integrating the science of expert performance and practice with modern ski racing
Active Transition and Line
Base Transition is the finishing and waiting to start the next turn. Active transition is much more. Active transition allows an athlete to have their upper body track an aggressive line while the skis can run a cleaner higher line.
The illustration below shows the paths of the upper body and the skis in a series of smooth linked ski turns. The skis take the longer path because the body always moves to the inside of the turns. The paths cross during the turn transition as the skis move beneath the upper body and then toward the outside of the next turn. At the same time, the body takes a more direct line down the hill.
Active transition allows athletes to project their skis and bodies into a more advantageous approach to the next gate without a loss of speed or energy.
A key concept is that an active line is not a recovery for a low line (jamming). Jamming occurs when a racer finds themselves running low or late in the completion phase of the turn. The athlete will jam their skis into the snow at the end of the completion phase creating a bounce to recover line. The jam affectively comes at the cost of energy and speed. Jamming is generally the result from prior mistakes. The skis move from the completion of the prior turn and are projected / extended into the next turn.
● Release: This is a critical component of the energy and line between turns. The athlete is coming off the edge and the direction change is made. Momentum is directed at the next gate with minimal breaking or correction
● Neutral Athletes compress in the middle of the transition pulling the skis up and projecting them towards the top of the next initiation. This allows them to transfer the skis from one side of their body to the other with minimal energy from the prior turn. The upper body continues to track the upcoming gate and fall line.
● Extension. The body is still tracking a faster direct line towards the next gate. The racer is literally in front of his or her skis. The skis are extended into the top of the turn. The extension is different from the initiation phase in that the ski has not begun to build pressure, especially in the tip of the ski. This is often the most crucial part of transition.