Ask The Experts: October 2002



The SKI Magazine Experts answer all your ski related questions.The Professor
My 7-year-old son has skied for three years. I’d hoped he’d be skiing parallel, but I’m having trouble teaching him to slide one ski in from his wedge to make a stem christy. Any tips?
Zachary Savas,
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Many kids with three years of experience are ready to make parallel turns by age 7. Just as many are not. Your timetable may not match your son’s. The old progression from wedge to stem christy to parallel turns is becoming obsolete because of shaped skis, which encourage skiers of all ages to shortcut directly to wide-track parallel. Your son will make that leap when he’s ready. For now, he likes the security of being able to brake at will. In time, he will find that staying on opposing edges—the inside edges of both skis—is limiting. In a stem christy, a skier edges with one ski, then with the other. That’s unnecessary these days. I would skip the stem christy altogether. Your son needs to believe he can change both edges of both skis at the same time. That’s what a parallel turn is. He keeps hearing you talk about “sliding the other ski in,” but he’s not getting it. Your intentions are great, but most kids learn poorly from their parents. It might be time to enroll your child in a ski school. I’ll bet my custom footbeds that a different approach from a pro will change things fast. On page 192, you will note that 18 of SKI’s Top 100 instructors are children’s specialists. And there are hundreds of other great ones out there. Find one. You and your son will be pleased. —The Professor
Have a question for The Professor?
Write Stu Campbell at

The Trainer
I have a new baby and don’t have time to work out. Is there one exercise I can do to prepare for skiing?
Joe Kim, Arlington, Va.

If the fitness firing squad forced me to choose one, I’d go with Walking Lunges. Stand upright with your hands on your hips. Keep your torso perpendicular to the ground and your abs tight. Lunge forward with your right foot. Keeping your right knee aligned above the ankle, drop down until your right thigh is parallel to the ground. Hold for one to two seconds, then use both legs to pull your body straight up, bringing your left foot forward until it’s next to the right foot. Repeat the exercise, alternating feet. Do three sets of 20 lunges (10 with each leg).
—The Trainer
Have a question for The Trainer?
Write Kellee Katagi at

Gear Geek
What are race-stock skis? I tried a friend’s Völkls and couldn’t get down the hill!
Brad MacPherson, Concord, N.H.

Race-stock skis aren’t for everyday uses. Völkl uses input from its top racers to design its World Cup race skis. Several pairs might be made by hand; then the mold is sent to the factory to produce a few hundred pairs. These go to elite racers, though some companies make them available. Ask your shop. Race-stock skis are built to work best at high speeds on hard snow, making turns within a narrow radius range. They’re extra stiff and have extra edge-bite. You’re better off on a versatile mass-production ski.
—The Geek
Have a question for The Gear Geek?
Write Joe Cutts at