CLINIC

CHAL­LENGE THE FALL LINE TO MAS­TER THE STEEPS.

SKI - - CONTENTS - By Eric Lip­ton and Kaylin Richard­son Photos by Keri Bascetta

Dom­i­nate high-an­gle ter­rain any­where on the moun­tain with tips and tricks from the pros.

Be hon­est, when has avoid­ing a prob­lem ever served you well? It may seem counter-in­tu­itive, but most of us have learned by now that fac­ing in­tim­i­dat­ing sit­u­a­tions head-on of­ten leads to the path of least re­sis­tance. And so it is with ski­ing the steeps. On steep ter­rain, nat­u­ral in­stinct will tell you to lean into the hill, hold on and never let go. But lean­ing in­side and up­hill ac­tu­ally re­duces edge grip, com­pro­mises your bal­ance and halts your mo­men­tum—putting you at the slope’s mercy. To truly con­quer the steeps, you need to play of­fense, not de­fense. Show the hill who’s boss.

Whether you’re tack­ling a 35-de­gree groomed slope or a 45-de­gree pitch off-piste, there are few things that can make or break your abil­ity to ski the steeps more than this sim­ple con­cept: face down the hill. Your en­tire up­per body—head, shoul­ders, torso, and arms—should be ori­ented down the hill while your legs and skis turn be­neath you. Sim­ple to un­der­stand, less so to achieve, but it’s this abil­ity to move your lower and up­per half in­de­pen­dently that sep­a­rates the in­ter­me­di­ate skiers from the ex­perts.

Keep­ing your up­per body fac­ing down the hill re­quires an ath­letic stance, pres­sure on the out­side ski, and moxie. There are a lot of el­e­ments in­volved, but a dis­ci­plined up­per body will en­able strong pole plants, cat-like bal­ance, and rhythm and flow straight out of Justin Tim­ber­lake’s play­book.

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