SKI TIPS: Perfecting your transition

Whitewater Ski Team coach Dylan Henderson writes about the best way to switch between turns.

Former Olympian Bobby Swan, 74, is a Masters racer with the Whitewater Ski Team. Swan has a great transition and has just pole planted below the tail of his ski showing great body separation. He is centred and balanced, and he is moving to his new outside ski at the top of the turn.

Former Olympian Bobby Swan, 74, is a Masters racer with the Whitewater Ski Team. Swan has a great transition and has just pole planted below the tail of his ski showing great body separation. He is centred and balanced, and he is moving to his new outside ski at the top of the turn.

The last column we focused on pressuring the outside ski and this week we will focus on the transition.

In order to make a perfect turn you need to have a great transition or “switch” between your turns. The transition is that split second where time stops while you plant your pole, find your balance, get off your old outside ski and put the pressure your new outside ski. If you don’t take this moment to reorganize yourself, you will be starting your new turn with all the leftover baggage from your last turn. So instead start fresh, steal a moment and set yourself up for success!

Here are three steps to a great transition:

The first step is to have a full turn shape. Make a complete turn that has a defined beginning and end while leaving nice round clean “S” tracks in your wake.

The second step is to have a solid pole plant. Use your arm and shoulder, not just the wrist unless your goal is to look pretty on the green runs. The pole plant is your queue to move the hips forward in order to rebalance and ensure that you are on the balls of your feet for the start of the new turn. As the terrain gets steeper you will need to aim your pole plant further toward the tail of your ski. This will help with upper body separation and will also help to get the skis out from under you and on edge.

The third step in the transition is to transfer weight from your old outside or downhill ski to your new outside ski. Start with outside ski pressure at the very top of the turn when this ski is actually above you and maintain the pressure through the entire arc of your turn.

Now, put some perfect turns between these transitions and you will be ready to impress your friends on Spring Break!

Dylan Henderson is the head coach of the Whitewater Ski Team. He is a certified Development Level coach with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and a Level 1 ski instructor with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association.

Nelson Star

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