"My coach says I'm over-turning...how do I fix that?" Try this: The straight run with turns.
If you listen to the fast ladies and gentlemen, after their Wednesday quest for greatness, moan about a less than ideal run, you'll often hear them state: "I was turning too much." To get the most from your skis — and a better time — try keeping your skis pointed straight down the hill.
It sounds odd, but your skis will turn better if you don't turn them. Keep the tips pointed toward the finish line; keep your hips pointed toward the finish line; keep everything pointed toward the finish as you roll from one set of edges to the other. Let your skis do the work. Now that the race surface has firmed up a bit, this tip is even more useful.
Instead of turning from side to side, think of your run as a straight run that moves back and forth across the hill. Get on your edges above each gate; keep your skis pointed down the hill, and let your edges pull you across the hill. Roll onto your other edges, and again let your skis pull you across the hill as you are going down the hill. Ski the entire course with your skis pointed down the hill.
This focus will do two things that recreational and serious racers find desirable. One is that you will go faster and get a better time, and, two, your edges will bite into the ice much more easily.
This strategy is best practiced initially without gates and on easy terrain. As you gain confidence, move onto steeper terrain (and in your tuck), and eventually into the race course. The straight run with turns in it may be your ticket 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.
John Macdonald is a Level III Certified PSIA Instructor and is a Race Team Coach at King Pine Ski Area. You can email questions to John at firstname.lastname@example.org.