2 Comments

by SkiNerd 

December 19, 2023

Speed Managment on Skis

Controlling speed is probably the single most important competency for new skiers to develop in order to stay safe, have fun and build confidence as the slopes get steeper. Many skiers even at the intermediate stage find themselves going faster and faster with each turn down the slopes. Others unintentionally speed up in one part of the turn and are forced to jam on the brakes in another.

So how do you manage speed?

The short answer:
  • To go slower - twist your skis more.
  • To go faster - twist your skis less.

It’s important to be able to manage speed through turn shape (a wedge is only useful in lift lines or on very shallow slopes). here are the primary ways to slow yourself down.

1) Spend less time in the fall line

When your skis are pointing downhill you’re going to speed up. So one option is to spend less time accelerating by shortening the vertical distance of each turn.

Turn Shape - Vertical Distance

2) Steer to completion

The most effective slowing method is to steer your skis out of the fall line through the bottom half of the turn. The more perpendicular to the fall line your skis are when you exit the turn, the more you will slow down. It’s even possible to complete a turn steering slightly uphill.

This doesn’t mean you need to traverse across the run in a wide corridor, it just means you need to create a larger steering angle by twisting or pivoting the skis more through the last part of the arc.

Turn Phases - Control
Place Skis Across The Fall Line

3) Adjust the level of ski performance

While a carved turn that creates two clean tracks in the snow will preserve momentum, drifting or skidding through a an arc will add friction to create a braking effect. Increasing the grip to a sideways drifting ski and it will slow you even more.

Steering Versatility - Carved vs Skidded Turns

Carving skis reduce braking

Skiing Symptom - Skidding

Drifting or skidding increases braking

Troubleshooting Speed Management

If you have trouble keeping your speed under control check out all the possible causes of this issue in the diagnostics tool. We call this symptom “Jet Skis.”

Skiing Symptom - Jet Skis
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About the author 

SkiNerd

I like skiing, outdoorsy stuff, artsy stuff... and hanging with my family;)

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Jerry D.
Jerry D.
4 months ago

Great information and clearly presented. Thanks!

latecomer
latecomer
4 months ago

I like this video blog of basic ski movements explained clearly and concisely.

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Science Friction - Ski Technique Diagnostics

Outsmart your ski instructor and troubleshoot your own ski technique

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