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When I was competing, coaches would criticize me for losing my rhythm in the bumps. I wouldn’t complete my turns, my speed would increase, and then I’d lose control. Inevitably, I became a survival skier rather than a calculated pilot: I was not skiing the mountain-it was skiing me.
A quick trick for instilling discipline and control is right under your nose-at least on sunny days. Ski along the shadow line of a lift cable, carving short-swing arcs of equal length on both sides of the shadow.
Maintain consistent speed and use pole plants for even timing and pacing at the initiation of the turn. If your pole plant is erratic, the mechanics of the lower body will be affected and you’ll ski off line. Succeed with even pole plants and the drill will teach you to keep your upper body square to the hill.
As you improve, you’ll find that your upper body will stay steady over the shadow line while your lower body and skis cross back and forth along it. This separation and independence of upper and lower body will be especially valuable as you jump into bumps and other rough terrain.
Chris Anthony is a former World Cup competitor and has been featured in 13 Warren Miller films. He lives in Vail.