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Your Stance at a Glance

Have questions about telemark technique? We have invited seven professional telemark instructors to help out with any questions you may have. If you are a never-ever wondering how to start or an expert tele skier wondering how to polish up that mogul run, here is the place to look.

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Your Stance at a Glance

Postby Williamtele » Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:53 pm

It’s early in the season so we can start with the basics. Your stance is an important building block for your skiing. There is no perfect stance since it varies with your body type, your level of aggressiveness and whatever terrain you happen to be on. And since you’re hopefully always in motion, a static “stance” doesn’t really exist in skiing (unless you’re doing the “tele show-off” in the lift line which we pretty much know impresses no one).

But if you accept “stance” as a dynamic condition, think of all the ways that it can vary and what parts of your body cause those changes. Your ankles, knees, hips and spine are the major contributors to your stance and determine the extent to which you can do a lot of other things. I’m no expert in movement analysis but I do look for evenly flexed joints that look natural and not forced. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Ankles: do your ankles pull your shins into the cuff of your boot or do they push your calf to the rear?
Knees: are your knees ever wicked stiff (180 degrees) or bent beyond a right angle? Are your knees always in front of your boots?
Hips: are they allowed to rotate freely in their sockets or is a lot of your turning coming from a pelvic rotation? Does your trailing thigh ever go beyond vertical toward the rear?
Spine: are you bent over (moving your center of mass out over your lead ski) or leaning way back?

There’s an old ski instructor trick used to get students into an athletic stance and it works for tele, too. While standing in place do a little jump. Come down in a normal (non-tele) stance. All your joints should flex in a way that softens the landing and sets you up to move in almost any direction. Now do it and land in a tele position. Theoretically, that is the position that best represents your ideal stance. Now try it in motion with little hops during a traverse and to make it even more difficult try it through a turn (on a gentle grade). Have someone take a picture of you and make that your computer screen-saver.

Work on your stance and good stuff will result. You might even be the first person in the history of skiing to impress someone in the lift line.
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Re: Your Stance at a Glance

Postby Biff » Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:33 pm

Bill, nice start to this season's "lessons".
The only "normal" people are the ones you don't know.
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