Balancing Act: Making Time

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Balancing Act P


STEVE Racers of all kinds, Nastar competitors included, can be split into two types: First are those who ski straight at a gate, then take a round, skidded line below it. These guys are heavy on their edges, brake beneath each gate and have slow times. Those in the second category take a round line above the gate and a straighter line below it (A-Y). They complete the direction change earlier, create less pressure on their edges, and can let the skis run sooner. They have fast times.

PHIL Also, race courses have two types of turns: those that keep you close to the fall line (A-L), and those that take you way out of the fall line (M-Y). To be fast in both situations, mentally divide the width of the gate into thirds. If the course-setter asks you to stay close to the fall line, decide at what point you will start your round turn above the gate (*C) when you're aimed at the inside third of the gate's width (C-E). Complete the turn (F), run straight for a while (G), and start your new round turn well above the panel (*H), again when you're aimed for the inside third.


STEVE Turns out of the fall line are similar, but your trigger target is different. Begin a round turn well above the turning panel (*O), but as you're aimed at the outside third of the gate. Finish the turn (S), run straight (T), and start the next direction change very early (*U)¿again when you're pointing at the outside third.

PHIL Races are won with a combination of the three T's: talent and technique are the first two, but tactics are every bit as important. For racers, it's important that you study the course beforehand to determine where it will ask you to go. This allows you to plan how you will set up for each turn (A-L or M-Y). Our old U.S. Ski Team coach, Harald Schoenhaar, had very simple instructions for us. "Go fast!" was all he said. Use these targets, and you'll do just that.