Lake Tahoe skiing: Improve your stance and boost your performance
Special to the Sun
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — On skis, one of the best ways we can accomplish more, with less effort, is to improve our stance. Many skiers could benefit from skiing in a taller stance: moving their hips forward, from somewhere behind their boots, to directly above their feet.
In this “stacked” position, we can rely more on our bones, and less on our quadriceps, to support and carry us through the turn. Not only does this allow us to ski longer, with less fatigue, but it also has significant mechanical advantages.
A taller stance makes for easier steering of the skis at the start of a turn and more effective edging or “carving” through the middle of the turn. In fact, without our hips over our feet and a long outside leg, it’s not possible to truly carve a turn.
One novel way I’ve discovered to improve a student’s stance is to have the student think about what’s happening at the front of the hip joint at the top of each turn. I ask the student to stand tall and to push their hips forward, moving the hip joint into a more “open” position.
Next, we’ll ski down the hill with our hands on the front of our hip joints, where our legs meet our torso, feeling the hip joints working and opening up as the hips move forward. The goal is to open the hip at the start of the turn and keep it open as the turn progresses.
As my own stance naturally tends to be a bit on the squatty side, I often do this exercise on my first morning run from the top of Diamond Peak, while enjoying the beautiful view and perfect corduroy under foot. When I do, I ski better the rest of the day. Give it a try, and maybe you will, too.
Andy Levy is a ski instructor at Diamond Peak Ski Resort. Visit http://www.diamondpeak.com to learn more.