Terry's Tips – 3 Keys for Better Slalom Skiing



When you start feeling sorry for yourself for being shorter than the average on your lake, think about Mr. West Coast Style Terry Winter. Standing 5 feet, 8 inches tall, this feisty slalom specialist maximizes his technique to the fullest and knows how to get the most from his equipment. At 35 years old and still going strong with daily practice runs deep into 41 of , Winter shares three important things to think about for making things a little easier in the slalom course.–By Spencer Shultz

GET CENTERED: One thing Winter preaches time and again is that “balance on a ski is everything.” He spends a considerable amount of time in a boat, taking in the movements of skiers of varying abilities he has coached. He says every skier can be guilty of weighting the back foot too much in and out of the turns, and that there’s always room for improvement. “It’s all about keeping everything lined up over the middle of your ski,” Winter explains. “From your head, your shoulders, your hips, to your feet.” Everything should line up! Winter’s final words on getting centered: “The better you can line everything up and be balanced over the middle, the stronger you are against the boat and the more efficiently your ski will work.”

KEEP THE HANDLE LOW: Maintaining proper handle position pays huge dividends in the course. Winter’s style is defined by structurally stacked body alignment and a low anchor position with the handle. “If there’s too much space between your hips and handle, your arms are either too high or you’re pulling the handle in and your hips are shifting back,” Winter says. “Regardless, relax your arms, and use your entire body just to stand tall and hold the handle low. If you can get your hips and stomach all the way up between your elbows, it will help tremendously.” A low anchor point with the handle is most crucial during the edge change, or transition from the skier’s pulling edge to turning edge. If your elbows are getting peeled away from your body during this phase of the course, then you’re losing valuable angle of the second wake

Photo: Linda Lemons

EVEN FLOW: When everything is perfect in the course it’s divided into two zones — half acceleration and half deceleration. The skier accelerates from the finish of the turn to the center of the wakes (directly behind the boat), and from the center of the wakes out to the buoy the skier decelerates. “If everything goes as planned, when you reach the buoy you’ve slowed down enough to have a tight rope, and the ski will be easy to turn,” Winter says. “But if something went wrong and you had to pull too long past the center of the wakes, then you’ll be fast into the buoy and have slack rope.” Approach the gates the same way: Divide the pullout into two sections. “Only pull out to half the distance that you’re trying to reach on the boat. Then use that energy to stand tall and glide into a wide position on the boat (no narrower than the 2-4-6 buoy line) before you turn in for the gates,” Winter explains. “When you reach your widest point you’ll have had enough time to allow the ski to decelerate, and you’ll have support from the rope to turn in and build energy into the first wake.”