What is the single most important component of a ski turn?
Just like every other form of racing, the goal is to get from Point A to Point B the quickest, right? So what gets a Formula 1 driver, a Nascar driver, and a ski racer from Point A to Point B the quickest? The answer is simple, exit speed. Whichever racer can exit each turn with the most speed will reach the finish first. Of course, assuming the line is correct. Now, how does a ski racer exit a turn with as much speed as possible? Maximizing acceleration at the top of the turn. What does this mean? Once you’ve depleted the fuel for the rockets on the back of your skis, you have to start engaging and pressurizing the skis earlier in the turn. Unlike cars, skiers can only accelerate with gravity, and their muscles. The only place in a turn you can use your muscles to accelerate is after initiation where you can push into the hill and propel your body down the fall line. From there gravity can pull you through the fall line. The millisecond you pass vertical and begin coming back across the hill you are decelerating. Every bit of pressure on the ski between fall line, and initiation of the next turn is slowing you down. But, you need to get around that next gate! So now what? How do you maximize your acceleration downhill and minimize speed dump through the apex and base of the turn? Pressure control. As Mike Rogan says “Being able to use the front of the ski and stay in balance is a cornerstone to great technique and successful ski racking…”
Skiing is momentum racing, and a successful racer needs to be able to precisely control the tip of the ski to maintain as much momentum as possible.
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