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Fast downhill turns

Fri, Jan  14, 2011 - By Holly Brooks

Nice article from SkiPost's newsletter...

No matter how much I bank it, my downhill ski want to jump out of the track. I don't see top level racers having this problem. They must know a secret technique. What is the answer?

Thanks R,

 

Dear R, 

Thanks for the question, it's a good one! First and foremost, you should evaluate each corner and decide whether staying in the track is a good option in the first place.  Many times, classic tracks will follow the outside of a turn in which case, it's advantageous to step out of the track going into the corner, follow the "best line" (think shortest distance from point A to point B) and then step back into the track.  

If a classic track follows the best line and you decide that you want to remain in the track through the corner there are surely some tricks that can help you do so.  The advantages of staying in a best line track are two-fold.  First, it can be more restful to stay in a track to catch your breath than using a step turn cornering technique.  Second, if you are in a mass start situation or skiing with a group of skiers and step out of the track, it might be hard to get back in and consequently, you could be giving up your position in a good train.

I know there is more than one way to do this but some of my tricks include: 

  • Babikov on a downhill cornerUse your hands, poles & shoulders like a steering wheel and point them in the direction you would like to go.
  • Offset your hands with the rest of your body weight, mainly your trunk.  To picture this, envision lining your body weight towards the direction you would like to go; often your skis will follow your body mass. Example: For a left hand turn, lean left and angle your hips slightly right. 
  • Keep weight on both skis but apply more pressure to the outside ski to assist in "carving" the turn.  (Compare this to the mechanics of a parallel turn - un-weight the inside, apply pressure to the outside.)
  • Lean to the inside of the corner - this may mean that you will be on the inside edge of your skis.

Last but not least, be confident in your abilities!  I've seen many people who think they aren't going to make it and bail (out of the track) whereas if they just stuck with it, they would have made it! My advice is to find a cornering classic track on a day where the snow is light and fluffy. That way, if you fall, it's no big deal! 

Thanks again for the question and good luck with your season! 

Sincerely, 

Holly Brooks -Team APU
2010 Winter Olympian
2011 National Champion
2011 World Championship Team Member
Salomon Complete/Swix Athlete