How to beat your mates down the mountain

You’re on the chairlift when someone yells, “Last one down buys the beers”. Time to see who’s the fastest. Game on!

It starts with the chairlift dismount. Don’t wait. Shuffle right to the front of the seat, pole straps on, goggles down. As soon as your skis make contact with the snow, get moving by using the chairlift to push off. Get this right and you’ve got five or 10 meters before your buddies even know what’s going on.

Now it’s time to capitalise on your advantage. Show no mercy. Skate round the top station and hit the piste so that you are hauling ass. Pick your line and go for the space. Avoid other people; they can be unpredictable so give the public a wide berth.

The fastest way from one point to another is the most direct route, but on the mountain you might have to make adjustments for the terrain. Keep looking as far ahead as possible and favour steep terrain in order to generate more speed. Gun the skis to where you want to go and try to keep them flat. Avoid bumpy or cut up snow so you can increase your contact time with the ground. Stay off the edges as they will only slow you down. If turns are required, try to minimise any pressure after the fall-line.

"The fastest way from one point to another is the most direct route, but on the mountain you might have to make adjustments for the terrain" |Photo Courtsey of Rossignol

“The fastest way from one point to another is the most direct route, but on the mountain you might have to make adjustments for the terrain” |Photo Courtsey of Rossignol

Once you’ve picked the meanest line that you’re willing to take it’s all about commitment. Most of the time it’s mind over matter; it’s believing that you can do it. Keep your hands, body and mind driving forwards, embracing the speed to give you the best control over your skis. It will also feel safer, despite the extra speed. You will need to be brave though and you can’t be brave unless you’re just a little bit scared.

Terrain changes will require some tactics. If you’re on the steep and heading towards the flat then you’re going to have to be brave and try to take as much speed with you as you dare. This is where you need to grab the bull. That’s what racers call the tuck position (bullet).

Compress your chest down against your thighs while dropping your bum into a squat, make sure your elbows are in front of your knees and keep your hands up by your face. If you’ve got this dialled then you should be able to bend and straighten your knees with your back still parallel to the ground. This allows you to keep absorbing any bumps while staying small and aero-dynamic.

Going into the flats it is important to keep the speed going. Overturning or letting the skis drift here will cost you! Get this right and you’ll be jetting along like a rocket. If there’s a camber on the slopes then opt for the low line, keep your speed as long as you can – once it’s gone it won’t come back.

If there’s a jump or drop on your chosen route then avoid airtime and try to ‘pump’ the jump to keep momentum. This means pushing your legs down and dipping your body forwards into the drop. When your legs are starting to burn, keep loose but keep going!

As you arrive at the finish, flick your ski off and catch it deftly in one hand (this might require some practice) and make sure that you are standing there ready to hit the bar before your mates have even stopped. Just because you can.  FL

Fall-Line Skiing |
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