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Kat received these in an email and thought they make a great tutorial or refresher for the season.

1) Shoulders over knees…

We ski instructors often tell people to get into an “athletic stance” when skiing. This generally means flexing slightly in all the joints in a position of readiness… kind of like a soccer goalie or a tennis player ready to move anywhere at a moments’ notice. One way to gauge if you are maintaining and athletic balanced stance is if you keep your shoulders over your knees. This is of course just a rule of thumb and there are always situations in skiing where you can break the rules, especially at higher performance levels… but for the average skier if your shoulders are over your knees, that’s a pretty good place to be.

2) Feel your feet…

In order to maintain balance throughout your turns try to think about the sensations you are feeling on the bottom of your feet.  You should feel pressure along the inside bottom of your outside foot. The actual pivot point should be the high point of your arch where it connects to the heel… but as you extend in the first half of the turn you may feel a bit more pressure towards the ball of your foot… as you flex slightly through the second half of the turn you may feel a bit more pressure towards the heel.

3) Turn with the legs…

Many intermediate and even advanced skiers initiate their turns by rotating their upper body. This can easily get you out of balance and put you in a position where it becomes difficult to effectively edge the skis. Instead try turning with the legs (rotate the femurs inside the hip sockets). This will allow you to keep a quiet upper body to maintain balance. It will also allow you to more effectively create “angulation” (see tip #4)

4) Inclination vs Angulation… Folding your body!

In order to deal with the forces in a turn most people understand that they need to lean towards the inside. This is called “inclination” and is all about finding that sweet spot between centrifugal force and gravity. You do the same thing when you turn a corner on a bicycle. The faster you go and sharper you turn the more inclination you will need. This is all fine and dandy, but most of time inclination alone is not enough. In order to increase your edging without falling over you will need to add “angulation” into the mix. This simply means creating angles in your body. Essentially you are counter balancing the movement of your knees and hips to the inside by moving your shoulders and upper body towards the outside of the turn. This way you can increase the edge angle without further increasing the inclination. I like to think of angulation like folding your body into a “C” shape. Trying to keep your chin over your outside toe piece towards the end of each turn will help you feel this sensation.

5) Balance against the outside ski…

Hard snow requires that you balance against the foot situated towards the outside of the turn… not only is your body much stronger balancing against the outside foot… it will also add more pressure to the edge of that ski allowing it to bite the snow. In softer snow you may need a more two footed approach but the outside foot is almost always the dominant one… so bend that inside leg and stay strong on the outside one!

6) Walking poles…

Got crazy hands? To help stabilize the upper body a good pole plant is a must in shorter turns and moguls. Keep your hands out in front and using only the forearms and wrists, walk with your poles. The pole basket should swing out in front of your hand as it enters the snow. It’s a good idea to practice this movement without turning at first so you don’t need to worry about the timing, just walking your poles straight down a bunny slope. Then once you have the muscle memory you can add it back into your regular turns.

7) Be mobile…

An “athletic stance” is great but skiing like a robot is going to give you a rough ride. Good skiers are dynamic and always moving in order to maintain balance and control pressure. A good way to work on balance and mobility is to ski through all those bumps and jumps on the side of a run. Try to go over bigger bumps while keeping your skis on the snow. You will need to bend and extend the joints in different combinations for each situation… lots of fun!

8) Release the edges to start a new turn…

Many people seem to think that in order to start a new turn they need to aggressively extend and almost jump off the snow… this myth probably derives from many misguided ski instructors. Although at slow speed in deep snow this can be a useful tactic, most of the time, it is not necessary and will even cause you to get off balance. Instead try releasing your edges by relaxing the downhill leg or tipping the knees and ankle towards the new turn. This will flatten out the ski on the snow for a millisecond making it nice and easy to turn those legs.

Category: Past Ski Trips  Comments off
2016 In Big Sky Montana


Category: Past Ski Trips  Comments off
2014 Trip to Stowe, Vermont: Video Compilation by Mike Mazza (click image to play)



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2014 Trip to Aspen Snowmass, Colorado

Photos and Video Compilation by ski club member, Tom Welsh. Click the image below to view the presentation.



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