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It’s All About Balance

It’s All About Balance

By Robin Conners

Yeeww haaww! It’s ski season again!

It is time to get the skis, boots and poles out for the season. Are you thinking snow and doing your snow dances? It’s time to dig out your best ski socks (no holes!), have your ski bindings checked for proper function and get those skis waxed. This will help to keep you warm, safe and sliding safely this winter.

Are you an intermediate skier and want to improve your technique? Perhaps these three tips will help you improve your balance and build your skills. Skiing is a constant test of your balance in an ever-changing environment. In prep for the season, you may want to challenge yourself on level, solid ground before hitting the slopes. Some activities that may help you build strength and agility are heading out for short run or power walk. This will improve your aerobic capabilities and strengthen your leg muscles. You can also try some one-footed exercises like balancing on one foot feeling all parts of the foot you are standing on or experiment with yoga. These will help improve your balance, strength and awareness of the bottoms of your feet.

Video reference:

 

As you head out to the slopes, you will be happy you did a little training especially these things that will help you improve your skiing. Did you notice as you were performing your balancing exercises that you had to look up or focus on something in front of you to stay in balance and that you had to really concentrate on balancing on that one-foot and where you were standing on that foot? Where were your hands? If they were wildly flailing all over the place most likely so was your balance.

OK, so how does this all relate to your skiing? Balance is the key to most sports. Put on your ski boots and be sure you have a solid foot bed that allows you to feel all parts of the bottoms of your feet. Then just like you are pushing off to run, try to rock onto the ball of your foot. This may be a bit harder than with no boot. You will have to press your shin against the front of the boot. If it is too stiff loosen the top buckle while keeping the second buckle fairly snug. This will give you a more dynamic ability to change where you stand on your feet. Another trick is to flex your toes up. This will bring your shins against the boot tongue and your weight forward. All this will give you much more control over the direction of your skis.

To help your balance and stance be sure your eyes are always looking ahead. If you can see your ski tips, you are looking down and, with no horizon in view, your balance will be sketchy at best. Look at least 6-10 feet ahead and scan from close to far to maintain optimal balance. You will be ready for whatever obstacles in your path rather than stumbling over them.

Here is a video for you to reference:

Another crucial balance tool are your hands. Grab your poles, hold the handles loosely and then bring your hands out in front of you from the shoulders, not by bending your elbows. While looking ahead, you should be able to see your hands in your field of vision. Your elbows should be just forward of your chest. As in many other sports like bike riding and tennis to be ready you need to have your hands out in front of you. This is a must for skiing. Whether you plant your pole or not, your hands need to be in front. Then when pole planting is incorporated, it is just a swing of the wrist and the poles can assist with balance and not throw it off balance.

Now it’s time to head out to the slopes and try these tips. You will only be able to concentrate on one at a time so start by feeling your feet and move the balance over the ball of your feet. Then check where you are looking. Are you really ready? Be sure your hands are out in front and you can see them when looking down the hill at your target. Give yourself all the advantages you can. Have fun and be safe sliding out there!! If you have any ski questions please give us a shout!


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