Nelson Carmichael takes a stand on stance.I'm a mogul specialist, but I also love to play in glades, powder and crud. Regardless of the terrain, I'm quicker, more powerful and stable in a tight stance than an open one.
My preference for a tight stance comes from my roots as a life-long freestyler. The best line through a field of bumps is usually a narrow, deep rut. When my feet are close together, my skis weave through the narrow troughs with ease. And tight knees allow me to apply and release pressure quickly because I use both legs simultaneously. If I were to let my stance open up, I'd always be catching edges on the sides of the bumps.
In tricky, soft snow, keeping my feet together permits me to operate from a single platform, which floats better. And by working my skis in unison, I'm less likely to get tripped up by erratic terrain hidden under the snow.
While I always keep my stance tight, I make a conscious effort to allow my feet to work independently. I initiate each turn on my outside ski and apply the most pressure on that ski throughout the turn. If your feet are not independent, you'll move your hips too much, and as a result, feel unstable in the bumps.
Nelson Carmichael is an Olympic medalist and World Cup mogul champion. He has written and directed two videos and runs Mogul Mastery camps in Mt. Hood, Ore., each summer.