Tele Tech­nique

Ski­ing into a Blind Spot More Safely

SkiTrax - - Contents - by J. Scott Mcgee

Still look­ing for the best way to pow­der your nose long af­ter the freshies are gone? One place that gets skied less is a tri­an­gle of snow be­low a clump of trees, or a tree with longer branches. To get this fleet­ing pow­der patch, there's a tac­ti­cal (where-to-ski) el­e­ment, as well as one that's more tech­ni­cal (how-to-ski).

Try this:

Ski in close be­low a tree to get at that patch of un­skied snow be­neath it. Brush the branches with your lead­ing shoul­der, look­ing ahead and down, and use the softer snow to help slow you down.

One nice thing about ski­ing be­low the tree is that you don't have to worry so much about hit­ting the tree. On the other hand, try­ing to hit the tree – by brush­ing the branches with your shoul­der – gets you a big­ger, less tracked pow patch. Overdo it though, and you could end up with a ripped jacket, or worse.

As you fin­ish the turn be­low the tree, you'll al­ready want to be fac­ing down­hill with both hands in front, look­ing for­ward to your next turn or two to help you keep your rhythm and mo­men­tum. The softer, deeper snow be­low the tree can be a big help in speed management once you learn to trust that it will slow you down a lit­tle. On many days, th­ese tri­an­gles of un­skied snow are the best ski­ing on the moun­tain! Try con­nect­ing as many un­skied pow patches as you can to get in the most pow­der ski­ing and have the most fun!

J. Scott Mcgee served on and then coached the PSIA Nordic Team (USA) 2000-2016 and works as Snow King Moun­tain Sports School's di­rec­tor. A former tele­mark com­peti­tor, he now dreams of per­fect corn on spring back­coun­try skate-ski tours. Mcgee spends his sum­mers guid­ing climbs in the Te­tons for Exum Moun­tain Guides.

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