The second stage is to turn, so find a slope that's a little steeper than the one we talked about in Part 1. You will need a steeper slope than a groomed piste of the same gradient, as deep snow slows you down. We are not talking real back country skiing just yet, but somewhere close to the piste where you can go to recuperate after the effort you are about to make!
.Stand at the top and try to memorise the rhythm of the exercise you have just done. Repeat it standing still. Down, left pole in, up.
Down, right pole in, up. Left pole, right pole, left pole, right pole. Remember that your body must face downhill all the time, your weight must be equal on both skis and slightly back towards your heels, and that the skis must remain flat on the snow.
.Right, off you go. Let's say you are starting with a right turn.
Weight on both skis. Go all the way down to put the right pole in. Come right up, and as you come up, jump the skis across the fall line. (Keep the skis flat in the snow.) Now, with the same rhythm, start to go down immediately for the next turn, put the pole in, and jump up and around the pole with the skis.
Keep your body facing down the hill, keep the skis flat, keep the rhythm going (count to yourself), and go riiiiight dowwwn each time. (I haven't said it yet but you will be unweighting the skis with the 'down slow and up quick' method while you are learning. This will eventually progress with linked turns to the 'down quick and up quick mode') If you are not familiar with these expressions go to the article 'How Do You Turn a Ski?'
.After about seven turns you may well be knackered, trying to keep perfect balance, working your knees, hips, stomach, and arms, and coupling all this with unbelievable concentration.
Take a break and breathe in the rare mountain air, and listen to the silence, and think how lucky you are to be skiing off piste and not to be sitting in the bank manager's office.
.You will find that you get tired quite quickly because your muscles are working overtime to compensate for the difficulty of keeping your balance.
It is therefore very important to think 'Balance', to think 'Rhythm', to think 'Gently'. When you are doing more headplants than turns, give it a break until you have recovered. It is a good idea to try a bit of deep snow close to the piste initially, so that you can get back on the piste and boost your deflated ego for a while.
Don't do it for too long; get back into the angels poop before someone else pinches it all.
.Let's just summarise the important points for learning to ski the powder:
* Keep your weight equally balanced on both skis (a few inches apart)
.* Go right down to plant the pole
.* Keep your upper body facing downhill all the time
* Keep a rhythm going ie: short linked turns (like window wipers).Simon Dewhurst has taught downhill skiing in North America, Scandinavia and the European Alps for 35 years.
.* Be as gentle as possible.
He currently runs a ski chalet agency in the French Alps. His book "Secrets of Better Skiing" can be found at http://www.ski-jungle.com. If you have any comments about the above article, he will be happy to answer them.
By: Simon Dewhurst