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. ski racing tips : Alpine Racing - Technical Statement 4 (by SvetSki) - 08 April 2003 - 17:02

Gravity is the strongest accelerator working for the skier. For most advantageous use of gravity, the center of mass must seek the shortest path possible. When it takes a longer path, it not only travels more distance, it travels less directly down the hill. When traveling less directly down the hill gravity cannot accelerate the skier to the maximum speed desired.
During the switch (or transition) from turn to turn, the hips should not experience a drastic up or down movement, but rather a smooth projection forward and down the hill. The movement is far more lateral than vertical. This movement also helps to re-center the skier's balance forward on the skis. While the center of mass takes the shortest path from the start to the finish, the ideal curve for the skis is a slightly longer carved path, decreasing the pressure by distributing it throughout the turn. The smaller the force per unit, the less resistance will be applied between increases the frictional force, hence, ski and snow. Excessive pressure applied to a ski generally decreases the speed of the skier. It also increases the probability of skidding of the skis. The skis traveling a longer path than the center of mass can also effectively obtain a better edge angle. A skier choosing a path with a curve too sharp may cause the skis to skid, resulting in an overall slower time on the racecourse.

The pole plant should be an integral part of the athletes' technique. A concise and well-timed pole plant must be trained and competently executed at all levels. Both hands should be pushing forward and the pole plant affected from wrist movement. Arm movement should be minimized. Steeper terrain requires a firm plant, while on gentler terrain the pole plant can sometimes be limited. In slalom a solid pole plant is essential. The pole plant is timed to start the turn, and usually takes place at the initiation of the turn. In GS both the timing and the scope of the pole plant tend to change. The timing of the pole plant may be delayed slightly and the firmness may be diminished according to the particular situation.

In order to achieve the above requirements, traveling the shortest possible distance
at the highest speeds over often rough and diverse terrain skiers must have a high degree of overall fitness. More specifically, the lower body, the body core (hips, stomach, and back must be as powerful as possible. Additionally these areas must be very flexible to allow the extreme movements required for ultimate performance and injury prevention.

While great strength is required, the fastest skiers will learn to ski with a relaxed and flowing attitude. We know we want to minimize pressure and friction and maximize the effect of gravity. As important as strength is a sense of suppleness and sensitivity that allow the skis to run cleanly and quickly without creating additional pressure. 

by SvetSki 

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