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Side Slipping, a skill for all ability levels

NYC2VT

Certified Ski Diva
it's funny for me to read over these threads, then look up videos on youtube and realize i know most of these moves but don't really know the names for most of them. i guess that's what happens when you learn to ski so young (then take a long time off!) that you forget the names of skills, but still have the muscle memory to do them on the slopes.
 

NYSnowflake

Angel Diva
My friend talked me into skiing Topridge (a diamond) at Gore yesterday. When I got there every pitch had been scraped pretty clean of snow and there was some glare even in the flat afternoon light. I was scared but decided to side slip down the first pitch... then did falling leaf and side slipped down the rest of the icy ones. It’s a great way to get yourself out of a scary situation without tumbling down the mountain!
 

freckles

Certified Ski Diva
How difficult is this skill? Can a beginner learn it easily or not?
It's an exercise in realizing and releasing the edges on your skis. Check out "falling leaf" tutorials on YouTube as well. Practice when the hill is quiet, not on a crazy weekend afternoon. Side slipping and edge release exercises were one of those "light bulb" moments for me that tied skiing all together.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
:bump:
A recent discussion that brought up pivot slips and Falling Leaf reminded me of this thread.

As I said in Post #1, how someone reacts to the idea of side slipping as a fundamental skill probably depends on whether they are a beginner, intermediate, advanced, or an expert skier. Depending on the region and the type of terrain someone skis most often, they may have more or less experience side slipping on a regular basis. If they haven't had lessons lately (or ever as an adult), the idea of practicing side slipping may not sound like a worthwhile use of time on snow. Even if they know how to side slip, it's unlikely that they are as good on one side as on the other. The only way to deal with that reality is to practice deliberately. Just as true for advanced skiers as intermediates.

For those reading who are new to Diva threads, note that liquidfeet, SkiBam, Skier31, volklgirl, Jilly, and SkiSailor are instructors who ski in different regions. I'm not an instructor. I've become a solid advanced skier in the last decade based on lessons with very experienced instructors at my home hill and during trips to resorts out west. Plus I'm retired and have been able to get in more mileage on slopes in recent years.
 

Slow Sarah

Angel Diva
I agree super important skill. I learned how by just trying it alongside people watching them as I struggled. I Mostly used it helping set race courses. I have it pretty decent now. One side I do better than the other due to alignment issues
Good experience for me too. Some skills are harder for me so I learn both by watching and also by doing. When I am lucky I get to learn just by watching but I get a sense here that both will likely be in order. :smile: Can you give an example of how you used this setting race courses? How long did it take until you felt it was somewhat automatic?
 

Slow Sarah

Angel Diva
It's an exercise in realizing and releasing the edges on your skis. Check out "falling leaf" tutorials on YouTube as well. Practice when the hill is quiet, not on a crazy weekend afternoon. Side slipping and edge release exercises were one of those "light bulb" moments for me that tied skiing all together.
Definitely will do. “falling leaf” sounds like a meditative practice…
 

racetiger

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Can you give an example of how you used this setting race courses? How long did it take until you felt it was somewhat automatic?
I was taught how to ski by a friend who was a race coach, so I'd hang out with him on practice nights on my first year of skiing. I learned side slipping by following him down the hill with the bag of gates. (which was super hard as as a beginner) I'd stop at each spot while he was drilling the hole and hand him one. Also he'd send me through to side slip the course sometimes when it got rutted up.
This season is my 6th season on skis. I'm evenly good on both sides now, I've figured out the alignment issue mentioned earlier. It took maybe another season or two for it to become as automatic as walking. Since I like freestyle, I'm always playing around and doing silly things. I like doing side slip and falling leaf drills for warming up.
 

jthree

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I remember when I started in the women's clinics at Smuggs 3 years ago, one of the first things we did was side-slipping and falling leaf. At the time, our teacher was using it before taking us on harder areas and in the trees, as both skills are definitely useful when encountering intimidating terrain.

Later, this same instructor used side-slipping to help us build technique and skills, ie practicing releasing our edges. It was definitely an "aha" moment realizing that getting good at this skill is a stepping stone to better technique and control. I know do this when I can for warm-up/technique practice.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Here's Deb Armstrong's take on Falling Leaf as a drill.

Note that doing Falling Leaf as a survival skill on steep terrain would look different. It would go a lot slower.

December 2021
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
I took a CSIA women's instructor camp before Covid. One of the exercises was to side slip a marked corridor, changing sides 1/2 way. Well, I'm good on one side, but not the other. The L4 - Sunny V, was not impressed. She's yelling at me in French, which I sort of understand, but I decided to yell back....English. Not a good experience for me. But side slipping is a skill for sure.
 

AJM

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Even though I profess to be a queen at side slipping I am definitely stronger on one side than the other !! We were coming back out of a side country run a couple of seasons ago and had to side slip down the access track which I swear was only just wide enough to fit my ski's across with rocks on either side, needless to say I ended up on my weaker side and wasnt able to turn around due to the narrowness ( I didnt want to end up in the rocks!!!), it took me forever but I made it .... finally. A huge relief to make it to the cat track at the bottom which after what I'd just been through seemed about 6 groomer widths wide but in reality was only about 2 :laughter:
 

Slow Sarah

Angel Diva
I was taught how to ski by a friend who was a race coach, so I'd hang out with him on practice nights on my first year of skiing. I learned side slipping by following him down the hill with the bag of gates. (which was super hard as as a beginner) I'd stop at each spot while he was drilling the hole and hand him one. Also he'd send me through to side slip the course sometimes when it got rutted up.
This season is my 6th season on skis. I'm evenly good on both sides now, I've figured out the alignment issue mentioned earlier. It took maybe another season or two for it to become as automatic as walking. Since I like freestyle, I'm always playing around and doing silly things. I like doing side slip and falling leaf drills for warming up.
Thanks for that! It sounds like the motivation was really there if you had to help someone out and couldn’t stop until the job was complete.
 

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