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Stance Balancing:

(For, Aft and Canting)

 

By: Mike Tambling

 

A lot has been said over the past couple of years about skier stance. There is no one certain method or combination of things that works for everyone. I attended a course on boot fitting which showed one way of balancing a skier, the next year I went to the same course again and the instructors had developed a new method that pointed out how the first way didn't work for everyone.

 

Primarily it comes down to angles:

 

Boot board angle

Binding heel to toe height

Quadriceps tendon (women only)

Canting

Boot fitters angle

 

1. Boot board angle is an important factor in the overall scheme of things. It changes with manufacturers and can affect your for-aft balance to a great degree. By the way, the boot board is what you stand on in the bottom of the boot, (it's under the lining). A greater board angle will push your knee forward, on some people this will move the upper body forward, on others it will cause them to lower their hips more. Heel lifts will give the same effect, try them and observe how they change your skiing. If you feel like you can't get your heels down in the boot or your thighs start to burn prematurely you haven't got it right. When you get it right, you'll be standing over the center (sweet spot) of the ski. If we move the upper body too far forward the skis will become "hooky" and seem to over turn. If we move it too far back you'll have a hard time ending your last turn and starting the next.

 

Big calf muscles can have a similar effect on stance and should be taken into account. The bigger the muscle the further the knee is pushed forward. We may need to adjust the forward lean angle of the boot or in some cases stretch the back of the cuff of the boot.

 

2. Binding heel to toe height can have a similar effect as the bootboard but the angle change is affected by the length of the boot sole, a longer boot will ramp downward toward the toe at a lessor degree than a short one. All bindings are not equal, most brands have some angle between the heel and toe, and one brand has none so pay attention to this often overlooked detail.

 

3. Here we go, one of those gender things. Because nature made adjustment for childbirth a women's pelvis is wider than a mans. The wider the pelvis the further the femurs are apart. Since the QUADRICEPS attach to the pelvis at the same place as in a male the knees are pulled inward causing a knock-kneed situation. In bootfitting this is referred to as the "Q-angle" and can effect the skiers knee position over the ski, and take the fun out of skiing. This can be addressed through canting the bindings or some times with the cuff adjustment on the boot, if it has one.

 

4. Most boot manufacturers have applied the term "canting" to the cuff adjustment of the boot, but this is a misuse of the term. True canting takes place under the boot sole and can be used two ways, either to correct the knee position of the skier or to fill in under the binding in order to get the ski flat on the snow. For most people we can align the knee by tilting the boot so that the knee center aligns over the second toe. On some extremely bowlegged skiers this cannot be done and the only thing left to us is to take the ski to a flat position.

 

ALL OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS USELESS UNLESS A GOOD FOUNDATION IS PROVIDED UNDER THE FOOT, IN THE FORM OF A CUSTOM FOOTBED.

 

5. Anyone can hang out a bootfitter shingle and charge you to fiddle with your boots. What's their "ANGLE", look for a fitter with credentials, pay attention to the terms he uses and the feel you have about him. Look for a bootfitter the way you would search for a heart surgeon if you needed one.

Boots:

Skis:

Atomic - For when you're ready to explode on the scene.

Lange - Ultimate control - Feel it!

Nordica - Above and beyond the call of duty!

Salomon - Performance with Comfort

Designed to perform

K2 Skis

K2 - Skiing at it's best!

Nordica Skis

Nordica - Above and beyond the call of duty!

Volkl - When precision counts!

Atomic - For when you're ready to explode on the scene.

   1671 Lake Murray Blvd, Columbia SC 29210  -  mike@southernski.com