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Fore aft balance


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This is a video of me skiing indoors in Manchester in October.

My focus was to adjust fore aft balance to achieve tip pressure at the start of the turn, be in the middle of the ski through the fall-line and move to get the tail to finish the turn. I was using an intermediate parallel turn and as you will see the slope pitch is pretty gentle.

I would appreciate and comments and advice.

Looks like some damn fine turns there -- a Level 4 demo to my eyes.

7 Answers

I think these turns are awesome!

As far as fore/aft balance goes it looks like you’re hitting the mark, and as a result the skis are steering nicely through a round arc.

There was maybe one turn where the mass moved aft a millisecond early and the skis scissored slightly as a result, but you immediately recovered which leads me to think you’ve got it pretty refined.

I’m curious about the ski lifting at edge change. Is this a drill to help move toward the tips a bit more at the top of turn? Or is it a symptom? If the latter, it looks to me like the focus on moving up and forward could be slightly restricting the ability to move laterally across the skis.

It’s matter of timing the bending of the downhill leg with the extending of the uphill leg and allowing the mass to topple. So rather than a move along the length of the ski towards the tips, it might feel more like a diagonal move across the skis and towards the tips.

Kind of like the Hip Box Cue.

Topic starter

I think it’s the latter and a restriction with regard to my lateral movements. Whenever I can get back skiing that will be the focus for these turns. Thanks for the feedback as ever.


Hi Adrian,

Nice turns! I take it you are making use of frontside heavy to initiate ski pivot and backside heavy for grip as the arc develops.

Assuming that's the case, a couple of questions:

1. In another forum I've seen a comment that the frontside heavy is initiated by pressure on the boot tongue. Wasn't what the way I understood it from Tom Gellie's vid and had practiced on snow. I understand it as more pulling  - heels to back of head. Is this same for you?

2. Second q is for @skinerd. Pivoting with frontside heavy is effectively moving center of pressure in front of the toe piece so the ski tail is able to displace. What Ron le Master terms "oversteer". Previously the CSIA course conductors have been more pivoting from the center of the ski (bow tie in the snow static drill). Has this changed with a return to a skills focus curriculum?

Oversteer is mentioned in the new Skills Framework manual in the context of drifted turns. But the expression seems slightly negative - as in highly drifted turns or Z turns made by beginners rather than Adrian's polished, steered turns. The technique of fore weighting is also not discussed in the following sections of the manual which goes on to describe leg rotation, rotation with flexed legs, rotation with hips, counter-rotating and blocking pole plant.   

Topic starter

Yes geepers exactly that. I have found Tom Gellie’s description of frontside heavy, neutral and backside heavy to be really effective. I am trying to use the balls of my feet as a class 2 lever instead of the way I had previously understood, using the ankle as a class 1 lever. It’s very much more powerful and requires much less displacement of the mass.

A cue is to feel like you are trying to pull your heels up to get tip pressure and toes up to get tail pressure.

I don’t think the tail of the ski necessarily needs to be displaced with this depending on your intention. The purpose is to have a strong engagement in the shovel to get the ski into the turn. I actually messaged Tom about it and he confirmed that while the movement was fleeting a brief frontside heavy move could be equally used in a pure carved turn in which there would be no lateral displacement of the tail.

I have never heard mention of early pressure to the tip and late to the tail that I can remember on any CSIA course where there is an emphasis on being in the centre of the ski, but I have spoken to several course conductors away from courses who while not directly contradicting the centre of the ski notion assume that we understand the need for early tip pressure and late tail pressure.

I have only read the new material once but there seems to be a less prescriptive approach and I would therefore assume that skiing like this would be in line with our approach. Maybe you could elaborate or clarify this Skinerd.


Thanks for confirming re frontside heavy, Adrian.

I've also had L4s talk about being in the middle of the ski wrt for/aft balance. Since the virtual bump is a fact of life I took it mean: Stay in the middle of the ski - the middle moves!

I keep in mind that the virtual bump on the mild-ish runs we generally use for AP is not that large. It's easy to overdo the forward bit and then struggle to get back for grip. As Dr Ken points out a huge percentage of skiers on a hill are too far forward. Tom also says it.

Then there's snow drag. Australian slush or a deep blanket of BC pow means more drag on the feet with max drag being around the apex of the turn. Which can lead to getting stuck forward.

So I try to keep the range of fore/aft movement in AP appropriate to the pitch and conditions. Middle of the ski works pretty well.


Topic starter

I like the idea that the middle moves as a cue. That really resonates with me.


Ooohh this sounds like a juicey one. I might have to get back to it when I have more time to sit down.

I think balance primarily through the middle of the outside ski is a good rule of thumb, however, I‘ve always maintained that there are no absolutes and there are times when you’ll want more pressure towards the tips and more towards the tails... it all depends on the outcome you desire.

Of course just staying in the middle already requires a significant fore/aft movement as your skis take off into the fall line then steer and slow down.

Often, I will go slightly further with it and go a touch “front side heavy” at turn initiation, pressuring the ball of the foot to engage more of the ski’s self steering effect (the more aggressive the steering needed, the more I will do it)... however, there is very little pressure on the skis at this point and I need to get immediately back to the middle if I don’t want the skis to “oversteer.”

As we all know from“Jet Skis”, if you pressure the tails, it typically makes the skis run straighter, so exiting the turn slightly aft can be a good way to end the steering action before redirecting them.

Perhaps a good way to frame it is middle of the outside ski through the control/loading/shaping/pressuring/steering phase when the snow is really pushing on you.

Keep in mind these are just my personal thoughts and don’t necessarily represent those of the CSIA.

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