What We Can Learn from Caroline Lalive


Lalive is known as a “Liner” for her ability to find the fastest line in a race course. Her current approach to technique is straightforward and uncomplicated. Her technical simplicity makes her one of the most beautiful skiers to watch. Here’s what she says about these three slalom turns.


Be patient on the new short, shaped slalom skis. It’s all about rolling them up on edge, applying pressure, then releasing it.


Here, I’m working on keeping my shoulders level.


Don’t let yourself draw a turn out too long on short skis, even though each turn feels really good.


Get off the edge and let the ski run on its base for as long as you can-that’s the way to gain momentum.


The distance between gates is getting farther in slalom. You need to wait to turn.


I wish my hands were more level here. If they were, my shoulders would be more level-a stronger position.


Here I’m reaching ahead for a pole plant, something that must be second nature in slalom. I haven’t always had good ones. My former coach, Georg Capaul, used to scream, “Here’s $5. Go buy yourself a pole plant!’


You can’t pivot or even feather the edge to start a turn on skis. Change to the new arc by rolling on edge like you mean it.


My blocking hand (the left) knocks the pole away. But I don’t let my hip follow my hand. If I did, my hip would rotate forward, and I’d lose the edge. Here I need to bring my upper body forward over my skis more. There’s much less margin for error if you’re centered over your skis.


My hands are up and ready to block again. But the emphasis is not on hitting the gate itself. The turns and the gates must fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle: You’re just moving the gate out of the way so your turn fits right.