In my last post, I discussed the movements elite Ski Pros make to balance on their outside ski.  I used Big White Ski Pro, Josh Foster as an example and reproduced his key comments from his YouTube video, Strong Platform.

Since Foster was skiing on moderate terrain, his speed is the equivalent of slomotion in comparison to typical World Cup speeds. For this post I am providing a video clip of Marc Girardelli and Ingemar Stenmark from the 1987 World Championship SL in Crans Montana, Switzerland. The video will allow you to compare the movements that create balance on the outside ski at race speeds to Foster’s movements at recreational speeds. I added reduced speed clips at the end to allow the rapid extension movement to be more easily seen.

I don’t believe there is any question that Marc Girardelli and Ingemar Stenmark can actually balance on their outside ski, especially in view of Girardelli’s statement: –

Once you can balance perfectly on the outside ski, everything else follows.

Note that the movement occurs above the gate as Girardelli and Stenmark approach the rise line and it mainly involves a rapid extension of the knee. According the predominant view, as articulated in the mental model of ski teaching and coaching, a quick extension is an unweighting movement. If this were true, why would the best skiers in the world unweight their outside ski above the gate?

What Foster, Girardelli, Stenmark, Shiffrin, Hirscher and all the best skiers in the world are really doing is loading and engaging a dual rocker system by applying a high impulse load to their outside foot at ski flat between edge change. Without knowledge of the associated mechanics, biomechanics and physics, no amount of observation will provide insights as to what is really happening. This is why 30 years after the World Championships at Crans Montana, what racers like Shiffrin, Ligety, Hirscher and other World Cup greats are doing remains a deep, dark mystery.

In my next post, I will introduce you to the Rockers.





  1. Stenmark and Girardelli (and elites of the era) display a rotary pushoff with a step. Classic 1,2 foot action. Today you see simultaneous action of both feet in Shifren, Hirscher, Ligety et al. Old schoolers movements were characterized by verticle motion, today the motion is lateral, without the stepping and push off. Its’ not really a deep dark secret, just equipment driven evolution.

    1. You could not be further from reality. But you are entitled to your uninformed opinion. If you really believe that you know what you are talking about you can explain how skiers such as Shiffrin balance on their outside. I am all eyes and ears. Go for it.

    2. The moves every skier makes ultimately is dictated by the equipment. Put today’s skiers on the same equipment Stenmark and Giardelli were on and I’m sure they would be ‘stomping’ on that outside ski just as much to make it bend to snake through a slalom course. Kind of like ‘breakaway’ gates changed the line that the skiers can take through a course.

      I remember the first shaped skis I tried were stiff and long compared to the current models available. The turn radius was so long, compounded by the fact that my feet were immobilized by the status quo boot fitting that I stayed on ‘straight sticks’ for the moguls for several years after the ‘shaped ski’ revolution because they were actually softer and turned better in moguls than the ‘new technology.’ And there was a time the World Cup racers went GLM in reverse because they kept skiing shorter and shorter skis in the slalom until the FIS set a bottom limit. Not sure that is fair to skiers of different height but we as they are forced to ski what is available from the manufacturers, unless we can figure out better ways of adjusting it ourselves with some help from our friends!.

      One private lesson sums up the equipment factor; A repeat customer wanted to improve on the bumps and proudly showed off his 177cm Olin shaped skis. Things just weren’t working out for him. Being the great instructor I was, and what any great instructor would do, I offered to switch skis with him. He thought I was crazy because mine were at least 185cm and had imperceptible side cut and well… old technology. That cured that problem for the lesson because then he could do what I was teaching him but I had to take my skis back when it was done because I sure didn’t want to suffer with those stiff and grabby skis!

  2. Marc can even balance perfectly on his outside ski while wearing rear entry boots. Hmmm!

    1. Yes, Marc sure could. And I guarantee that that the inside of Marc’s SX-90s bore no resemblence to the consumer version. Same thing with Podborski’s Langes that I built for him. Steve asked me once if I could make Salomons work for him. He was implying if he was offered a deal a from Salomon as in $$$$$$$. I didn;t even have to think about it. I said, “Sure”.

      1. Totally understand about modifications for elites, I started my career making Lange race boots. Killy was the most elite. It just means it’s more about the fit & specific geometry and flex characteristics for the individual than about the entry or number of buckles. JMHO

      2. You know the game Denny. It’s just like Nascar Racing. As long as you get the logo right and in the best marketing position on the car, the fans will flock to the dealers to buy the winning brand and model. Same with skis, the only thing a race ski has in common with the consumer version is the top sheet. Ski racing is a stealth form of marketing.

      3. Thanks. I am glad you are enjoying my posts. I hope that some of what I am posting is deja vu for you. There is so much stuff that I have wanted to talk about with those such as yourself and share ideas. But there never seemed to an opportunity. We had a very different view of ski racing when working behind the scenes.

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