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Scrub Speed (with Sage Cattabriga-Alosa)

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Some of the best lines are between, or over, cliffs with major carnage potential. Learn to recognize the hazards and then pick a line that threads the needle. Visualize where you can carry speed and, more importantly, where you can ditch some safely.

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I always look for the fattest section of a line and use it to scrub speed. Nice deep pockets are a great place to jam a turn, but beware: They’re a hazard if avy potential is high or if they’re over a big drop. Check conditions before you go, and always ski with a friend.

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Picture how your turns will look as you come into the zone, and what direction your major turn, or speed check, will be. I usually ditch most of my speed with one turn, looking ahead for a safe exit in case I overshoot the pillow.

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If you can’t see the speed-scrubbing pocket, use a tree, rock, or other unique feature to guide you to it.

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When it’s time to pull back on the throttle, get your weight over your downhill ski. Throw your turn as far across the fall line as you need to — or as far as the terrain allows. Keep your speed in check until you can open it up again.