the review the tester said something like "the tips got a little verklempt at speeds over 50mph". (One of the testers was Bill Hudson usst downhiller, another Eric Schlopy)
I took it to mean wandering or squirley.

Interesting about Trygve Berge being a director. Wonder if he'd be interested to see the poster.
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[This message has been edited by Tog (edited May 17, 2001).]</FONT>
post #27 of 85
Tog, pictures can deceive, so don't worry about it. Just enough inside tip lead is required, making turns like this, to keep the inside ski tip from crossing since it hits the other ski.

About wedeln. It first came into being as a tool for extremely quick turns by NOT invlving the whole body. Before, with either rotation or counter rotation, the upper body was involved, rotating or countering, and everything moved one way while making a turn has to be moved back the other way to make a turn in the opposite side, so the less you move the quieter you'll ski.

At first, no appreciable edge set was used in wedeln, more of a wiping movement, but then it evolved into using just enough edge set to keep a constant speed, less on the flat, more on the steeps.

In America, by the time the PSIA started certifying instructors, it was renamed to be the shortswing, which actually is the correct description of the turns.

In the classic wedeln on flat terrain doing "windshield wiper turns" on straight skis, there is no daylight between the knees, weight is shifted while boots touch. The shortswing of thirty years ago also had the feet close together but now you can shortswing with feet any confortable distance apart.

When I do it now with my 200cm shaped skis (not very shaped Atomic Beta Carves) and I keep my feet touching, the wider tips ride on top of each other on every turn, and that nipping throws me off , so I now shortswing with my feet about four inches apart, but I suspect the distance me skis are apart varies from turn to turn and even within each turn.

So don't worry about it, all the skiers in teh videos were short swinging, the name you give the turns doesn't make a difference, the important thing is that the upper body doesn't get involved.

Verklemt means >clamped< or tied up or even clumsy, the opposit of squirrely.

post #28 of 85
Thread Starter 
Ott, thanks for that reply. See bottom for quote.

I'm continuing the discussion from the "Hey wacko.." thread. There's good stuff on pg.3 esp. a long post by Bob. Here's the link: http://www.epic-ski.com/ubb/Forum4/HTML/000354-3.html

Couple of questions.
Pierre, if you went to a longer ski say 190, would you use a narrower stance then shoulder width? Is base edge bevel real important or not since you've been aligned at that stance width?

Bob (or anyone),
You talk about having to use a lot of torso movement with a locked stance. I'll buy that but I don't believe pmts is advocating a locked stance just a very narrow one. Also HH doesn't exhibit a lot of upper body twisting in his skiing in his video. So it certainly seems possible to ski in a very narrow stance without a lot of upper body rotary.

Another question,more important. Let's say you've got a level 3 skier going to some steeper blue terrain. They're nervous and do not like that commitment downhill. Is it not a good thing to talk about letting themselves "step down" into the turn?

Ott, here's the quote:

"Minuses: The tip becomes a little verklempt at speeds over 50 mph, not exactly a shock on a ski only 200cm long without a dampening plate"
post #29 of 85
I think it comes down to how wide or narrow. Since men have hips that are more narrow, a more narrow stance is less apt to require the use of the muscles of the upper torso to maintain stability.
If someone asks me to ski "boot buckle tight", I have a really hard time keeping a quiet upper body. I'm not that wide, so I can still stay on my skis. At Sugarloaf, a woman had just finished reading the harb book, which she regarded as a bible. Could'nt wait to try out what she learned. Problem: very wide hips=many face plants.

The other side of the story. From photos, I notice sometimes that my stance is too wide. When that hapens, I tend to overuse my leg muscles and muscle the turn.
The most comfortable way for me to ski involves doing something I learned from Natalie at Sugarloaf. Since its been over a month since I last skied, its a bit hard for me to explain what happens when. But the action was sort of accordian like, widening and narrowing at different parts of the turn. It was a breakthrough move for me to make me feel more comfortable on steeper slopes, kind of like taking energy from my center then allowing it to extend outward.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #30 of 85
Thread Starter 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------next week

how quickly the old days go eh?<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Tog (edited May 20, 2001).]</FONT>
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