One of the most crucial parts of skiing is posture – how you position yourself on your SKIS and on the slopes.
If you are a novice skier who hasn’t got the hang of it yet, you might be a tad bit nervous about the whole ski posture thing, especially the common advice to ‘lean forward’ when skiing.
Even if you are an intermediate skier, chances are, you’re still struggling to understand the whole concept of leaning forward while skiing, and how to do it properly if you are reading this.
While there are various ideas of the necessity and actual science behind this move, it is true that leaning forward while skiing certainly plays an important part in ensuring you have a smooth and safe journey across the terrain.
This article will explore why and how to lean forward when skiing, so that you can show up on the slopes next time with some extra confidence in your posture and moves!
Why Should You Lean Forward When Skiing?
There are 2 reasons why you should lean forward while skiing, these are:
Also read our guide on how to self arrest while skiing.
Helps You Control Your Skis Better
An important thing to remember about your skis is that bindings are placed towards the back end, and there’s a significant amount of the skis left without any pressure at the front.
So when you ski, a larger area of your skis is left without pressure, which is why you’re supposed to bring the center of gravity to the front by leaning forward – so that the front ends of the skis get enough pressure and stick to the ground.
This will make sure that you have the ability to control the direction and take those tough and sharp turns easily.
Or else, it would be similar to riding a car WITHOUT controlling the two front wheels – and we DON’T want that!
Navigating Steep Slopes
The other reason you’re supposed to lean forward is that skiing can be complicated with steep slopes – especially since the skis quickly move down and you’re left standing on your heels.
This is a more serious version of what was explained earlier since you have very little control over the front of the skis.
Also read our guide on how to ski in low visibility
When this happens, you MUST lean forward, and make sure you distribute the weight and pressure over the front ends evenly to avoid any sudden moves that will leave you hurtling down the slope!
How To Lean Forward When Skiing
There are basically 2 techniques I can think of, let me explain them below.
One way you can do this is by slowly leaning to the front of the skis, while pressing your shins (the front of the legs, below your knees) to the boot. And to add to the ease of navigation, you can cross your arms or hold your poles close to your body while you go down the slope.
This will help even more with proper weight distribution, and make sure your descent is an EASY and SMOOTH one.
The good thing is you can ALWAYS check if you’re in the wrong position – if your thighs start really hurting and stiff, it means you’re placing pressure on the wrong areas of your legs.
You should try your best to readjust your posture if this happens unless you want a different kind of injury!
Focus on your elbows and ankles. Since the entire attempt is to bring your weight forward, make sure your elbows are in front of your body. This is a great technique because it brings the rest of your body forward as well.
Also read our guide on how to stop on skis
Your ankles can also help you lean forward, and slowly bring your shins forward till they touch the upper part of the boot.
Pretend you’re holding a penny between your shin and your boot, and never let it drop! You’ll soon be skiing like a pro.
Overall, it is important to make sure that your weight is distributed equally over the entirety of the skis, otherwise, you WILL lose control, and tumble – especially when you’re heading down a steep slope.
Pay close attention to your knees, ankles, elbows and your shin. Make sure you don’t wear ill-fitting boots – either too small or too big. This will result in you feeling uncomfortable, and being unable to control your posture while skiing.
Always make sure that your center of gravity falls in the middle of the skis.
How Do I Increase My Forward Lean In Ski Boots?
The main indication in a forward lean is to make sure that you have a wide range of flexion and retraction without falling over. Your femur MUST be parallel to the ground for a proper lean, and if this is a bit difficult for you, you can increase your forward lean by adding some stiff foam (or even a couple of trail maps!) between your shell and liner. This will help you with increasing your forward lean in your boots.
How Do You Stay Leaning Forward While Skiing?
Always try to feel the front of your boots against your legs, and make sure the contact continues for the rest of the ride. And once you start heading downhill, you will feel you’re being pushed backseat. When this happens, tighten your ankles and pull yourself forward, and as time goes on it’ll end up being muscle memory.