Here's everything you need to know about a solid slalom stance — from head to toe.
While specific visuals vary from skier to skier, the basics of head positioning remain constant. As with every sport, you need to have your head as close to level as possible. This will keep you better balanced and more in tune with your quickly altering environment.
Correctly positioning your shoulders is paramount throughout each phase of your pass. Keep your shoulders relaxed and open to the boat during the acceleration phase. This will ensure you are light and balanced on your way into the wakes. By having your shoulders level and counter-rotated during the turn, you will be able to continue your forward motion as your ski arcs around the buoy.
Relaxing your arms is key. You want to eliminate the overuse of your biceps and allow your arms to fall naturally to your sides as you approach the wakes. In the turn, commit to executing a fully extended reach toward your direction of travel. Keep your free arm heavy and relaxed at the side of your body.
Your hands will take a lot of abuse as the summer wears on. A little-known secret to hand maintenance is the power of ice. Really need to squeak out one last set, but your hands have that familiar burn that precedes a bursting blister? Hold an ice cube in each hand until it melts before slipping on your gloves. It will take away the pain, improve your grip and prevent or at least delay further damage to your hands.
Flexed but firm is the best way to describe your knee position throughout the acceleration phase. Slalom requires pseudo- isometric positioning, meaning that while you are holding your position, you are not completely static. However, if you allow your knees to continually compress as you approach the wakes, you will be robbing yourself of the acceleration you are attempting to build.
Forward flexion of the ankles is fundamental through the back side of your turn. Flexing your ankles forward will allow hips to continue to move over the top of your feet as you complete the turn. This will see you finish the turn in an upright position, ready to accelerate, as opposed to finishing the turn with your hips behind your feet and your ski's tip pointing skyward in a dreadful wheelie.
Many top professionals speak of the importance of having optimum 'feel' through the bottoms of their feet. The sensations they pick up through their feet alert them to changes in speed and pressure through each phase of their pass. This means you must have comfortable, well-fitted bindings. If you are using rubber bindings, ensure they are not overly tight. If you use hard-shells, consider running a set of custom orthotic foot beds inside your liners.