Autumn 2003   



cheat sheet
a dozen key hints to remember at the start of a new season

(I adapted these handy reminders from the short summary points at the end of the first two chapters of my book, Breakthrough on the New Skis. Useful and very basic points to keep in mind during your first days back out on skis)

Modern skis will perform 90 percent of the work of turning for us. This built-in turning action comes from the curved sides (or sidecut) of our skis. In recent years ski manufacturers have learned how to exaggerate this sidecut, with revolutionary results.

Two different but complementary modes of turning are built into our skis: The wide tip creates a skidded or slipped turning action, while the narrow waist of the ski allows the ski to bend into an arc and carve. Carving and slipping are often blended in the same turn.

Very round turns, whether carved or slipped, are the secret of efficient speed control without fatigue. Expert speed control is not the result of turning harder but of turning farther around the arc.

It’s a widespread misconception that we need to edge modern super-sidecut skis more than classical skis. The opposite is true. Our new skis will carve the same radius turn with less edging than older skis—although it’s also true that our skis are always on edge when we turn.

The expert skier’s role is to guide and coordinate the skis’ own built-in tendency to turn. Skilled skiers do this by shifting all their weight to the outside ski and balancing over that ski through the whole arc of the turn. (There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, but they are, literally, the exceptions that confirm the rule.)

Expert skiing depends on a balanced stance, and balance begins with the feet. Foot awareness, foot comfort, and foot alignment is crucial. Most skiers need specialized boot alignment to achieve a stance that allows easy balance over one foot, one ski, at a time.

Balance with your hands; ski with your feet. To aid balance, spread your arms laterally and keep your hands ahead of your hips.

Weight shift is more than a momentary action. Move onto your new ski and stay there through the whole turn.

Moving onto the outside ski or getting off the inside ski of the turn — six of one, half a dozen of the other. But it’s usually more effective to focus on the inside, or light, foot of each turn.

Your first days back on skis, focus on one-footed balance as you make lots of long-radius turns. Short turns are often an invitation to overtwisting one’s skis.

Don’t neglect traversing and sideslipping—unglamorous but crucial techniques. Traversing, with weight on your downhill ski, reinforces your expert skier’s stance. Sideslipping develops relaxation on skis.

Narrow your stance. Despite what many instructors will tell you, a wide stance is a recipe for disaster. Train your light, or free, foot to narrow the distance between your skis, but never jam your two skis tightly together. Independent foot and ski

 Autumn 2003  
photo at top:
cruising: welcoming a new season with long radius turns
photo © Linde Waidhofer
All contents of this web site
© Lito Tejada-Flores unless otherwise credited.