Carve Clean Arcs
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Imagine you are the pilot of two jets attached to your feet and they are about to perform a difficult “S” turn. To start this maneuver, tip the wings of your planes equally (1) and allow time for them to make a symmetrically shaped arc in the snow. It takes courage to allow yourself to tip your lower legs equally downhill and to press your shins into the tongues of your boots until your downhill edges engage the snow. But it will pay off when both of your skis flex equally and stay flexed throughout the turn in one clean arc-with no skidding or chatter.
Now you are ready to guide those planes back in the opposite direction (2). When you watch the Blue Angels perform this maneuver, you see them slowly and smoothly roll the wings out of one turn and continue to roll until they are tipping their wings in the opposite direction. The planes cannot begin to turn until they have rolled their wings in the opposite direction. They stay in formation because they are tipping at equal angles to one another. As the pilot of your skis, use the same technique (3). Here’s the courage part again. Tip your legs down the hill by rolling both ankles until your downhill edges engage. Don’t start your turn while your skis are flat on the snow; this results in skidding. Slowly and smoothly roll your skis off one set of edges, and be patient as you continue to roll them out of the turn and onto the opposite edges. Your skis will flex and turn from one turn to the next-like fighter jets in formation.
Chris Kastner is a member of the PSIA Demo Team and teaches at Crystal Mountain, Wash.