Skiing - Dynamic equilibrium and coordination
Let’s say a few words about the longitudinal weight distribution as a continuation of the story about the point of balance. Let us remember that the weight of the body should always be in the middle of the ski. The control over the skis is done on the edges. In order to use the edges properly, we must push the snow evenly along the skis. This means that the weight of skis must be in the middle, otherwise it will not be evenly distributed.
If we look at a pair of skis with bindings we will notice the bindings are shifted back from the middle of the skis. This is important to understand because it pushes us to lean forward in order for the body weight to be in the middle of the skis. This is done in order for us to lean forward and press the front of the ski boot. This way the power is transferred to the ski in a better way and it forces us to bend the knee, which ultimately provides a more stable and flexible position. Otherwise, if the body weight is shifted back, the top of the ski will not be on the snow, which means that the front of the ski offers no control as it has no contact with the ground. If the weight of the body is in the ‘right’ position, you can feel the pressure on the lower leg on the front side of the boot. If we do not feel that, it means that we are leaning too much backward and that we must lean forward. These are very important things and by proper learning from the very beginning we avoid the consequences of learning wrongly the first skiing steps.
We would like to highlight the most significant characteristics of skis, which are:
Geometry or bow and
The elasticity of skis;
Those features are collectively referred to as technical characteristics of skis. Read about geometry on our pages dedicated to the selection of skis.
The elasticity of skis is manifested through their possibility of bending, by which a skier can directly influence the radius turn he/she performs. A ski that is more bent can perform a minor radius turn without skidding, which is manifested in a form of a sharp trace (furrow).
During skiing, a wide variety of environmental influences influence a skier, such as:
Change of track slope,
Bumps on the track,
Different depth and quality of snow.
By performing turns, a skier changes the direction and the intensity of external force, that is why the speed and direction of movement of skiers constantly changes which leads to a distortion of dynamic equilibrium. To remain in a dynamic balance position, a skier puts himself/herself in a position adequate for a certain moment, having to adopt the new circumstances already in the next one. These are basic elements of skiing technique by which one should distinguish different groups of skiers. Advanced skiers show strong security and speed in these conditions due to different terrain conditions. To achieve this technique it takes days and years of experience, which drags us to mountains and to this sport. An everlasting possibility to improve and forever experience new challenged... :)
The most important movements that enable a skier to maintain dynamic balance are:
Body leaning forward,
Body leaning backward,
Body leaning to the side, and
Normal (vertical) movements (up and down).
Let’s mention some details for advanced techniques of skiing concerning dynamic balance. When moving from an arranged path into the deep snow, the snow resistance force, acting in the opposite direction from sliding components, the speed of skis rapidly increases and decreases. Under the influence of inertia, the body continues to move past the speed, and thus balance is distorted.
Dynamic balance is the basis (essence) of skiing. If terrain conditions are unstable and if skiing is faster, corrective movements must be more precise and frequent. Achieving dynamic balance is reflected in the harmonious and seemingly easy movements, whereby it seems to the viewer that the effect of external forces is constant. Achieving such precision and fine sensory-motor apparatus is the most challenging skiing. Ski experts perform it spontaneously, so that it seems easy and flowing in the eye of an observer. . . :)
An experienced surfer leaves the same impression on a viewer by easily making all adjustments to external forces acting upon him/her. Read more about a huge similarity (almost identity) between conditions to achieve dynamic balance in windsurfing and skiing on our page Dynamic equilibrium.
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