May 6, 2014

Steep Skiing: The Unweight

Steep Skiing: The Unweight

Three years I’ve been obsessing about steep technique. Three years of drought. It strikes me now that the irony is, having finally found the steep turn I’ve been looking for all my life, I may never put it to use skiing horrifically steep big lines because (1) we haven’t had any snow, and (2) my life doesn’t just belong to me, and me alone, anymore (more…)

Posted in technique | 7 Comments

April 8, 2014

Steep Skiing: The Downhill Ski

Steep Skiing: The Downhill Ski

When things go wrong with steep skiing technique, the space-constrained uphill ski always seems to be the instigator. Who hasn’t felt their uphill ski catch at the worst possible moment? And yet, as I continue to diagnose the weaknesses in my own steep technique, I find myself thinking if the uphill ski is the symptom of the problem, the downhill ski is the cure (more…)

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March 26, 2014

Steep Technique: Uphill Ski Management, Cont’d

Steep Technique: Uphill Ski Management, Cont'd

I continue to focus on management of the uphill ski as the key to unlocking the secrets of steep skiing technique. Those of you who follow my site know this has become something of an odyssey for me, starting with my initial belief that steep turns should be initiated from a weighted uphill ski, which led to basically two long years of frustration (more…)

Posted in technique | 3 Comments

November 15, 2013

Thoughts on Approach

Thoughts on Approach

Waiting for snow to arrive has me contemplating a similar frustration: not being able to get to the snow even when it is here. Yes, I’m talking about those maddeningly-tough Eastern Sierra approaches. I admit I believe getting yourself and your skis to the snowline in the area between, say, Olancha Peak and the Palisades ranks among the more grueling touring challenges in the lower 48 (more…)

Posted in technique | 4 Comments

October 6, 2013

Sea-Level Acclimatization Strategies

Sea-Level Acclimatization Strategies

Californians overwhelmingly live at sea level, placing us at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to climbing mountains. The best and safest and most obvious way to acclimatize for high-altitude adventures—for example, climbing mount whitney—is to gradually adjust by spending several weeks living and training at progressively higher elevations (more…)

Posted in technique | 7 Comments

May 9, 2013

Principles of Steep Skiing: Revised

Principles of Steep Skiing: Revised

I don’t how, exactly, my obsession with steep skiing began, but even as a kid, I remember arriving at ski areas and immediately wanting to find the steepest run on the hill to see if I could ski it. Later, I became aware of the steep skiers of the Chamonix valley, and their incredible high-angle feats, which led to a visit to France that vastly expanded my horizons (more…)

Posted in technique | 22 Comments

April 16, 2013

Steep Technique: I Was Wrong!

Steep Technique: I Was Wrong!

In my never-ending quest to master steep skiing technique, there have certainly been highs and lows, but I have to confess I’ve been stuck for a long time battling what I think of as the problem of getting “pinched” against the hill: I find myself unable to gracefully create enough space between my body and the snow, preventing me from making a clean release of the skis and an efficient pivot across the slope (more…)

Posted in technique | 6 Comments

March 23, 2013

‘The Turn’

'The Turn'

One of my more esoteric quests is the search for the perfect steep skiing turn. Steep technique turns out to be a fabulously nuanced and dynamic field of study. There are lots of ways to do it (some better than others), and however you do it, there’s not only the highly complex mechanics to master—there’s also the added complication that it’s almost always done in places that are bloody well terrifying (more…)

Posted in technique | 5 Comments

December 12, 2012

My Quick ’n Dirty Bootfitting Tips

My Quick ’n Dirty Bootfitting Tips

At Mammoth last weekend I had the interesting experience of hearing two exactly opposite bootfitting opinions in two consecutive days at two consecutive shops. US bootfitters overwhelmingly tilt toward putting people into the smallest possible boot shell, and that was indeed the gist of Opinion A, best summed up as, “It’s always better to size small and expand the shell if needed.” (more…)

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January 9, 2009

The Ski Pole Belay

The Ski Pole Belay

Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks and tips that can make life a little easier in the backcountry. I’ve been doing some of these so long they seem obvious to me, but they may be a secret to you, so I thought I’d share a few. Here’s one I call the “Ski Pole Belay”. No, it’s not an attempt to arrest a fall with your ski pole, but rather a way to belay yourself in dicey situations by jamming your ski pole into the snow and stepping on it (more…)

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