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Stance Width?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Watching Hermann Maier last night in last week's Flachau GS, and I noticed how narrow his stance was. It seemed that his horizontal separation was very small-his inside foot was very close to touching his outside leg, especially toward the apex of the turn. I have been seeing lots of racers locked into a wide stance in the last few years, but most of those guys seem to be pretty A-framed, with more tip-lead than is probably desireable. Is the wide stance that has been advocated for racing the last few years falling out of favor for a narrower stance that that can be matched to fit terrain conditions (widened if necessary)? It seems logical that a narrower stance will allow you to match angles with inner and outer leg, as well as allow your hips to drop into the turn.

I was playing around with a narrower stance today, and it did seem to help with inside leg power (holding the leg back and flexing the ankle) as well as generating a more parallel-leg stance during angulation, rather than the A-framed stance I had when I was skiing hip-width. Is there a cue I should be using in reference to the location of my inside ski (horizontal stance width)? Should it be close to the outside leg? If I should be working on a narrower stance, where should I start? My goal is to generate power from the inside leg (flexed ankle, foot under my hips) and elminiate my somewhat A-framed stance.
post #2 of 24
The Goldilocks theory states:
An efficient stance is never too narrow, never too wide, always just right...
post #3 of 24
Dawg:
Hermann, according to himself (Interview on Skiracing.com), is not the measure of all things in GS right now. He finished 52nd in that race. Go to Alpinerace.com, Highlites, and watch Bode's run in Park City.
post #4 of 24
I can't address 'right or wrong' but I have also found that the narrow stance contributes to center stability and better transition with fewer edge catch moments. Plus it feels good. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by Arcmeister:
An efficient stance is never too narrow, never too wide, always just right...
That's exactly right. Your feet need to be apart to make high edge angles at the apex of the turn, but I don't think stance width at the transition is so critical. It seems to me that that coaches always prefer the stance of whoever won the last race. If you look at the photo montage of Herman Maier posted under Training here, his first turn begins in a narrow stance and his next turn begins in a wide stance.
he won the race, so it must have been right.

Regards, John
post #6 of 24
Racers have always used a "narrow" stance. Just like Lance Armstrong uses one. The horizontal distance between their legs is about the same as Lance. It's the vertical separation of their feet, and, the fact that they cross without going narrow, that gives the illusion of a wide stance.
I remember having a conversation like this with Aldo Radamus 20 years ago.(not including Lance Armstrong)(it might have been Greg LeMond)

[ January 12, 2004, 08:44 AM: Message edited by: SLATZ ]
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by Ryel:
I can't address 'right or wrong' but I have also found that the narrow stance contributes to center stability and better transition with fewer edge catch moments. Plus it feels good. [img]smile.gif[/img]
How about feet separated at a comfortable width, probably at shoulder width? Feet should not be glued together, or so close that they interfere with each other's movements. Feet should not be so far apart that they feel like you are straddling them.
post #8 of 24
When my students ask me what their stance should be I usually start by having them close their eyes and jump up and down a few times. I then have them stop and tell them not to move. Have them look down. Their feet will "usually" be apart at a good width. I find this is a good width to start with. I also find that it's very hard for most students to jump up and down with their feet close together. They usually fall over if they try to "glue their feet together". I also find that it's different for everyone. A set "number or space" is not always the best for our students.

Of course it will change depending on need, terrain or other factors. Sometimes I need to have them ski with their feet farther apart first to get them there.
post #9 of 24
dchan

I like your approach, and your right everybody's different so saying to have your feet "x" inches apart will not work for everybody. If I had to pick one standard, however, it would be hip width.

I don't instruct but I coach many other sports where an athletic stance is important and used to use the old "shoulder width" which used to be the standard. I've found that if I just ask my atheletes to stand naturally I get better results. I carry this over to my own stance on skis and it has never been an issue either way. Shoulder width desn't work for me. If I skied at shoulder width, my feet would be about 3 feet apart.

I do have to admit that I widen my stance some when the terrain gets steeper or the snow gets choppy.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Related topic-how do you narrow the stance during transtion? I find that when I start a turn and increase my vertical separation during the turn (basically by flexing my inside leg and driving my inside femur into the turn) that I exit the turn with a much wider horizontal separation than I started with. This is probably due to the fact that when I am exiting the turn, I am now pressuring the inside ski. How do I get back to the netural (narrower, maybe hip-width stance) between turns-do I have to make a move with my feet, or should it naturally happen during the transition float phase (where my skis are basically flat)?
post #11 of 24
Why would you want to do that? Herman doesn't.
Check out http://ronlemaster.com

[ January 12, 2004, 09:53 PM: Message edited by: SLATZ ]
post #12 of 24
Coach, I think you have it exactly right. As I have heard Rusty Guy say multiple times: If someone picked you up and let you dangle from your armpits, where would your feet be? Put 'em there in your stance, and that's the right width!
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by SLATZ:
Why would you want to do that? Herman doesn't.
Check out http://ronlemaster.com
Check out the 2002 Adelboden Couche and Schlopy montages-they both exit the turn with a wide stance. Then, during the transition, narrow the stance significantly up until the start of the next turn (boots almost look to be touching at initiation). I am assuming the narrow stance allows them to bring up pressure on the skis quickly (sliding and then hitting the edges when the time is right, vs. a pure carve). In the Couche montage, look at the width of his skis in frame 13 (exiting the old turn) and then again at frame 18 (initation). Any thoughts?
http://ronlemaster.com/gs2002/frameset.htm

[ January 12, 2004, 11:45 PM: Message edited by: dawgcatching ]
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by dawgcatching:
Check out the 2002 Adelboden Couche and Schlopy montages-they both exit the turn with a wide stance. Then, during the transition, narrow the stance significantly up until the start of the next turn (boots almost look to be touching at initiation). I am assuming the narrow stance allows them to bring up pressure on the skis quickly (sliding and then hitting the edges when the time is right, vs. a pure carve). In the Couche montage, look at the width of his skis in frame 13 (exiting the old turn) and then again at frame 18 (initation). Any thoughts?
http://ronlemaster.com/gs2002/frameset.htm


If you look at all of those montages, you will see some skiers staying wide throughout the transition, and others getting a little narrow. Maybe the guys who get narrow are riding a flat ski a little longer through the transition, which theoretically should be faster if you can still maintain a good line with smooth turns. Or maybe they are doing something we don't understand at all, or maybe they are even making mistakes. In any case, I think those montages support my opinion that stance width through the transition is not a critical issue, as long as you can get to high enough edge angles.

In my own skiing and coaching, I do a lot of drills in an extremely wide stance, which I think helps develop independent leg movement. I also do exercises to become more comfortable in a narrow stance, which is more effective in bumps. When I'm just skiing, I never think about stance width (except in bumps, where I try to be narrow). I just assume that if I'm skiing well, my feet know where they need to be. My feet know way more about skiing than my brain, and thinking about it too much just disrupts the flow.

Regards, John

[ January 13, 2004, 05:38 AM: Message edited by: John Dowling ]
post #15 of 24
Maybe as a non-professional I'm over simplifying this topic a bit, but I think the whole stance width thing is a little over analyzed. Being everybody's different, I have a hard time looking at another skier and judging how wide my stance should be. When I walk down the hall my feet aren't jammed together nor are they two feet apart. They're just where they are, naturally with no intent what-so-ever. I ski the same way and, in fact, unless we're talking about it here I don't give it a second thought. Maybe high level skiing requires something different, but this topic does seem to raise many issues for a lot of folks.
post #16 of 24
Observations of those montages
First, these are all of a turn where they are making a dynamic extesion on the uphill ski and redirecting their skis into the(comma shaped) turn. This allows the downhill leg to track under the body.
Second, their weight is slightly back at the turn exit causing the outside ski to track outwards widening the distance between the skis.
Also in the Cuche sequence he's pinching the top of the turn and has to move his downhill foot in to keep from hooking the gate.
Look at some where the terrain is flater and the turns rounder. You'll see that the track width stays pretty consistant. Most of what I look at is from video that I play one frame at a time. I see that type of thing most of the time. GS skiers get pretty acrobatic on the steeper turnier parts. You have to look at the application of the fundamentals, not the fine details. Remember, there are no style points.
post #17 of 24
K.I.S.S.

For most skiers, the "natural" position is probably best. Again, I like to get a skier to where their body puts their feet.

(Keep It Simple, Stu...)
post #18 of 24
I'll second that dchan.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by dchan:

For most skiers, the "natural" position is probably best. Again, I like to get a skier to where their body puts their feet.

That's what I think also, except that a lot of us have trained ourselves to ski an extremely narrow stance. We've done it so long that it feels "natural," but it still limits us in various ways. That's why coaches need to focus on stance width from time to time.

Regards, John
post #20 of 24
There are a few things that i pay attention to regarding stance width when i am skiing. I never try to widen my stnace at all, or narrow it for that matter. I alwways try not to lead my inside foot, or scissor my inside foot. And no matter what my stance width is in a particular set of turns on the same pitch, i try not to close it during the transition. The reason for this is that when you close during your transition, it is a sign of a late transition. Running the skis flat is okay, if you have enough time between turns, but closing the stance doesnt let you get on the new outside edge as quickly, and it can lead to a serious a-frame problem. I have been working this season to increase the energy that im getting out of the turn and transiton as fast as possibly (speed wise) and dive into the next turn (GS).
PM me if you want me to elaborate further.
Later
GREG
post #21 of 24
Ron LeMaster points out that in a wider stance you "tip over" a lot quicker. I think that's what you said you're trying to do.
post #22 of 24
Be reminded that when analyzing images of top athletes, they are also dealing with line issues. Maintaining or even gaining elevation (a high line) after a low turn exit or prior to a severe rhythm change is essential. Footwork prior to turn entry can dictate whether they're on line or not.

Anyone remember "lateral projection?" It's still around. A wider than normal stance at turn completion is not uncommon to "stay up" the hill. You'll see it in Bode alot.
post #23 of 24
Whyg:
What are you trying to say ?????
post #24 of 24
Biowolf,

Variation in stance width will be seen when analyzing e
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