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How to ski on steep slopes without dampening your performance

You always remember the first time you tackle the steeper slopes. While skiing downhill on steep slopes is one hell of an adrenaline rush, it’s important you know how to do it effectively. If you don’t, this might dampen your performance and kill your buzz. Here at Chill Factore, we’re always keen to share our ski knowledge to help improve your ski technique, even for the more experienced skiers out there. Which is why we’ve put together a useful guide for how to ski on steep slopes. Follow these steps and you’ll soon be skiing steeper slopes with improved confidence!

How to ski down a steep slope

When looking at how best to ski on steep slopes, there are four essential skills which you need to consider. These are edge control, foot rotation, the separation of your lower and upper body and finally, the pole plant. Perfect these and you’ll know how to control your speed or slow down with ease when skiing down steep slopes.

How to improve edge control when skiing on steep slopes

Let’s begin by taking a look at your edge control. Nowadays, skiers can often obsess over how much edge you can get on the skis. The best skiers can edge a lot, but they’ll also have the ability to flatten and feel when the skis are flat. When you go down steep slopes, you’ll want to flatten the skis, begin to slide and then gently edge in order to properly control your descent. Out of the four skills, this will be the hardest to master. However, practice makes perfect! The key to flattening is to master your edge control.

How to improve foot rotation when skiing on steep slopes

Once you feel comfortable with your flattening technique, start looking at your foot rotation as both go hand in hand. It’s a real skill for skiers to feel comfortable in flattening your ski and rotate your foot at the same time. For example, if you were to put a lot of edge into your ski and attempted to turn your foot, it would be difficult to make your foot rotate. Whereas if your ski was flat on the snow, rotating your foot would be much easier to do.

How to separate your lower and upper body when skiing on steep slopes

When you’re able to effectively combine both movements together, the next thing to consider is body position. When you are skiing down a steep slope, it is important to know how to separate the lower and upper body. Doing so allows you to better control your descent, in case you need to slow when skiing downhill. As you descend, you will want to position yourself as though your chest is facing down the slope and your feet are turned below.

To master this position, hold out the poles in front of you (try imagining a letterbox in between the poles), look down and keep both your hands and chest facing downwards throughout the descent. All the while, keep control through the turns and skids and be mindful of your speed as you descend.

How to effectively pole plant when skiing on steep slopes

The last thing you will want to consider is the pole plant. While there isn’t one set position where poles should go in, you’ll want them to be slightly parallel to your skies opposed to in front of them. Doing this encourages the separation of lower and upper body stated above. Additionally, it will help drive and pull you toward the next turn with confidence as you make your descent.

To summarise, when skiing down a steep slope, release the edges, rotate your feet, keep your upper body positioned correctly and ensure a good rhythmical pole plant to bring all these movements together effectively.

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