By John Macdonald
According to the 1880s slang guide, tubular was an adjective used to express coolness when the word cool wasn’t quite adequate. To make your skiing cooler than cool, make all your turns, like, totally circular dude. As the cavemen and women who taught Cro-Magnon ski lessons used to say: “ Z turns bad…S turns good. Ug!”
Somewhere between the laws of physics and modern ski design, all your ski turns need to be round: short turns-round, medium radius turns-round, long radius turns…still round. Seeing the pattern? Any time your momentum is going one way, and you want it to go in a new direction, round turn shape is the turn shape of choice.
Oddly (or not), ski racers are faster, powder skiers are happier, and Spring skiers are far less exhausted by Noon when the tracks left behind are round. So why don’t all skiers make round turns all the time? Because many skiers use the “hockey stop- brakes” turn entry to control speed. This “Z turn” strategy works poorly on ice, and is exhausting in all but clean frozen groomer conditions.
Allow your round turn shape to control your speed…carve some shape (round) into the top of your turns, and finish your turns climbing out of the fall line. Experiment with letting your round turn shape manage your speed, and don’t be afraid to carve into the fall line. You’ll be carving out of it as well and keeping your speed under control.
So, to make your personal skiing and racing, like, totally tubular, dudes and dudettes, like, make your turn shape, like, totally circular. Your old “grody to the max” Z turns will give way to totally awesome S turns and your be arcing your way to greatness.
Remember, best advice of all, take a lesson or attend a race clinic. You’ll have a great time and improve your time.