Imagine you're Mario Lemieux on a breakaway along the boards. You're digging for all you're worth when you notice a defenseman bearing down on you like a Mack truck. What do you do? Hit the brakes and let him take out some paint, then skate for the net. This hard-stop-and-redirection skating technique can help you avoid trouble on the hill.
In the middle of your turn, imagine gliding along the boards (Fig. 1). You're balanced and centered over your skis. Looking ahead, you notice tough terrain, and you need to redirect. Be patient and continue gliding so you can set up to compress your body and pressure the skis at the end of your turn. Just as on skates, pressure both feet simultaneously to get a solid bite in the snow at the end of the turn (Fig. 2).
The key to getting around the defenseman-the tough terrain-is to release the turn before you actually stop. Keep your momentum by releasing the pressure from your outside foot when the direction change is complete, and use your downhill foot to roll into the new turn (Fig. 3). It should be seamless and simple.
Eric DesLauriers is a coach with the X-Team Advanced Ski Clinics and owns All Mountain Ski Pros. He is based in Sugar Bowl, California.