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Dealing with steeper gradients

How to remain confident on steeper slopes

featured in Skiing tips Updated

The more you progress the faster you will be able to ski and the more of the mountain will be available to you. Skiing steeper more difficult slopes offers more challenge, speed and excitement but it will take a little practice and an adaptation of your technique.

As you begin to ski steeper terrains, you’ll need to learn how to modify your turn initiation so as to cope with the angle of the slope your on and to make sure you're definitely going to make the turn successfully. I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation where we're not quite sure if were definitely going to get the skis to turn.

The steeper it gets, usually the heavier your skis feel and the harder it is to get over into the next turn. To avoid this happening introduce dynamics to your skiing focusing on a positive extension up and forwards down the hill as you initiate the turn. The degree of energy it takes and sometimes difficulty in getting the skis to turn at that degree of steepness warrants you learning how to initiate positively and dynamically.

To begin with practice the dynamic projection on a not so steep slope. Something like a blue run would be perfect. As you make the turn allow the pole plant to connect positively into the snow and at this point project your hips and shoulders forwards, up and down the hill. You project by pushing up from the balls of your feet. It’s a bit like diving into the water at the edge of a swimming pool. It has to be forwards and up, not just up. The skis will become very light and much easier to manoeuvre on the steeper terrain. Develop the projection to a greater degree and eventually, the skis will leave the snow momentarily. Steer the skis across the hill as you come to land on the snow as much as you need to for control on the gradient of terrain your skiing.

Once you feel you’ve got the hang of the dynamic projection, try it out on a steeper gradient slope and enjoy the newfound confidence and strength. Having the ability to do this will really help you when the going gets tough and when the gradients increase.

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