Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hands out in front!

There is a mental inclination for us to drop our hands down by our sides when they are most needed in front. At every level of skiing, it is extremely important to keep hands out in front where they can been seen by the skier. Since everyone is subject to dropping their hands when it is most needed, it is important to bring awareness to this before bad habits are too instilled. Starting from the very beginning, when practicing balance exercises, special emphasis should be paid to keeping hand out and in front of the body.


Keep both hands in front and a bit to the sides—just within the perifery of view—with elbows away from the body and in front of the mid-line of the body. Having hands and elbows in front will help to bring body weight over the toes where it should be.

Also, holding hands out to the sides will help balance. Note that tightrope walkers carry a big, long pole with them... it is not because they like carrying extra weight with them, it’s for balance.

Think of hugging a big bear or giant tree trunk.


When completing a turn, do not let the inside hand drop by your side or pull the inside elbow into the body! This draws body weight back, onto the inside ski’s tail and body towards the mountain. If anything disrupts balance, the body will be thrown right into the mountain and/or on your butt. This also takes momentum away from the intended direction: to the next turn; which means that you have to throw all your weight around to get to the next turn (a very disruptive, energy consuming exercise). In difficult situations, you might find that you have to literally punch that inside hand out in front to get it out, do not be afraid to do that.


When traversing across a mountain, you will find it especially stable (despite what our mind says) to push the uphill hand and arm well forward of you. You will be suprised how many falls this will save you from on a bumpy traverse.

If you are taking lessons from me, you probably hear me yelling “Hands in front!” more often than any other command.

Notice, how the skis stabilize, as they are running across the hill, when hands are moved from behind the body towards the front.


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