5 Fundamental Mechanics of Skiing

This last weekend, I got some training. We had Rob Sogard at Cascade and many of our instructors attended his 3 sessions. They were good. I liked the different perspective that he had and it was upper level training, which I enjoyed getting.

During the training and in our own training last week, we discussed the new 5 Fundamental Mechanics of Skiing that PSIA has set up. They are:

Five Skiing Fundamentals

  • Control the relationship of the center of mass to the base of support to direct pressure along the length of the skis
  • Control pressure from ski to ski and direct pressure toward the outside ski
  • Control edge angles through a combination of inclination and angulation
  • Control the skis rotation (turning, pivoting, steering) with leg rotation, separate from the upper body
  • Regulate the magnitude of pressure created through ski/snow interaction

The wording above might seem complex but the cool thing is that no, skiing hasn’t changed. The technology in skis and boots has but skiing, in general, really has not changed. How things are phrased does change but they always go back to the same concepts. Skis can only do a certain amount of things and you can only do a certain amount of things to your skis.

There are five things in the list. I didn’t number them because the order can change. Rob said the first and last items are kind of in place (in order) but the middle three can change around. I’d agree with that.

What’s really important is balance. Balance affects everything and if you’re out of balance, doing the rest of these things is more difficult.

Here’s a video from MaryLu showing what each of these are like in her skiing studio:

When I teach beginner lessons, I’m emphasizing balance. This is usually true in intermediate lessons as well. People are usually a little too far back in their stance and could move forward more. This is especially important as you’re going into your next turn because it helps you get your skis on edge earlier in the turn. When you do that, you get more control… which everyone wants.

Come take a lesson with me and let’s discuss these things as we ski!

-Tony


FYI, I even found an earlier version of these fundamentals when they were called “tenants” and here they are before they were revised to the final version, above:

  • Skiers need to stand over the center of their feet
  • They need to be able to distribute their weight over the outside ski and then over the new outside ski as they make a turn
  • They need to turn their feet and legs more than they turn their upper body
  • Skiers should use inclination and angulation to control edge angle
  • They need to have the ability to regulate pressure along the length of the ski

You can see how they changed. I like the final versions they came up with.

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