Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
I’m a speed-event skier, competing in downhill and super G. We put the skis on such a high edge, so early in the turn, that we create enormous pressures on our bodies. You can’t rely solely on muscle power to withstand these forces-you have to align your bones.
We ski from the edges up, using gravity and centrifugal forces to generate speed, and we adjust the skeleton as we go.
Here’s a full-body analysis:
See how the snow flies off both my skis? That’s because my feet are apart, my boots are at the same angle to the snow, and there’s good weight distribution between the feet and along the skis.
Even though my outside leg is long and my inside leg short, my lower-leg bones are parallel to each other.
I think about driving my inside hip into and through the turn. The outside hip lags behind, but that’s just a byproduct of an aggressive, driving inside hip.
I don’t always keep my shoulders level. At 70 mph, it’s more important to incline the whole skeleton to the inside of the turn.
Arms should flow with the body like a bird’s wings. I start with a high, loose outside arm. Later in the turn I drop it down to add more pressure to the outside ski. My torso will tilt more toward the outside ski, leveling my shoulders some.
My cheeks are puffed out: That tells you I’m remembering to breathe, which is critical for all skiers. Also, my eyes are looking way ahead. Never get caught focusing on your tips. Half the battle at high speed is being proactive, rather than reactive. When you anticipate what’s coming and stand in a strong position to deal with it, you will feel it in your bones. Have an instruction question for Stu Campbell? Email him at email@example.com.