Ski Tough Steeps With Style

Hugo Harrison told us how to rip steeps with style.
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Tough Steeps with Style

Pro freeskier Hugo Harrison gave us some tips on how to ski steeps with style and grace. Here are his secrets.

Freeskiing competitions often force athletes to ski the steepest, gnarliest slopes under some of the iciest conditions. So how do competitors manage to make it look easy? They sharpen their edges, take their time, and stay in control. The same goes for the steeps at your favorite resort.

Take your time picking a steep line, and choose something that you know you can ski fluidly, stepping it up a little more each time. Old-school hop turns will work if you're in trouble, but flowing high-speed turns will make you look and feel like a big mountain hero.

Keep your body upright and stay in the fall line. And don't lean too far into the hill: It might feel safer, but when you lean in on steeps, your edges slide out from under you.

As you drop in, look as far ahead as possible and try to read the snow. Stay light on your skis and make quick transitions from one foot to the other. With your head up, you'll be ready to adapt when the snow changes from ice to powder to windblown.

Center your weight and keep it there. Being in the backseat puts your skis, rather than you, in charge of where you're going.



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Steeps Gear

Gear for the Steeps

The essential items for skiing steep terrain, from a self-arresting tool to a helmet to a ski-tuning kit.

Steeps Problem: Leaning Into The Hill

Problem Solvers: Steeps

PROBLEM Instinctively, people shrink from what scares them. On a steep face, you may try to hug the apparent security of the hill by leaning into the mountain with your upper body, stiffening your downhill leg or throwing your downhill hand upward. These instinctive reactions compromise balance and make edging more difficult.