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Rally Through Crud

Private Lessons
posted: 12/19/2002

I don't know why off-road rally driving isn't more popular in the U.S. It has all the key elements of fun: speed, big air, exotic locales. And the cars are amazing. No matter how rough the terrain, they float over rocks, troughs, and knolls while the wheels furiously work to absorb it all. It reminds me of high-speed crud skiing.

When attacking the crud, think of your core as the body of the car and your legs as the suspension. You want the body to be going in the direction of travel-no twisting or turning. And, like a suspension system, your legs should work to smooth out variable conditions, both compressing and extending to keep your core on track.

In Figure 1, I'm coming through the fall line, balanced and poised, ready to respond to the forces of this high-speed turn. In Figure 2, at the bottom of the arc, my legs are alternatively absorbing and extending against the bumps in the crud. My center is lowered and strong, my hands and core position have not changed.

In Figure 3, I've finished the direction change, and I'm starting to put more pressure on my uphill ski by relaxing the downhill one. In Figure 4, my inside leg has taken over for the next turn, but my body remains compact. I'm carrying my momentum down the fall line with my suspension system ready for changes in the snow or terrain.

Just like when driving off road, it's rarely necessary to make big corrections-a tire may grab, but you just ride through it. The same applies to ripping crud on skis: Use subtle movements and rely on momentum and compression/extension to stay on course.

Rob DesLauriers is co-author (with brother Eric) of Ski The Whole Mountain (800-815-9236), where more on this tip can be found. He also recently opened The Teton Mountain Lodge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

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