This winter has already been a great one for snow, and the woods are calling. If you haven't ventured into the glades before, now would be a great time. Here are a few suggestions as you make your runs in the trees.
Take off the pole straps. If you keep skiing in the woods, at some point your pole straps are going to hang up on a branch...ideally this will pull the pole from your hand and not the arm from your shoulder.
Look at the spaces you plan to ski through, and not at the trees and rocks. Your skis will follow your eyes, and if you focus on the gaps through the trees you'll ski right on through. As you flow from turn to turn, keep your eyes looking ahead and seeing the route.
Start out in the open glades. There are glades with lots of room between the trees, there are tight glades with very narrow spaces between the trees, and then we have all seen tracks into spaces that don't even look like spaces. Kids can create glades runs that no reasonable person would ever ski, so don't trust every set of tracks you see.
Start out where you have lots of room, and get a feel for skiing the trees. As spring starts to warm up (someday), often the best snow is in the trees. Once you get comfortable skiing the trees, you'll be hooked.
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 at King Pine Ski Area. You can email questions to John at firstname.lastname@example.org.