Ski Set Up
I take a lot of calls at Zig’s Marine regarding ski set up and I’m always happy to offer advice on all makes and models of race skis. The frequency of calls however tells me that many skiers out there may be struggling both with their stance and control of their ski due to incorrect binding placement.
Incorrect binding positioning will affect your stance, balance and control and can result in unnecessary strain during and post race as your body contorts to manage the ski. Here I will go through the four errors that are often made when setting up a ski for racing.
Bindings Too Far Forward
If your bindings are set too far forward on your ski, the wet area of the ski is significantly increased. With your weight over the front of the ski, you are pushing it down in the water so that it rides very heavy on the nose. In smooth water you will experience a lot more drag on the ski much like a boat lacking trim.
In a corner, you’ll need to drive your weight through your back leg to turn the ski, resulting in calf burn.
In rough water, you may see the water breaking over the tip of the ski. You’ll be getting sprayed in the face and the chance of you having a fall over the front of your ski is increased.
If your bindings are too far forward, your stance is compromised as you compensate for the incorrect positioning by putting pressure downwards on your back foot.
If you think this may be a problem for you, adjusting the position of your bindings by 15mm will offer a noticeable difference without drastically altering the behavioral characteristics of the ski.
Bindings too far back
If your bindings are set too far back on your ski, you may experience the ski ‘flapping’ or bouncing up and down in smooth water. If your ski is bouncing uncontrollably you have a problem and your boots are too far back. If you are able to stop the ski bouncing by shifting your weight to the front leg then you are more likely to have a problem with your stance (which is a whole other Zig’s Tips article!).
With the boots too far back you may experience the ski ‘flapping’ through the corner or with your weight too far back, your ski may not settle through a corner.
In the rough, bindings set too far back cause another set of problems, you may find that your ski is “wheel standing” or forcing itself upwards towards a vertical position. If this is the case, you’ll feel it in your back as it arches in an effort to bring your weight over the front of the ski. This will cause you to expend a lot more energy than you need to. You’ll know it too after the race as you feel the stiffness and soreness in your back.
Bindings Too Far Apart
It surprises me the number of skiers who are skiing with their bindings too far apart. Many skiers call looking for advice on front boot placement and when I ask them about their back boot, it’s not something they have even considered. The position of the back boot is equally as important as the position of the front boot. The main consideration in binding placement is the skiers height matched with the type of ski they are riding. If your bindings are too far apart your range of movement will be limited, compromising the amount of control you have in all conditions. It’s all about balance, if your feet are too far apart you increase your chances of tipping too far forward and too far backwards while you are skiing. Rather than using your energy to ski hard, you’ll be using it to constantly correct your stance.
Bindings Too Close Together
If your bindings are too close together, you’ll feel very awkward on your ski. You’ll lack stability and balance. A simple way to test this is to just stand comfortably on a flat surface in your preferred stance. Slide your feet together and apart until you feel comfortable and balanced. Based on this position take a measurement from the back of your back foot to the back of your front foot and compare it to your ski.
99% of the bindings we fit to skis at Zig’s Marine are offset against the centre line and by this I mean we turn the toes on both boots outwards i.e. the left foot is turned anti-clockwise while the right foot is turned clockwise. This puts you in a much more natural stance and allows you more freedom of movement as you control the ski in both smooth and rough water. You can test this theory out just by standing on a flat surface. If you place one foot directly in front of the other in a straight line and try to bend at the knees, your range of movement is very limited. By turning your toes outwards and bending again, you’ll see how much more movement you’ve allowed yourself. This additional movement makes a considerable difference especially when skiing in rough conditions.
If while reading this article you’ve recognised a problem that you’ve been experiencing make one of the suggested adjustments before your next training run. Never make a change just before a race, all adjustments should be tested during training.
Be sure to contact us at Zig’s Marine for any advice on specific measurements as these can vary widely depending on the ski you are using and your own height, weight, leg length, stance and class you are racing. We are always happy to help with free advice so don’t hesitate calling, emailing or messaging us on Facebook. If you aren’t confident making the changes yourself, we do ski re-fits and re-furbs as well.
02 4587 8224