Out With the Old, In With the New: Step 4

Instruction 1200 H


Always Face Downhill


You don't want to torque your shoulders and hips out of position-but many skiers take that advice to extremes. Instructors used to preach, "Always face the valley," regardless of snow, speed or turn size (1). That advice was based on the belief that the tail controlled the ski's direction. If you didn't want the tail to skid out, you had to delay the outside hip, leaving it behind you (2).

To get into the next turn, of course, you had to "reverse" your hips and shoulders as the skis turned under you. This is a classic stance (3), but one that is neither comfortable nor efficient on shaped skis. Always facing downhill (4), against the direction the skis travel as they cross the hill in a long turn is now silly.

New Follow the ArcMIKE Always facing downhill can actually twist you up like a pretzel in long turns, so follow this simple guideline: Face where you are going. If you're making short turns, that will be downhill. In longer turns, you'll face more across the hill. If you're well balanced on a shaped ski, there's no reason to worry the tail might break loose, so you can be more relaxed at the hips, too (A). And by standing more naturally, your skiing becomes more like walking. You softly step from one ski to the other (B-C). Face just inside your tips as you cross the fall line. (B). Facing where you are going also enables you to easily cross over to change edges with no risk of your hips falling behind your skis (C). The modern skier is beautiful in his simplicity (D), without stylistic distractions.