Steep skiing is in group of one of the most adrenaline-filled ski-related activities. It is one of the biggest ski challenges and it takes a lot of bravery to stand at the top and start to go down the track, but it can be done, even if you don’t have much experience. In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about skiing steeps to get you ready for your next off-piste skiing adventure.
There are three main things you’ll have to learn if you want to know how to ski steeps. They are:
- Keeping the balance
- Making skid turns
- Getting familiar with and choosing the right line
The first thing you’ll have to learn is to keep the best possible balance. This means your body should be stacked over skis front to back and side to side. You’ll achieve it by keeping your shoulders facing your way while tipping them a bit over the outside ski.
Steep slopes are more suitable for skid turns than carving. This way you’ll have more control of your speed and it will be easier to start your next turn. To successfully perform it, you’ll have to know how to keep a low edge angle or you risk the sidecut of the ski to engage too hard and increase speed when you don’t want it.
You’ll achieve this by practicing somewhere easy, and the goal is to twist your skis so they point across the hill as you keep your body facing down. Move a bit this way, then release the edges and turn the skis back, in the opposite direction. This way you’ll learn how to move your upper and lower body separately.
Finding the right line is a crucial safety aspect. Remember, steep skiing is fast, you’ll need enough time to react, so it is recommended to go through the lane without the rush, just to learn where is what. Check the track, find the best lane, make sure you’re skilled enough for it, and once you’ve learned the obstacles give it a go.
Steep Skiing Tips
Besides these three, there are some other tips and tricks that can be quite useful in steep skiing.
The worst thing you can do in steep skiing is to get scared and decide to sit back, this way transferring all the weight to your heels. Keeping an aggressive attitude, with your weight at your feet, will give you needed control.
Knees And Hips
Don’t let your knees become stiff. You’ll need mobility, so it is important to keep them relaxed. As you relax your knees, move the hips forward to gain additional speed, balance, and direction control.
As we’ve already mentioned, your upper body should always face down, while the lower part of the body should do all the turning and other movements. You’ll achieve this by keeping your eyes down the road, preferably at some point at the end of the track. Tilt your upper body a bit down the hill and keep it stable.
Along with the upper body, you’ll have to keep your hands in front. If they end up behind your hips, instead of in front, you may end up losing balance and getting injured. The simple trick is to try to locate them with your eyes in front of you. If you can see them as you look down the track, they’re well-positioned.
Whatever you do, don’t look at your feet! Head held up high brings additional stability and doesn’t affect your stability. You could check out the best ski goggles here, and also find all other ski gear here.
Skills You’ll Need
There are some regular skiing skills you’ll find useful when you start going down the steep track.
This up-and-down skiing turning technique is great for many different terrains and it makes your knees, ankles, and hips to flex more.
This turning technique is one of the most gracious, but it may not be suitable for every track. If the terrains allow you to, you could try it out because it will help you develop an amazing speed. Check out our guide on how to carve.
For steep skiing, you’ll have to learn how to turn quickly and with a small radius. It is useful in terrains filled with trees or other obstacles. They won’t help you gain much speed, but you’ll have great control and be able to go wherever you’d love to.
How To Stop
If you don’t move too fast, one of the best ways to stop is the so-called hockey stop. This means you turn your both skis sideways and apply pressure to make them slow down. Remember, you should only use this if you don’t move too fast.
Imagine the scenario – you don’t have time or space to turn but you have to change the direction. This is when you turn to kick turns. Move your skis sideways, move your boles to the upper side, and proceed by lifting the downhill ski forward by picking the toe and heel cup. Follow by placing the bodyweight onto your lower ski. As you do it, move the upper ski parallel to the other ski.
Steeps are fun, but only if you remain safe! That’s why don’t overestimate your abilities and start with the hardest tracks. To stay safe and healthy, go with the less complex tracks and try all the things imaginable, so next time you come back you’ll know exactly what to do.
If it sounds too complicated, don’t be afraid or shy to ask for professional help. Many ski schools offer steep skiing lessons.
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With its thrill and adrenaline, it’s no wonder that steep skiing has become so popular lately. Doing it properly will make the difference between an amazing and painful experience, and you’ll be able to brag among your friends about your latest achievement. This article will help you with the first steps, the rest is up to you and your desire to take things to another level.
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- STEEP SKIING: AN INTRODUCTORY GUIDE, mountaintracks.co.uk