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Ski technique question: leaning into hill


Certified Ski Diva
When I am on steeper slopes, especially when the steepness kind of sneaks up on me, I notice that my uphill shoulder is leaning into the hill a fair amount when I'm turning--when my body is pretty much perpendicular to the fall line. My weight still seems to be on the downhill ski, and I can initiate the next turn okay. I'm doing this to control my speed.... If I point myself straight down the fall line on steeper slopes, I will end up gong too fast and being out of control.

What do you think?:fear:



Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Ah yes, something I am intimately familiar with, as I've been working these drills for the past several weeks to get my upper/lower body separation goin.

The key here: Your shoulders/hips should face down the fall line. However, your SKIs will turn underneath you. At the finish of the turn-- and before you start the next-- your skis should be perpendicular to the fall line, and your shoulders should face down the hill.

It feels odd and slightly uncomfortable at first when you exaggerate the stance. But you have MUCH more stability and edge hold on the hill when it's done right. These turns can be practiced slowly, so that you never feel like you are picking up too much speed, even on steep runs.

Although you may still fee like you have weight/control on the downhill ski, leaning into the hill is less stable than keeping shoulders downhill. Really.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
This is one of the main problems I have with my skiing-- leaning into the hill and banking my turns. The steeper it gets, the more I do it and the more noticeable it is. I've been doing drills to try and rid myself of this habit and keep upper body facing down the fall line and get more weight on downhill ski.


Angel Diva
I'm lazy, otherwise I'd hunt down the link for "Tackling the Steeps" that was around for awhile. Good stuff in that thread.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yes, in particular, the discussions about reaching your pole down the fall line to plant it--that prevents you from leaning back into the hill on the steeps. The first time you do it (it almost feels like you're exaggerating the motion), you'll be amazed at how much more stable you feel, and how easily you initiate turns.


Staff member
Remember that if you're leaning into the hill instead of being forward over your skis - you're actually much more likely for your skis to slip out from under you - they're not at an optimal angle to hold an edge if you're leaning back towards the percieved "safety" of the snow behind you. I find that if I keep that in mind - that leaning into the hill is actually the scary thing, not staying centered/forward (however you want to think of it in the steeps) - it helps me avoid doing that.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yes, in particular, the discussions about reaching your pole down the fall line to plant it--that prevents you from leaning back into the hill on the steeps. The first time you do it (it almost feels like you're exaggerating the motion), you'll be amazed at how much more stable you feel, and how easily you initiate turns.

SueNJ - Quite a few years ago I read an article that mentioned using the pole plant idea and, to this day, I still use the "reminder" from that article: "Think steep? Reach deep." I've found it actually helps get my upper body into a better position, establish a rhythm and keeps me from being perpendicular to the slope for too long.


I recently took a lesson and the instructor told me was something like this: On initiating the turn, keep your upper body facing straight downwards, but simultaneously project your right hip (for a right turn) down the hill and your butt will be pointing somewhat back into the hill (legs adequately bent, of course) and that posture is stable and brings you right around the turn. I'm not sure if I'm stating this clearly, but she took me down an intimidatingly steep run and this really worked well....it brought me around the turn quickly and quite well and controlled speed, I felt really stable, and I didn't fall or otherwise lose it. When I get it all together and do turns like this, they always feel good. At first, projecting yourself down the fall line feels odd and a bit uncomfortable and scary at first, but you really don't go barreling down the hill, it just gives you enough momentum to turn nicely and your skis quickly catch up as you come around. I saw something like on one of the Lito Tejada-Flores ski tapes too (they're wonderful, and I highly recommend them).


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
UGH, this is the part that is the most uncomfortable at first, but once you get used to the idea of pointing down the hill, it really is Grand! I had a lesson this weekend, I get my left hand dragging behind my hip (more than once in a while - LOL). I know I do this, and am working on it...but by the end of the lesson, I really had my focus and it's amazing how in control you are when you ski like that. Pointing downhill, arms out in front.

Once you're forward, you just inititate the turn with your foot, the ski responds and you don't get all that skidding action.

It's so awesome when you do it right because it just feels sooo good.

I also had to work on pre-turns...like I love standing at the top of the steep and pointing them straight down to start my run. It's amazing how the old golf language just comes flying out. Luckily, my instructor just laughs at me.:nono:

I think I might be getting the hang of this skiing thing:ski2:


Certified Ski Diva
Thanks to skigirl for "downhill hand down"

When I posted my leaning into the hill question, skigirl sent me this advice:

"You need to put your down hill hand down. Drop it down to your knee. This is the best way to contol your speed. You need to lean away from the hill not into the hill. Lean outside of the turn.

I have been a ski instructor for 26 years."

Well, I went skiing the first time on my new Roxy Joyriders (I had demoed them, but these were fresh out of the package), and I practiced technique on a steeper green at a slow speed to emphasize technique. Thinking about leaning outside of the turn didn't seem to help me much, and I wasn't skiing very smoothly. Then I moved to a medium blue run (hey, InTheClouds, I was on Beaver), and once again, I wasn't skiing very smoothly. Then, suddenly, when I was on a steeper blue with a weird camber (Powderhorn at Sierra at Tahoe), I remembered skigirl's other advice: Downhill hand down!

So I dropped my downhill hand, and it WORKED!!! It moved my weight more squarely on the downhill ski, it put my pole where it needed to be to initiate the next turn, and I didn't feel like my uphill ski leg was straining. It became my mantra today: Downhill hand down! Downhill hand down! (and then, when things sped up): Downhill down! Downhill down!

I also wanted to thank whoever it was who wrote what we're supposed to DO with the pole hand once it has... poled: push it down over the ski. That way the pole doesn't get caught behind me. (This has happened many times. Ouch.) I read about that in the "Tackling the Steeps" thread.

I know what you guys mean about the hip thing.... I'll keeping working on it. Things are getting slushy in California....

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