Blowing Myths on Speed Control


Ask almost any skier how they control speed or slow down and 99.9% of responses would be ‘turn’.

Now get ready to change that concept completely and finally give yourself more control than ever over your skiing speed.

Let’s take some other forms of transport and their methods of controlling speed. You don’t turn a car to slow down. You don’t turn a bicycle to slow down. You have brakes. Imagine having the same kind of control on your skis as you do in your car or on your bike. Well, the good news is you can.

Let’s look at what actually happens when you turn on skis and compare this to the brakes on your car. When you turn, the edges of your skis travel sideways across the snow. You create a scraping action between your edges and the snow. The same scraping action that is created between the brake pads of your car and the disks. It’s this ‘scraping’ action between the two surfaces that controls your speed. Brake pads and disks, ski edges and snow.

If you can accurately control how much snow you scrape with your edges then you can control your speed in any situation. Go faster and slower at will. We’ve termed this scraping action, ‘snow displacement’.

To get really good at this, start by turning your skis as normal and then push your ski edges sideways to displace some snow. Pretty simple – you’ll see the snow move and spray out.

Then use your edges to displace snow half way around your turn. Again pretty simple – you’ll see the snow move and spray out.

Then use your edges to displace snow before you begin turning. Now that’s pretty cool. You have learnt that the important aspect of speed control is displacing snow with your edges. ‘Turning’ is a consequence of this.

You now have to learn to control the ‘amount’ of snow you displace. Displace more snow you go slower, displace less snow you go faster. Exactly the same principle as using the brakes of your car. Push the brake pedal harder you go slower, let the brake pedal off you go faster.

You now have BRAKES that work. You can go faster and slower at will.

The main difference between your brakes and that of a car is one of the surfaces (snow) keeps changing – sometimes soft, sometimes hard, sometimes deep, sometimes a different shape and aspect.

We’ll look at ‘speed control’ in all the variables in other blogs, coming soon.

Our most popular course, All-Terrain, is an ideal way to learn and perfect the art of snow displacement and speed control. All-Terrain courses are run in the autumn and winter at UK snowdomes, Tignes, Three Valleys and Hintertux. Click for details.