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Elite level alpine ski racers rely on subtle articulation of the ankle joint as a means of affecting lean angle, thereby initiating and exiting turns without compromising the use of their legs as a suspension system.

Hardboot snowboarding, a much younger sport, can benefit from the same principle. 

The ankle joint, in it’s articulation and relation to the lower leg, is remarkably similar to the steering axis on a motorcycle or bicycle.

Learning the principles of countersteering will be useful for athletic development, understanding why we move the way we do, and whether or not we have room for improvement. 

For example, if you’ve taken any ski instruction, you’ve probably been advised to ‘ski out of the feet’ or to initiate turns with your ankles. This is mostly lip service, as most skiers don’t have the required articulation available, simply because that range of movement has been mechanically blocked by equipment maladjustment (subject for another post).

If you grasp the concept of countersteer, familiarize yourself with the articulations of the ankle joint, and recognize how those articulations are affected by your equipment, you can begin to tune your interface such that those articulations are readily available, and not obstructed.

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