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Stay in control of your speed on the slopes

By Kimberlee Hutcherson
SUN Columnist

Let’s face it, we have probably all, at one time or another, been out of control (and I’m talking about our speed on the snow).

Usually it’s just briefly, maybe one or two turns before we are good and back under control again, but, for some, this is a regular occurrence and can be very dangerous both for you and the person you might potentially collide with. This is where rotary skills are particularly useful.

Rotary movements are simply turning your legs and feet, which causes your skis to turn. If you are making your skis turn, then you’re using rotary movements.

However, often times people are not aware that they must actively vary the intensity and duration of the turn to slow their speed. In other words, if you are allowing the tips of your skis to stay primarily in the fall line (the fall line is the path on which a ball would roll if it were released down the slope), then you have very little resistance to gravity, therefore you will accelerate very quickly. This is no problem if you are in a situation where you feel comfortable, but, if you’re not, then more resistance to gravity is essential.

If you are on gentle terrain, you will probably not need much rotary movement. If you would like to challenge yourself on steeper terrain without losing control of your speed, you will need to actively steer your skis across the fall line and continue to steer slightly uphill until you have slowed enough that you feel in control and are ready to initiate the next turn. This movement should apply to every turn. This will allow more gravity resistance, therefore shaving off the unwanted speed. This is called finishing the turn. If done right, your turn will have a nice “C” shape to it.

Remember, the goal is to stay in control of your speed from the top of the run to the bottom. On steeper terrain you will find that you must actively and aggressively steer your skis to complete the turn.

This story was posted on January 9, 2014.