How to find your perfect line in the gates

Have you ever got to the finish line of a race course knowing you could have skied a faster line? I think that 99% of us would say absolutely!

Everyone has a different fastest line individual to them, for example Ted Ligety will have a very different line from the more direct Marcel Hirscher. The line of a racer can be determined by the skiers strength, technique, confidence, ski length/radius, inspection, snow conditions, weather conditions, terrain, rut line, set and more.

As you can see there are a lot of factors that contribute to picking your fastest line and we should acknowledge all of these factors in our course inspection.

– – Control the controllable’s – –

The quality of our course inspection is within our control meaning theres a lot of things we can do to achieve a more valuable inspection.

6 Top Tips when inspecting

  • Look up! – Look two or three gates ahead. This helps keep ahead of the course and is especially important in rhythm changes
  • Terrain changes – Don’t just look at the position of the gate but assess the terrain and visualize how you will manage your body position to get the most out of the terrain
  • Hike back up – This is especially important on blind gates hidden by the terrain. Take a look at what is over the noel and then hike back up to pick the line and aim you want to take. You can also pick a focus point to aim at when coming over the noel to help ensure you have the correct line.
  • Take your time – Ensure you have the line you want dialled and you know the course the best you can within the given inspection time
  • Talk with your coach- take the time to discuss and ask any questions you might have with your coach and get a second opinion. Remember you may have missed something your coach hasnt
  • Visualization and memorization – Try to stop every few gates to visualize yourself skiing the course. Make the visualization as real as possible. If you have bib 150 and it’s spring snow, Imagine the rut line and how you will have to adapt your line to meet the snow conditions. Count each corridor, rhythm change, combination Etc. Also include the start and finish in your visualization, from hearing the start marshal count you down to how you place your poles in the start gate all the way until you stop after the finish line.

Some of these tips may not be for you, so try to experiment in training with different Inspection tactics to see what suites you. You will know when you get it right as your first runs will start to improve. Some people like the longer Hermann Maier inspection and some may prefer the faster Bode Miller inspection.

When skiing the course try to look ahead to help time the initiation of the turn perfectly to have one fluid turn, manage the edge angle, forces and pressure, prevent skidding and keep on line. I also encourage you to challenge yourself in training and vary your timing of the initiation of the turn. It may feel odd and unnatural but try to remember this is what training is for.

Remember trying new things is when the most growth and improvements will happen

There are also many technical factors that go into reaching the perfect line which will be very individual to you. I hope that you can find some use in the tactical points listed above and try to apply some of these things into your training or race day. Experiment in training to help find what works for you come race day!

If you would like to learn more, get in touch with our Supreme Performance Training Head-Coach, Jack Evans – jack@supremeski.com

Based in France. We are a customer driven ski school, providing professional and fun ski instruction across the best ski resorts in France.

Based in France. We are a customer driven ski school, providing professional and fun ski instruction across the best ski resorts in France.