Hop turns can be a skier's best friend. Sometimes they're the only way to initiate a turn in crud and breakable crust and on steeps. Nail the technique and you'll be able to get down anything.
Even good skiers often crash when making hop turns in tight, steep places because they don't compensate for the pitch when making the move. Good balance and stance are critical for success. If you jump straight up and down and don't anticipate the effects of gravity and pitch, you'll get caught in the back seat (see "wrong"). And you never want to be sitting back on the steeps-the next thing you know, you'll be sliding on your backside.
Use the momentum of your hips extending up and down the hill into the next turn to power your hop (Figs. 1 and 4). Keep your shoulders square to the hill (Fig. 2) for balance and let your lower body do the hopping. Remember to keep your eyes looking down the fall line to anticipate the next move (Fig. 3).
Kim Reichhelm is the founder of Women's Ski Adventures (www.skiwithkim.com) and is a two-time World Extreme Skiing Champion. She skied on the U.S. Ski Team and the Women's Pro Tour. She lives in Crested Butte, Colorado. Explore Las Lenas, Argentina, with Kim and Dave Swanwick. www.laslenasvacations.com/swany/swany_and_kim/