In my last column we focused on our tuck, and this week we will work on looking ahead and anticipating our next move!
Do you find that you get where you are in life by pure chance or are you an active participant in creating your destiny?
If you are the former then I am happy for you, but if you are the latter, like me then you have to lift your head up once in a while to choose your path.
While skiing we are constantly faced with changing terrain, snow quality, and light conditions all while travelling at high speed down the hill around trees and other obstacles.
How do we do this? We look down the hill in the direction that we are headed.
Sounds simple but we can all use a bit of a tune up in this department.
In ski racing we coach that a racer should be looking three gates ahead in order to choose a line that is both fast and smart so that they are creating speed while anticipating changes in rhythm and terrain.
Do you look three turns down the hill? Next time you are on the hill think about this. When I am analyzing a skier I look at their goggles and see where they are facing.
The most common error is that we look down at our ski tips. Chin up! Your feet are really smart and know what to do so let them do it and then you can focus on working the terrain to the best of your ability.
In steep terrain you are planting your next pole as soon as you are finished with the last which gives you some extra balance and they also work as sensory antennae.
The other common mistake is looking back and forth across the hill rather than down the fall line.
Whether we are hard charging free riders or super keen young powder puppies we all end up at the bottom of the mountain so that is where you should be looking.
As soon as you start looking across the hill between turns your whole body will face that way and you will lose your flow dude. Ideally it is just your skis that go back and forth across the hill while your body just goes straight down the fall line.
The more you look ahead the more you will commit to the fall line, the more rhythm you will have, and the more swing in your hips as you rock your way down your favourite run.
For a drill, try letting your ski partner get three turns ahead of you and focus your eyes on them as you follow them down the hill at the same pace.
Oh, and did I mention to look between the trees instead of at the trees?
Where you look is going to determine your ultimate destiny!
See you on the slopes!
Check us out on Facebook! Whitewater Ski Team or visit the website at whitewaterskiteam.ca.
— 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.