Survival Turns with A.J. Cargill

Fitness
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Survival Turn #1

STEP 1: REVERT TO PARALLEL

If you're fighting breakable crust, remember your fixed-heel roots and go parallel. Pressure your heels, flex your boots evenly at the ankle, and steer both skis through your turn at the same time. This spreads your weight over both skis for better flotation. Try it on a cat track first.

["Scrub Speed"]

STEP 2: SCRUB SPEED

If you must make tele turns, dump speed by bringing your skis across the hill. (Fat skis have made this easier to pull off without catching an edge.) Counterrotate with your upper body by touching your right hand to your left knee in right turns (reverse it for left turns). Keep your torso square to the fall line.

["Be Tactical"]

STEP 3: BE TACTICAL

As always, look farther down the fall line than you think you need to-20 to 25 feet is ideal. Your body will automatically react to what you saw three turns ago.

["Let It Flow"]

STEP 4: LET IT FLOW

If you're comfortable with your speed, keep your skis pointed downhill as the pitch mellows out. That may sound counterintuitive when you're skiing a two-inch sun crust, but you need that momentum to power through. Quick Tip: The second you let your shoulders follow your skis through a turn, you lose the ability to swing your skis around quickly. Just remember: Sun-crust face plants = blood.


FEBRUARY 2006

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Skiing Magazine's 2008-09 Backcountry Gear Guide

Last March, our two dozen testers hammered laps on Crested Butte’s bony steeps for two days, filling out evaluation cards after each run. The results are listed here. “AT” means the gear was reviewed by alpine-touring skiers. “Tele” means tested by telemark skiers. Some skis were tested by both groups. Our goal: to help you find your perfect backcountry setup.