Stance and balance
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Establishing a dynamic stance and balancing on the outside ski are fundamental skills for skiing anything anywhere. Here is a coaching plan for that.
The stance on skis should be athletic - in the sense that you should be flexed and have some tension in your body and be prepared to react. The stance is not a static notion, but a dynamic notion and we talk about stability with mobility.
A stance that is too wide will feel stable while standing still but will not help much while skiing on the outside ski. Likewise, too narrow - with the feet glued together.
Elements of a good, balanced stance:
- feet under hips, neutral... note that this is not hip width, but just naturally letting the feet drop down strait from the hips, see Skiing - the wide stance debugged
- boots even (top of the turn) or with tip lead (end of the turn)
- dynamic throughout the turn (narrow-wide-narrow)
- upper body used for balance: angulated joints, separated lower/upper body
- fore/aft balance allows tipping and untipping the skis
- an overall athletic stance (flexed/low) allows movements and balance
Stance, tipping and balance go together, see Tipping in balance.
Drills and progressions
braquage sliding sideways down the hill
- keep torso facing down the slope, Coiling
- notice the effect of shuffling the uphill ski forward on opening the hips and allowing the Coiling
- adjust stance while in braquage - leave a boot width between boots
see Welcome to braquage and Play with braquage
- from braquage progress to falling leaf
- move weight fore and aft to cause the skis to go tip down or tail down
see Falling leaf
- from braquage progress to 360s
- while turning, focus on keeping the boots even (not shuffled) by pulling (keeping) back the inside boot
- also, progress to lifting the inside boot and touch the heels
- the turning should be all done on the new downhill ski
- focus on the stance, vary it and feel the effects
- two/three turns on either side then switch
- don't get dizzy
- see Click your heels
railed turns on green and tuck turns
- squat, low position
- turn only by tipping the skis on edge from the ankles
- vary stance width - notice effect on upper body (higher) and tipping (easier)
- keep poles in the tuck position, handles forward: as the skis tip and you're turning to the right, twist the poles and entire torso the other way to exaggerate separation. Feel the effect this has onto the outside ski
phantom turns and Javelin turns on green
- phantom: lift the inside ski and pull it back and tip it on the inside
- javelin: lift the inside ski and overlap the tips of the skis
- balance only on the outside ski
- progress to blue
- see The Phantom and The Javelin
J turns on blue
- start down the hill, rail turns on the outside ski, across the hill, to finish facing up the hill
- start narrow going down the hill, open wide at apex / max pressure and close narrow again at end
- focus on feeling in balance on the outside ski
- exaggerate separation and angulation to balance over the outside ski
- vary the stance, from extremely wide to extremely narrow, fell the effects
- very effective if turned into a contest: who can stop higher up the hill...
stance alignment turns on blue
- start short skidded turns
- start with a very wide stance for a few turns, mid-stance then narrow stance for a few turns
- then settle on a "normal" comfortable stance
Lesson plans / drills:
See more in: carving-blog
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