Whitewater Ski Team’s Peyton Wilkinson first puts weight on his outside ski in order to bend the ski and create pressure through the turn before releasing the stored energy and “pole planting” with a clap. Photo submitted

SKI TIPS: Outside pressure leads to better turns

Whitewater Ski Team coach Dylan Henderson shows a trick to better turning

By Dylan Henderson

The Whitewater Ski Team coaches are trained to use the four C’s to achieve success — connection, confidence, character and competence.

We first need to develop a connection and trust our teachers before we can begin to work on skill development.

As your teacher, my goal is to help you ski with more confidence, power and efficiency.

The skill that we will focus on is creating more outside ski pressure. This skill separates the expert skier from the intermediate, and can take you from a blue square to a black diamond.

Sliding and turning is what skiing is all about, and all skis are designed to turn by bending and carving, even the reverse camber super fat powder boards.

Carving is turning without sliding sideways, like turning around a corner in your car without doing a burnout.

To carve a turn we need to combine rolling the ski over on its edge and adding weight while moving down the hill.

The more edge angle, weight and speed we have, the more pressure is generated, causing the ski to bend and store this energy.

You can use this stored energy as the ski releases at the end of the turn to send your skis across the hill into the next turn. With this drill you will build the pressure slowly so that you can gain confidence and use the energy that you create rather than having the pressure send you off balance.

Leave your poles at the bottom and head to an easy run. The objective of this drill is to have you carve from one turn to the next with nearly all your weight on the outside ski. Put both hands on your outside leg and add some weight through the ball of your foot to your outside ski.

At the transition between turns you can “pole plant” by bringing your hands out in front of you or above your head and clap. Then start your second turn with hands on the outside leg and repeat.

Try to do this with a rhythm that is to the beat of the natural bend and release of your outside ski.

Let your feet set the rhythm and follow with your hands. You will need to turn according to the engineered radius of the ski that you are using.

If you skid your tails around the turn (burnout!) then you are not bending the ski and therefore, it will not store any energy.

Once you have a good rhythm going, you can add more speed and put your skis further up on edge, which will create more pressure and the skis will store and release more energy. The more energy you can effectively manage, the better you will ski.

Dylan Henderson is the head coach of 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. Henderson was also named 2017’s top ski coach by B.C. Alpine.

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