Sports

COLUMN: Ski faster than a speeding ‘bullet’

Dylan Henderson writes a ski column for the Nelson Star twice a month. -
Dylan Henderson writes a ski column for the Nelson Star twice a month.
— image credit:

I am Dylan Henderson the head coach for the Whitewater ski team. I am a certified development level coach with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and a Level 1 ski instructor with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association.

In my last column we focused on our ski day warm up, and this week we will work on our tuck!

This is your chance to learn how to be at your most aerodynamic while ripping past your buddies to get back to the lift.

This may also help get you up those dreaded hills on the way to your favourite powder stash.

Either way, the important thing is that you will be there first leaning on your poles with a big gloating grin on your face when your friends arrive.

Now, in order to be your most aerodynamic you can imagine yourself being a bullet flying through the air. The tip of the bullet is your hands, which should be in front of your face so that you are looking through them all the way to social glory. For the rest of your bullet get as small and low as possible and put your elbows out in front of your shins with your knees in your pits.

Remember to keep forward pressure on your boots as leaning back will be fast but you will not have any control.

Now you are looking fast, which is almost as important as going fast. Once we have our body in this great bullet tuck position we can work on making our skis go fast.

Start by getting out of the snow plow and point them both down the fall line!

The fastest part of our ski is the nicely waxed plastic base and not the sharpened metal edge so flatten them out so just the base is making contact with the snow.

You will know when you have your skis perfectly flat when they start to get a bit squirrely as there is no edge telling them where to go.

There, now all you have to worry about is that ski patrol chasing you and yelling something about slow zones.

Now that you have perfected your gliding tuck you can step it up by trying some tuck turns.

Erik Guay didn’t just get his 21st World Cup podium in Downhill by gliding straight down the hill the fastest.  He is also able to make incredibly dynamic turns while in a tuck position.

The key here is to roll both skis over on to edge while facing your body down the hill instead of where your skis are going.

This seems counter intuitive, and it is called countering, and it works. While doing this you can tip your outside shoulder towards your outside ski and hang on because you have just hit warp speed Mr. Sulu.

I always remind my racers to take extra caution while skiing in a tuck as it is more difficult to see the world around them. Keep your head up! Oh, and make sure that you give your buddy a good fist pump at the bottom when he finally catches up.

Visit our website,  whitewaterskiteam.ca and see you on the slopes!

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