Skiing in a sinuous line down the slopes of Stowe, Vt. last January, the U.S. demonstration team drew quite a crowd for its final workout. And except for three minor details, the onlookers were rewarded with an exhibition of perfect technique. But it was the imperfections that prompted a spectator to sidle up to Max Lundberg of Alta, Utah, who had coached the team to Rockette-like precision. "The first 10 skiers really have got it all together," said the spectator. "It's those three at the end of the line who are goofing you up." Lundberg calmly heard the man out, then explained that the last three skiers definitely were not going to make the traveling team to the Interski instructors' congress in Czechoslovakia. "That's the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED crew," he said. "They're unlearning a few things."
Unlearning is right. And they were doing it with the help of the American Ski Technique, an explanation of which begins on page 50. Using the new technique, the members of our crew discovered how effortless the sport can be, particularly when they followed Lundberg's easy-does-it instructions. For beginning skiers, the technique is ideal, and for intermediates, it solves nagging problems.
The ragged three at the end of the slalom line were Senior Editor Bob Ottum, Writer-Reporter Anita Verschoth and Artist Don Moss. All of them are avid skiers. Ottum and Moss hit the upper-intermediate bracket on those days when the wind is right, the temperature is moderate, the sun is out and the snow is perfect. Verschoth skis at a more modest intermediate level. And a fourth SI staffer was on hand, working on a nearby learning slope. He was Art Director Dick Gangel, a 6'3" novice on shortie skis who was using the American technique to learn the basics of the sport. With this combination of abilities, our foursome was able to test how the system works for skiers at various levels.
Applying the wide-stance, step-around method, Gangel negotiated the beginners' slope at the end of his first lesson. Verschoth made enough progress to be able to run the hill nonstop, occasionally using the instructors as slalom gates. Ottum started unlearning an oldtime windup, rotating turn, a move during which he looks like the Red Sox' Luis Tiant gyrating toward the centerfield fence before delivering a pitch. And Moss got his skiing under control so quickly that he soon was able to take out his camera and sketchbook and begin the illustrations for the article.
Lundberg graciously endured it all. The American technique is so easy to follow and master that he never doubted it would pass our staffers' test. Lundberg's system offers solace for skiers everywhere. Anyone who has ever despaired of skiing well should give it a try. It works.