Nobody’s perfect, and we all often find ourselves in a compromised position or two during a run. Next time you find yourself in the slalom doghouse, use these techniques to save your hide.
1. Slack at the buoy
Slack rope is the most common disruption of rhythm and timing skiers experience. Slack not only causes a hesitation in acceleration, it also creates a huge jolt that can pull you out of position. The key to recovery is to make sure the point of connection – when the rope hits – is as low as possible. If your arms are out when the line goes tight, you’ll most likely get pulled forward. If your arms are in and low, however, you can usually stay with the whip.
2. Breaking at the waist
The dreaded kiss-your-tip waist break leaves the ski way behind you when it’s time to accelerate, making it hard to get going. The secret to recovering from breaking at the waist is in how you drop against the line after standing back up. When you stand back up and get against the line, be sure to really open your shoulders. This will get the ski out in front of you quicker and easier, giving you a better chance of powering up for speed.
3. Separation after the centerline
A quick and abrupt separation after the centerline causes a huge loss of angle right before the reach. This leaves your upper body falling to the inside of the turn, and you’ll come up narrow at the ball. As a result, you’ll have to ski past the ball before the apex of the turn. In this scenario, the rope is usually tight, so to salvage the pass move your lower body back in and under the rope as quickly as possible. This helps you get support from the line as soon as possible.
4. Late and fast into the ball
Coming into the ball late and fast can be intimidating, especially in a tail wind. Remember to feed the rope slowly and control the reach. The extra speed won’t hurt you as long as you keep the rope tight. If you throw the handle out to turn the ski in panic mode, the rope will go loose and you’ll have to wait for the boat to advance farther down course until the rope goes tight again.
5. Changing tempo through a pass
When you get late or make a mistake, your skiing tempo speeds up as you try to catch up and stay in the game. The ability to change tempo in the course is what allows us to make mistakes early in the pass and still finish with control. Once you’re back on track, try to slow your pace and work on the technique you’re trying to perfect.