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.
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.
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.
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.”