You want to lose some of the 30 seconds between your time and the time of the winner. Getting a time close to the winner will be difficult with only a few weeks to go. But I think you can do a few things that will help.
I am assuming that the winner of the race last year probably has some experience in ski racing. For you to get your time close to the winners, you will need many days of skiing (MANY) with deliberate practice, learning to carve outside the gates. You will also need many more more days of practice in the gates, learning how to time your turn initiations. The time you devote to learning to race will benefit your skiing when you aren't racing as well. If the race is only a few weeks from now, your technique won't have time to improve unless you are skiing several times a week between now and then, and have a coach or instructor working with you. But for the future, if your area offers race training, you can find a program and sign up for it next season. If you are considering taking a lesson before the race, you can ask your instructor to focus on carving. But trust your instructor if he/she says you need to work on other things first. As a beginner, you may increase your time by learning some other fundamentals first.
2. ski wear
A fast fix will be to wear clothing that is aerodynamic. Racers wear spandex suits to cut down on air resistance. You can lose maybe ONE second in a short recreational race if you wear a spandex suit, but the suit is costly. Every second counts. If you can wear a coat that is tight-fitting rather than floppy, that will help your time a little. If it is warm and you can leave the coat at the top of the course and ski without it, that will help even more. You won't get cold during your 60 seconds of racing; but consider the weather and the wind for the chairlift ride back up. That's where you'll maybe get cold.
3. skis & wax
You are renting skis. You'll probably do best with a ski whose turn radius is around 14-16, in a length that you are used to skiing. Longer skis won't make any difference. The rental shops probably don't wax their skis very often, so if you are running on flat skis, you're destined to go slow. You can do a fast wax right at the top of the course by pressing some paraffin wax in X shapes on the bottom of the skis right before the race. That will make them faster. Try this out one day on rental skis before the race to see if you like the way the skis perform; don't just do it for the first time during the race itself. Paraffin wax is cheap and readily available at the grocery store or hardware store in the canning department. There are rub-on waxes for skis that you can use right before the race, if you want to buy that in a ski shop. The paraffin is cheaper.
You don't have too much time between now and the race to learn new things. But you can easily change the shape of your turns, and where you turn, in order to minimize braking. The way the turns go around the gate (tactics) matters a lot in improving your time.
--Think of a turn as a C shape.
--The top of the C should start way above the gate.
--The middle of the C should be outside the gate, somewhat wide, and still ABOVE the gate.
--The bottom of the C shape is where you pass the gate.
--Your turn should be almost done as you whizz by that gate.
--As soon as you pass a gate, start the next turn.
--Many beginners ski straight towards the gate, then try to hook a turn fast around it and end up skidding down the hill. Then they look at the next gate and ski to it, then make a tight, braking turn around it too. They link braking turns all the way to the end of the course. They do this because they are thinking about the gate. Do not think about the gate.
--Think about an imaginary C shape in the snow around the gate, with the gate at the bottom of the C, and make your skis follow that line.
--There's much more to tactics in a race course, but you are a beginner racer so working on just this should be a good starting point.
5. practice before the race
Between now and the race, if you can practice making round C shaped turns with the end/bottom of the C going around an imaginary gate on the snow, that might help you do it inside the course on race day. As you make your runs, look at the snow way ahead. Find a shadow or dip or something in the snow that can be a gate, imagine a C shape line around it as described above, and make your skis follow that line. Start your turns before you get to the imaginary gates, pass the "gate" at the end of your turns, and start a new turn immediately. Keep finding imaginary gates ahead as you ski down and link your turns around them.
Best of luck in your race.
Edited by LiquidFeet - 3/28/13 at 6:13am