What do arms have to do with great slalom skiing? The best skiers in the world don't have hulking arms. Most, in fact, have wiry builds. But the position of the arms around turns and across wakes is what makes the best skiers the best.
At first glance, you might think this looks like your own skiing position. Look more closely, though, and you'll probably notice some subtle if not dramatic differences.
Check out the upper body of Wade Cox (pictured) in particular. His arms, shoulders and back appear to be relaxed while his lower body is doing most of the work, just as it should. You know where the work distribution center is for slalom? In this case it's the hands, which are low and close to the body.
Look at Wade's arm farthest from the boat. This is where most of the pressure from the pull is being absorbed. Most of us allow our arm closest to the boat to take on that pressure. When we feel tremendous strain on our arms, shoulders and back, it's because the pressure is going through the wrong arm. We work way too hard and still get pulled back toward the boat.
Next time out, pull with your back arm and guide with equal pressure in both hands. You'll not only ski better, you'll also spread out the workload over your body.
To ski and train with slalom instructional editor Chet Raley of HO Sports and MasterCraft in West Palm Beach, Florida, call 561-965-2939.