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Take It On The Shin

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The terrain at jackson hole, my home mountain, is about as far from a World Cup course as you can get: There’s barely a groomed trail, let alone a buffed, side-slipped pitch. In the spring, I ski crud all the time, so I’ve adapted my race technique to handle variable conditions.

Maintaining a balanced stance is very important when busting through spring snow at high speeds. I start by pressing my shins against the tongues of my boots at the top of the turn to affect a deeper flex in my knees and ankles (Fig. 1). This creates a lower, more athletic and agile body position, which enables me to more readily absorb terrain changes (Fig. 2). A taller, less compact body position is more vulnerable to changing conditions: You’ll inevitably lose control and get thrown into the backseat (see “wrong”).

By pressuring the boot tongues, I am also transmitting energy from my legs into my skis. Making that power transfer strong is important because skis are more stable when fully engaged in a turn (Fig. 3).

From the apex through the end of the turn, I reduce the pressure on the boot tongues slightly, just enough to move my hips forward to start the new turn.

Tommy Moe won downhill gold and super G silver at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer. He spent 11 years on the U.S. Ski Team and was a five-time U.S. National Champion. He lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.