Let's take a look at how the four dangly bits attached to your upper body can affect the way you ski. We'll bring your head in as well for that too can make a difference to your skiing technique if you move it the wrong way.The dangly bits are of course your arms and legs. The key word here is angulation, and that means almost what it says, and refers to a bending of the hips and the knees. Its main purpose is to put the skis on their edges. This is done by bending the knees (the lower one more than the upper one), in towards the slope, and lowering the upper body by bending at the hips.
It is generally done so that the weight stays over the middle of the feet and over the bottom ski, but not always. Varying degrees of angulation will be used to put the skis on their edges mostly in the turns, and by the time you have been doing this for a day or two, you will be glad that you read about fitness, which I mention elsewhere! Your muscles and ligaments are going to be well exercised.When you angulate, your upper body may be facing the ski tips, or facing down the hill, or maybe somewhere in between, depending on the type of turn you are doing. The standard position of your upper body is always to face down the hill - and I talk about this in the article about body position.What governs your upper body position, and to a certain extent how much you angulate, is what you do with your poles. Where you put your poles to get your upper body in the right position is called anticipation.
Of course, to put your poles in the right position you use your arms (including your shoulders), but in order to simplify matters, I talk about where your poles should go at any given moment. We'll assume at this time that if you do the right thing with your poles there will only be one way in which your arms can move to do the job properly.Anticipation also means full use of your eyes, and the sensitivity of your feet, and I'll elaborate on that in the article about the pole plant, eyes and the soles of your feet.In general, the default positions for your head, shoulders and upper body, and your arms when skiing , is no different down to your waist as they would be if you were standing still waiting for a bus.
The only difference maybe is that your arms would possibly be slightly bent at the elbow, and depending on the amount of angulation you were doing, your upper and lower arm may bend up to ninety degrees to get the job right in certain circumstances..Simon Dewhurst has taught downhill skiing in North America, Scandinavia and the European Alps for 35 years. He currently runs a ski chalet agency in the French Alps.
His book "Secrets of Better Skiing" can be found at http://www.ski-jungle.com. If you have any comments about the above article, he will be happy to answer them.
By: Simon Dewhurst