If you nearly hurl your stomach contents at the top of a groomed blue intermediate run, then you aren’t ready to go steeper. Practice makes perfect, and you can gain the confidence you need by skiing runs in your comfort zone over and over.
Except for ski runs that have every terrain feature bulldozed out of them, most runs vary in pitch from top to bottom. Instead of skiing the less steep center of the run, go for the edge or steeper rollovers to build confidence.
Be sure you can ski the steepest intermediate groomed runs on the mountain before taking the leap to black diamonds or off piste.
STEEP OFF PISTE
Once you have the confidence to tackle all blue groomed runs on the mountain, then you are ready to move on to steeper ungroomed black diamonds and off-piste terrain. This is when the terrain choices expand to skiing glades, open bowls, and chutes. Leave the steeps with tight trees and narrow chutes until last.
STEP 4: ADD STEEP TECHNIQUES
In learning to ski steep slopes, several skills will help. Experiment with the following techniques on gentler slopes before transferring them to steeper runs.
Leaning downhill goes against all common sense. Yet in skiing the steeps, that’s exactly what you want to do. Fight all urges to lean back into the hill, and move the hips and upper body forward. Regardless of where your skis may be headed, face your upper body and head downhill.
PLANT POLES DOWNHILL
For descending steep slopes, plant your pole downhill to initiate turns. That reaching downhill rather than to the side helps position your body correctly.
Expert skiers carry a variety of pole plants in their arsenal for steeps. Techniques such as the blocking pole plant versus a quick tap can aid in altering the speed of the turn.
In narrow steep chutes, you may need to execute a hop or jump turn. It requires an exaggerated extension at the top of the turn to pick the skis up off the snow. The turn is accomplished in the air. The landing uses flexed knees. Pole plants are an essential part of the hop turn.