Whether it’s on steep black runs, mogul fields or out in the backcountry, when the going gets steep you’ve really got to know your stuff to stay on your feet and tackle it with style and panache.
At Chill Factore we can help you hone those skills in our Performance Coaching Sessions or Private Lessons so that you’re ready for it when you get up into the mountains. Our qualified, expert instructors and video analysis can really help you break down the moves and build your technique so that you can nail it.
Being able to control your speed on a red run is all well and good but can you do it on a 40% gradient black? Because if you can’t control your speed you’re in danger of getting out of control and injured. The main way of doing this is edge checking – digging the edges of both skis simultaneously into the snow. Try it on a shallower gradient first to practise. Most people only manage to get their downhill ski in and it’s not quite as easy as it sounds. The trick is to try and drive the sides of your thighs into the snow rather than doing it with your ankles.
Nothing picks up your speed faster than keeping your skis on the fall line for any length of time. Which is why short turns are an essential skill for anyone thinking of tackling those steep gradient slopes, and you really shouldn’t even think about venturing out into the backcountry before you’ve mastered them. Short turns give you the highest degree of control and can be combined with hopping, jumping and pivoting to get you safely and stylishly over anything the terrain might throw at you.
But like anything, your short turns need to be practised over and over on a groomed, intermediate-gradient slope before attempting them on the steeps stuff. Get these right and you can descend anything at a very controlled speed.
Powder skiing – the holy grail of skiing. For powder skiing you need wide arms like you’re holding a broadsheet newspaper, a narrower stance so that your skis are touching, arms forwards and your weight slightly back but never allowing your knees to come behind your ankles – you’ll be eating powder of you do.
Try making turns on the bumps as it helps lift you out of the powder and as though you’re stood on one large ski rather than two. If you do fall, don’t put your hands down to help you get up – cross your poles and hold onto the intersection to lever yourself up instead.
Getting your skis to flex into a reverse camber when skiing is what makes a great carving turn. Loading your skis with your weight by projecting your body forwards and across your skis into the turn is what creates this reverse camber which can take time and a lot of practice to get right. Because of course it’s not just about loading the skis, it’s about doing it in a perfectly timed way so that you are moving forwards and backwards over the ski in perfect sync with your turns.
For some they inspire terror and others, excitement, but skiing moguls and doing it well is just about practise and timing. As well as being an awesome skier, of course. Mogul skiing is all about balance, short turns, rhythm and being able to pick a line to ski. One of the biggest issues for many is balance – a bumpy slope can really throw off the balance of even an expert skier unless you practise hard and work at it.
Try letting your legs work as shock absorbers, keeping your hips at a constant height and letting your knees bend with the bumps absorbing the lumps.
These tips are all well and good but you need to get yourself and your skis onto the snow to practise them if they are going to have any effect. Our Performance Coaching Sessions at Chill Factore focus on carving, moguls and short turns, as well as video analysis sessions which will push you and mould you into getting it dead on.
The slopes are open 7 days a week at Chill Factore, so what are you still doing here? Get yourself onto the slopes and start practising.
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