The golden rule of skiing and staying safe on the slopes is maintaining a perfect ski stance. The speed, the weather conditions, and the direction you’re going in are all constantly changing while you’re skiing, which is why maintaining the right body posture is crucial.

With a solid ski stance, you can safely and successfully get down any slope, no matter the conditions. However, it’s all easier said and done.

So if you want to ski like the pros and make sure you’re skiing the best you can, here are the things to know to improve your ski stance and technique.

What Is the Proper Ski Stance?

Having the proper ski stance and posture ensures that you stay balanced and in control of your skis. First, you should stand (relatively) tall and spread your feet about shoulder-width apart.

You should flex your ankles and tilt your shins forward while keeping your shoulders slightly in front of your hips. Your weight should be centred over your feet.

Keep your arms slightly out and off to the side, holding both your poles with the tips pointed behind your feet. Also, and we can’t stress this enough, look at where you’re going, not at your skis.

Even though having the proper ski stance might sound a bit convoluted, it’s not that difficult once you get the hang of it. That said, you should keep practising and never downplay the importance of a proper stance.

The Rules of a Good Ski Stance

The proper ski stance should be able to absorb the bumps on the slopes through the legs, allowing the body to flex. That’s why it’s important to keep the knees, as well as other joints, bent.

For the best ski stance, you need to have the skis in the correct position, which depends on the direction of travel and the manoeuvre you’re trying to perform.

The next rule is to match the position of your body to your skis to allow flexibility and absorption.

If you’re trying to actively learn how to snow ski, you have to remember to be comfortable. As you keep improving your stance and your techniques, you’ll probably find that the postures that feel most comfortable while skiing are the ones where your body matches the skis and is able to flex.

Also, allow your body to easily change into the next stance as your speed or direction changes.

Finally, it’s important to know that a good ski stance will help you conserve energy by making your moves and maneuvers more efficient. All of these factors and more will allow you to stay on the slopes longer.

Different Types of Stances

There are a few different types of ski stances to know, which will depend on your speed, direction, and more. However, you should know and practice all of these because you never know when they might come in handy.

Straightforward Stance
When taking into consideration the direction of travel and the steepness of the slope, going straight down often requires you to adopt a straightforward stance. The ski will be parallel to the slopes and at the same height, the stance becomes pretty simple.

To do the straightforward stance, make sure your skis are hip-width apart and that you have distributed equal weight across each ski. Bend your knees to absorb bumps and lean your body slightly forward so that your weight is over the middle of the skis.

You should have your arms out to the side, your elbows slightly bent, and your poles behind you. How much you lean forward will change depending on the steepness of the slope, but your centre of gravity should be over the middle of the skis.

As the gradient slowly decreases, you will have to lean forward to keep your weight the same. If you don’t lean forward, your weight will cause you to have less control over your skis.

Traversing Stance
If you’re going across the slopes and are leaning over, your downhill ski or the outside ski will likely be lower than the uphill or inside ski. When you’re wearing all of your ski gear and your ski boots, you likely won’t be able to move your ankles much. That means the only way to make one ski higher than the other is by bringing the inside or uphill knee forward.

Once you do that, your uphill or inside ski will be slightly in front of the downhill or outside ski. The more you lean over or the bigger the steepness, the further away the downhill ski will be.

To stay balanced and maintain the traversing ski stance, you should keep the skis hip-width apart when going across the slope. However, if you’re leaning over, your skis will get further apart.

Again, you should keep your knees bent to absorb bumps and leave enough movement in the legs to roll your knees.

When it comes to your upper body, the position you’re in, with feet one in front of the other, should allow your body to easily be moved. With your shoulders in line with your feet, not looking at your skis, you’ll gain flexibility and comfort.

For the traversing stance, you will need to position your upper body so that your weight is transferred to the downhill or outside ski.

Leant Over Stance
When leaning over, you have to move the body the same as you did for the traversing stance, but with one key difference. Your weight has to be transferred into the outside ski through the resultant force from gravity and the turning force.

When carving, your body shouldn’t be twisted to the side because you’re travelling in the same direction as the skis. You should bring your shoulders flat in the direction of the skis. That way, you’ll be looking down the length of the skis.

Final Thoughts on Improving Ski Stance

As with any new skill, you can’t expect to perfect your ski stance in one day. It’s going to take lots of continuous practice to ensure you’re making the most out of your day on the slopes.

If you’re looking for the best place to practice your ski stance, book your ski holiday with Club Med today! From black diamonds to green slopes, North America, Europe, and Asia, the Club Med resorts have something for everyone!

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