There are many distinct styles and effective techniques within the slalom game, but the bottom line is you need to have a strong, leveraged pulling position to get across the course effectively. An effective way of increasing your leverage — and your ability to get across the course on an earlier line — is counter-rotation. Counter-rotating means opening your body so your hips and shoulders face down the length of the course while your ski points across the course. From the boat, the observer should be able to see both of the skier’s shoulders.
Counter-rotating your upper body allows your legs to remain soft while your hips — or center of mass — establish greater lean away from the boat. This increases pressure over the ski’s cutting edge, allowing you to hold a better line across the course.
Conversely, closing your hips and shoulders and making them face across the course with your ski will straighten your legs, placing your hips (center of mass) over the center of your ski. This will decrease your ability to hold your ski on a solid edge, which leads to shallower, faster approaches to your turns.
Here are four steps that will help you improve your slalom efficiency.
You want to begin rotating your hips and shoulders toward the outside of the turn now. Think about taking your outside shoulder back and your inside hip forward. This will ensure you’re moving with your ski, and you will continue to drift outbound.
Completing the Turn
As your ski finishes the turn, keep your head up and your eyes looking down the course. Directing your vision down the lake during this phase will prevent your upper body from rotating into the turn. As a result, you’ll remain open.
As you begin to load up the line en route to the wakes, feel even pressure through both arms. Dividing the load evenly throughout your shoulders and back will put you in a stronger position. Don’t try to load your body unevenly by twisting against one arm more than the other.
Rather than trying to increase the load, think about simply maintaining your strong body position. Increased load will only make it harder to maintain your position during your outward swing into the next turn. Your goal is to hold the line you established at the finish of the previous turn.
by Trent Finlayson and Terry Winter