Lesson Eleven: Skiing on STEEP Terrain

After you have some experience, you find yourself longing to try those slopes you’ve heard all your friends rave about – you know them…Tom Terrific, Balderdash, White Lightning, Top Gun (among others in the High Country)…or Shay’s Revenge (particularly Lowes Shays). The only two obstacles between you and being able to ski the really steep stuff is technique and fear.

Fear is the worst obstacle. It can make you freeze up. Once you’ve freaked out, you will find yourself stiffening up and leaning backwards. Your skis will immediately shoot out ahead of you and you’ll wipe out. Keeping your weight forwards is vitally important. In fact, the steeper the terrain, the more aggressive you need to be with your stance. On really steep terrain with moguls, head for the moguls. Moguls are your friends. (I can hear people moaning!)

Use the tops of them to bleed off your speed and to turn. Remember to let your legs bend when you begin skiing up the mogul and to extend your legs when skiing off the back side.

On really steep terrain without moguls, you’ve got to make aggressive turns. Get your weight forwards and keep it there. Don’t fall back on your heels! Pole planting is important. Plant your pole well ahead of you. Reach down.

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. Since September 1996 he has posted close to 14,000 posts, articles, photos and videos promoting all of the ski areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.Mike is the father of four daughters, is an avid skier and enjoys golf, tennis, kayaking and hiking in the mountains. Winter snowsports and Summer boating on Watauga Lake are among his favorite pastimes.