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Today is International Left Handers Day! Being left handed isn’t an amazing rarity; in fact 13% of the population is left-handed [source]! However, despite 1 in 10 people sporting left hand dominance, any leftie can tell you that they are living in an overwhelmingly right-handed world.
Most people realize that things like scissors and can openers are made for those with right hand dominance, but there are a myriad of other objects that are strange to use or just downright irritating for left handers. Rulers, spiral notebooks, knives, and even pens are all made for right handed users. While some of our staff was at a conference in California, there was even a novelty store, Lefty’s, where all products were made specifically for lefties (we picked up a few things for our staff and loved ones!).
So you might be saying to yourselves right about now, “This is cool and all, but what does this have to do with skiing?” Well for left-handers, the answer is nothing! And that’s what is awesome.
Skiing is a great equalizing sport for righties and lefties alike. Whereas sports like baseball and hockey or hobbies like playing the guitar need special equipment for lefties, skiing is an equal-opportunity sport and hobby! No need to go into the store and ask for left-handed skis or ski poles. And when it comes to learning a sport like basketball or a hobby such as knitting, it can be difficult for a right-handed instructor to translate the steps to a left-handed point of view. Not so with skiing! So continue reading for some fun facts on skiing not being optimized for righties or lefties.
The Equipment for Skiing
Whether you are right or left dominant, skis are skis. In fact, for the most part skis don’t even have a left or right! Just click your boots into either ski and you’re good!
Back in the late 90s when shaped skis were gaining traction with the public, manufacturers did test out making dedicated right/left skis. Over the years, however, skiing style changed with the introduction of increasingly awesome technologies for ski manufacturing, and it turned out that symmetrical skis were the way to go (faster, easier) so dedicated right/left skis never took off. That’s why today you can walk into a ski store without fear of buying a pair of skis that won’t work cohesively with your handedness.
The Act of Skiing
In sports like soccer or basketball, hand dominance can affect the way you want to dribble the ball. Most people feel way more comfortable with one hand or the other when they are first starting. The big difference with skiing over other sports, however, is unless you want to end up in the trees, your body will quickly learn to use both legs fairly equally to turn! And whichever leg is stronger, the process for turning and going downhill is the same with either leg—so it’s fairly easy for instructors to teach those with a different dominance than themselves!
While you may find it more comfortable stopping with one side or the other facing downhill, this won’t affect your skis too much. To alleviate this issue, many skiers do chose to rotate their skis from foot to foot throughout the season so their edges wear evenly.
Exceptions to the Rule
If you’re a ski racer, you may just be the exception to the rule! You may have a special set of skis with slightly different tips to prevent getting caught up on the gates or you may mark your skis so you can use a “training” edge and a “racing” edge. And if you have an unusual physical structure or differentiation between right/left legs you can find special skis to accommodate your ski style.
When in doubt, however, the KISS principal should apply—just keep it simple and enjoy the sport!
So get your ski on whether you’re right or left handed. The mountains will be waiting for you.
From The Slopes
We love the snow, obviously. But there's more to the mountain than just the conditions and the trails. Get the insider's scoop on what helps this industry run, from ski shops to snowboard movies, nature hikes to safety tips. Let us know what you think!