Diagnosing Mistakes in Line
While the line that you choose to run sounds simple, it’s difficult to execute correctly. Most errors are mainly due to the athletes misjudging the initiation phase of the turn. Below are some common mistakes that cause racers to get thrown off their line.
Base Line: This is the safest most consistent line. This is the foundation every athlete should be striving for.
Two Turns: This mistake occurs because the initial direction change happens too fast. If the athlete were to continue the turn in a continuous arc from where it started, they would go above or through the middle of the gate. The athlete must let off the turn by either releasing edge angle or sliding the skis. The energy is now moving straight down the fall line past the gate and the athlete must over correct and jam the turn.
Too Early: This mistake happens because the athlete starts the turn too early. The ski is rolled over and engaged, but with minimal pressure. The energy is now moving straight down the fall line past the gate and the athlete must over correct to change the direction. This results in jamming the turn. The bulk of the turn takes place in the No Man‘s Land.
Too Straight: This mistake typically happens because the athlete is pushing too much. They take a direct line to the gate. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. This racer is trying to race to this gate without looking at the course ahead. The energy is now moving in the opposite direction past the gate and the athlete must over correct to change the direction. The athlete will end up making a J-shaped turn below the gate. The bulk of the turn takes place in No Man's Land.
Too Late: This mistake occurs when the athlete’s timing is off. It forces the athlete on a longer route and completes the turn in the No Man's Land.
No Man’s Land
This is a spot below the gate and before the middle of the transition. This is where the snow gets very questionable and holes develop. Winding up the turn in this area means the athlete must deal with a less than optimal line and degraded course conditions. The athlete must react to these variables rather than planning for the line and strategy coming up. They become reactive rather proactive. If you are running late with the course in less than optimal conditions, your first goal should be to adjust your line to avoid this area.