COLUMN: Use the tails of your skis

I find that many good skiers are very good at getting forward but don’t use the tails of their skis enough.

In the last column we focused on more knees and less hips, and this week we will work on using the tails of our skis more.

Today is Valentine’s Day and remember that good skiers make for great lovers.

I find that many good skiers are very good at getting forward but don’t use the tails of their skis enough. Let’s start at the top of the turn with the pole plant as this is the first step in initiating the turn.

At the pole plant we move our hips forward and pressure the front of our boot which pressures the tip of our ski. The tip of the ski is the part of the ski that does the steering so that we can start the turn.

Then, in the middle of the turn we are edging and pressuring right through the sole of our boot and the waist of our ski which creates the bend in the ski. All of the energy that you are generating by resisting the force of gravity and the centrifugal force of the turn is stored in your flexed ski and you don’t want to waste that passion!

Next is the fun part, the release.

In order to get a fantastic release you need to let your skis go ahead (photo 1) without you for that split second and pressure the back of your boot and the tails of your skis.

If you are successful this may even cause you to explode into the air.

Now, we have to move our hips forward (photo 2) and we are back to the pole plant which you will need in order to chase those releasing skis down the hill!

If you keep this going with the right timing you will be able to turn easier which will keep you skiing longer and make your ski day that much more pleasurable.

I will give you a drill to get you in the mood. Leave your poles at the bottom of the hill and go to a simple groomer. Place your hands on your hips, get some speed and roll your skis up on edge and carve a turn until you are going across the hill.

When your turn is finished press your legs to the back of your boots and get your ski tips to come off the snow. Then move your hips forward and start the next turn. If you want to add some challenge try this with your boots loosened.

Remember that like all of our favourite activities, this takes great timing.

As you take it to the steeper terrain try to keep your upper body in the fall line and let your skis release to the side and across the hill.

Now, I suggest that you take your Valentine on a ski date and I guarantee great results!

See you on the slopes.


— 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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