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A lot of skiers sink into one position and stay there: They keep their bodies stiff and stagnant thinking it will give them balance and stability on variable terrain. Not true. This kind of static skiing makes it harder to keep the skis in contact with the snow-and you need contact to maintain control and generate power. By bringing your body closer to the snow through hip and knee angulation, you’ll increase the edge-to-snow contact. The ski will dig into the snow along the entire edge, giving you both the power to resist gravity and a stable edge that won’t wash out.
A motorcycle racer uses a variation of this theme to keep his bike on line from turn to turn. By dropping his hip and knee on the inside of a turn-holding the bike tipped at a 45-degree angle-he counters the forces of gravity that want to push the bike out of the arc. Skiers can use similar hip and knee angles to keep their skis neutral and stable. If you shift your hips and knees to the inside, turn to turn, you’ll be faster, more powerful, and actually use less energy. Start on a low-angle groomer. At the beginning of the turn, push your hips into the hill, keeping your torso over your skis, forming a “C” shape with your body. With each turn, lean your hips farther into the hill until your skis wash out. Feel free to overdo it-yes, that means fall-to find the maximum angle you can create between you and the hill. Practice until you find the point where the skis carve, but your uphill boot doesn’t hit the snow. When you get to this stage, you’ve found the point of maximum edge angle and you’ll get power and rebound at the end of every turn.
Height: 6 feet 2 inches
Weight: 205 pounds
Home Area: Cannon Mountain, NH
Accomplishments: 2003 World Champion (giant slalom and combined); two-time Olympic silver medalist (combined and giant slalom); six-time World Cup race winner; 2002 Met-Rx Superstars Champion.
Worst Learning Experience: “When I was a junior racer, 13 or 14 years old, one of my coaches waited until the end of the year to disqualify me from a race. He said I missed a gate earlier in the year. This disqualification kept me out of the Junior Olympics. He also wouldn’t let me train with the other kids through the end of the year because he said I wasn’t technically good enough. It undermined everything I was doing at the time, and I wanted to quit. It was a brutal lesson in competition that taught me that to be a winner you have to rely on yourself and your own determination and not count on anyone else.”