Avoid A Large Ski Lead For Better Balance

If you stand on the side of a ski run and watch skiers coming down the hill you will notice that a large percentage of skiers have a ski lead . . . that is to say that the uphill ski is ahead of (leads) the downhill ski.

In days of yesteryear when we used straight skis, a large ski lead was desirable because the ski lead enabled the hips to be countered so the hips were facing more downhill than the direction of ski travel. This disparity between the hips and the direction of ski travel aided ski rotation and helped the initiation of turns.

Today’s shaped skis are designed to turn merely by tipping the skis on edge and riding the natural arc of the turn. Because of the ski design, less rotational twisting force is required to initiate each turn. Consequently, a large ski lead change is not an essential requirement for a turn. In fact, on shaped skis – particularly in the bumps – it is often more desirable to have your hips more square to the direction of travel with only a small ski lead.

Two Balance Problems Created By A Large Ski Lead

A large ski lead creates two balance problems that are undesirable when skiing in moguls or skiing in powder.

First, it is an inherently less stable and less-balanced position to have the uphill ski ahead of the downhill ski versus having your feet and ski tips side-by-side.

Second, if your uphill ski is leading your downhill ski, the act of stepping to, and balancing on the uphill ski at turn initiation requires a much larger physical move of the torso to get balanced over the uphill ski. That extra movement makes it more difficult to keep a quiet upper body and to stay in balance.

The bottom line: If your feet are side-by-side the re-balance to the uphill ski can happen more quietly, with less chance of becoming unbalanced.

So, to have better balance, avoid a large ski lead.

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