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Original Issue

Ski Tip

QUESTION: Although I like to schuss a moderate slope, I also like to stay in control. Why do my ski tips wander when I speed up, and why do I lose control as I hit rough terrain?

ANSWER: Your tips wander because you tend to lean back as you speed up. This takes the weight off the tips and they won't track. The solution is to use the forward lean. Initiate a definite leaning motion as you speed up (see figure at left). But don't overdo it-two or three inches of lean is enough. If you lean on the tips too hard, they will split apart. When you hit rough terrain and feel off balance, forget about fancy style. Get into the safe schuss position. Here the whole body drops until the thighs are parallel to the snow (see figure below). Stay relaxed by bouncing up and down slightly to keep your muscles loose. Help your skis to follow the terrain by pulling them up as you approach a bump and pressing them down as you leave the bump. The inherent stability of the safe schuss position allows you to run easily over rough terrain. As soon as you recover your balance, resume normal stance to complete the runout.

Smooth-slope technique in a schuss has skier bending knees slightly more than normal and leaning forward an extra inch or two from the ankles, pressing shovel of his ski more firmly into snow.

Rough-slope schussing requires safe schuss position when skier feels unsteady. Skis move a foot apart; one ski is six inches to a foot ahead of the other, arms are held forward and the body low.