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Icy Black Tips?


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I really like that bolded part.

To get used to icy steep groomers when they frighten you, you've got to first get comfortable with sliding down them without much grip.

1. Learn to side-slip down a steep icy groomer. Can you go straight down, without left-right travel? Good. Great! Do it again, pointed in the other direction. Repeat, over and over, to purge the fear. OWN those side-slips.
2. Learn to do Falling Leafs on that same icy steep groomer. Falling Leaf is a side-slip with slight, intentional rhythmic fore-aft travel. The skis don't turn. They just take you forward, then backward. Learn this first on an icy not-so-steep groomer to get the movement pattern going, then take it to the steep icy groomer. Your line is still straight down the hill, but you go forward a little bit, then backwards a little bit, then forward a little bit, then backwards a little bit, keeping the line straight down the hill. Doing Falling Leaf cements the skill of controlling forward-backward travel while side-slipping. How to move fore and aft? Bend forward at the ankles to go forward; then open ankles to lean back on the back of the cuffs to go backward; turn your head to see where you are going. You will be side-slipping backwards intentionally, then forwards, then backwards again. Repeat. So, can you do Falling Leaf down an icy steep groomer staying in the middle of the trail the whole run? Great. Do it again, pointing skis the other way. Repeat until you have purged the fear of side-slipping backwards by learning to control it. OWN that backwards slipping.
3. Learn to do pivot slips on that icy steep groomer. Take a lesson for this!!! Pivot slips are complicated. You slip down a narrow corridor, no left-right travel, while pivoting skis to point left-right. You must have great control of edging and balance to do this without heading across the trail a bit. When you take the pivot slip lesson, be sure to show off your side-slips and falling leafs to your instructor at the start of the lesson.
4. Morph those pivot slips into turns on that icy steep groomer. Once you can do pivot slips over and over down that icy steep groomer, you'll be able to turn those pivot slips into graceful turns made with confidence. You'll be an expert at "guiding the slide" on steep ice. It's a worthy goal. Not that many recreational skiers can do pivot slips down an icy steep groomer, nor morph those pivot slips into graceful turns shaped with confidence. It will probably take a while to get yourself there.
It is exactly what our instructor had us do, and it is amazing how much of a difference this makes. Icy blacks are much more doable now and less freak-factor.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@liquidfeet I definitely feel like I need a lesson for no. 3 on your list - no. 1 is my tried-and-true survival strategy for Scary Black Slopes. I currently (barely) manage an approximation of a pivot slip on steeper intermediate slopes and it seems like such a good thing for my skiing.

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