Mimicking a bird for ski technique | SierraSun.com

Mimicking a bird for ski technique

Photo by Jonathan SelkowitzSkier Steve Smart demonstrates 'the stork turn,' a drill that helps align ankle, knee and hip over the outside ski for improved athletic movement.

The stork turn is a drill anyone can do providing they are willing to take a tip from our fine feathered friends.

Storks can stand for hours on one leg and have been known to even sleep that way. All good skiers have acquired the ability to balance on an extended outside leg while arcing through the belly of the turn. Like the stork, skiers practicing this drill will tuck the inside leg underneath the hip and hold it there in a flexed position.

The inside ski will hover about two to three feet above the snow as the long leg supports the weight of the skier. Storks do it to conserve body heat, and skiers do it to conserve muscle energy and to align themselves over the outside ski.

As the skier transitions from turn to turn, the extended leg slowly becomes the flexed leg and the flexed leg becomes the extended one. As soon as a comfort level is reached while balancing against the ski with a long and outstretched leg, the flexed inside leg can begin to lower until the inside ski makes contact with the snow.

The stork has learned that balance on one leg is very efficient, and as skiers we are most effective when using our body as efficiently as possible. Modeling the animal world for athletic movement can give a different perspective as we grow as skiers.

Chris Fellows and his wife Jenny are the directors of Truckee’s North American

Ski Training Center (NASTC) and Chris is a member of the PSIA

National Demonstration Team. Chris will be writing a weekly column

all winter. He can be reached at ski@skiNASTC.com or 582-4772.

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