Ski Faster! 7 Tips Guaranteed to Make You a Better Race

Apply forward pressure

All modern skis need to engage the tip at the top of each turn to start the ski carving and to prevent chatter. If you slam all your weight into the middle of the ski, your edges may bite briefly but you won’t be fast.

Drive pressure onto the tip of your outside (downhill) ski by flexing hard at the ankle against the inside corner of your ski boot tongue. After you feel the tip engage, then allow pressure to build under your foot.

Bill McCollom of Bethel, Vermont, speeds down a giant slalom at the U.S. Alpine Masters Championships. Masters races, for adults age 18+, take place at many ski areas in Vermont and the United States throughout the winter. Photo by Jack Ballard.

Keep your hands forward

Another common mistake is dropping the hand closest to the gate as you pass by, or worse, dropping both hands. The former causes pressure to leave the downhill ski. The latter causes your shins to lose contact with your boot tongues. The result in both cases is a slow skidding ski.

Fast racers keep their hands forward, and if they get thrown off their line, they drive their hands forward to regain their balance. Be aware of the “zombie position,” holding your arms stiffly forward. The fastest ski racers appear fluid and agile. Likewise, avoid steering with your hands around each turn, which releases the pressure from the downhill ski.

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