Off Piste Skiing – The Truth
Posted by Fraser EwartWhite
Want to know the truth about better Off Piste Skiing?
Your off piste skiing experiences on the mountain slopes are influenced by many internal and external factors, and when they all come together it leads you to being a happy contented off piste skier, or on the flip side, an under confident petrified off piste skier.
The majority of good skiers have developed a level of understanding of ski technique and control on piste but will find that as soon as you take the next step into ‘the off piste skiing zoned areas’ your game can simply fall apart fast. Even if you are experienced, off piste skiing is a different ball game and requires a change in tactic to make the best of it.
The biggest truth about your own ability is that you have plenty of skill and talent to tackle and handle the whole off piste skiing thing with a heap of confidence and more, knowing how is the key to a great experience you will never forget.
My first off piste experience was during my 1st ski holiday in France to Serre Chevalier. I remember it well, Jacques was my moniteur, a leisurely sporty skier with a rampant sense of adventure in his bright red bobbing outfit. (yes this was back in the day)
When skiing with Jacques, I often followed him off piste, diving into the off piste at any given opportunity. I was always on his heels, totally exuberant and forever knocked about. I was pulled down, covered in snow and my whole self confidence took more than a few blows… (to say the least). I began to understand the issues skiing off piste and it took many disciplined and focused attempts over the years to come to understand how to develop control and technique.
The big changer that led me to get to grips with this almighty off piste challenge and become a master, leader and expert was partly down to two things.
- Firstly, conquering off piste slopes requires lots of skiing ‘Experience’ and I had to develop that over time, and perfecting those techniques never ends.
- Secondly it was my understanding of the most important part of the turn that leads to real control of speed and provided that Eureka moment that gave me confidence.
Since then I have never looked back and love the thrill of going off piste skiing, having the slope to yourself or simply just challenging myself.
Tips for skiing off piste by Powder White
- Have the correct equipment. i.e. transceiver, probe and shovel
- Having larger, powder skis will be easier than skiing with slalom skis
- Do not lean back, this is a myth. Your weight distribution should be the same as you were skiing on piste.
- Try to keep your weight equally distributed on both skis
- This will help, when making your short turns as you compress the snow you should feel a rebound almost like jumping on a bouncy castle
- Try and keep your rhythm. This will help with balance and flow as you make your way down the piste.
- Practice Practice Practice!
Now I want ‘you’ to do the right thing, you owe it to yourself to take control of your speed and gain more experience.
Ski Safe out there,
Coach Mckay – skimckay, Val d’Isere