COLUMN: Focus on efficient Skiing

Three important body position factors for efficient skiing are level shoulders, parallel legs, and leg angulation.

The last column we focused on powder skiing and this week we will focus on efficient skiing.

Seriously now, do you want to get more out of your ski day? The sport of Alpine Ski Racing is working continuously using the latest technology to engineer new skis that will make a more efficient turn. As these new skis become available the coaches work continuously with the individual athletes on their technique to capitalize on the technological advances.

So, what does this have to do with you when you are basking in the alpine glow while skiing down concentrator? You can ski more efficiently which can add performance to your skiing and allow you to ski more in your day without getting tired or sore.

I will start by telling you that for the most part the new ski technology has made for simpler skiing technique. When I work with adults I find myself removing movements that were necessary with older more challenging equipment rather than adding technical movements.

Three important body position factors for efficient skiing are level shoulders, parallel legs, and leg angulation that will get your skis on edge.

Three skiing technique factors for efficient skiing are start your turn with your feet by simply putting skis on edge, get low in the middle of the turn with lots of edge, and add pressure and get tall at the end of the turn.

We often complicate things by trying to turn our skis by pushing the tails of the ski around, or by rotating the upper body. These things actually take away from what the ski is engineered to do as they cause the ski to skid rather than carve.

It would be like trying to steer your car down the Whitewater road by pulling the emergency brake when you get to a corner. I have tried this and it works but you bounce off the snow banks once in a while and it lacks the efficiency that your vehicle is designed for.

Your skis are designed to carve right from one turn to the next without any drifting, as soon as you drift you are letting go of any built up energy that was stored from the last turn. Save the skidding for when you power spray your friends when they stop to chat.

So, if you roll your skis on to edge from turn to turn and you add some energy towards the end of the turn by pushing on your outside ski and standing up tall at the pole plant then you will be skiing efficiently and getting the most out of your well-engineered skis.

I will give you a very simple drill. Stand at the top of a wide, uncrowded, moderate slope. Point your skis straight down the slope and push off. Go straight for a few meters until you have enough speed to make a turn and then simply roll both skis up on to edge and leave them on edge until they bring you in a nice arc around until you are going back up the hill and come to a stop. There should not have been any sliding during this big turn. Have a look and see if your tracks look like two pencil lines rather than one smeared track. If you see pencil lines then you are skiing efficiently.


Dylan Henderson is the head coach for the Whitewater ski team. He is a certified Development Level coach with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and a Level 1 ski instructor with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association.

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