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SSTBetter Balance 

                   (The Story about)

  Next Level Boot Management

       On Whistler/Blackcomb

Better Balance started life in Whistler as The Structural Alignment Screen [SAS], devised as a standard dynamic balance measuring system and it has been an integral part of the SST Tech Camps modus operandi since 2012.  And now, we are proud to offer an evolved standalone version of the SAS to the general public and we call it Better Balance. 


The Genesis of the SAS Alignment Process is the Harb Ski System which has fitted and successfully aligned over 10,000 skiers from beginners to racers over the past 20 years; differentiating themselves from the competition by combining an in-store static, and an on-hill dynamic alignment verification; to produce the maximum performance for technical advancement.


We've even created a whole new web site with a new name for our service and it is called SST Better Balance and available at:


Because the majority of skiers require some form of boot alignment adjustment in order to balance properly on their skis, the betterbalance system has been designed to offer just that, a way to ensure the skier is properly balanced on their skis, to be able to execute the movements that put the ski on edge or at the desired angle to the snow. The movements start with the feet and then affects everything up to the torso.


Since your feet and ankles are totally wrapped by the ski boots, they are the most important piece of your ski equipment; rarely however are they ready to ski right out of the box.  In addition none of us have equally functional feet and legs for skiing and everyone has different foot and leg structure.  Getting fitted with the correct ski boot can often be a daunting task.


Ski boots couldn’t possibly be ideal for all of us. There are some compromises and assumptions in boot design and for many skiers these have a dramatic effect on their skiing performance, ability to improve, and experience the ultimate enjoyment of the sport.


Today there are very few ski shops that understand the link between ski boots, alignment and ski performance. In addition ski instructors are not generally taught how to evaluate dynamic alignment on the hill and the movements required to ski on modern skis. And, to make the diagnosis of alignment problems even more difficult, North American ski instruction does not teach edge release to the transition using foot movements – which is what proper alignment is about.


The Better Balance Process has two components: 


1- An in-store “Static Assessment” and 

2- An on-snow “Dynamic Assessment” 


Without these two components, it is pure coincidence if a skier ever attains proper alignment. 

Read on for the rest of the story or go directly to the Better Balance Website by clicking here.












As a knock-kneed skier, misaligned to the inside, you will be plagued with tail wash, which usually makes you want to avoid skiing on icy days.  You tend to use rotary movements in the upper body and ski with static ankles that tire easily while the torso leans excessively over the stance ski.  




As a bowlegged skier, mis-aligned to the outside, you struggle to get off your little toe edges and release from a turn.   Your tail pushes out suddenly and then your ski crabs sideways down the hill and the body ends up leaned over the free side [inside ski] often resulting in a pronounced arch in the back.




As a skier who leans backwards, mis-aligned to the aft,  your shins aim straight up or almost rearward relative to the skis, hips behind the feet and the legs fairly straight.  The torso is also fairly upright so you will try to lift the inside ski at the end of the turn, the free foot moves ahead of the stance foot and the ski tip rises higher than the tail making it difficult to complete a carved turn.




As a skier who is leaned excessively forward,  mis-aligned to the fore, your shins aim much too far forward relative to the skis, the knees end up way ahead of the toe of the boot sole.  You are somewhat squatted with the thighs aimed aft and the hips behind the feet.  You often complain of knee pain and thigh burn.  



  • Be able to balance comfortably straight running on either ski

  • Be able to balance in a straight line traverse on either the downhill or uphill edge without tail slip or rotation

  • Be able to "Buy A Turn" where you previously couldn't at any price

  • Be ready to learn to use your feet to initiate the release and engagement of your edges


The overall result is, your equipment is tuned to you! allowing you to use fundamental bio-mechanics that can lead to good skiing movements.   


Take a minute to envision the ideal image of 'the mechanical skiing robot' with all its body parts aligned up in order to ski properly.  After completing the Better Balance Process, you should be able to imagine your own body superimposed over the image of the robotic skier, and have the same picture! 



WHY Would I Do This?








It has become obvious to us that skiers of all abilities need to pay attention to how their feet are aligned to their ski and boots.


Initially, when corrections are made, the skier gains 'bio-mechanical advantage,' which allows that skier to capture the maximum leverage afforded from their equipment.  


Ultimately, the process assures the skier long term optimal use of the ankle, knee and hip joints.  Misaligned joints subjected to the rigours of skiing over time will cause discomfort, pain, even injury;  joints are further compromised when a boot is too loose, or the boot shell is too high.


For the vast majority of skiers a Structural Alignment Screen is like a  journey of ski performance discovery.  You are going to be introduced to your own intimate bio-mechanics and learn a whole new language!


According to Harald Harb, alignment of your leg, foot and knee tracking for skiing, isn't just a passing fad. 


An incomplete or poor set up, could mean injury, and knee problems as severe as an ACL injury.


The Harb Ski System has been leading the way in measurement and study of alignment data for decades.









you look like the skier in this photo on any ski, but especially on a ski 80mm wide, under foot, or wider, you need to get aligned as this is an extremely weak position and your ACL is in danger! Plus, properly aligned, you will ski with more ease and less leg fatigue. 


Some off-set ski boots like certain models of the Fischer and the Nordica that were promoted, made this worse by setting the foot's first ray, (big toe) more toward the middle of the ski width.  Poor boot fitting, such as "wide lasts", also contribute greatly to this issue. Get checked by a specialist in this field, it's worth every dime. Harald Harb







The entire skier population is aging and the aging joints need all the leverage they can muster.  Topping that, the average skier is carrying a few extra pounds down the slopes which alone, places even more stress on the joints making alignment all the more imperative.





You may have recently purchased new equipment but recognize that something is still wrong with your setup


Your equipment is showing its age and you want to replace it and get it right this time


You suspect that there is some structural mis-alignment in your legs/feet and want it corrected




WHAT is the Better Balance System?

The Better Balance System has two components: the in-shop assessment of your current ski boot setup relative to your feet, to determine the misalignment issues.  Then, an on-snow session to validate that the shop analysis matches with your ability to balance optimally and slide on snow.  


The key is the on-snow part where a certified dynamic alignment instructor tweaks the shop fit to optimize your ability to leverage the dynamics of your leg structure and validate the static alignment corrections for a permanent fix.

Many people with these issues are misdiagnosed in their canting needs when in-shop assessments are used as the sole basis of judgment. Because two people with the same issue may adapt their everyday stances differently, an over reliance on static tests and in shop devices often produce radically varied recommendations. In particular, in-shop mechanical devices that are used by many shops for canting assessment often indicate canting needs that are the opposite of the actual needs of the skier. Any adequate alignment assessment must include a direct examination of potential leg issues while skiing.

Most often, the solution for leg issues is a combination of an appropriate foot bed and external boot canting. In these situations, there is no simple, immediate, “fix” and the needs of the skier may change as they develop in their general ability.




If you are like most people who have gone through ski boot fitting, even over many seasons and many fittings,  you come to the realization that it is quite a process, one that often ends up with a series of compromises in order to assure a pain free fit.  You may have a fit but, the symptoms of mis-alignment still persist. 






DURING THE DYNAMIC ALIGNMENT PROCESS, WE IDENTIFY WHETHER YOUR CENTRE OF MASS [CM] LINES UP TO THE INSIDE OR OUTSIDE OF YOUR TIBIA.  The SAS will then make sure that the fit you have gets leveraged up to accommodate the dynamics of your leg structure to give you optimal balance over the ski.







Images Courtesy of SureFoot Whistler


This is the image of the soles of my feet as scanned by the foot pressure reader at SureFoot with the thin black centre line indicating the centre line of my foot.  The red area in the forefoot of the image indicates/suggests that I am knock kneed on the left and bowlegged on the right, simply by judging which side of the centre line my CM resides.


What the static analysis cannot show is that I am actually knock kneed on both sides, that is, my CM actually resides to the inside of the centre line on both feet when the dynamics of my leg structure are added to the equation.  On the right side, I have something called "tibial torque," which turns my tibia to the inside as I flex and actually twists my forefoot to the outside; the picture you see here.




Once a good "fit" has been established, optimizing your balance is accomplished by having a professional build the correct cant angle into the sole of the ski boot. This is a seamless process which alters and 'levers you up' on the lateral plane. It may also be necessary to place shims under the toe or the heel of the boots to maximize the fore or aft plane in some instances.


















The shim is the black line; it ramps from 0 on the outside to 2.5 degrees on the inside, in this application


A Written Report

Your assessment comes with a written report that is shared with your Ski Shop Tech explaining the results.  They will then make the adjustments to your ski boots as required.

Further to your on-snow assessment yesterday, here is your report.


Alpine Pro Ski Shop Measurements -


Left - 1.0 FSI (Fat Side In)

Right - 1.5 FSI


Leg Lengths - Even


On Snow Measurements -


Left - 2.0 FSI

Right - 2.0 FSI



Pelvis tilts back to the right side

Knee brace on left knee


Straight Run (SR) Balancing and Free Skiing


1. No Canting SR - could make the ski run reasonably straight on both sides but required excessive counter balancing with the torso

little or no proprioceptor activity at the ankles


Free skiing is encumbered with the tee-pee stance caused by insufficient support under the big toe edges (BTE).


2. SR Canted to Shop Specs above - balanced much better but still required excessive Counterbalancing (CB) in order to make the ski run straight. Some proprioceptor activity at the ankle


Free skiing is still encumbered but the tee-pee stance has all but disappeared and feels mixed signals on how to adjust


3. Increased Canting to 1.5 L and 2.0 R - Incremental increase in balance without excessive CB - Excellent proprioceptor activity at the right ankle, still locked on left side


Free skiing is now cleaner and can make some subtle edging


4. Increased Canting to 2.0 L & R - Now able to balance on right side with normal CB and proprioceptor activity at the left ankle


Free skiing is now to the point where she can make aggressive edging efforts with control


In summation, the recommendation is to go with 2.0 FSI on both boots. 


I believe that the knee brace played a minor inhibiting role in proprioceptor activity on the left side. With the extra 0.5 lift, the ankle fires properly.





Screenings are done by appointment only.  




 Click Here to complete and submit your Skier Profile to set yours up. 

Click Here to go directly to the Payment Portal.


You can also get referred directly from any of the SST Coaches who have gone through the screening themselves and can verify first hand that you would benefit from the process and have provided you with a referral.  


As well, you can go directly to Alpine Pro, Can Ski at Blackcomb Ski Shop or Surefoot in Whistler Village and obtain a referral from one of the boot fitters.


Easiest of all, you can go to our new site at and sign up there as well.





The screening is a flat fee of $299.00 plus tax 


The additional cost for the sole adjustments vary because of the multitude of boot soles in the marketplace but the average cost per boot to be plated is $75- $100.00 plus tax and payable directly to the ski shop performing the alteration. If new boots, shells, liners or foot-beds are purchased at the same time, this cost may be discounted as part of the package.


The additional cost for the sole adjustments vary because of the multitude of boot soles in the marketplace but the average cost per boot to be plated is $75- $100.00 plus tax and payable directly to the ski shop performing the alteration. If new boots, shells, liners or foot-beds are purchased at the same time, this cost may be discounted as part of the package. 


To further understand the costs and benefits, here is a question and answer on the subject.

Q. Do you think that Surefoot Whistler will be able to honor the Surefoot lifetime tweaking promise and perform static alignment evaluation and also apply your on-snow assessment recommendations for free?


Good morning M


Thank you for your email and interest in proper ski boot alignment.  I have also received and reviewed your Questionnaire responses outlining your current situation which is helpful.


As you may have gathered from your research, alignment when it comes to sporting activity and skiing in particular is super important and provides us with our base to proper and effective movement habits.


At the end of the day, it isn't rocket science although some may argue that, but it is akin to eyeglasses, you either need them or you don't and the long term effects of making a proper decision in either case has long term ramifications. And, after helping people attain better balance for decades now and knowing first hand how it has assisted me to maintain my own superior balance over time, I can only assure you that you'll never look back once you get yourself on the right (alignment) track as well.


Surefoot as a company, has a long track record in the pursuit of proper alignment and as a company that has withstood the test of time and are still in business in a very competitive environment speaks huge to their products and team of dedicated bootfitters.


However, they will be the first to tell you that they don't have enough time in the day to solve every problem that comes down the pipe but in spite of that, have managed to do an admirable job for the average skier in providing an above average product with an analysis system capable of delivering it to the masses.


They do not have the time or resources to do what we do and take alignment analysis to the slopes and spend an hour and a half to finetune the static alignment results on an individual basis. 


This elevates the process from the static to the dynamic, a process long used by race boot clinicians working with athletes to get that perfect match between equipment and athletic performance.


This is where you will be going with us on this next step.  And, as you can also read from the information provided, it doesn't stop with that one session necessarily.  Although the initial session is enough for many of our clients, there is a whole world of discovery that goes on with the new found balancing cues and often, we have requests for follow up session(s) in order to further assist the tweaking that follows. 


Surefoot will continue to measure and remeasure your static alignment for you free of charge as part of their ongoing customer commitment policy

rest assured.  However, there is an up-charge for alterations done to the soles of the boots and that is the same for all shops as you are adding a custom upgrade to your equipment (like an aftermarket set of rims on your ride).


I hope that this is enough information to help you take your quest for better balance to the next level and we will be pleased to assist you next March on your visit to Whistler.  Thanks for reading and keep in touch.




Screenings are done by appointment only.  


Simply Click Here to complete and submit your Personal Info to set yours up. 


You can also get referred directly from any of the SST Coaches who have gone through the screening themselves and can verify first hand that you would benefit from the process and have provided you with a referral.  


As well, you can go directly to Alpine Pro Ski Shop at Blackcomb or Surefoot in Whistler Village and obtain a referral from one of the boot fitters.


You can go to our new site at and sign up there as well.





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