Flat-light Tactics


(SKIING Magazine by Rob and Eric DesLauries)–First, consider the terrain. What hazards exist? Moguls? Sudden snow-covered drops? Cat tracks? Other variations? Try to anticipate any serious health threats that may be lurking. Flat-light days are not the time to go exploring; stay on runs you know. And ski at an appropriate speed.

Technically, make one simple adjustment: Maintain a slightly lower stance than normal throughout the entire run. Lowering your center of gravity allows you to react quickly and helps you to maintain balance when you encounter unexpected terrain or snow changes.

In the sequence here, above tree line at Valle Nevado, Chile, Eric’s position at the end of the turn (Fig. 1) is low and strong. He is poised to release and flow into the next turn. Eric stays compact, centered, and strong through the transition between turns; his inside foot and ski lightly lead the edge change (Fig. 2).

Eric lets his skis carve through the turn as they were designed to do; he resists the urge to steer or twist the skis to finish the turn quickly. He remains poised and balanced throughout. The finish of the turn is balanced and strong (Fig. 3). Make it to this point in each turn and you’re golden.

Half the challenge in flat light is having the confidence to act as if you can see clearly. Know the terrain, keep it together, and you can get some great runs in while less-motivated buddies watch CHiPs reruns in the base lodge.

TipWhenever you can, ski close to visible objects like rocks or trees, which provide definition for the slope. Also, use light-colored, high-contrast goggle lenses to improve vision.