Masters racer, coach and top FIS skier Nate
Schwing shows early edge pressure on the
new downhill ski and perfect balance.
Schwing combines early edge
pressure with good ankle flexion
on both boots.
BOB SKINNER/BILL SKINNER
with the outside hand and push the inside knee into the hill.” Once the racer is balanced
and comfortable at the top of the turn, another of Skinner’s drills involves reaching down
and touching the inside hand to the snow early in the turn.
Greg Timm recommends freeskiing in long, C- shaped turns that come across the
fall line cleanly. This provides an effective simulation of a GS turn and helps build leg
strength. “A more complete turn-shape requires more angles — leg, hip — to hold these
technically correct positions,” says Timm. As masters move onto steeper terrain, Timm
also reminds racers to ski more dynamically, using a full range of flexion and extension
through the turn shape.
Level shoulders and hips through transition to the next turn
Call it “angulation” or “upper/lower body separation” — all that speed generated at the
top of the turn will go for naught if the body mass is not pressuring the skis at the end
of the turn. Doug Tucker says this squaring of the shoulders and hips at the end of the
turn as the most important technical component.
It sounds easy, but coaches point out that many racers don’t realize when they are
banking into the hill and skidding the end of their turns. Freeskiing while holding ski
poles parallel to the shoulders with arms extended gives a good visual cue to what the
upper body is doing. Or, the “Heisman” drill also creates a good representation of what
upper/lower body separation actually feels like. This drill has racers striking the classic
Heisman pose at each turn with the downhill hand pressing into the downhill hip to create angulation. Meanwhile the uphill hand is extended out to imitate a football stiff-arm,
which also enhances angulation.
Getting one step ahead
Even in the absence of gates or coaching, racers can do a lot to work on technique, conditioning and even tactics. All the coaches recommend that you limit your focus to one
element at a time; and move from slow to fast and from flat to steeps. Visualize points
on the snow to imitate gates, think about bringing the line up the hill, and then get early
edge pressure with good balance and solid ankle pressure on the front of the boots. As
Kerr says, “If the skier can get this pattern practiced and engrained into their skiing, then
they will be one step ahead of the competition.”
— With contributions from Doug Tucker, Killington; Bill Skinner, Park City; Pierre Jean-girard, Mammoth Mountain; Matt Kerr, Michel Pratte Camps; Knut Olberg, Snoqualmie;
and Greg Timm, Mount Bachelor
Schwing creates maximum angles at
the conclusion of the turn with good
upper/lower body separation.
With parallel shins and early edge
pressure, Donna France lays down
two perfectly symmetrical tracks in