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Ask the Professor, Get Centered

Fall Line
posted: 11/19/1999

Dear Prof,I am an intermediate who skis on shaped skis. I have no trouble getting my skis on edge and making solid turns on groomed terrain, but when I try to pick up the pace on steeper terrain, I find that I pin my feet together. This often causes my tips to cross. Also, my downhill ski always seems to track at an angle my inside ski can't get away from.
Allen Hoskyn
sent via e-mail

Your self-diagnosis is thorough, but you're describing symptoms rather than identifying the disease. Your ailment is as universal as the common cold: You're sitting back, and you can't make effective quick turns from the back seat. The fact that your skis cross is a dead giveaway. If you are behind your skis, your downhill ski will track out and want to run straight. And, as you've noticed, pinning your feet together to pick up the pace of your turns won't work.

The first order of business is to find balance over the ski's sweet spot. The sweet spot is located between your heel and your arch. This will place pressure over the narrowest portion of the ski¿its "waist." If you let it, your boot will tell you exactly where to stand. Relax your ankles so that you feel even pressure against your lower leg all around the boot cuff. If you put undue pressure on any part of the boot¿crushing it forward or levering it backward¿ you will throw yourself off balance.

Ski in this relaxed, centered stance, and you will be amazed at what your shaped skis will do for you. Because you already have no trouble getting on edge, you will begin to scribe round, controlled, predictable arcs in the snow. You can tighten and quicken your turns by edging even more with your outside leg. To accomplish that you may simply have to move your inside leg out of the way¿in the direction of the turn.

Have a question for The Professor? WriteStu Campbell at: scampbell@skinet.com

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