SKI - - CONTENTS - By Mar­cus Cas­ton // Pho­tos by Keri Bascetta

Pro skier and all-around good guy Mar­cus Cas­ton shows you how to put crud in its place.

Un­less you live in heaven, chances are you’re not ski­ing un­touched pow­der or per­fect cor­duroy all day, ev­ery day. Know­ing how to ski crud ef­fi­ciently pro­vides a much more en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence across the en­tire moun­tain, es­pe­cially when con­di­tions are less than per­fect. But what, ex­actly, is crud? Why aren’t there any pro­fes­sional crud ski­ing com­pe­ti­tions? “Crud” some­what eludes def­i­ni­tion. It’s not quite pow­der, not quite moguls, and not quite groomed. As crud-lover Dave Matthews once noted, it is the snow that lives in “the space be­tween.” Crud is vari­able snow, and it calls for con­stantly adapt­ing your tech­nique and tac­tics from turn to turn, es­sen­tially be­ing pre­pared for any­thing.

Tac­ti­cally ski­ing crud is a lot like trail run­ning down a steep path with lots of rocks and roots. If you look straight at the ground, you’re not go­ing to see what’s com­ing up next. In­stead, you have to look ahead to know where to place your feet. The same goes for crud: bumps and piles of snow dic­tate where you should turn your skis. Find a flex­i­ble tempo down the path of least re­sis­tance, and it will all flow to­gether.

Tech­ni­cally speak­ing, crud ski­ing is all about be­ing in a re­laxed, bal­anced po­si­tion to ab­sorb the vary­ing ter­rain. Main­tain­ing loose an­kles in your ski boots will help ab­sorb the mi­cro ter­rain and snow vari­a­tions more ef­fi­ciently than your legs can. Be sure to save your legs for that mo­ment when you have no choice but to ex­plode through a sur­prise mogul that will pop up out of nowhere; they al­ways do.

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