New Hampshire Snow Sports

Do you have the Need for Speed?

If not, you should!

By using speed training as a way to expand your individual comfort zone, you can greatly accelerate your racing learning curve. Consistently push the envelope of what you’re comfortable with speed-wise, and soon slalom and gs speeds will feel slow and your whole confidence level will soar.

This was brought home to me when I returned to the East to coach after 20 years of coaching out west.
Having coached at various big mountains, I took it for granted that speed training was an vital component of any seasonal plan.

Easier said than done in the East! The reality of the twisty, narrow, often icy and tree-lined trails reminded me how lucky the kids are who can actually train for super G and downhill in the big fenced-in arenas of the Rockies, Wasatch, Sierras and Tetons.

When I coached my first J I-II speed event race in the East last winter, it quickly became obvious that many of the athletes were uncomfortable going fast. I saw fear on the faces and in the skiing of many very fine young athletes. It resulted in cramped-up skiing and “hanging in the back seat” styles. It doesn’t have to be that way.

The fact that Bode Miller is from twisty, gnarly Cannon Mountain, New Hampshire, shows that gliding skills can be learned without a big speed -training arena. Even if your hometown hill is cramped and icy, there are ways to learn to move with the terrain, to have a soft touch, to be relaxed in the air, to seek speed and to stay focused down the hill.
Here are some suggestions for those of you who are deprived of true speed-training venues:

  • Freeski fast and on longer length skis often. Take advantage of away race days to go rip around a new mountain’s terrain. (safety comes first: only do this when the slopes are crowd-free).
  • Concentrate on total absorption of terrain by imagining your skis are glued to the snow, especially during turn transitions.
  • Have your coach or friend “spot” you on jumps that you find on the mountain. Practice pressing, prejumping, launching and absorbing the terrain.
  • Terrain parks are a great place to learn about air time, and skiing the whoop-de-dos while keeping snow contact is excellent absorption training.
  • Coaches can set up mini speed camps, during which athletes can practice tuck turns and other important elements of speed.
  • Take advantage of any divisional or regional speed-training opportunities you encounter. Even if you have to miss school!

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