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Parallel turns: how wide are your feet?

newbieM

Certified Ski Diva
I’m still a beginner skiier and working on gettting my parallel turns a little smoother, finishing the turn (I’m still figuring out what that means), keeping my body relaxed and my upper body up facing down the slope and disconnected from my legs.

One thing I am uncertain of is how wide to keep your feet? I was finding that I was keeping them pretty wide. Like at least 5 or 6 inches between my skis. My friend and I were discussing some exercises and he keeps his like an inch apart when he does turns. His feet are pretty close together. Is it easier to get on your edges, control your skis, and angle your knees when your feet are closer or farther apart?

Thanks!

Maytal
 

Abbi

Angel Diva
If your skis are only an inch apart they really don’t allow the benefit of the shape of the ski. Years ago with straight skis knees right next to each other worked just fine. Now you really need space for them to work for you.
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
My Taos instructor told me my skis were too close together. I told her it took me 30 years to be able to do that! Also I have up/down motion while skiing.
Apparently another problem. "We don't ski like that any more."
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
My friend and I were discussing some exercises and he keeps his like an inch apart when he does turns. His feet are pretty close together.
In what decade did your friend learn to make parallel turns? If it was before 2000, then don't copy his technique.

My primary ski buddy is pushing 70. He was skiing bumps fast at Aspen in high school. It's taken quite a few semi-private lessons at assorted resorts in the last 5-6 years for him to adjust his stance to make better use of the current design of what used to be called "shaped skis." Another aspect of his stance is that he tends to stand straighter than is optimal, which is also a carry-over from technique on straight skis.

During a recent lesson, the instructor had Bill take off his boots and walk up a snow bank, back down, and then back up to a stop. He was using his poles like trekking poles. Then she put his skis behind his boots. The point was that the distance between his skis as he was standing after hiking was the better spacing for skiing. He wasn't the type to play sports that are based on the "athletic stance" so the analogies that other instructors used didn't quite resonate for him. I've heard references to tennis, batting in baseball/softball, and passing a basketball. Since I played those sports in high school, those descriptions of athletic stance made perfect sense.

The advantage I had when I first demo'd shaped skis in 2000 was that I wasn't good enough on straight skis to make proper parallel turns. I did "stem" turns. I was very happy to be able to make parallel turns on shaped skis without even thinking about it. The design worked because my normal stance on skis didn't put my feet close together.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
In order to get grip, you need to tip the skis. You can't tip the skis if they are too close. Do you see any racers, of any discipline with close skis? I think not.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
@marzNC is right. Skiing with your skis close together is very old school, typical of someone who learned a long time ago. I started skiing way back then, too, and yes, it was indeed the preferred method. (I still think it looks pretty.) Today's shaped skis, however, work differently than the old straight skis. You need a wider stance to accommodate that.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Ski technique changes with the gear. When I first started teaching, skis hip-width apart (a little wider than when you are just standing around) was what we were told to teach. That has changed now.

Ski with the stance width you use when walking around in normal shoes. To find that width while out there on snow in your boots clicked into bindings, hop up and land several times in quick succession. How you land is your natural stance width. Ski that way.

To keep your stance at that width if it keeps wanting to get narrower or wider, shuffle through some turns every now and then, or make hops between turns.

*Shuffle: slide one foot forward and the other backward at the same time, then reverse, over and over, rapidly. This is real hard to do with a very narrow or too wide stance; it's much easier if you have your natural stance.

Shuffling, or hopping, both help one to get out of the back seat. So if you are worried about that, do a hop between turns, or shuffle your way through a few turns every now and then. These maneuvers will get you centered over your skis, which is good. That should be your home base.

Marching through a few turns works the same way. March! Play Sousa in your head.
 

Tennessee

Angel Diva
This is all great information explained very clearly! Good job Divas.

I have a (naturally) pretty narrow stance — and my hips are (extra) wide, lol! Does this correlate for anyone else? Always wondered about that...
 

EloiseD

Diva in Training
Hi,
I think we might be at the similar level and facing the same issue.

You may try some drills like the stock bird turns and javelin turns so as to get used to putting all your weight to your outside leg and release your inside leg.These are also good drills for body separation and angulation. Intuitively, when your inside leg is not responsible for anything, you'll be able to put it closer to your outside leg. If your inside leg is still holding some of your body weight, there would be a stance limit that you can never go narrower while skiing.

I'm also having a wide stance which I think is due to the metal reason that I'm not feeling confident to flex my legs to make my body bow-like (or to get angulations). That stance still feels unsafe and anti-instinct to me... I ski with a wider distance between legs so that I'm more a triangle-like (or A-like) shape and therefore feeling safer and stabler. For me it's more like I still don't know how I should deal with my inside leg while my outside leg is working hard... I guess more outside leg practice may help me build the confidence.

Hope that this helps you!
 
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snoWYmonkey

Angel Diva
While I totally agree that 1 inch seems way to close and 5-6 sounds much better, and at times a touch more, I also think that the real answer is "it depends". For a novice skier, the 5-6 inch or a tad more will work in most cases. As you progress and become a more advanced skier the truth is that some situations will call for adjusting that width a touch. If you look at competition mogul skiers they tend to have a very narrow stance, in bumps. Some powder skiers still do if they have narrow skis underfoot. For certain the skis should never be so close together that you hear them hitting one another. That is a sure sign of trouble ahead!
 

BackCountryGirl

Angel Diva
Stance width should vary with tactics. In moguls, even recreational skiers should have a narrower stance so as not to have one ski on top of a bump and one in a trough. Powder skiing, when you want more even pressure and your skis working more like a surfboard, also calls for a narrower stance. High edge angled GS turns usually call for a wider stance. Slalom turns, narrower.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
One thing I am uncertain of is how wide to keep your feet? I was finding that I was keeping them pretty wide. Like at least 5 or 6 inches between my skis. My friend and I were discussing some exercises and he keeps his like an inch apart when he does turns. His feet are pretty close together. Is it easier to get on your edges, control your skis, and angle your knees when your feet are closer or farther apart?
Was thinking about this question. Here's what Wedeln turns look like as a reference for how short parallel turns were down on long, straight skis (over a person's head).

 

vickie

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I am rereading Soft Skiing by Lito Tejada-Flores. In a section on Standing, "Expert skiers balance with their hands". He then talks about how they have their feet/skis closer together and their hands farther apart.

After reading that section, I am finding it much easier to spread my arms out to the sides, away from my body ... now that I understand "why".
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
I am rereading Soft Skiing by Lito Tejada-Flores. In a section on Standing, "Expert skiers balance with their hands". He then talks about how they have their feet/skis closer together and their hands farther apart.

After reading that section, I am finding it much easier to spread my arms out to the sides, away from my body ... now that I understand "why".

SkiSailor/Laura was a HUGE fan of Lito, and she was a fantastic skier. I don't know if you got to his advice about bumps, but she swore by it. So that's quite an endorsement.
 

snoWYmonkey

Angel Diva
In reference to the narrow feet and wide arms, the extreme variant of that is seen in tightrope walkers that step on the narrowest of lines, with long poles at the hand level to add to their balance. Our stance is likely a bit wider than that unless on a front to back footed monoski. Yes they do exist. Why? I do not know.
 

diannesw

Diva in Training
HI all.
My skis are the Stockli Stormrider 85 Motion.
I really like thinking about my arms helping my balance and I like the analogy of the tightrope walker.
I think I am done for the season so I will try this mental technique next season.
I think my outside/inside pressure is about 70/30 for most blues and 80/20 for most blacks. I am about 50/50 if I am cruising on a green with my kids.
Sometimes it looks like the knees are touching. Are you all doing that when you are in a narrow stance? I tried to ski with my knees touching down a blue and it was definitely a struggle.
Interestingly, I remember watching a youtube video about bumps and one of the instructors in the video talked about they bring the knee of the outside ski into the back of the knee of the inside ski. Is that sound advice?
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
HI all.
Interestingly, I remember watching a youtube video about bumps and one of the instructors in the video talked about they bring the knee of the outside ski into the back of the knee of the inside ski. Is that sound advice?

That would be recipe for disaster I would think. In the 50's and 60' we may have skied that way, but not now.

For years now, I've been working on widening my stance. It's been too narrow. My knees are usually too close together, yet my feet will be apart. In the last 2 years, I've finally got it. We had day with new snow a couple of weeks ago. I could not get together, until the bumps started to form. Then it all clicked together. Narrower stance, better balance and no edging/carving.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Sometimes it looks like the knees are touching. Are you all doing that when you are in a narrow stance? I tried to ski with my knees touching down a blue and it was definitely a struggle.
Interestingly, I remember watching a youtube video about bumps and one of the instructors in the video talked about they bring the knee of the outside ski into the back of the knee of the inside ski. Is that sound advice?
Where was the video made? when?

A narrower stance for bumps definitely does not mean knees touching with the current design of skis, meaning after 2000.

I go out West for 1-2 trips a year and I want to get better at bumps and powder when I go out West next year.
If you can take a full week for a ski trip, check out the Taos Ski Week. I can't think of a better way to improve on bumps. It's for skiers of any level, from advanced beginner through expert.

https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/i...what-week-fits-in-your-schedule-better.23898/
 

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