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Jump To Safety

Private Lessons
posted: 02/04/2004

You're a few turns into a steep chute and it abruptly ends at a rock band. You can't sideslip or downclimb, and you're too far in to hike out. Now what? The easiest and safest solution is to jump it with your skis on.

This may sound like a risky, pros-only approach, but it's very simple and surprisingly safe. The key is to establish a stable body position before you jump so you can have a solid, stable landing. Sideslip to the lip of the rocks and anchor the edge of your downhill ski into the snow. Keep your shoulders square to the fall line and plant your downhill pole in the snow or rock below your skis (Fig. 1). With most of your weight on the downhill ski, push off the slope with your uphill leg and hop out over the rocks (Fig. 2). In the air, keep your upper body facing down the fall line, keeping your skis parallel to the hill. Focus on your landing spot.

Touch down by planting your downhill pole and stomping a two-footed landing without reaching into the hill (Fig. 3)—otherwise, your skis will slip out from beneath you.

Former Olympian Wendy Fisher is a two-time World Extreme Skiing Champion and is featured in the 2003 Warren Miller film Journey.

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