Ditch the theoretical approach and arrive at one ball earlier than ever.
Early pullout or late, wide path or narrow, old school, new school, West Coast or East, there are a few unyielding, mathematically bound rules you need to keep in mind while analyzing your gates. So, stop beating yourself up with the small details and open your mind to the big picture. Besides, a little physics lesson never killed anyone.
Let Go of Theory
The theoretical best line (line A above) is what many skiers attempt to work toward. The trouble is, a line this aggressive is impossible to run. Furthermore, the closer you get to this line, the more your outward release will suffer. You are apt to abruptly lose your direction, resulting in excessive down-course speed and a loose line. Your goal instead should be to establish and, more importantly, maintain a line that runs approximately 45 degrees to the course (line B above).
Control Your Aggression
For many skiers, their swing through the gates is their most aggressive cut. Conversely, the gate shot should be the easiest cut of the entire pass. At this point in the pass you are skiing with the least amount of speed. Less speed equals less angle; therefore, cutting hard will only result in increased line tension and an unnecessary loss of cross-course direction during your edge change. Instead, focus on making a smooth turn-in from a point as wide as the 2, 4, 6 buoy line and maintain the path you set.
Keep It Real
Too often, skiers have an unrealistic mental picture of the slalom course’s parameters. In planning your approach through the gates, keep in mind the course is actually 55 percent longer from buoy to buoy than it is wide. Meaning, you have far more space between buoys than the theoretical best line would indicate. Therefore, set your gate shot in accordance with the true dimensions of the course and you will find yourself taking far less angle out of the turn but arriving at the buoy line earlier and more in control.