In the last column we focused on using more of the tails of our skis, and this week we will work on edging more at the top of the turn.
I know that edging is a bad word at Whitewater. We have ski conditions that rival many of the local cat ski operations and when it hasn’t snowed today or yesterday, most locals will describe the conditions as “icy.”
This is not about razor sharp edges on race skis digging into Lake Louise’s water injected World Cup race run. It is about fully committing to your next turn as soon as you can so that you can ski efficiently, powerfully and with more precision both in the powder and on our firm “icy” snow.
Our skis are designed to make a perfect half circle carving turn due to the shape of the side cut combined with the camber and flex of the ski. The ski needs three things from you to do what its designers intended. Number one is speed, so that when you turn there is energy that will be turned into ski performance. Number two is weight, so put most of it on the outside ski as that is the one that will do most of the work.
Number three is that bad word again, edging. The more edge angle and the earlier you get it up on edge, the better the ski will perform.
The common mistake that we make is to try to start the turn with our skis directly under us which just points the skis down the hill and gives us that out of control sensation, followed by hitting the brakes.
In order to practice good edging at the top of the turn I suggest leaving your poles at the lodge and choosing a fairly steep groomer.
Start by getting some speed up and roll your skis on edge and let them fully complete their turn so that they are shooting across the hill with some good energy. Now, let them go as you start the next turn and put your hand down and drag it on the snow and carve the skis around until they pick you back up and repeat.
You should not be reaching down to the snow, but rather the snow should be coming up to your hand if you have your ski on edge enough and you are going fast enough. The goal is to be quick in the transition between turns so that your ski is immediately on edge at the start of the turn.
I chose this photo of our very own double Olympian Bobby Swan who races Masters on the Whitewater Ski Team and will turn 71 this year. This photo is from our January zone race at Fernie and demonstrates great edging at the top of the turn.
— 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.