Should You Lean Forward or Back When Skiing?

If you’re just getting into skiing and balancing seems a major challenge, you might be wondering “should you lean forward or backward when skiing?” The angle at which you hold your body makes a big difference in how well-balanced you are. Don’t discount this part of the learning process!

You may have heard of the term “lean forward” but this doesn’t actually mean you should be leaning forward. You want to be balanced in the center. The term is just used because the majority of people lean backward. By leaning forward from what feels natural, they are positioning themselves in the center of their skis.

Where Should Your Weight Be When Skiing?

Your weight ought to be in the middle of your skis. Remember, most people lean backward, so try to make yourself feel as though you are leaning toward the ground. This will position your body in the right place.

People lean backward because they naturally try to move away from the slope. They feel nervous about the speed and steepness, so try to pull away from it.

By correcting your center of balance to the middle of your skis, you’ll give yourself more control.

Weight On Inside Or Outside Ski

What about when you’re turning? Where does your center of balance need to be then?

Your weight should be on the outside ski. This is the one that will drop down further on the slope, making you arc around. Remember that you need to lean on the right leg to go left, and the left leg to go right.

The more you press down on your outside ski, the more steeply you will curve around. Distributing your weight evenly between the two skis will cause you to level out. In between, you’ll get a gentle curve.

Suddenly switching from one leg to another may cause you to fall as that ski tries to take control of your movement instead.

How Do You Shift Weight When Skiing?

Try to shift more gradually so that you have time to position your skis. If you move too fast, your inside ski may collide with your outer ski as it tries to move lower on the slope. More experienced skiers can usually shift their center of balance more quickly.

To shift your weight, simply push down onto the ball of the foot that you aren’t leaning on. This will help to transfer your weight over smoothly and easily. Do not try and move your torso or body, or you may lose your balance and fall over.

Remember that your body ought to be upright when skiing, not leaning to one side or the other.

How To Lean Forward When Skiing

You should aim to be at a 90 degree angle to the ski slope. That means that on steeper slopes, you need to lean further forward. You ought to feel some pressure in your shins and the balls of your feet. Remember that you want to be in the middle of your skis.

Keep your weight on the front part of your foot, and this should keep you leaning forward. If you are struggling, try practicing your position on shallow slopes. If you feel less nervous about the slope and its angle, you may find it easier to lean toward the ground.

Remember that leaning like this helps you control your speed, so it actually keeps you safer. If you lean backward, you may find that you lose control and have to skid to make yourself stop.

How To Stop Leaning Back When Skiing

There are a few things you can do to stop yourself from leaning backward if you are having problems on your skis.

Tip One: No Sitting

Firstly, don’t “sit” above your skis. If your hips are too far behind your heels, you’re unlikely to be able to lean forward properly, and you may lose your balance. You do want your hips to be slightly flexed, but not to the point that you fall over.

You should aim to be almost upright, but just a little angled, as this will give you balance and control. If you notice you’ve got your seat too low, try and straighten up a little bit. Pull your buttocks into line with your heels.

Tip Two: Relax

Secondly, try to relax your joints. It can be very easy to tense up when trying a new sport, especially one that’s scary, but it’s important not to. Your ankles, hips, and knees are the most important joints to think about.

Being very tense will make it hard to adjust when the terrain changes, and may result in you overbalancing. It can also make you lean forward too far – but more commonly, it will lead to you leaning backward.

As you start to grow in confidence, think about relaxing your joints as much as possible (within reason!).

Tip Three: No Standing

Thirdly, do not stand up too straight. This may seem at odds with the first tip, but it’s important. Remember that standing very straight will result in your weight falling on the heels of your feet. You want it to be on the front parts of your feet.

You need to have a slight bend in your knees, hips, and ankles. These bends will help you to get a good angle. Your balance will be much better if you don’t stand up too straight, but work on the perfect skiing posture.

Tip Four: Don’t Hunch

Fourthly, don’t bunch up. Some skiers, in an attempt to lean forward, end up hunching their upper bodies over instead. Try not to do this. It won’t give you the balance that getting your legs in the right position will provide.

It may also leave you stiff and aching the next day. You might find that your center of balance shifts back to your heels to stop you from falling over. Transfer it to the balls of your feet instead and you’ll likely find you straighten your torso automatically.

How Do You Keep Your Skis Together While Skiing?

Your legs want to be centered beneath your body. Your skis should be about the same width apart as your hips.

You may notice your feet getting pushed apart by difficult terrain. It’s important to keep correcting this. You will eventually get a feel for the correct stance with practice. However, if you are struggling, try to consciously draw your non-weighted foot toward your weighted foot. This will help you keep them parallel during a turn.

You won’t be able to move the weighted foot inward, so always correct with the non-weighted one. Like moves in any sport, the best way to learn is simply to practice. Go for easy slopes so you can focus wholly on this movement and posture.


You always want your weight to be centered when you’re on the slopes. Leaning too far backward is very common, especially for beginners. However, the sooner you learn to correct this, the more quickly you will master the sport.

Focus on the four tips that will help you stop leaning backward. Keep your joints relaxed, your torso and head straight, and neither sit nor stand.

With a bit of practice, you’ll soon find a stable, balanced stance. This is a foundation for good skiing; without mastering the posture, you will never feel comfortable with the sport.

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