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Skiing across a diagonal slope - beginner

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi there everyone. A question for a beginner. I’ve been skiing a couple days for the first time. I have 1 day left , but something I just am having trouble with on the main run.

The “piste” is defined through a narrow section that’s relatively steep (for me as a beginner). But the fall line is not straight down. The path goes across the slope for a couple 100m. As I’m not super confident with my turns on such a narrow section I try snow plow/pizza down this section to control my speed but it pushes me right all the way down. I cannot stay straight due to the fall.

I had also tried turns and of course the right turn is quick and simple, the left turn takes a huge effort.. to the point where I get too scared to attempt it given the narrow nature.

Are there any tips ? Would love advise. Thank you
Paul
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The answer is learn how to "side slip" and counter any camber you encounter by shifting your weight. Side slipping is a key "get out of trouble" skill and because you side slip with skis parallel it's a lot less wearing on the joints than snowploughing - you can side slip down slopes which are far too steep to snowplough down. An instructor might pop along here to explain - but really, you need one with you on the hill. Have you had any lessons? If all else fails you can probably find some videos on youtube.
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Have a look at controlled side slipping. This is a good technique for a steep narrow area. Youtube is your friend.
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A technique that works well is to keep your skis parallel, with the fall line perpendicular to them (ie, at 90 degrees to the skis), and ski with a steady and controlled diagonal side slip, if you get my drift. Practice it on other steeps to get the feel of it, but once you are used to it it will come easy. Good luck.
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I had a lesson first day which was to teach the basic of snow plow but quickly advanced to turns. I’ve just been practising that the last couple of days so. Again, I can pretty much get all the way to the bottom of green beginner runs no problem and no incidents using turns in the wider and not so steep areas, and snow plow if I really have to slow myself down and I couldn’t link the turns. but yes this one section of a run just saps my confidence. It’s “steepish” but that diagonal fall line is killing me.
I hadn’t heard of the technique you mention. Something I should try read up on then?
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And just to clarify, it is only a beginner run so when I say “steep” , others fly down no problem, but myself trying to go a little slower and control my speed sees me gradually just steer right down the fall even tho I’m fighting it with the snow plow given it’s too narrow for me to be confident with turns. I had hoped it was just a foot forward or back or a weight transfer thing but just get sucked to the right every time.
Thank you for advice so far. - very much appreciated !!
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Here you can see that there is forward movement, controlled speed, diagonally across the piste with skis held perpendicular to the fall line.


http://youtube.com/v/oe0qq5pifZs
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If the taught ^ that before blimmin snowplough then this wouldn't be a problem.
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Sounds like you've got weight evenly distributed on both skis which makes them neutral steering (not favouring either direction) but the slope overules that neutrality and takes you with it.

Try standing more on the downhill / lowest ski and lifting your weight from the uphill one. It should give you back the direction and make the ski try to turn up the slope, cancelling out the gradient.
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Thank you so much guys. I will absolutely give those ideas a go and hopefully it helps me out. So much appreciated ! Thank you.
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You need to turn more on one side than the other to compensate. Basically, turn “up” the hill more on one side. Another way to think is just stay in the turn longer on the uphill side.

Try practicing skiing across a “normal” piste diagonally.

It’s the same idea. But if you fail to go across, you simply go down “normally”
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I once saw two quite small French kids - about 9 - 10, each with their own private instructor, being taught to sideslip on quite a steep blue slope. I lapped the slope several times - I suspect their (rather well off, presumably!) parents had given strict instructions about the content of the lesson. It's a priceless asset - especially once you have mastered shifting the fore and aft weight to go forwards or backwards. Just the job when you've got to the very edge of the slope without actually managing to turn - just sideslip back a bit, then go for the turn.
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I was taught to side slip in my first week of lessons. Itter in Austria in the very early 90s, lots of ice. A good skill to have.
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You know it makes sense.
I agree with suggestions to practice and master side slipping. Even after 30+ years I practice it every year. Invaluable skill in plenty of situations.

I also use occasionally a continuous controlled slide with skis staying in same direction throughout. For example, on steepish hard traverses across hard rutted snow, to get from one piste to another, without losing much height.
A development of side slipping, where regular turns would be difficult.
snowHead
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My son - a very good skier by holiday standards - spent a season in Val d'Isere and shared a tiny apartment with a highly qualified BASI instructor. He sometimes went out with the instructors on their day off - learnt a lot and felt like a total beginner. Faced with an extremely steep slope of sheet ice one day he was shown how to tackle it as his companions dropped in - side slip until something slightly softer appeared. He was doubtful that his side slip was good enough but plucked up courage and followed - he kept his footing but said it was one of the most terrifying things he'd ever done on skis!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
All such great advice. Thanks so much!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
PeakyB wrote:
I agree with suggestions to practice and master side slipping. Even after 30+ years I practice it every year. Invaluable skill in plenty of situations...


+1
I try to do it first thing on a trip. There's nothing like 1 or 2 hours on a green run* - slipping n sliding, forwards n backwards, transitions, slow turns, J-turns, 180s, 360s - to find your ski legs and regain your 'feels' for the terrain. (without a blimmin snowplough turn in sight Toofy Grin )

*But...not quite to this level...


http://youtube.com/v/JMg4NtjrhtY
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Soma34 wrote:
All such great advice. Thanks so much!


I think you've probably got the message that side-slipping is an essential skill to acquire - I'll only add that it also teaches you a lot about feeling the effect of your edges which is crucial for efficient skiing.

How did you get on?
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As many have said on this thread, side slipping is probably the best way of getting diagonally across a slope and is a vital skill to master. Another way of progressing (more or less ) diagonally across a ski slope is to ski 'garlands' i.e do a half turn into the fall line then turn back into the direction you were travelling. Madeye-Smiley
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Side-slipping on skis, like boarders heel-sliding, is a valuable skill if used in the proper place.

But it’s not really skiing, is it?

Just like boarders heel-sliding the whole length down the entire piste, it’s tiring. And let’s be honest, not much fun!

It’s probably a good drill to practice once a year. And it can be used to get one out of tight spots.

Personally, I avoid side slipping any extended length. If I need to move sideways, it’s easy enough to traverse across without losing height. If I NEED to lose A LOT of height (i.e., go “downhill”), I make turns. In the event I want to lose a tiny bit of height while moving across, @Alastair Pink’s suggestion is the better way of doing it, a Garland (a.k.a., a few linked half turns). It’s far less tiring and far more enjoyable.
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@abc, you’re right, of course.
But were you ever a beginner, faced with a fairly narrow track, with a camber towards a drop off the side?
snowHead
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side-slipping is not really skiing, that must be said by somebody who has never been a beginner, just a skiing snob, theres more than one way to get down a mountain, if you got skis on your feet your a skier, no matter what your standard is.
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Real skiing is getting down a slope. This includes snow-ploughing, side-slipping, bunny-hopping, 360-degree-flipping and anything else you like or are capable of.

The key things are (1) still to be in one piece at the bottom; (2) not to have endangered anybody else; (3) to want to do it again.

This applies as much to a beginner on a blue as a world cup downhill champion and you use the skills you have to achieve it.
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abc wrote:
Side-slipping on skis......

But it’s not really skiing, is it?



You aren't doing it right if you dont' think it's skiing! A giant power slide with your ski's not engaging the edges at all is a joy and requires no energy at all....rediscover your inner drifter, get on that downhill ski, flatten out those bad boys and sllliiiddddddddddeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
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Isn't side-slipping both a skill and a tactic? Useful drill which can be used in a variety of ways to develop your skills (diagonal slide-slip; straight down the fall line; falling leaf; two skis, downhill-ski only; uphill-ski only; etc), as well as a valuable, sometimes essential tactic depending on the terrain that you skiing.
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coddlesangers wrote:
abc wrote:
Side-slipping on skis......

But it’s not really skiing, is it?



You aren't doing it right if you dont' think it's skiing! A giant power slide with your ski's not engaging the edges at all is a joy and requires no energy at all....rediscover your inner drifter, get on that downhill ski, flatten out those bad boys and sllliiiddddddddddeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


This. Drifting is a lot of fun.

And the tactical slip is essential on bony traverses and in trees. And on pistes to be honest when you're on a ski not optimised for grip and you want to cross a polished patch unscathed.
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The post by @rob@rar suddenly put me back in a lesson (perhaps with him, can't remember) doing diagonal side slipping on the uphill ski - very wobbly! All that mucking around stuff is valuable - and I enjoy it. It can mean the difference between surviving and crashing if you suddenly find yourself thrown onto the wrong ski.
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Some people just can't hack that sort of exercise - similar to trying to sail without a rudder - you don't get very far, very fast, or in a very straight line but you just get the feel of how the whole thing works.
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I love the sideslip - an essential skill for getting out of potentially troublesome spots. Will often use it on busy, narrow tracks towards the end of the day where there's a lot of turning traffic in the middle. Gliding gently by on the uphill side is a pleasure!
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James the Last wrote:
Real skiing is getting down a slope. This includes snow-ploughing, side-slipping, bunny-hopping, 360-degree-flipping and anything else you like or are capable of.

The key things are (1) still to be in one piece at the bottom; (2) not to have endangered anybody else; (3) to want to do it again.

This applies as much to a beginner on a blue as a world cup downhill champion and you use the skills you have to achieve it.

Seriously, you really want to side-slip down that same piste you didn’t feel comfortable making turns on again?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@abc, He absolutely should go again. I would recommend he do it again with his weaker foot downhill (used to my left).

Sooo many skiers complain about one side having weaker turns ... start working that side with side slipping drills to loosen up n feel that edge!
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@rob@rar, Very much a crucial tactic that's saved my ar$e a few times when my legs had gone. I was knackered, drenched in sweat, it was getting dark n we had a long steep beaten up mogul field to get down on the backside of Argentiere or Le Tour - I side slipped over the bumps all the way down. The others weren't impressed but the old French instructor nodded n said "That works!". Never been so happy to sit down after that.
Seen it happen a few times with old boys n young girls overestimating their fitness at day end n collapsing after every (usually snowplough) turn.

It's an absolutely critical tool to have n shouldn't be allowed off the nursery slopes without it imho.
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AL9000 wrote:


It's an absolutely critical tool to have n shouldn't be allowed off the nursery slopes without it imho.

This!
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I teach the 'theory' of slipping within the first 20 minutes or so of putting skis on.
You have to teach how to pop the skis on edge to be able to side step of the hill (to the beginning of the line). This is then when the idea of extension and flattening the skis comes into it.
It is very hard to slip without a good slope or a little speed but I always bang on about it.

At our slope the jump from the nursery to the next drag lift is more of a leap of faith.
It requires a long and slightly bumpy traverse across a heavy fall line of a piste.... the good thing is that you quickly know if you've got it right wink
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abc wrote:
Seriously, you really want to side-slip down that same piste you didn’t feel comfortable making turns on again?


Ha! You certainly don't want the person to be in the position they never want to go skiing again because they made turns that terrified them; better not to have made them make those turns but rather sideslip.

I remember "perfecting my sideslip" on a "terrifying" blue part-way through my first week and then going back a couple of days later to ski it "properly".

I can't be bothered... to look for a ski video on youtube by one of those pro nutters side slipping into a 85 degree couloir and then challenging you to say it's "not skiing". snowHead snowHead
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To be fair to abc, it is true that if you are sideslipping a piste that everyone else is skiing normally ( and you're not just powersliding or drifting for a laff) then it's not really skiing. A little like boarders whose only means of descent is falling leaf.

But I only see boarders doing it possibly because as discussed above the sideslip isn't consisently taught to beginners.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
But I only see boarders doing it possibly because as discussed above the sideslip isn't consisently taught to beginners.

Really, from the Snowsportstirol ( ski instruction governing body in Tirol) website
'Alpines Fahrverhalten - Rutschen
Tilt away from edges – steering parallel skis whilst sliding'

Comes right after straight running, snowplough stops and turns. Something we teach to beginners and intermediates every week.
As @flangesax says it is usually talked about and reinforced very early, for us it is very difficult to move away from the nursery slopes until you can side slip.
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@Chris_n, I tend to see over-terrained beginners doing the forever traverse, some sort of panicked jerky snowplough turn and a forever traverse again in places where a simple sideslip of a few yards would place them on a much gentler gradient or get them past some tricky bumps. So if they are taught it it still doesn't get through... Maybe Austria is different.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, doesn't always get through but we do try wink
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Side-slipping is a crucial skill and should ne taught to beginners.

However, going diagonally across a double fall line slope isn’t a good example for side-slipping.

The OP needs to learn to vary his turn shape and turn radius to suit the changing terrain. Instead of using side-slipping as a one-and-only, cure-all get-out-of-jail move!
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