I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love to ski fast.
I love the thrill of racing myself down the mountain, and I love exploring
steeps in the backcountry. In my years of skiing, I’ve realized that certain
factors continuously impact my maximum speed—I’ll sometimes crawl down slopes I
can usually bomb, or I add 20mph to one of my slower runs without even trying.
The ability to identify these factors will significantly improve your ability
to control your speed, so I suggest giving them a read.
Terrain—Okay, so this one if
pretty obvious. Slopes with moguls are going to be slower than groomed terrain.
The fewer turns you have to make to make it down, the faster you’ll go. If you
reach the crest of a bump, keep your hands forward and down in an attempt to
keep contact with the ground.
Side Cambers—Applying more force
on your turns will allow you to gain speed as you travel downhill.
Additionally, relieving pressure on the ‘up’ turn will soften your fight with
gravity. Really lean into your turns to gain or maintain speed.
Snow—Sometimes, the snow on the
side of the trail is quicker; it’s had less traffic throughout the day, so the
grooming is more even. Conversely, the snow in the middle of the trail may be
faster; sitting in the sun will allow the snow to melt, creating a faster and
frictionless surface. The consistency and speed of the snow will change
throughout the day, so pay attention to where you can find the sweet spots.
Trees—Not skiing in the
trees, per se—that will always be slower. If you want to practice skiing
faster, pick a slope lined with trees or netting. The shadows will allow you to
better see the terrain, allowing you to anticipate potential setbacks.
Your Equipment—This is the most
obvious on the list, but it has the more impact on your speed. Certain types of
skis are built for speed, while others are built for freestyle terrain and
tricks. As a rule of thumb, the heavier and more narrow the ski, the faster it