Ski Tips #004 - Balance on the Outside Ski
When I watch people ski when I am riding up the chairlift one of the common challenges that I see is that a lot of skiers are balanced in the wrong place. They’re balanced on the tail of the uphill ski. This causes difficulties with turning and speed control and because of that , it limits your access to more exciting terrain.
See if you can picture this, when you’re skiing you are standing in a rectangle. This rectangle is formed by both of your skis, tip to tail and outside edge to outside edge. Where you ideally want to be standing is the downhill front corner of this rectangle, facing into the middle of your next turn. Unfortunately, most people ski in the back uphill corner of this rectangle. So how do you get to the right place? You need to focus on balance on the outside ski.
The moves you make while skiing should either get you to your outside ski or keep you balanced there. To start your turn and feel balance early you need to turn with your lower body, the first thing to head down the hill should be the tips of the skis. A simple way to make this happen is to point your toes with both feet to where you want to go, it needs to start from the snow and then move up. If you start your turn by looking where you want to go or turning with your shoulders that’s going to move your balance to the uphill ski, and that’s no good.
To stay balanced on the downhill ski keep turning your legs all the way through the turn, kind of like how you would steer your car through a turn, you wouldn’t just turn the wheel to one spot and hold it would you? I didn’t think so. If you keep this turning effort going, you’ll end up in the front downhill corner of that rectangle that was mentioned, facing into the middle of your next turn. It’s important to remember that what creates the balance is turning the legs, not turning with you upper body to start your turn or positioning it unnaturally to face down the hill. When you turn with your lower body you turn yourself into balance, when you turn with your upper body you turn yourself out of balance.
Give that one a try the next time you’re up on the mountain for a slide, it should make things a little easier. For help with balance on the outside ski and much more stop by and see us at the Big White Ski & Board School.
Josh Foster – Director of Snow Sports
Big White Ski Resort