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Double the Bumps

Features
posted: 01/08/2004

Most good skiers can arc down the same smooth, expert slopes pros do. But it's a different story when the terrain changes to bumpy crud: Most skiers freeze up, slam on the brakes, and get tossed, while the pros just get faster and smoother.

If speed is your shtick, and fat skis are the only thing in your closet, then navigating terrain changes at speed means finding crud or bumps you can "double"-use the uphill side of one clump of snow as a launching ramp, clear one or more troughs in the air, and land on the downhill side of another bump across the fall line. This will allow you to carry your speed through unpredictable terrain so you can gain control more easily.

Look ahead, identify a couple of bumps-or even just large piles of choppy snow-that will work for doubling, press forward in your boots, and gather power from your legs. Head straight into the ramped portion of the bump and spot the downhill side of the one you want to land on. As you rise to the crest, give a little pop and float to the back side of the next mound. In order to check your speed and land smoothly, make a slight turn in the air so you land on edge. Skid your skis to dump speed as you slip down the back side of the bump. Once you get this technique down and feel comfortable carrying speed through chop, think about going even bigger-and tripling.

Ingrid Backstrom
Age: 25
Height: 5 feet 4 inches
Weight: 120 pounds
Home Area: Squaw Valley, CA
Accomplishments: 2003 U.S. Freeskiing National Champion; two-time IFSA World Freeskiing Tour runner-up.
Worst Learning Experience: "When I first came to Squaw, there was a group of locals who, back then, completely intimidated me. The first day I was tagging along, I wanted to show them I could ski fast and hard and keep up. At the end of one of the runs, I came screaming out of a chute, cut too close to a rock, and smacked it with my hand. I managed to push myself hard enough to stay right with them, but on the chair I was like, "Wow, I kinda hurt my hand." Turned out it was broken and I couldn't ski for weeks. Now, if I'm in that situation, I just hang back and watch the lines they're skiing, then flash them at my own pace."

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