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How to stop crouching while skiing?


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I know that the answer is something along the lines of "just do it" or "just stand up" or "hinge less" but it turns out that's actually really hard to do on snow, while skiing and focusing on a hundred things at once :smile:

While watching videos of my skiing from last season I'm noticing that I still ski very "hinged" i.e. i bend a lot at the hips while turning.

Example, these screencaps from a video of me skiing very shallow and low angle soft chop -

Between turns - fine:

Turning - hmmmm. The outside leg ankle is clearly flexed with shin pressing into the boot but my whole position looks... kinda bad to me. Knees and hips very bent.

I crouch a lot on groomers too, it just seems to be everywhere. It's definitely worse on ungroomed though. I think it's bad because it seems to leave me less room for adjusting my balance or position since I'm quite bent already. Not sure.

Any tips/thoughts?


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Fair enough! the whole video looks like so:

The snow conditions were very rare, lightweight ~4" of powder (on top of ice). We rarely have fluffy pow like this, normally it's denser and I struggle to turn at all, so this was as easy as it gets for ungroomed snow! Very fun!

Things I like:
* my skiing looks fluid
* not traversing between turns
* arms/hands mostly held in front of me

Things I dislike:
* crouching in each turn
* the knowledge that I cannot ski like this if the snow is any choppier/cruddier or any steeper ungroomed pitch, because I constantly feel offbalance to the back and nearly knee myself in the chest from hinging to try to get forward, I feel that maybe I'd maintain better balance if I was less bent?

Same day:

I am sure I do not need to be doing this in the turns ;) maybe it's ok? It just looks quite awkward to me, and I think it slows me being able to get into the next turn.


Additional things I like from that video: how thrilled I look at the end!! I just wish I could ski anything like this fluidly in non-perfect snow!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
As you know, I’m useless for expertise, but I know there have been times I have done this. With that in mind, where are you looking when you do/feel like this?


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
As you know, I’m useless for expertise, but I know there have been times I have done this. With that in mind, where are you looking when you do/feel like this?
Hmm, I think I was just very focused on thinking about my next turn and on staying "balanced" and getting forward so that I could turn, because I tend to get stuck in off-balance traverses across the hill in ungroomed snow! In this kind of snow I also do stare at the snow a lot to try to decide where to turn... what looks easiest to turn in :P


Certified Ski Diva
You look so happy at the end of the video! You have a lot of good stuff going on, and as you suspect, it *will* be easier and more efficient with a more-balanced, less-crouched stance. @Iwannaski, excellent question on where you're looking -- tipping the head down is going to affect one's fore-aft balance a bit (sending the hips back a teeny bit), and it's hard on the neck. If you really need to see if your toes and ski tips are still there, glance down with the eyes.

I do see a bit of mild back-seating, even between the turns, and the forward tip of the shoulders & hip-folding is compensation; you seem to definitely know where your center of mass "should" be. Check how you stand without skis on in a mirror: both standing tall/upright, and then "forward" like when you're skiing. Are you achieving this by squatting (over-folding / dropping the butt) rather than letting your ankles bend as the initiating action? You can practice staying "stacked" by first standing up tall, then letting your ankles bend by moving your knees forward -- I picture an imaginary line towards where my ski tips would be. Feel how your knees will bend softly/springily as your hipbones move forward towards your toes, without folding at the waist. Feel how your hips and butt are now above rather than behind your heels. Feel how there's pressure throughout both feet without feeling unbalanced. Feel how straightening your knees, without moving your hipbones, gives you "unweighting" power. Let the ankles drop again. Repeat. Seek this feeling out on skis. Oops, this got long; I might need to draw some stick people instead ;)

Edit to add: Forgot to mention that this can be hard if you have tight hip flexors. Stretch!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
First of all, I think you looked like you were having a blast. I’ll just daydream about when I get to come ski NZ with you! :smile:

The only thing I know is that when I’m a little anxious about the surface, I look much closer to my tips or feet than I should, and I tend to create the same scrunch. I have had to stop before, stand up straight, push my chest out for 30 seconds to get air back in, reset, and then resume.

I am not at all qualified to tell you that is what you are doing, I’m just observing that any time I feel like you are noting you feel (hinged/bent), it’s anxious tightness, and focusing further away has helped.



Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@Iwannaski @shadoj thank you so much for your replies and advice! I probably do hunch over from anxiously looking at the snow, that sounds like something I'd be doing for sure haha.

I spent some time at home in front of a mirror, and i notice that I can easily "drop" into a position with my ankles and knees bent and my torso upright, however it feels like an less stable position for no particular reason and I don't feel that I can easily rotate my legs from that upright position, compared to being in a "squat" position with my butt out. I don't know if it's because I'm unused to actually being in that position when moving on snow? It reminded me that I quite often do that little drill of leaning back and then forward and then coming mostly upright, before a run (to try to feel your way into a good ski position!), but i must be getting into that good ski position then immediately throwing it away when i start moving!

Part of me is inclined to blame weird movement patterns learned after i lost all my dorsiflexion in a severe ankle injury, but that injury was 2.5 years ago and I subsequently regained 90% of the movement back after extensive rehab, so it's probably just garden-variety backseat skiing :smile: it's weird, when I watch the videos I can see that my balance doesn't look good, but in the moment it feels like the strongest position, which is clearly false.

As for hip flexor stretching - my physio has been making me do these lately, as well as glute activating exercises :P hopefully it all helps!

I do really like the mental cue of "hip bones moving towards my toes", I'm going to remember that one. I actually just put on my ski boots and my skis in my bedroom so I could practice thinking about that while getting into a ski position :smile: (my ski season starts in a couple months but I have been thinking a lot about skiing lately so I figure i might as well try to visualise the right things/practice movement patterns on dryland!)


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
First of all, I think you looked like you were having a blast. I’ll just daydream about when I get to come ski NZ with you! :smile:
Absolutely, can't wait!! :smile: I'll do my best to keep the winter dream alive during the northern hemisphere off season, I'm going to try to get lots more videos of me skiing and i will probably be smiling in most of them :P
I, too, am utterly unqualified to offer any advice. But I do have the experience of trying to get out of the backseat! I found that standing in a good stance before starting to ski, and imagining my body weight further forward, centered more toward the front of my skis, is helpful. I remember how much more control I have when my weight is more forward (and how out of control I feel when it is not).

Sometimes it helps me to look at a great skier and think about their body position, and then remember the feeling of being forward and having more control. And of course, as above, looking down the hill!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
FWIW I know a lot of competent women skiers who do the same thing. I also think you are being nitpicky of yourself (I am famously guilty for this!) I'll also comment that sometimes focusing too much on having the hands really far forward can cause the hips to move back to compensate. Deb Armstrong covers this in a video. Overall, I see a lot of good and even more importantly, you are having fun!


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Ohh, I do love Deb Armstrong's videos @contesstant ! I don't think I'd seen that one before :smile: That's some good advice, it's easy to focus solely on the arms and assume that it translates to being forward in general, but I guess it's not the be-all-and-end-all of skiing :bounce:

I am definitely nitpicky for SURE about my own technique, though I think it looks especially nitpicky here because the only offpiste videos I have are ones where I am actually competently linking turns down some very shallow and fluffy ungroomed terrain. Most of my ungroomed skiing is on heavier snow (not necessarily deeper) and consists of a quick turn followed by long skidded traverses in which I spend a lot of time dragging myself back into balance so that I can start the next turn while constantly being knocked back off balance by the choppy snow (sometimes having to come to a complete stop to do so), but sadly I have no videos of any other ungroomed runs, so I figured that I might be able to learn something from the very short filmed runs where I actually did manage to make it down in one go! I noticed that since I looked off balance in these easy runs (where I didn't feel so off balance while skiing), presumably I am even more off balance in the steeper or cruddier runs, and that's why I struggle so much :tongue:

That's why one of my goals for next season is to link turns down a specific ungroomed run at my mountain without having to stop, in any condition other than perfect shallow smooth spring corn! (though that one single day of perfect corn was glorious... :love: )

I do go on a lot, thanks everyone for the advice :smile:


Certified Ski Diva
@fgor, if I ever manage to make my dream trip down to NZ... I totally want you to laugh at me trying to learn to use a nutcracker lift! I'm so excited to hear about your upcoming ski season as things turn into spring/summer here.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@fgor, if I ever manage to make my dream trip down to NZ... I totally want you to laugh at me trying to learn to use a nutcracker lift! I'm so excited to hear about your upcoming ski season as things turn into spring/summer here.
It's a deal!! I'm hoping we get more snowfall this season so I can spend more time at the Canterbury club fields, and become a nutcracker pro :becky:
I am unfortunately running off to work. I do not feel that you are necessarily crouching too much, as you are not overly hinged forward and it appears that you are maintaining good shin contact with the front of the boot. What I mostly see is that at the middle of your turn, the apex, your legs are perhaps a touch too flexed, when they could be extending more. One way to think of the movement, is if you were suspended on parallel bars by you arms, and extended legs out to the side long, then brought them in under you bent, to then extend them long to the other side, all while keeping the torso upright, not leaning from side to side too much. It is actually an exercise I do at times in the gym.

This is a pretty tricky concept to teach and to learn. The timing, direction, and body parts extending have a major impact on skiing, and as your turns and skiing are fantastic, it would be so easy to take a great foundation and mess it up if you miss-applied the idea.

Wish we could ski together... better at explaining in person when it comes to fine tuning an advanced skier's technique.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
A cue I was given this winter was 'chin up because then you can see more' - find that if I keep thinking this to myself, I'm more upright (in a good way). Just 'chin up' doesn't work that well but 'chin up and look further down the run' seems to help every time.

The other thing that I've found very helpful is to ski without poles through all sorts of terrain; I didn't realise what a safety blanket my poles were and how much my upper body movements were compensating for what I wasn't doing with my legs until I did that. If that makes any sense at all!

There was also a bunch of other stuff around posture and balance, but the 'chin up' and being more aware of how I using my poles were the 2 big things I've been thinking about this season. I feel much more relaxed and in control than when I was way more forward and crouched over.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@fgor, is this the crouch you are worried about? If yes, look at your two videos you posted above in slow motion. You can hit pause and use the period and comma to run the video forward and backward one frame at a time. No, this is not overthinking it. It's precision thinking.

First question: See if you can figure out where in the turns you do the lowest crouching: end of old turn, between turns, start of new turn, (all of these three tend to run together and it's great if you can figure out which is which), or middle of turn.

Second question: When are you the most extended (body is longest)? Same options as in the first question.

Third question: What is it about the crouch that you don't like?

Fourth question: Is there any point in these turns when more of your body weight consistently hovers over the rear half of the skis? Be sure to use the comma and period to check, so you can be precise in examining your fore-aft balance. A lot of people are talking about balance in this thread, so I think we need to be precise about how you are actually handling your balance.

Fifth question: When in the turns do you see yourself consistently hover most of your body over the front half of your skis?

Report back and we can talk.
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Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Looking at how crouched a skier is won't tell you if that skier is aft or not. It can however tell you how much effort the quads are expending. The longer the skier holds the crouch (as in doing a wall-sit), the more those quads are working, the faster they will tire, and the more they will burn later.

To figure out where most of the body is hovering over the ski's length, draw an imaginary line up at 90 degrees from the middle of the ski, like the dotted line in the diagrams below.

Determine if half of the body is on both sides of that line. If yes, the skier is centered on the ski. If more is behind the line, the skier is aft. If more is forward, the skier is forward.

A3 is centered over the ski, not aft and not forward.
B1 is aft. Being aft is often associated with ankles not bent forward.

Bob Barnes balance and forward lean detail #2.jpeg Bob Barnes balance and forward lean detail #1.jpeg
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Certified Ski Diva
@snoWYmonkey & @liquidfeet -- thank you for helping me see new things; I have nowhere near the experience coaching/instructing that you ladies do. Always trying to learn more!

So, please do correct me if I'm off base here, but I couldn't resist the stick people:

I always like to think how I can align my ankle/hip/knee joints to be the best shock-absorbing spring, without going beyond their stable range of motion -- we all have physical limits on how far each "hinge" can bend, so have to work with that.

How can B1 balance?
1. Our "backseat" skier with locked ankles
2. Our skier again, with ankles relaxed at max flex (no change in hip angle)
3. Our skier (blue) with a much more upright posture / less flex, but still balanced, overlaid on the green posture in #2. Moving between these positions is nice and springy, knees don't bend past 90 degrees (easier on quads), shins get driven into the boots
4. Shins are driven fully into the boots (green), so any more shock-absorbing has to come from hips and chest driving forward (yellow), causing further knee bend
(A3). Drop a little further to the extreme end of our range of motion, and we're the balanced skier in A3.
5. (Ouch) The often-forgotten 4th hinge in alignment -- our pelvic tilt, which will affect how upright our torso is, and how "closed" and restricted our hip joints are (with lordosis/arching worsening that) . It's much harder to initiate rotary motion or even apply edging pressure with "closed" hips, and can lead to lower back soreness.
I miss snow!

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