Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Achieving Speed In Skiing: Tips For Faster Descents


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Adelind Loos



Skiing is not only a thrilling winter activity but also a sport that requires technique, skill, and strategy. While gliding down the slopes at a leisurely pace can be fun, there’s nothing quite like the exhilaration of achieving speed on skis. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, the desire to go faster and feel the wind rushing past you is undeniable.


In this article, we will explore various tips and techniques that will help you achieve faster descents on the slopes. From proper equipment to mastering body position and technique, we will cover all the essential aspects of skiing fast while maintaining control and safety. So, buckle up, because we’re about to dive into the world of speed skiing!


Before we delve into the specifics, it’s important to note that safety should always be the top priority when skiing at high speeds. Always adhere to the rules of the mountain and be aware of your limits and skill level. It’s best to build up your speed gradually as you gain confidence and proficiency on the slopes.


Now, let’s jump into the first essential factor for achieving speed in skiing – proper equipment.


Proper Equipment

When it comes to skiing, having the right equipment can greatly impact your speed and overall performance on the slopes. Here are a few factors to consider when selecting your gear:

  1. Skis: Choose skis that are designed for speed. Look for skis with a narrower waist, as they provide better edge control and stability at high speeds. Additionally, consider the length and flex of the skis. Longer skis can offer more stability, while softer flex allows for easier turns and maneuverability.
  2. Bindings: Ensure that your bindings are properly adjusted according to your weight, height, and skiing ability. This will help optimize your power transfer and control.
  3. Boots: Invest in a pair of high-quality boots that fit you well and offer excellent ankle support. Properly fitted boots allow for better control and responsiveness.
  4. Poles: Poles are not directly related to speed, but they play a crucial role in maintaining balance and rhythm. Choose poles that are the right length for your height and skiing style.
  5. Goggles and Helmet: Protecting yourself is paramount while skiing at high speeds. Make sure you have a well-fitting helmet to protect your head from potential injuries. Additionally, wear goggles to shield your eyes from wind, snow, and glare.
  6. Wax: A properly waxed ski can make a significant difference in speed. Different waxes are designed for varying snow temperatures and conditions. Consult with a ski technician to determine the best wax for optimal speed.

Having the right equipment is the foundation for achieving speed in skiing. Next, let’s explore the importance of body position and technique when it comes to maximizing your speed on the slopes.


Body Position and Technique

Proper body position and technique are crucial for skiing at high speeds. Here are some key tips to help you improve your speed and control:

  1. Forward Lean: Lean slightly forward from your ankles, keeping your upper body aligned with your lower body. This position helps you maintain balance and initiates faster turns.
  2. Knees Bent: Keep your knees flexed and relaxed to absorb uneven terrain and maintain stability. Avoid skiing with locked knees, as it hinders maneuverability and control.
  3. Arms and Shoulders: Keep your arms and shoulders relaxed and in front of you. This position helps with balance and stability, allowing you to better react to changes in terrain.
  4. Head Up: Look ahead, focusing on where you want to go rather than staring down at your skis. Keeping your head up helps maintain balance and prevents unnecessary tension in your body.
  5. Pole Planting: Practice proper pole planting technique to maintain rhythm and timing. Plant your pole in the snow as you initiate turns, using them as an aid for balance and coordination.
  6. Weight Shift: Distribute your weight evenly between both skis, but slightly favor the outside ski when turning. This helps maintain control and edge engagement.
  7. Edging: Master the art of edging, which involves angulating your body to engage the edges of your skis. This allows for better grip on the snow, enhancing control and speed.
  8. Smooth Turns: Practice making smooth, continuous turns without abrupt movements. This helps maintain a consistent speed and control throughout your descent.

Remember, skiing at high speeds requires practice and gradual progression. Take your time to master these techniques in a controlled environment before attempting them on steeper slopes or more challenging terrain.


Next, let’s explore how carving turns can help you gain speed and maintain optimal control on the slopes.


Carving Turns

Carving turns is a technique that allows skiers to maintain speed while carving intricate turns on the slopes. It involves engaging the edges of the skis to create clean, elongated arcs in the snow. Here’s how you can perfect your carving turns:

  1. Weight Distribution: Shift your weight to the outside ski while initiating a turn. This allows for better edge engagement and control.
  2. Ski Angle: Angulate your body and knees towards the slope, creating a strong edge angle. The more you angle your skis, the tighter the turn and the faster you can go.
  3. Smooth Transitions: Focus on making smooth transitions between turns, maintaining a consistent and fluid motion. Avoid sudden jerks or movements that can disrupt your speed and stability.
  4. Upper Body Stability: Keep your upper body stable and facing downhill throughout the turn. This helps maintain balance and prevents unnecessary tension or twisting.
  5. Hip and Knee Alignment: Ensure that your hips and knees are aligned with your skis. Proper alignment allows for optimal edge control and increased efficiency in carving turns.
  6. Pressure Control: Moderate pressure on your skis according to the speed and terrain. Increase pressure to initiate a turn and decrease it as you exit the turn, maintaining a consistent flow.
  7. Practice on Gentle Slopes: Start practicing carving turns on gentle slopes to build confidence and improve technique. As you become more comfortable, gradually move to steeper terrain.

Mastering the art of carving turns takes time and practice, but once you do, you’ll experience a whole new level of speed and control on the slopes.


Now, let’s focus on lowering your center of gravity, which is key for maintaining stability and achieving faster descents.


Lowering Your Center of Gravity

Lowering your center of gravity is an effective technique to improve stability and increase your speed on skis. By keeping your body closer to the ground, you can maintain better control and maneuverability. Here’s how to lower your center of gravity:

  1. Bend Your Knees: Keep your knees flexed and slightly bent throughout your descent. This lowers your center of gravity and provides a solid base for balance and control.
  2. Squat Position: Assume a squat position, lowering your body closer to the snow. This further reduces your center of gravity and improves your stability.
  3. Forward Lean: Lean slightly forward from your ankles while maintaining a low stance. This helps shift your weight to the front of your skis and keeps you balanced and in control.
  4. Compact Arm Position: Keep your arms in a compact position in front of your body. This assists in maintaining a lower center of gravity and improves your overall stability.

Practicing these techniques on various terrains and slopes will help you become more comfortable with lowering your center of gravity while maintaining speed. Remember to start gradually and progress as you build confidence and strength.


Next, let’s discuss the importance of weight distribution and how it can contribute to faster descents.


Weight Distribution

Proper weight distribution is essential for achieving speed and balance while skiing. By distributing your weight effectively, you can optimize control and stability. Here are some tips for maintaining proper weight distribution:

  1. Forward Bias: Shift your weight slightly forward, towards the front of your skis. This helps engage the tips of your skis and allows for better control during descents.
  2. Outside Ski Dominance: Focus on putting more pressure on your outside ski during turns. This allows for better edge grip and stability, especially during high-speed maneuvers.
  3. Equal Weight Transfer: During the transition between turns, transfer your weight smoothly and evenly between skis. This ensures a seamless and stable transition, maintaining control throughout the descent.
  4. Balance and Stability: Maintain a neutral and balanced position over both skis. Avoid leaning too far back or forward, as it can disrupt your weight distribution and affect your speed and control.
  5. Adapt to Terrain: Adjust your weight distribution according to the terrain. For example, when skiing on steep slopes, shift more weight towards the front for better control and grip.
  6. Leg Strength: Develop leg strength to improve weight distribution. Stronger legs allow you to support your body weight and maintain control even at higher speeds.

Practicing proper weight distribution techniques will enhance your skiing abilities and help you navigate the slopes with confidence and speed. Remember to be proactive in adjusting your weight distribution based on the terrain and conditions.


Now, let’s delve into the importance of ski length and flex in enhancing your speed on the slopes.


Ski Length and Flex

The length and flex of your skis can greatly impact your speed, maneuverability, and overall performance on the slopes. Here’s what you need to know about ski length and flex:

  1. Ski Length: Choosing the right ski length is crucial for achieving optimal speed. Longer skis provide more stability and better grip on the snow, allowing you to maintain control at higher speeds. However, longer skis can be more challenging to maneuver, especially for beginners or those with a smaller physique. It’s best to consult with a ski professional to help determine the appropriate ski length based on your height, weight, and skiing ability.
  2. Ski Flex: Ski flex refers to the stiffness or softness of the ski. A softer flex allows for easier turn initiation and maneuverability, making it ideal for skiers who prioritize quick and nimble movements. On the other hand, a stiffer flex provides more stability and power, which is advantageous for advanced skiers seeking high speeds and aggressive turns. Consider your skiing style, skill level, and preference when choosing the appropriate ski flex.
  3. Matching Ski Length and Flex: Ski length and flex go hand in hand. Generally, longer skis are paired with a stiffer flex, while shorter skis are often paired with a softer flex. The combination of these factors should be tailored to your skiing style, terrain preference, and desired speed on the slopes.
  4. Testing and Experimentation: If you’re unsure about the optimal ski length and flex for your skiing abilities, consider renting or demoing different skis to find the perfect fit. Testing various options will help you understand how different combinations affect your speed, control, and overall skiing experience.

Remember, finding the right ski length and flex is a personal preference that can vary based on individual factors. It’s important to consider your skill level, skiing style, and the type of terrain you’ll be tackling to maximize your speed and enjoyment on the slopes.


Now, let’s explore the impact of choosing the right wax on your skiing speed.


Choosing the Right Wax

Choosing the right wax for your skis is a crucial factor in optimizing speed and performance on the slopes. Waxing your skis reduces friction between the base of the ski and the snow, allowing for smoother gliding and improved speed. Here’s what you need to know about selecting the appropriate ski wax:

  1. Snow and Temperature: Different waxes are designed for specific snow conditions and temperature ranges. Cold temperatures require a harder wax, while warmer temperatures call for a softer wax. Consult with a ski technician or refer to wax manufacturer recommendations to determine the suitable wax for the current snow conditions at your skiing destination.
  2. Preparation and Maintenance: Properly prepare your skis by cleaning and repairing any damage to the base before applying wax. Regular maintenance, including periodic waxing, will ensure consistent speed and performance. It’s recommended to wax your skis at the beginning of each ski season and periodically throughout as needed.
  3. Application Techniques: Applying wax to your skis can be done using various techniques, such as hot waxing or rub-on wax. Hot waxing involves melting the wax onto the ski base using an iron and then scraping off the excess. Rub-on wax is applied by rubbing it directly onto the base of the ski. Follow the wax manufacturer’s instructions carefully for the best results.
  4. Storage: Proper storage of waxed skis is essential to maintain the integrity of the wax. Store your skis in a cool, dry place and avoid exposing them to direct heat or sunlight, as this can cause the wax to deteriorate and reduce its effectiveness.
  5. Consult the Experts: If you’re unsure about the appropriate wax for your skis or how to apply it correctly, consult with a ski technician or visit a reputable ski shop. They can offer expert advice tailored to your specific needs and help you achieve optimal speed on the slopes.

Choosing the right wax and applying it correctly will not only enhance your speed but also prolong the life of your skis. Don’t overlook the importance of this often overlooked aspect of ski performance.


Now, let’s discuss the significance of proper dressing when it comes to achieving speed on skis.


Proper Dressing for Speed

When it comes to skiing at high speeds, wearing the right attire plays a significant role in overall comfort, maneuverability, and safety on the slopes. Here are some key points to consider when dressing for speed:

  1. Layering: Dress in layers to regulate your body temperature. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep you dry, followed by an insulating mid-layer to provide warmth. Top it off with a waterproof and breathable outer layer to protect against wind, snow, and moisture.
  2. Proper Fit: Ensure that your ski clothing fits properly. Baggy or ill-fitting attire can hinder movement and create drag, slowing you down on the slopes. Opt for clothing that allows freedom of movement while maintaining a streamlined profile.
  3. Helmet: Wearing a helmet is essential for both safety and speed. Choose a well-fitting helmet that meets safety standards to protect your head during high-speed descents.
  4. Goggles: Invest in a quality pair of goggles to protect your eyes from wind, snow, and glare. Look for goggles with appropriate lens tints for different light conditions to enhance visibility and reduce eye strain.
  5. Gloves: Opt for gloves that provide warmth, dexterity, and a secure grip on your ski poles. Cold hands can affect your ability to control your skis and impact your overall speed and performance.
  6. Socks: Choose moisture-wicking and cushioned ski socks to keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable. Avoid cotton socks, as they retain moisture, which can lead to cold feet and discomfort.
  7. Accessories: Don’t forget essential accessories such as a neck gaiter or balaclava to protect your face from the cold, sunscreen to shield your skin from harmful UV rays, and a hat or beanie to keep your head warm.

By dressing appropriately, you’ll stay comfortable, agile, and focused on your skiing, allowing you to achieve greater speed and performance on the slopes.


Now, let’s explore the importance of mentality and focus when it comes to skiing at high speeds.


Mentality and Focus

When it comes to skiing at high speeds, your mentality and focus play a significant role in your performance and safety on the slopes. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Confidence: Believing in your abilities and having confidence in your skills is crucial for skiing at high speeds. Trust your instincts, stay positive, and approach each descent with a can-do attitude.
  2. Visualization: Before tackling a challenging run, take a moment to visualize yourself skiing it successfully. Visualizing your actions and movements can enhance muscle memory and help you navigate the course with precision.
  3. Focus: Maintain focus and concentrate on the task at hand. High-speed skiing requires quick reflexes and split-second decision-making. Stay present, anticipate changes in the terrain, and react accordingly.
  4. Balance and Stability: Focus on maintaining a strong and stable core, as well as a balanced body position. This will enhance your control at high speeds and improve stability, making it easier to maneuver through turns and challenging sections of the slope.
  5. Risk Assessment: Assess the risks involved before attempting high-speed skiing. Be aware of your skill level, the terrain conditions, and any potential hazards. It’s better to err on the side of caution and slowly build up to higher speeds as you gain experience and confidence.
  6. Learning from Mistakes: Mistakes and falls can happen, especially when pushing your limits. Instead of getting discouraged, view them as learning opportunities. Analyze what went wrong, make adjustments, and continue to improve your technique with each descent.
  7. Slow Progression: Gradually increase your speed and challenge yourself with more advanced runs as your skills improve. Pushing yourself too quickly can lead to accidents or loss of control. Patience, practice, and a methodical approach will yield better results in the long run.

Remember, skiing at high speeds requires mental resilience, focus, and the ability to assess risks effectively. By maintaining a positive mentality and staying fully engaged while on the slopes, you’ll enhance your speed and performance while ensuring your safety.


Now, let’s wrap up all the tips and techniques we have discussed.



Skiing at high speeds is an exhilarating experience that requires a combination of skill, technique, and the right mindset. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can enhance your speed, control, and overall performance on the slopes.


Start by ensuring you have the proper equipment, including skis that are designed for speed, well-fitted boots, and appropriate bindings. Pay attention to your body position and technique, keeping your weight forward, knees bent, and maintaining a stable, relaxed stance. Practice carving turns to maintain speed and stability while lowering your center of gravity for better control. Consider the length and flex of your skis to optimize speed and maneuverability. Choose the right wax for the snow conditions and properly dress for speed with layers, a helmet, goggles, gloves, and the right accessories.


Remember that the right mentality and focus are crucial in achieving high-speed skiing. Build confidence in your abilities, visualize success, and stay present and focused on the task at hand. Continuously assess risk and learn from your mistakes, gradually progressing at a pace that suits your skills and comfort level.


Most importantly, prioritize safety. Ski within your limits, obey mountain guidelines, and be aware of your surroundings. High-speed skiing can be thrilling, but it’s essential to make responsible choices to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the slopes.


Now, armed with the knowledge and techniques shared in this article, go out, hit the slopes, and experience the thrill of skiing at greater speeds while maintaining control and mastery of the mountain.