know that no matter where you live and ski, the snow is often
less then epic. Even on a great morning, we can be just an hour
of strong sun away from the subject of this lesson: heavy snow.
Old and/or heavy pow, cut up stiff crud, bottomless mush, a little
technique adjustment and the fun can keep on coming.
key to turning this kind of snow into fun is weighting that rear
important, it is absolutely mandatory in the kind of conditions
we are talking about here. This kind of snow is where all that
practice of good fundamentals comes into play. Here is where
a solid upright stance, allowing you to get more weight then
ever on that back ski pays off. Concentrate on the basics, remaining
fluid at all times. Exaggerate your up/down motion a bit, try
to ski it like real powder, but with more emphasis on the rear
ski, staying in the fall line and keeping your turns short and
powerful, keeping the rebound meter pegged.
my ski partners talks about riding the back ski and using the
front ski almost like a brake, extending his front leg a little
more when nearing the end of the turn and pushing the front ski
down into the snow, slowing himself to remain in control and
building rebound energy for the initiation of the new turn, then
immediately getting back onto the rear ski for the carved arc
portion of the new turn. I like his brake analogy because it
really drives home the point, the power in modern telemark skiing
comes from the rear ski, especially in this kind of snow.
adjustment for this type of snow that you might want to try,
is to make sure you are not using a lot of upper body angulation
out away from the slope. This is good technique for harder snow
but could leave you with a pretty thin margin for error when
being buffeted by heavy mank. Don't lean into the slope either,
again think powder.
I see telemark skiers looking so smooth, too smooth even, and
then I see why, they are really not skiing very dynamically,
they have gotten into the habit of skiing with very little up/down
motion. This has got to be one of the most deadly sins that will
come back to haunt you in stiff snow. When we ski powder we use
a very dynamic approach, and so it should be with mank and other
stiff snow, try to muscle this stuff and you will not win. Flow
the stiff snow just like powder, adjusting your technique as
outlined above and see if that mean old snow can become your
friend and put a smile on you face.