A smooth descent without starts and stops is a beautiful thing, but it’s not always the reality. Being able to shut down your speed in a heartbeat or make short quick turns to avoid a hazard is key. If you can’t do a series of jump turns, keeping your skis inside a narrow corridor—no more than a couple ski lengths wide—and hopping them down the slope, you shouldn’t venture to uncharted terrain where you’ll inevitably have to make quick decisions and abrupt stops. Practice first on a groomed slope, then move to an ungroomed trail and slowly work your way to more challenging conditions until you can engage your edges quickly in either direction.
A Balanced Approach
Feel like you’re always a little out of balance? Get used to it; it comes with the big-mountain territory. A great way to get comfortable with the discomfort is to practice skiing groomers with your boots completely unbuckled. Make big turns across the slope and pay attention to what your center of mass is doing throughout the turn, using fine adjustments in your feet and toes to stay balanced. Keep your center over the middle of your feet, and keep your hands in your power position.