All-star Jamie Beauschesne’s slalom theory is “speed equals angle,” and his new-school style exemplifies his blazing speed across course and through the turns. We’ve asked the master of speed to break down his thought process on his offside turn to help the skiing masses.
Carry the Speed
The ultimate goal in slalom is not only to carry enough speed to get out to the buoy, but to carry the speed until both hands get back on the handle. The faster I’m traveling, the easier my job.
For me, the apex of the turn is when I’m at full extension with my reach. I think about pushing my right (leading) shoulder and my right hip forward to get my reaching hand, leading shoulder and back shoulder in a perfect line. This allows my hips to be inside my ski’s arc or path.
My level shoulder position, palm-up reach and upright head help maintain balance.
I’m simply trying to stay balanced over my ski and let it arc naturally. I do not try to push or rotate.
Letting my outside arm drop down increases my angulation, especially in my hips, which helps create a tighter arc.
Point of the Turn
This is the most crucial point of the turn. This is where centrifugal force is trying to push/pull the hips (center of mass) outside the ski’s arc/path. If we have sufficient speed at this point of the turn, life is good. If not, we’ll lose balance, fall back and start rotating with the upper body.
I look at what’s coming from the corners of my eyes instead of turning my head. Once we look across the ski’s tip, we lose our hips!
It looks like I’m pulling the handle in, but I’m actually moving toward the handle with my lower body.
My palm is still up, shoulders are still level, and the ski is arcing because I’m carrying enough speed.
When both hands are back on the handle, I slowly start to rotate my head across course.
I’m not trying to be compressed with my knees, but I’m trying to maintain angulation with my hips and knees. If we try to have too much knee bend, we will not be able to absorb the rebounding ski through the wakes, and our edge change will suffer. Notice my hips are still moving to the inside of my ski’s path.
If you’re breaking at the waist …
Keep your upper body still. Every action you have with your upper body is going to have a reaction with your lower body.
Allow your free hand to drop down; this will keep your reaching shoulder up. As soon as you release from the handle, pretend your free hand is hooked to a 50-pound weight.
Keep up your speed off the second wake and into the turn. If you don’t have enough speed at the apex, your reaching shoulder will drop down and your hips will rotate too early.