One of the most common problems on the ski slopes is leaning back too much. This brings to light a common issue: How to lean forward when skiing?
You don’t need to stand on a beginner slope for long before you hear an instructor yell ‘lean forward!’
In this article: We will discuss ski posture based around how to lean forward.
Do You Lean Forward When Skiing?
When talking about skiing: The common term of ‘lean forward’ actually relates to making sure you are balanced over the middle of your skis.
The term ‘lean forward’ has gained popularity on the slopes, mainly due to people making the mistake of leaning back too much.
If a skier is leaning back, and you tell them to lean forward, they will usually finish over the middle of the skis.
Another key point to note is that the centre point of the skis is usually around the toe-piece of the binding.
This means that in order to stand over the middle of the skis, you will feel like you are leaning forward slightly.
Put Simply: You should always remain balanced over the middle of the skis. In order to achieve this, you will feel like you are leaning forward when skiing.
How To Lean Forward When Skiing
When you are skiing, leaning forward means adopting the correct ski posture. If you can perfect your posture, you will be leaning forwards enough.
The correct skiing posture means adopting a good ‘ready position’ when skiing.
Hint: The ready position closely resembles the position used by a football goalkeeper waiting to save a penalty.
Let’s examine the stance required when skiing:
- Feet are hip width apart. The pressure on your foot should felt under the ‘balls of your feet’.
- Ankles are bent, allowing your shins to rest on the front of the ski boots.
- Knees are slightly flexed (bent). Kneecap should be in line with your toes.
- Hip joint is flexed. Buttocks should be in line with your heels.
- Back is slightly arched, bringing your shoulders in line with your toes.
- Head is looking forwards.
- Arms kept forward and to the sides. Elbows slightly bent.
If you have adopted this stance, then you are leaning forward and balanced over the middle of your skis.
How Far To Lean Forward When Skiing
When facing down the mountain, you should always aim to be standing at a 90-degree angle to the slope. This means that how far you lean forward will depend on the steepness of the terrain you are skiing.The steeper the slope, the more you need to lean forward. Click To Tweet
The optimum position is to remain balanced over the toe-piece of your binding. This is usually where the centre of the ski can be found.
If you are feeling pressure on the balls of your feet and shins, you are probably leaning forward enough.
Why Do You Need To Lean Forward When Skiing
Correct stance and posture (aka ‘leaning forward’) is imperative to good ski technique.
Using the correct posture affects every element of your skiing. It should be viewed as the platform from which you can continue to improve all aspects of your ski technique.
Let’s look at how leaning forward affects your skiing:
Leaning forward (over the middle of the skis) allows you to maintain perfect balance.
With the mountain providing ever-changing terrain under your feet, staying centred on the skis will stop you from falling back/forward during any unexpected bumps.If you don’t want to fall over, make sure you’re leaning forward enough. Click To Tweet
Improve Turn Grip & Shape
When you are turning, it’s important that you are ‘driving’ the skis around the arc. Applying pressure across the length of the ski is necessary in order to produce a rounded turn shape.
In order to apply the appropriate pressure, it’s necessary to push through the front of your ski boot.
If you want to produce a gripping (or ‘carving’) turn, it’s important to be leaning forward and ‘drive’ the ski from the font.
Improved ski rotation
With your weight on the front portion of your foot, the middle of the ski will be pressured. This allows the skis to rotate (or ‘pivot’) around a central point on the ski.
Ski rotation is an important mountain skill that is especially useful when performing short turns or controlling speed on steep terrain.
In order to maintain control of your skis, you need to be leaning forward enough.
If you lean back too much, you are no longer able to use the ski efficiently, leading to lack of speed control. In this situation, it’s not possible to steer the ski around a small turn arc, so the skier will resort to ‘pushing’ the skis to the side – creating a ‘skid’
Common Mistakes That Stop You From Leaning Forward
Joints Are Too Stiff
If your ‘skiing joints’ (ankles, knees, hips) are not relaxed, your legs will not adapt to the changes in terrain underneath your feet. This can lead to you leaning too far back or forward.
Keep your skiing joints relaxed and flexible, allowing yourself to lean forward or backward to match the gradient of the slope.
‘Sitting’ Too Much
It’s a common mistake to see people adopt too much of a sitting position when skiing. This means that their hips have fallen too far behind their heels.
In this case, they are usually leaning back too much.
It’s important to keep your hip joints slightly flexed. However, do not let your buttocks go too far behind your feet; otherwise you will feel your weight go onto your heels.
Standing Up Too Straight
If you stand up too straight, you will feel your weight naturally fall onto your heels and you will be leaning back.
Remember: The middle of the skis is near your toes, not your heels.
In order to be leaning forward correctly, you should be tilted towards the toe-piece of your binding. In order to achieve this, you will need to maintain a small bend in each of your skiing joints.
Pro Tip: When extending at the turn initiation stage, make sure you are moving forwards and maintaining pressure on the balls of your feet.
Upper Body Crouching Forward Too Much
The most common upper body mistake is leaning too far forward with your upper body – leading to a ‘crouched’ or ‘hunched’ position.
In order to stop leaning back, many skiers try to compensate by hunching forward with their upper body. This is poor posture and does not work to make up for the poor positioning of the legs.
If you need to lean forward more, start by focusing on the lower body.
Remember: If your weight is on your heels, you’re leaning back – no matter how much you bend forward with your upper body.
Leaning back is one of the most common issue’s you will see on the ski slopes. If anyone has ever told you to lean forward more; you’re one of many.
Perfecting your positioning over the skis can seem like a simple task. However, it can be difficult to master.
If you’re not leaning forward enough, it’s certainly worth going back to basics to fix the problem.
Once you have mastered the skill of staying centred, every aspect of your skiing will be immediately improved.
Have you ever been told you need to lean forward when skiing? Leave a comment and let us know!
James is the founder of SnowSunSee. He started skiing when he was five years old and has been a qualified ski instructor for 8 years. He has taught skiing in many countries, including UK, Europe, Japan, China and Malaysia. When he’s not on the slopes, James spends his time travelling the world one trail at a time.