Use hands and arms for balance

If you've watched any of the World Cup television coverage, you may have noticed how much the top racers use their hands for balancing. This is particularly true in the gaint slalom -- the race closest to free skiing -- where skiers have to adjust to different kinds of terrain and their poles are tucked under the arms, as they are in downhill races.

According to an advisor from the Professional Ski Instructors of America and Ski Magazine, many skiers find theselves out of position to make a second turn because they tried to ''turn their skis with their hands'' in the first turn. The real function of the hands and arms, says PSIA, is balancing.

The way to get those hands and arms doing what they're supposed to is to take a run without poles. PSIA notes that you will have to concentrate on making more effective turning movements with your legs. Without pole weight, your hands and arms won't help you turn much.

But after a few runs without poles, arms and hands should be working ''freely and correctly as balancers instead of turning aids.'' Just don't forget where you put your poles.

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