Drive With The Hands


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Powder Tips1. Mt. Baker, Washington, averages 647 inches annually—the most snowfall of any lift-served area in the Lower 48.

(SKI Magazine by Kirsten Clark)–To be honest, I don’t consider myself a thing of beauty in this photograph. But managing speed-preserving it or creating it-is almost never about looking good.

This picture was snapped during the World Cup giant slalom at Park City last year. I’m on the breakover, where the hill suddenly steepens. I’m coming under the gate you see here, setting up for what’s below. My eyes and hands tell it all.

I’m working hard not to lose momentum, yet I’m attentive to what’s ahead, looking for even more speed. My hands are driving forward, just as yours should be. This keeps the whole body moving ahead, in attack mode. (If you leave your hands casually at your sides you become too passive and may even sit back!)

Because my hands are driving the speed search, the rest of me works in harmony with them. My outside hip is in a strong position to deliver power through my right leg, all the way to the edge. My inside ski slightly leads my outside ski, promoting solid hips. My knees and skis are parallel. My shin bones do not form an A-frame-something we tried to do in the past. Both skis are edged the same. Deep ankle flex means I have good pressure on my ski tips.

My buddy, Lalive, says we weight both skis more or less equally on the new, short slalom skis. But in GS, super G and downhill, we still use longer skis, and because we’re traveling a lot faster, we need to concentrate more weight on the outside (downhill) ski. Even then, the inside ski still needs to continue to carve and work hard.

See how nicely my downhill ski is bending? The ski’s sidecut can really work because there’s more pressure there.