If you’re comfortable skiing the whole mountain, you probably know how to scope out smart descent lines and how to turn in the most logical places. But maybe, occasionally, you guess. Shopping for turns puts you in a state of mental purgatory that pulls you out of the fall line and kills your rhythm and flow. Great skiers are able to turn anywhere, anytime, even in the illogical places. They carry their upper bodies and, therefore, their momentum down the fall line while their legs do the work of turning their skis. In fall line skiing, especially on narrow trails, you have to separate your body’s upper and lower hemispheres to maintain a consistent rhythm.
Harbor chop, Sierra cement, mank, moguls: These are all tough conditions to ski in—the uneven snow and terrain can make minced meat of you—so it’s natural to respond in kind, with brute force. But the flailing arms and gyrating hips that come with it betray a skier absorbing too much impact with his upper body and not enough with his legs. Experts’ upper bodies, on the other hand, remain smooth and steady—like a duck’s above the water’s surface—while their legs and feet do the work of absorbing uneven terrain. Only when you move your feet, ankles, knees and hips through their full athletic ranges of motion can you respond to rough terrain with fluidity and grace.