Summer 2001   
All Techniques are possible…
so how do we choose?
  SKIING is an open-ended sport. There is just no right way to ski. No best way to ski. No one is keeping score. In a ski race the fastest skier is the best, sure, but most of us aren’t ski racers. And the vast majority of ski runs can be judged, if they must be judged, only by the personal satisfaction, the pleasure of the skier. You may have noticed: there are a lot of different ideas about ski technique out there, and a lot of different techniques. Maybe you’ve already had the experience of one instructor telling you one thing, only to have this advice contradicted the next weekend by a different instructor at a different ski school

Long-time skiers can surely remember earlier ski techniques that were once all the rage. There was the Arlberg technique, and reverse shoulder, and rotation. Some ski schools stressed something called up-unweighting to help you turn, while others made a big deal out of down-unweighting. And today unweighting is seldom even mentioned. In my new book, for example, I am going to share with you my own interpretation of the best of modern skiing, but I can’t pretend that the turns I love and teach are the only turns one can make on skis.

I’ll go even further and admit that all techniques are possible. I can make very good turns with my weight on the outside ski. But I can also make damn good turns with my weight on both skis. With enough practice, you can too. So how to chose? How to know? And how to decide what technical path you should follow on your own. personal skiing adventure?

illustrations taken from Lito's forthcoming book, Breakthrough on the New Skis.

Kim McDonald carves a pure turn on super-sidecut skis, using a graceful minimalist technique that Lito refers to as "soft weight shift. Stay tuned.…

Trust your first impressions, your reactions, your own judgment. If a new set of moves feels good, it probably is. If a new turn feels efficient and graceful, it probably is. But look for something more than merely minimal success, something more than just being able to turn without falling. I suggest that optimum technique should feel easy but also efficient, relaxed and relaxing. If one style of skiing leaves you less fatigued after a long run, there’s probably a reason. And that’s a good enough reason to stick with that style of skiing, even though another style of turning got you down the same run without crashing.

You are looking for poise and balance, for ease and efficiency. For legs that don’t feel sore at the end of a long day’s skiing. For a style of turning that gives you options and choices, that lets you turn at will, almost effortlessly, in all kinds of situations, vary the radius of each turn, and easily control your speed. I’m pretty convinced that the simple movement patterns I’m stressing in my new book will do all that and more. Take a look when Breakthrough on the New Skis appears this autumn and see what you think.

But don’t be surprised if someone says: Hey, that’s not the way. Try it my way. And why not? But make up your own mind about what works best, easiest, most naturally and gracefully. And zero in on your own home-base technique. Just because a certain move or turn or technique is possible, doesn’t mean it will help you ski better. All techniques are possible, but not all techniques will carry you to that next level. You can feel the difference. Trust your feelings.

   Summer 2001  
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© Lito Tejada-Flores unless otherwise credited.