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Downhill Skiing Tips and Tricks

Mar 14, 2008
To get the maximum thrills and enjoyment out of skiing you need to feel quite at home on your skis, to have complete control over them and your body at all times, to be able to swoop down any slope, curving gracefully into a turn at a speed that will bring the tears into your eyes, while the wind whistles past your ears, and a cloud of powder snow shoots into the air as you
execute your turn. Down, down, faster and faster, negotiating bumps which would upset the less expert.

When you reach this stage you will enjoy the thrill of feeling your skis skimming lightly over the white smooth surface of the snow, and of making smooth rhythmic turns, with your skis always under complete control.

There is possibly no greater thrill for the skier than this effortless swoop down the mountainside. The sensations and feelings you enjoy are impossible to describe: you're entirely on your own, a human being on two wooden boards defying gravity.

Position for downhill skiing

Begin by practising on gentle slopes, with a gradual change of gradient, and then yon will be able to tackle steeper slopes. Ski down the slope, at first standing upright, and then with a more and more forward flexing of the knees. There are essentially three positions for downhill running: upright, medium position, and the crouch.

The ankles, too, should be flexed, thus enabling the skier to place the weight well forward, and to achieve a more correct position. Terrain and snow conditions will decide what position is most suitable. The easier the going, and the better the chance of being able to foresee any obstacles, the deeper you can crouch down to increase your speed.

Provided the surface is hard the weight should be distributed evenly on both skis. When negotiating deep snow, one ski should be thrust a little in advance of the other, and the weight should correspondingly be transferred to the back (i.e., not the leading) ski.
Try slow comfortable speeds down a gentle slope. Keep an upright position, skis parallel, knees well flexed, hands close to the body.

As your speed increases, assume a more crouched position. Toes, knees, and face should be in a line. The inner ski should as a rule be about one foot ahead of the other.

At great speed, the top part of the body should be leaning forward, the weight should be on the front part of the skis; knees together and well flexed.
At extreme speed the weight should be placed still further forward. The body should react like a coiled spring, flexing with every bump. Arms should be pointing forwards, elbows resting on the knees, with the sticks pointing backwards.

When negotiating a dip or hollow it is no good "pressing down", as most people still believe. The result is bound to be that you will shoot into the air when you meet the bump at the other end of the depression. In order to achieve a smooth consecutive movement you must follow the terrain, skimming over the bumps with your skis always in contact with the snow. When you reach a depression, press on your skis before you reach the change of gradient. When this is reached, raise your body to counteract the force of gravity.

Negotiating bumps

As you reach the other side of the depression lower the body by bending your knees. If you practise this technique you will find that when negotiating a depression your skis will be on the snow the whole time, and you will achieve a smooth flowing movement.

You now have the skills to enjoy quite rapid downhill skiing. Have fun!
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