Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
You’ve been eyeing that big, out-of-bounds line for months, but you fear you’ll blow it because you can’t see the entire run. Pro skiers share that worry every time we set up to ski something new. Our solution? We “pic” our lines.
During the extreme skiing boom, big-mountain competitors started using Polaroid cameras to pop pictures of the line they intended to ski. They’d commit the images to memory right up to the moment they pushed off. The practice soon spread to ski-film stars and recreational skiers on bigger terrain. Today, digital cameras make “pic-ing” a line even easier. I take many shots from as many angles as possible, then quiz myself until I know the line inside out. When I’m ready, I stow the camera, but focus on the line.
Before you launch the drop in your picture, remember: A cliff that looks 10 feet high from a distance could turn out to be 50 when you’re on top of it. Put it in perspective by including a person standing nearby. Whether you?re eyeing Crested Butte’s North Face or a first descent in the Chugach, “pic-ing” your line will help you visualize what’s to come – as well as provide a show-‘n -tell prop back at the office on Monday.