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Be Patient, Ride the Arc

Private Lessons
posted: 01/24/2003

When there's no powder in sight, ripping fast turns on corduroy groomers is the next best thing. On these heavy-throttle days, I have found that being patient when linking turns helps with the consistency of my arcs.

High-speed, long-radius turns require a more passive strategy than quick slalom turns. At the bottom of a long, fast ripper, I concentrate on slowly unloading my downhill ski, staying in a bent-leg, athletic stance (Fig. 2). When my skis release and are flat on the snow in between turns, I shift the majority of my weight to the uphill ski, but I don't stand up (Fig. 3). Staying compressed helps maintain the momentum of the turn. I use this energy, rather than an exaggerated up-and-down motion, to pressure the ski for another arc.

To initiate the new turn, I move my body in a fluid, even motion forward over the new downhill ski, driving ahead with my arms. I simply weight the ski and feel the edge engage. Remember to be patient here as well as in the apex of the turn: Let the sidecut and camber of the ski create a round, smooth arc.

As you become familiar with the positioning of your hips in the turn and between turns, the smoothness and consistency of your arcs will (no doubt) improve.

Eric DesLauriers is coauthor (with brother Rob) of Ski the Whole Mountain (800-815-9236, allmountainskipros.com). He is based in Sugar Bowl, California.

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