So this week I want to start a new topic. I want to delve a little into upper body and lower body separation when slalom skiing. From here, we can break off into a number of other topics to go along. So let’s jump right in.
Body control is a key element when skiing. It allows the upper and lower body to separate when we emerge from behind the boat, and it allows the upper and lower body to work together to generate lean and angle when behind the boat.
To change edge when coming off the second wake, we must roll the ski from one side to the other. When doing this, many have a tendency to lean the whole body to one side and lead with the head to engage edge change. This is bad. When going into the pre-turn, it is important to let the legs stay strong and follow the ski outward while the upper body holds tight to the handle thus maintaining connection to the boat.
One thing that can help free the legs into the pre-turn is ensuring sufficient angle across the wakes. Once the edge change has been initiated, the hips and pelvis area are what will keep the upper body connected to the lower body while the two separate. That being said, the hips and pelvis are what we should use to engage the end of the turn. This will allow increased range of motion for the upper body to return to the handle, as well as causing the lower body rotate back inward at the knees bringing the ski around.
This is a very light and loose explanation of what is going on during separation and the importance of it. Next time, we can dive a little more into how to engage and maintain this separation as well as positioning of both body halves while doing so.
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