All skiers, even more advanced ones, develop some habits that aren’t too helpful for their performance or beneficial for their health. One of these is what’s known as “backseat skiing,” a term that refers to leaning too far back when going downhill. The snow sports experts from ASO Mammoth, your premier choice for high-quality Mammoth ski rental, explain why this is a habit you definitely want to break and offer a few tips for how to achieve this goal.
How to Tell if You’re Skiing Backseat
As we said above, all skiers, regardless of skill level, sometimes get into the habit of leaning back too far when skiing. In fact, you may not even be aware it’s something you do. Signs to look for that suggest you lean back a bit too far as you ski include:
• Naturally dropping your hands down by your hips
• Finding yourself almost losing your balance on turns
• Noticing pain in your lower back or upper thighs
• Falling backward on a fairly frequent basis
• Having difficulty changing edges on your skis
Why Some Skiers Develop This Habit
Some skiers get into the habit of leaning back too far when they’re first learning to ski because they’re apprehensive about handling hills. Over time, this habit may continue even as confidence and skills improve. Other skiers lean too far backward when going down hills in an effort to reduce the risk of falling forward. However, this increases the risk of falling backward instead. While this may be preferable to falling on your face, falling too often in either direction isn’t good.
The Potential Risks of Backseat Skiing
Along with falling backward too often, there are some potentially serious and painful risks associated with skiing backseat. For one thing, the lower back area is fairly open and unprotected, even if you have a ski jacket or ski suit on. Skiing backseat also puts more pressure on your thighs and legs that can extend down to your ankles. The list of possible health-related issues that could be related to skiing backseat includes:
• Shin splints
• Herniated or slipped lower back discs
• Sciatic nerve pain (sciatica)
• Muscle strain that could result in burning sensations or general soreness
• Ankle pain due to increased resistance from your boots as you lean backward
How to Break the Backseat Skiing Habit
The ideal stance for skiing downhill is a balanced one in which your body is positioned so you’re not leaning too far forward or backward. As far as breaking the skiing backseat habit goes, it will take some time and practice, but it’s something most skiers are able to do. One way to get started is to take the following steps the next time you do some downhill skiing:
• Place more pressure on the front of your boots as you ski
• Push your knees toward your toes enough to cause your ankles to flex
• Move your arms up a bit as you hold on to your poles to maintain your balance without feeling the need to lean backward
• Shift your weight to maintain your balance instead of leaning excessively
Another reason some skiers get into the backseat skiing habit is because of poor-fitting ski boots. Make sure your ski boots are supportive but still comfortable enough to allow for sufficient foot and ankle movement.
For advice on your skiing technique or snow sports in general, drop by and chat with the pros at ASO Mammoth. We have everything you need to get started, including the latest gear and accessories. Our high-quality service includes making sure you have the best-fitting skis, boots, and bindings. Whether you need a professional wax for your snowboard or you’re searching for the best ski rentals in Mammoth, look no further than ASO Mammoth. We’re your one-stop shop for getting ready to hit the slopes in safety and style. Give us a call today at 760-965-3444.