Q: I am tired of being passed on the downhills during races after crushing many people on the uphills! As a lightweight person, I cannot maintain my speed and all the skiers I passed on the uphills end up passing me on the downhills. Since I do not have body weight to my advantage, how can I get faster on the downhills to be competitive? I try skating, use the classic track, and double pole with all of my force but everyone passes me! Do you have any advice? Thanks!
A: I have not seen you ski so I do not know exactly what you are doing. Remember all objects in a vacuum fall at the same rate. So we need to get you downhilling like you are in a vacuum.
First of all, use your small size as an advantage, so get small and aero.
Secondly, I see many people on gradual downhills skate like crazy, but very ineffectively. Try pushing harder and longer on your skate motions but less frequently. Do not just skate for the sake of skating.
Thirdly, Make sure you are riding flat skis and you have your weight on youR heels and not your toes when you are tucking.
Practice makes perfect. Practice downhills behind a faster downhill skier. Tuck in behind them and see if staying in their draft will allow you to keep up.
Make sure you are on skis fit to your weight. A ski matched to your weight will allow you to skim across the snow when larger people are plowing through.
There are snow conditions where a downhill glide resistance will be effected by skier’s mass. If the tracks are nicely groomed corduroy, skier’s size should not affect glide much if at all.
In some rougher track conditions with hard under-layer a larger skier can plow through the snow and maintain speed better than a lighter skier. In other deep snow conditions the lighter skier could float through the snow better than the larger skiers.
Stay relaxed and think about glide.
– Andy at SkiPost.com
I read with interest your reply to the skier who felt that her light weight was holding her back with respect to down hill glide. You made a lot of good points — flat skis glide faster; get into a tuck, don’t skate ineffectively. But there is one key that I think you overlooked: one’s speed downhill is directly related to how fast you are going when you start gliding. I have passed many skiers on the downhills of the Birkie. Frequently, I watch them as they pull away from me on the uphill portion. Then when they reach the top, they stop skiing, let their shoulders slump, and glide downhill standing up straight. I try to conserve my energy while climbing, then when I reach the top, V2 aggressively in an attempt to sprint to top speed before getting into a tuck for a fast descent. I’ve found that a tuck is usually faster than the relaxed skating that a lot of skiers seem to favor.
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