Exactly Where to Put Your Weight When You Ski

by Brandi Allen | Posted On: June 10th, 2020
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Staying balanced and in control, while you’re skiing depends almost entirely on where you put your weight. Skiing will always be safer and more fun once you can control your turns and speed. However, this can only be accomplished once you understand how ski weight distribution works and how to handle it.

Your center of mass should always be over your legs and with your weight forward so you will not lose your balance. When it comes to controlling turns, your body weight will be on your downhill ski.

How Your Stance Affects Weight Distribution

The position your body is in will affect your ability to maneuver and direct your skis. Because you are continually changing your direction and speed when skiing, the position will not stay the same the entire time. Even the angle and steepness of a slope will affect how you hold your body over your skis. The important thing is that your center of mass is always over your skis and not too far forward or too far back.

To make sure your weight is distributed correctly over your skis, you want to start by making sure that your knees and elbow s are bent. If they are straight, they will not be able to absorb the impact of bumps, and your body will not flex, thus causing you to lose control.

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Once your joints are correctly bent, you need to make sure your skis are in the direction you want to travel and that your body position matches that direction. At this point, because your knees are bent, your body weight should be slightly forward and over the middle of your skis. To help you do this, bend slightly at your waist.

If this feels unnatural or uncomfortable, adjust your position slightly. The idea is that you have the most control and balance possible on the slopes. For the most part, positions that allow the body to flex and that match the direction on the skis are the easiest to hold and control.

As you get more comfortable on skis, you’ll find that your body will naturally adjust to changing speeds and directions. You’ll also find that you will use a lot less energy when your body weight is appropriately aligned, and your joints can properly absorb impact.

Weight Distribution When Turning

As you start downhill, you will have to alternate where you put your weight to control your turns and speed. Whichever ski you put the most weight on will control the direction you move. As it is pushed deeper into the snow, it will have more grip and will influence your overall position.

Obviously, you won’t want to point your skis straight down the hill. Doing so will quickly make you lose control as the speed might be more than you can handle. To avoid this predicament, you must learn to make turns. Doing so will slow you down and help you prevent hitting obstacles, including other skiers.

The ski that has the most weight on it will naturally fall below the ski that has less weight on it. So, to make a turn, your downhill ski simply needs to become your uphill ski, and you can do so by shifting your weight to your uphill ski.

The angle that you come across a slope is also determined by how you distribute your weight between your two skis. For example, if you put all your weight on one ski, you will be entirely sideways on the slope. Doing so can help beginners get a feel for turning and start at a slower pace without having to rely on snowplowing.

The more evenly your weight is distributed between your skis, the steeper your angle will be, and the faster you will ski. If you want to travel in a straight line down the mountain, you can do so easily by putting the same amount of weight on each ski.

For the most part, your downhill ski will always have a little more weight on it than your uphill ski if you are traveling across a slope. By shifting your weight to the upper ski, you will complete a turn, and your upper ski will now be below you.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Leaning Too Far Back

Always make sure your weight is over the front of your feet. When you lean too far back, you lose control because the front on your skis can come off the ground, and you stop using the front half of your skis altogether. If you can’t feel your shins touching the front of your boots, you might need to adjust your position and learn further forward.

Being Too Rigid

To put your weight over one leg or the other, it requires that you lean your body slightly over the ski. Moving your body in harmony with your legs will allow you to make quicker turns, and you’ll have more power over the direction you move and the speed at which you do it.

Moving Your Hips in the Wrong Direction

If you lean your body in one direction to put weight over your ski, but your hips move to the other side, your weight distribution hasn’t really changed. Keep your hips aligned with your upper body, so you aren’t working against yourself.

Keeping Your Body Straight

Twisting your body in the direction that you’re turning will naturally move your weight to the correct ski and make turning much more manageable.

Looking Down At Your Skis

Staring at your feet will not only bring your weight too far forward, but it is also dangerous. Instead of looking at where you are at the moment, look up and ahead to avoid any obstacles.

So the next time you head out on the mountain, take a moment to think about where you’re putting your weight. Making a few simple adjustments can help you ski techniques as well as your enjoyment on the slopes.

Simon Naylor, the founder of New To Ski, started skiing in 2005. He has continued to practice his skills and wanted to share his journey and knowledge with other new skiers. He launched New To Ski in 2018 to help first-time skiers have more fun on the slopes and get out and explore the mountains safely.