Choose your stance width for the situation you’re in!
By J. Scott McGee
Starting your season with a focus on stance is always a good idea. And stance width may be something you’ve thought little about, but mastering its application in different situations can help you be a more stable and balanced skier.
The narrower stance (Left) is great for bumps and crud, where narrow troughs provide limited space. A wider stance in bumps might put the two skis on uneven ground, upsetting balance. In powder and crud the narrow stance lets the lead ski ‘break trail’ for the trailing ski, reducing the chance that it gets thrown around. In a wider stance the equal weighting required in powder is harder to achieve.
A wider stance like the one on the right widens your base of support, which increases lateral stability, and is especially useful on ice, or when carving, and as a drill to increase balance and range of motion. On hard snow and ice, width = stability, whereas a narrower tele stance can be a bit like walking a tightrope.
Carvers like tip their skis up, however in a narrow stance, ankles and shins get in the way and legs and skis may touch. Instead, use your inside ski to active manage lateral balance and to propel yourself into the next turn.
Wide stance drill:
Play with narrow and especially with wider stances to develop your set of options. Experiment in different terrain and conditions. Since most tele’er end up skiing too narrow most of the time, practice skiing wide a lot. Develop the edging and steering of the trail foot along with your ability to balance in the wider stance. You’ll have more options when the going gets tricky. Have fun!
J. Scott McGee works as Jackson Hole Mountain Sports School’s Sr. Manager for Nordic, Training and Guides in Wyoming. A former Telemark competitor, he now dreams of perfect corn on spring backcountry skate ski tours. Scott spends his summers guiding climbs in the Tetons for