Getting through in a pinch

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A strong, centred body position allows the skier to apply edge or flatten the ski, depending on comfort level or consequences of the terrain.

By Steve Mayer, Extremely Canadian  *  Photos: Coast Mountain Photography  *  December 2013 issue

Quite often when people find themselves out of their comfort zone because the terrain is either too steep, too narrow or both, they have a tendency to lean in and try to touch the mountain. This puts your belly button to the inside of the feet, which results in the downhill leg being locked out and the edges “involuntarily” on. If you try to slide downhill from this position, your skis will track. Instead of going down, you’ll end up going across the hill and ultimately accelerating.

Paralysis by analysis If you ever find yourself stuck on the side of the mountain, sometimes the best thing to do is just start moving. Try this first: take off your pole straps and place both poles above you, pushing the baskets into the snow (the uphill hand should be three-quarters of the way up the shaft, and the downhill hand on top of the grip). This will ensure that your belly button is between your feet, and your shoulders are at the same angle as the slope, allowing you to flatten your skis and go down the fall line.

Getting an edge on a steep slope is easy; getting rid of that edge is the hard part. On steeper slopes the uphill foot has to be about the same height as the downhill knee. Try this: pull back your uphill foot so that each bum cheek is over its respective heelpiece. Make sure your pole plant is lined up with your ski boot, and try to maintain your weight over the heel of the foot. This will allow your knees to bend and the skis to flatten, as well as help you look farther down the mountain.


Ski Canada Staff
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