Ski Tips #002 - What Makes a Good Stance?
A well balanced stance on your skis is kind of like a solid foundation for your house, without it everything else is going to be a bit shaky. So what makes a good skiing stance? Well, it's not that different to many other sports. Say you're at a face-off in a hockey game or you're waiting for a serve in volleyball, on defense in basketball. They all have some similarities, the knees are bent, the waist is bent in proportion to the bend in the knees and the weight is spread out over the entire length of the feet...or is it? This might be one of the only differences between these sports and skiing. In your ski boots you actually want to feel a bit more weight on the arches of your feet and maybe even a bit of pressure towards your heels. When you feel the weight on the back part of your foot be sure to feel your shins pressing lightly against the tongues of your boots, this puts a bit of bend in your ankles that will complement the bend in your knees and in your waist. That's going to help keep you aligned and well balanced.
So, why the difference in how you balance? Well, it all has to do with the slope. All of the other sports mentioned earlier are played on a level playing surface, skiing (hopefully!) is not. On a flat surface being up on your toes is good for quick lateral moves. On a pair of skis being on your toes puts all of the pressure towards the tips of the skis; this causes the tails to break loose in a turn so edge grip suffers. To experiment with this, the next time you're at the top of a hill try and walk down on your toes, then do it again and just walk down naturally. I be it'll be pretty tricky to do it on your toes, especially if it's a steep slope (one that would be fun to ski on). When you walk down naturally what's going to happen is your heel is going to make contact with the ground first then the rest of your body will align itself to stay upright. So it makes sense for your heels to be the contact point when walking down a slope then it should make sense for skiing down one too. The thing to always remember though is when you feel the pressure on your heels be sure that your shin is touching the tongue of your ski boot.
I hope this tip works for you. For more help with this and just about anything else to do with sliding at Big White please stop by the Ski & Board School and see one of our Pros, we'll help you make the most of your day on the mountain...guaranteed!
Josh Foster - Director of Snow Sports
Big White Ski Resort