Earlier this year at the SIA Snow Show, we met with Martin Breach, inventor of the SkiA Sweetspot Trainer. As we approached the booth we saw him standing, slightly crouched, in a pair of ski boots with what appeared to be a lego beneath each. As we soon came to learn, he was demonstrating the Sweetspot Trainer (and quite well).
The Sweetspot Trainer was developed with Hugh Monney, founder and Director of the British Alpine Ski School. It’s become popular with ski schools and instructors, especially in the UK. The premise is simple: you should be skiing with your balance in the center, on the sweetspot of the boot and ski; not on the heel or ball of your foot. The results? Better control in your turns, and a more relaxed and more efficient experience.
We were provided a Sweetspot Trainer to practice with and found it’s a simple device: it is a plastic base with straps to wrap around your ski boots. Once you slip it onto your existing boots you add a block (there are four sizes and difficulties: green, blue, red, black) to the bottom of the base (which will be what you balance on top of) you’re ready to practice standing on your sweetspot. While I certainly had some struggle getting the Trainer onto my boots the first couple of times, you figure it out quickly enough. Though, if you want to share with others or use it on other pairs of boots you’ll have to adjust the Trainer a bit when swapping.
The training blocks swap out easily but once you start to master one level, you’ll quickly move on to the next and ultimately arrive at (ideally) red or black. The concept is simple enough, the easier blocks are wider so they’re easier to balance on top of (like standing on a narrow railing, that goes down to the width of a few pencils).
In the few months I’ve been trying the Trainer I know I will never go from red to black, and I’m OK with that. Martin said he, too, struggles with balancing on the black block for more than a few seconds.
Train at Home
I found, while at home, we have a tall mirror which helps you see if you’re truly balanced and your stance looks right. Otherwise, a partner could watch and see how you’re doing with your hips, legs and overall posture.
I also found the Trainer is fairly quick and easy to do anywhere, any season. I have finally packed up my boots for the summer now but will consciously remember to get them down in the early fall so I can get back into balance before the season starts.
Worth mentioning, the center balance practice is something you can do with just a few minutes and will help a lot. But arguably, more advanced skiers will find most value in practicing rotations and edging while on the Trainer to feel where you should be when making turns.
As an experienced skier who hasn’t had lessons or formal instruction in many years, I could feel that the SkiA Sweetspot Trainer was helping me hone and practice good posture and balance on my center point. I’ve built bad habits and now realize I put a decent amount of weight on my toes and sometimes back on my heel. The Sweetspot is a device where I can stand, feel where my mucles and balance are, and then move onto the slopes and try to maintain that.
Rachel, as a beginner skier, tried the Trainer with Martin’s assistance at the SIA Snow Show and certainly found it to be a challenge. If you’re not balanced and not used to the stance you’ll find yourself falling back on your heels and forward on your ties. But, with more practice I think she could get into a great stance without a lot of work and lessons and advance further into having good balance (without the hassle of prior experience and bad habits like yours truly).
Build and Overall Impression
The SkiA Sweetspot Trainer is a thin but solid base with sturdy clips to ratchet the straps around your boots. It doesn’t feel super high quality but more like something you would expect a ski school to have for dozens of people to try (not too nice, not heavy, light, durable).
While the Trainer is light and portable, the shape and protruding straps make it a bit awkward in practice to carry around with me. They don’t necessarily compact nicely like a pair of cat tracks (to cover your ski boot bases). That said, they’re small and easy to keep in a closet around the house or bring up to the slopes, no problem.
After a few months I do feel like this is a device I should continue to use and break old habits while improving my stance. I definitely started to feel more effective at turns at the end of this season and I look forward to training more next.
At $72.50 for a pair, the Sweetspot Ski Trainer is certainly not a cheap piece of equipment but it’s something you could likely practice with every day for the remainder of your ski career. It’s a good way to stay sharp in the off season, feel where your balance should be, and is fairly easy to bring and use almost anywhere. With plenty of excellent testimonials and reviews, I’d recommend the SkiA Sweetspot Trainer to any skier at any level.
As always, our opinions are offered as freely as the products provided to us.