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How do you stay balanced, let alone turn in a sea of ice cubes? Lean back, and you’ll lose control. Stay forward, and you’ll plow right through.
Nine times out of 10, grooming machines smooth a trail, making it easier to ski than if left in its natural state. But there are times when groomers create conditions that make skiing more difficult. One such instance often occurs in spring when thaw-freeze cycles complicate the grooming process. During the day, the warm spring sun turns snow to mush. Then, if grooming machines work a run before there’s a deep freeze, they chew up the slope’s surface, leaving chunks in their wake. When the chunks freeze, they turn into what are affectionately known as “death cookies.”
To even the best skiers, death cookies are what a bad lie in deep rough is a to golfer-dreaded. The typical skier reacts by stiffening his outside leg (see A), sending him back on his heels, edges skittering through the chunks. This spells instant loss of control.
A good golfer knows it’s fatal to be tentative in a bad situation. To let his club decelerate rather than accelerate through thick grass means an anemic shot. The same applies to navigating death cookies. Don’t back off! Think “forward.”
Observe how Chan eats up these death cookies:
When he hits the chunky snow, he doesn’t panic or try to brake suddenly.Throwing his skis sideways would be disastrous. He keeps his eyes up, looking forward for better snow. Fortunately, death cookies normally occur in patches. Chan rides them out, knowing that conditions will get better up ahead.
He stays forward on his outside ski. Because there’s pressure on his tip, it’s less likely to be deflected by the chunks.
He keeps his ski edged and moving forward through the turning arc as much possible.The less he skids sideways, the more stable he is.
He keeps his hands and knees driving forward so he can ski aggressively.