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Perfect Turns: Crud

Attitude is the first step in making it down a trail covered with mashed potatoes, bowling balls and frozen chicken heads. If you go in defensively, you'll get thrown in the back seat, bracing against your skis, which leads to skidding. Skidding over crud doesn't work. Approach crud with a centered, athletic stance, stay loose, and don't try to fight the snow surface. Be aggressive, balance on your skis' center and use the skis' sidecut. If you maintain an athletic stance and stay on edge, you'll get through almost anything. -Doug Pierini, Sierra-at-Tahoe, Calif.

The golden rule for skiing crud is to keep your tips moving. By continuously guiding your ski and making it bend, you create a stable platform in unstable conditions. It's crucial not to pivot your ski or make one part of the turn quicker than any other. For a drill, ski from transition to fall line and back in an equal amount of time. This smooth and progressive tactic will keep your skis grounded and stable. -Nelson Wingard, Crystal Mountain, Wash.

Skiing with a strong inside half enables you to blast through the toughest of snow conditions and enhances your ability in crud. While turning, flex or tighten the muscles on the uphill side of your body-starting with your toes and working up through your legs, hips, chest and arms. Once you've flexed your entire inside half, re-create this feeling through the opposite turn. As you incorporate a strong inside half, your ability and enthusiasm for skiing crud will improve. -William Stanley, Crystal Mountain, Mich.

The most important breakthrough on the road to conquering crud is balancing in space. While making high-speed, medium-radius turns on an intermediate run, imagine that your balance point isn't beneath your feet, but has moved to an area between your hips and belly button. Conceptualizing this balance point will allow your feet and legs to move beneath you and will allow your core to continue to move in the desired direction of travel. -Tyler Barnes, Mt. Hood Meadows, Ore.

To make crud your bud, you have to rely on balance from within. Functional tension in your upper body will allow your feet and legs to be supple. Be as patient as the slope will allow at the start of the turn. This gives you time to get your body to the inside of the turn and keeps your skis moving forward through the snow. When your skis move forward, they pierce the snow and both skis work easily together. -Michael Rogan, Heavenly, Calif.

To move beyond those reliable but exhausting hop turns in crud, try initiating your turn on your inside ski. On groomed runs, practice keeping your inside leg long and weighted until it's pointed down the hill. Quickly transfer your weight to your extended outside leg and enjoy the ride. When your outside ski is suddenly weighted, the sidecut engages the snow and pulls the ski underneath you. After mastering this on groomers, take it off-piste. Your skis will slice through crud as you drop the hop turn. -Deborah Myers, Brighton, Utah

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