by Ian Lipton
Expert Skiers can ski with a higher edge angle than intermediate skiers.
What do expert skiers do differently?
Expert Skiers have nearly PERFECT EDGE SIMILARITY.
They roll each ski from edge to edge in perfect unison.
This skill is challenging for intermediate skiers to execute consistently.
Intermediate skiers will “sometimes” brace their outside ski with the inside ski in a slight wedge. (At any given edge angle, experts have nearly perfect edge similarity).
NOTE: Racers will often sacrifice perfect edge similarity for a more dynamic turn and Speed; sometimes even relying on the inside ski to provide stability.
TURN INITIATION: How skiers feet move in the initial phase of the turn.
Intermediate skiers struggle to roll the inside ski on edge at the start of the turn, relying on the outside ski to do the work to start the turn, the inside ski is left to “catch up”.
Expert skiers roll their ankles in unison. They manage edge angle of the inside ski better.
PROBLEM: Sequential edge initiation causes a slow and incomplete move into the turn. Athlete is late.
REMEDY: Allow the INSIDE ski to decide how much edge angle you
achieve during the Initiation of the turn. Want a higher edge angle, tip
the inside ski on to the little edge more.
Don’t rely on the outside ski to carry the turn. You may require more speed. Move the pelvis down, NOT INSIDE the turn, dropping it drives the edge angle, manages pressure using body weight, not muscle. This move of the pelvis and inside hip down with the help of gravity, decreases “bracing” against the ski and increases angulation.
INDOOR MOVEMENT AND BALANCE EXERCISE: Balanced athletic position, extend inside Arm, hand against the wall, allow the pelvis to drop in a downward movement.
This move will simulate a “measured increase” in ski edge angle and simulates bending the ski. Avoid a push or extension of the outside leg, this counterproductive movement pushes the pelvis inside reducing the athletes ability to engage more or less of the desired edge engagement and increase the likelihood of an A frame in the turning phase.
A more even managed pressure throughout the turn results in less resistance and friction and more gliding to take place.
Turn Completion is the point in the turn when pressure has the effect of causing greatest friction.
Retraction by the leg joints as the racer remains in a functional athletic posture will diminish edge pressure and permit the skis to glide on (4) edges between the finish of the previous turn and the new turn.
This “GAP” between turns not only enhances gliding and increases speed, it allows for a change in the radius (”arc”) of the turn toward the athlete’s next gate.
Carving is a method of turning in SKI RACING that is grossly inferior to Steering in terms of speed control and turn shape options.
Ian Lipton is a Race Coach for the Camelback Ski Team. His son, Eric,has served multiple terms on the National Ski Team.