View Full Version : posture/stance

09-09-2006, 01:40 PM
Skiing question for you... I'm not an advanced skiier, but nor do I consider myself still in the beginner stage. I've never been on a course; usually play around with open water free-skiing learning to make better cuts and building confidence at attacking the wake with good speed. That said, during my runs, I suffer from rear knee muscle fatigue (I am a left-foot-forward skiier). To duplicate/demonstrate my stance which works those muscles, stand on your rear foot, leg bent while supporting all of your weight. Obviously, this tells me that I am skiing with the majority of my weight on my rear leg, which then becomes my limiting factor in the stamina department.

On to the question: Is this normal? Given this information, can anyone diagnose my ski posture and stance? Is your rear foot supposed to be where the bulk of your weight goes, or do I need to distribute it more evenly? Does anyone else end their sets with a weak shaky back knee? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

I ski on an HO Charger Comp/Freeride with Union front binding and RTP.

09-09-2006, 02:06 PM
I am not an instructor nor even a good course skiier.

But I have been sking for 35 years, have studied slalom, and am pretty comfortable at 35 off at 34 mph. What it sounds like to me is that you are leaning back over your ski to turn it, which is requiring you to use more of your rear leg to kick the ski around. Leaning backward is a pretty common problem with a lot of free skiers, I know, I used to lean so far back that I would hit the rope with my ski when I brought it around.

Take lots of video and watch in slow motion. In my opinion you should try to get as much of both feet in the water as possible going into the turn. The way I accomplish this is to flex my knees forward in the pre-turn. This starts the ski slowing down, helps manage slack, and allows you to use more of the ski to do the turning than forcing it with your foot. When you lean you lean sideways, not backwards. After the turn it is normal to end up on the back of the ski, but not leaning backward.

If you simply can't make yourself do that, try moving your front binding forward, a little at a time. Eventually it will force you to put more weight on your front foot, with the goal to be pretty much balanced in the pre-turn. Once you get the feel for a more balanced pre-turn you may want to move the binding back a bit. I have not personally messed with this much, but have read that it can help.

Other things to consider:
1. Is your ski the right size? Two small of a ski can be a lot work. Too big of a ski is equally bad and can restrict you ability to turn as quick as you need to.
2. Is it the right type of ski for serious slalom? I once owned an Obrien Freestyle. The worst ski ever for me. It was more oriented toward jumping the wake or something, not sure. I am not familiar with the HO Freerider, but the name suggests that maybe it is not designed to support aggressive slalom.
3. Speed and rope length? If you are still skiing long line (75 feet), lose that first loop and go to 15 off. You will never regret it. If you are skiing too slow, it is just too much work.

How many turns are you making before you get weak? The pros never make more than 28 turns in a tournament, often more like 18. Plus they get to rest after every 7 turns. So if you are out there sking the length of the lake and make 30 turns before falling or resting, maybe you are just tired and your back leg is the first to feel it?

Have fun with it and don't over think it.

09-09-2006, 04:12 PM

Thank you for the awesome reply!
With my Outback, I have settled into a rhythm of 22 off at 29-32 mph. The wake is extremely comfortable there and the ski stays pretty stable.
My runs usually consist of about 10 cuts before I need a breather. It's when I double up with just a few minutes rest in between that causes my knee muscles to turn to jello.

The HO Comp/Freeride series is marketed as an intermediate skill level open water up to advanced course ski. It is unique in that it has a concave V bottom design - something that I have not seen on any other ski. Bought it as an end-of-season discount ski for half-price as an effort to get off of the my old Obrien that was part a combo pair.

More diag: I do stand hard on the back of the ski when I make my turns. I also have slack issues, especially on my back side (right) turns. 1) I'm not crossing the wake fast/hard enough; 2) I haven't figured out the proper technique for transfering weight from outside edge to inside edge to initiate the turn. I seem to be gently rolling into the first 25% of the turn, then once my speed and weight tranfer is comfortable, I'm standing on the rear, leaning back (and some sideways) and cutting as hard as I can. The more tired my knee gets, the lesser my ability to cut (a tell-tale sign that I'm using my feet/knees too much to turn??) I took some video a couple of weeks ago -- I'll look closely at it and go from there.

I'll try to initiate my turns with more weight spread on the front of the ski. Maybe I'll play with front binding position a little bit as you suggest. Still learning, I don't want to develop any bad habits that will be hard to break later on.

Thanks again,


09-10-2006, 12:54 AM
It is hard to say without seeing you ski, but here is how I imagine your turns are like:

1. There isn't really much of a preturn,maybe a glide.
2. You initiate the turn by leaning back over the tail of the ski. This causes a couple of things:
a. you start to sink immdeately
b. you start to get narrow (slipping back toward the wake), immediately, causing slack.
c. You lean back even farther and try to manage the slack by pulling the rope up high to your chest.
3. Becasue you are sinking, once the slack tightens you get 'popped' and launched out fo the little hole you have created by sinking. Ther's a little ramp created under your ski from the hole.
4. Getting popped makes it almost impossible to stay on an edge so you get stood up and are fairly flat as you hit the first wake.
5. Because you are flat you get launched off the first wake, possibly clearing the second wake, or maybe just clipping the top of it.
6. You land fairly hard in the up side of the trough outside the second wake and it is a struggle to control (or you counter cut).
7. The whole cycle starts over for your next turn.

Proper weight distibution in the preturn is critical. You want a significant amount of ski in the water to help:
1. Slow you down without pointing you back at the boat- which ultimately make managing slack easier
2. use the shape of the ski to do the turning. The rocker (front to back curve) is designed to casue the ski to turn when it is on edge. There are a lot of other design features in a ski that help you , decelrate, turn, and accelerate, and hold an edge. These are all taken advantage when you lean sideways. When you lean backwards you are throwing most of that engineering away.

This is not to say that you do not apply pressure with your back leg during a turn, but your front foot should play a bigger role, especially in the preturn. And once you have established that positin you will tend to hold it throughout the turn keeping your weight more over your feet and less over the tail. This will also cause a more natural roll to change the edge, which in turn should make it easier to stay on edge to/through the wake.

As far as the ski goes. I am far from an expert on those. If you get your weigth shift under control it probably won't make that much difference. My experience is - if you have a couple of good runs on a ski, then it is the best ski you have ever been on. If you have trouble then it is just junk. I will say that in my experience - if a ski touts itself as an intermediate ski, it is probably not an agressive course ski, regardless of what they advertise. I would also point out that this unique bottom design you speak of appears to be a short lived gimmick. If you look at any of the top of the line skis out there you won't see it on any of them (I don't think). There's a reason for that. I don't mean to be harsh - just an observatiion.

You can probably pick up some older conventional designed skis on eBay right now.

If you want some places to look at really good skiers, try looking at
Pay close attentino to how much of the front foot is in the water before they make the turn. Look at their knees during different parts of the turn. Look at where their hands are at different parts of the turn.

For chuckles you can see some of my stunts at:
The Full Pass video iis best viewed inWindows MEdia player, see instructions at the bottom of the hoome page.

Good Luck, don't over analyze, and have fun..

09-10-2006, 04:35 PM
I ski on the HO charger and had similar issues - Overall I thinks its a great ski - I've found going out and trying out different stances and otherwise working on one thing at a time has been helpful. I tend to get a bit more sloppy towards the end of the day - especially now at the end of the seaso. thanks for all the insight :p

09-11-2006, 12:52 PM
I am also an novice/intermediate slalom skier, and have been skiing for 3 years. At the beginning of last season I took a lesson, and that made a huge difference. The instructor said "you paid a lit of money for that ski, and you're only using the back 1/3 of it." He made me focus on keeping my weight balanced on the ski. I was also trying to force the ski through the turn instead of letting the ski do the turning. I started to focus more on my hips than my feet, and the ski came right along. I was amazed at how much less work skiing was when I quit fighting it, and allowed the ski to do it's job.

If you haven't taken a lesson, I would highly recommend it. I am planning on doing it again next year, as I need help to the next level.

Good luck,

09-22-2006, 12:09 PM
Thanks for the info! ...been waiting for the new board to come back up to report back here. I went out last Sunday -- made my first run attempting to focus more weight on the front half of the ski. Wasn't feeling as though it was going in my favor. Had more slack issues than before and wasn't as comfortable as I had been in the past. For my second run, I adjusted the front binding forward one hole (which is as far forward as the binding will adjust) and immediately noticed a positive difference. I was running w/o an observer, so I didn't have much feedback on appearance or my form, but it definitely felt more stable and allowed for a longer time to initiate my cut without having to slow my turn down. My third and last run of the day was in slight chop and ended when I guess I had too much weight on the front of the ski and did a nice faceplant on the exit of a right hand cut.

A little update on my ski: '04 HO Charger, 69"
As I mentioned before, when we bought the ski, it was an impulse, end-of-year clearance purchase. I am 160lbs, so I believe that the 69" is a bit too big in the first place, yes? (we went with a ski that both myself and my dad - 200lbs - could play on) Anyway, on the new '07 HO website they list their Comp Freeride series as Beginner through Intermediate -- that's a step lower than what the '05 brochure listed. So maybe I've just progressed to the end of the ski's ability ?? But then again, compared to the ski technology of 20+ years ago, how can I blame my capabilities (or lack thereof) on an ski which was designed in the last three years?

Or is that simply over analysis of the situation?

Heading back out tomorrow morning for some more :-)

09-22-2006, 07:26 PM
A single instance of falling out the front is not much of an idicator wrt the ski. It does suggest that you are breaking at the waist. You know - 'Break at the waist - fall on your face ..'

If you feel you are distributing your weight better and getting a lot of slack, you may be going too wide?. Are you skiing one handed yet?

69 is a pretty long ski for 160lb, depending on speed. If you are at 30mph+ a shorter ski would probably be better, maybe 67".

Once you start making changes it takes a while to figure out the impact.

Have fun. Our season is about over here..

09-24-2006, 09:53 AM

I made a stop at the local Play-It-Again Sports on Friday night. I picked up a used Kidder Competition Series 66" -- it's a Graphite Supreme Concave 7.0 w/ fully adjustable fin. End of year clearance price of $44.99 Bindings are okay, not as nice as on my HO.

We hit the lake yesterday morning. Without all of the specific details, I will say that the HO Comp/Freeride series is NOT a ski that anyone looking to ever touch a course should ski on. I almost had to reinvent my entire process of turning and cutting. The HO, wide and very comfortable on edge, does not like to change direction quickly, hence the reasoning for a lot of my above listed problems (this I now know). As soon as I got on the Kidder, my preturn became more defined and my slack issues were almost gone. Problem now being balance and learning to trust the ski on edge. #1 biggest difference is that this ski accelerates out of the turn much MUCH quicker than the HO. Anyway, point being, as feared, I developed some habits and techniques on the HO ski that I will have to unlearn and relearn.

I'm not skiing one-handed yet -- I think you might be right about going too wide and creating the slack. I'll have to take some video with the Kidder ski and evaluate it as compared to that on the HO. I may have entirely different information to post after that.

Quick ski question: My HO has machined threads in the ski for the binding screws. The Kidder used a course, almost self-tapping looking screw that doesn't have inserted machined threads in the ski. It looks like the threads may be formed from nylon or epoxy in the ski. Question is, do you know how the binding is originally attached to the ski from the factory? Do they drill a pilot hole and then run the course screw right into the ski or do they place a nylon insert in and allow the screw to cut into that instead of the ski layers? The reason I'm asking is that I want to put my HO bindings onto the Kidder, but the bolt pattern is different. I'll have to create new holes and I can't tell how these original holes were put into the ski... ??


09-24-2006, 10:00 PM
Sorry, but I do not know mfg techniques. Any ski without threaded inserts most likely has some stringers inside the ski wehre the screws are expecting to enter. I recently put a new Obrien Contact front binding on my Connelly (no inserts). We filled the holes with epoxy and redrilled using the screws that came with the original Connely Binding.

Inserts are a different story. I don't know what there may be to drill into with the self tappers. You could concievalby fill the inserts with epoxy and redrill, but knowing exactly where to put them is another story.

Another possible option is to redrill the plate for you old bindings so that they match your new ski. Then you can use the inserts already in the ski.

Might be a good idea to contact the mfg via their website for ideas.

Regarding changing style. That new accleration is a rush isn't it... That's one of the things that keeps me in the sport. You probably are ready to consider skiing one handed. Remember that you don't ski one handed for long. Don't let your free arm go wild and trail behind you. It just kinds of drops to your side just before the turn. This allows you to ski away from the rope and take up the slack with the one arm. It really can make a difference, and it helps put you in the right position to turn.

You are probably at the point where you need to start reading every Waterski magazine you can find and watch every ski video you can get your hands on. Try the local library. Watch them in slow motion. Watch them back wards,. whatever works for you. Watch them once just watching their knees. Then again just watching their hands.

Have fun with it...