Tahoe skiing: How to master (or, at least learn) new movements with the inside ski
Special to the Sun
Ski instructors rightly focus a good deal of their students’ attention on the outside ski. Guiding students to properly pressure, edge, and steer the outside ski yields quick results and their students are soon happily snaking their way down the hill.
However, it’s often mastering new movements with the inside ski that is the key to a skiing breakthrough. One such breakthrough that is dependent on the inside ski is developing a consistently smooth parallel turn initiation, especially in more challenging terrain.
As the hill gets steeper (or bumpier or snowier), intermediate skiers, and even some advanced skiers, often hold on too long to the edged downhill ski at the end of their turns.
This is likely because the edged downhill ski offers a bit of extra security, especially if one is not completely comfortable with the terrain.
The problem is, with the downhill ski anchored on an edge, it’s hard to turn that ski back down the hill to start the next turn. This often results in using just the outside ski to initiate the turn, called “stemming.” Stemming can lead to a chain reaction of other less-than-ideal movements: crossed ski tips, picking up the inside ski, and over-rotating hips and shoulders.
All this mess can be avoided simply by letting go of the edged downhill ski in anticipation of starting a new turn. In the transition between turns, stand tall, moving your hips from inside the old turn to over your feet, and let the skis go flat.
On steeper terrain, you might even actively push the downhill knee down the hill to flatten the inside ski. When the inside ski goes flat, gravity will cause the ski to naturally seek the fall line and the ski tip will turn downhill with little effort, allowing the skis to work together more easily. You’ll soon be making better parallel turns and skiing tougher slopes with confidence.
Andy Levy is a ski instructor at Diamond Peak. Visit http://www.diamondpeak.com to learn more.