By Dr. Robert F. Weiss
There is so much to learn from watching all of the outstanding Olympic athletes. It is of special interest to many of us due to the tremendous amount of snow piled up on the ground. Many of us are heading to the slopes or even out our doors if you are a cross-country skier or snow shoer.
While watching many of the skiers and their techniques, we can learn how to manipulate our body to improve the form of our slalom and downhill skiing. It is remarkable how many are able to pull their bodies out of the most difficult positions when near the crash mode.
The skiers use all body functions, as the power is placed on the hands and arms, as much as the legs, in an effort to keep perfect balance. In the speed of turns, the hips play an important part as they almost touch the snow and prevent hitting the safety net.
A skier has to be careful when on too much of an edge angle, as the ski digs into the snow causing a decrease in speed.
The cross-country skier who has core strength helps get power from the snow with each plant of the ski pole. The arms and legs increase stride, which covers more distance. Strong arms act as levers during the pushing with the poles.
The ski jump technique is all balance as the jumper flies through the air. Moments after take-off, the jumper shifts into a precise V-shaped airborne position, where his or her head is out towards the ski tips.
Snowboarders use their lower body from the bottom up, which balances their feet, ankles, knees and hips. The upper body would compensate for the lower body without any rotation.
Enjoy winter sports keeping in mind the importance of lessons before trying any of the more difficult events.
Dr. Robert F. Weiss, a Sport Podiatrist, was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic marathon trials.