February is here and the skiing could not be better. We hearty New England Skiers don't often get weeks of new, dry powder and actual packed powder. That is what we are enjoying and it is fantastic.
Conditions like these are great for trying those trails that you tend to avoid. It is easier to get your edges to engage, and everything seems to work better. So head over to the steeper trails, and work on keeping those shoulders level with the hill.
Step one: Point your skis across the trail, and without moving make sure all of the following are part of your stance. Feet are hip width apart, knees are equally hip width apart, pants and jacket zippers are pointed across your skis-just below the tip, and your shoulders are tipped so that they are parallel with the trail pitch. That sure is a lot to remember, but all of it makes skiing the steeps fun instead of frustrating.
Step two: Now ride your edges across the hill, traversing the slope with both skis leaving deep carve slices in the hill. When you get to the other side of the trail, get set up the way you should, and traverse back. Once you feel your stance is right, start linking traverses without stopping.
To make this work when you are moving, make sure to drag the downhill pole while you are traversing the trail for a few runs. This pole drag will force you to tip over your outside ski, and your shoulders magically become level.
Now take your level shoulders, and your expert ski stance, and go rip it up in the course, in the woods, and everywhere else.
Remember, best advice of all, take a lesson or attend a race clinic. You'll have a great time and improve your time.
John Macdonald is a Level III Certified PSIA Instructor and is a Race Team Coach and Trainer at King Pine Ski Area. You can email questions to John at firstname.lastname@example.org.