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I, personally, did not know where to start when it came to inspecting brand new terrain. A lot of the longtime competitors have inspection down to a science, and were eager to share tips, point out terrain features, give advice about where the snow would be and break down the process. I hiked down the ridge from the starting line for a good vantage of the venue, known as “Cornices.” Littered with natural terrain features, chokes and chutes, and open powder fields, it looked like the perfect canvas for the world’s top big-mountain skiers. With so many features and lines to choose from, I committed to a line that jumped out to me while standing on the ridge. I bootpacked back to the top of the venue, studied a black and white photograph of the terrain provided by the FWT staff looking for landmarks, and rolled off of the cornice to physically inspect my chosen line. Soft snow blew in my first turn, but bony conditions lurked beneath the layer of fresh snow. While the conditions looked to be prime, South American “land-sharks” and “reef” lay just underneath the untracked surface. Inspecting and assessing terrain is a fast way to learn about your skiing and style. I opted for a line that would allow me to arch big, fall-line turns up top, ski into an air in the middle of the venue, race to the bottom, and hit the money booter—a man-made, enhanced feature at the bottom. “It’s just skiing, man,” Hawks’ words resonated in my head, “Just ski a line that will challenge you and you’ll have fun.”

First Tracks on the FWT

Ever wondered what it’s like to compete in a big mountain ski comp? So did I…

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Icelantic’s First Tracks

Become a part of Icelantic Ski's insider's ski club. Plus, Icelantic is offering free skis and more to Skiing readers.

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Telus Festival at Whistler Packed with Concerts, Comps, and More

TWSSF TO FEATURE MORE THAN 45 MUSICAL ACTS over ten days and nights of non-stop FREE concerts (and ONE silent disco)