A question I get asked be a lot of fellow skiers is how do I maintain my speed in flats and why am I faster in the flats. So I've given this some thought and I'll share what I do (my turn to give back a little).
Boots. Fit well and are set up for me. I learned this hard way over the years and do what most boot fitters do for myself. Get your boots to fit well. Period. Nothing special here. BTW good boot fitters are worth their wt in gold.
Skis. Make sure they are flat and tuned. If in doubt get at least a based grind and a simple sharpening. Proper edge and base bevel helps a lot by making it easier. Nothing special here.
Wax. For the most part I use generic wax and add some beeswax (sorry oldschool). A simple wax job from any shop works too. Nothing special here either. (Special waxes cost more and work for the right applications)
Skill and Setup I'll address as one issue. Most skier do not ski neutral, flat or relaxed. Now these three things are important.
- Neutral for me means balance fore and aft in a relaxed stance while in control. Sound easy but you'd be surprised how hard it actually is. This can be solved in my opinion 3 ways. Lessons, Side slip exercises every time you go ski and lastly slope time. The cheapest by far is side slip. Worth the time invested (while waiting for someone, at the start of a run, at the end of a run. These 3 to 10 seconds add up the balance point feel quickly over many runs). Lessons and hill time, get them when ever you can. For the most part blame equipment last on this one.
- Flat. This one is hard, because you need to be neutral first. Flat can be a technique issue (fix with lessons) or Ski/boot issue. It is difficult to determine which is the cause here. My first suggest is to get and advance/expert skier or high level instructor ski behind you to see what the cause is. Alternatively, you can go and look at you tracks after you have done a straight run on a untracked flat section. Go back and see how the snow is turned up. Now go back up again and repeat, till you can a get a flat run with little or no disturbed snow. Equipment, generally if you can't get there then professional help is required here unless you really know what you are doing. I've been lucky as for me its just fixing stance(practice) and a touch of boot cuff tweak (equipment). BTW I have a ankle/knee joint alignment issue as a result of a broken shin, and most of my correction comes from technique.
- The third and final thing is RELAXED and FLOATING (just this side of control). The skis will track straight funny enough if you let them, the catch is to let them and not crash (think run away ski if the brakes failed). This is primarily confidence thru slope time and practice. In part they also come when the equipment works as its supposed to. When you watch the top skiers skiing in flat in runs or out runs you will actually see the skis shimmy around and float, all the while they are in control. This is what I'm talking about.
This is how I go fast in the flats.
Hopefully this helps some out there and for those that have other ideas to share, please do so, the more I learn, the better I can get .