Spring ski tips with Dylan Henderson

COLUMN: How to get the most out of spring skiing

Ski tips with Dylan Henderson to bring out your inner hotdogger.

This week we will focus on the getting the most out of your spring skiing.

This has been a winter that has challenged us physically by forcing us to improve our technical skiing, but more than that it has fundamentally challenged our personal relationship with skiing.

Skiing powder feels effortless and doesn’t require an investment of energy to become motivated, and for many locals this has shaped their relationship with skiing over the years.

Are you a powder snob? While I could spend the rest of this white space preaching the benefits of solid technique to help you enjoy all conditions, I won’t. I just want to remind you of how fun spring skiing is and give you some tools to make it feel as effortless as possible.

Spring skiing brings sunshine and dumps of fresh light snow on top of a firm base on the north slopes and softens to mushy corn snow on the south aspects. While this is beautiful, it can be tough to ski off the groomers. The tools that I am going to give you may surprise you as they go against everything that I have told you so far this season. I want to bring out your inner hotdogger!

Tools:

1. Start with your feet as close together as you can. This looks super style and keeps your skis from over performing. See top photo.

2. Pole plant! Aim for a high spot and plant right on top. Plant your pole with your shoulder and put your whole body weight on it. If you can throw in some extra flair by pointing your pole up in the air just before you plant like a French ski instructor and you will get extra hot dog points.

3. Unweight your skis and initiate the turn in the air, called the airplane turn. This gets your skis out of the heavy snow, above the chicken heads, and makes you look super rad especially if you are wearing your ‘80s one piece.

4. Finish your turn by sliding the tails of the skis around as far as you can until your skis are pointing across the hill. If you can create a cloud of powder that you can ski through like a rock star walking on to the stage; then you are well on your way to being the king/queen of spring skiing steaze. This pivot turn controls your speed while keeping you in the fall line.

Drill: Start with simple speiss. This is done without any actual sliding. On a fairly steep slope stand with skis across the hill and plant your pole directly below your boot. Then, put your weight on the pole and move your body out over your pole while doing a little hop and in the air, turn your skis 180 degrees, landing just below your planted pole.

Now, try doing this just lifting the tails of your skis and slide sideways down the hill when you land. Progress to linking these quickly and you are doing ski patroller turns. Now you are ready to shralp the grarl!

This season will be the one that we look back on and measure any future dry spells, rain events, and icy conditions. Let’s celebrate our technical improvements and our true skier resolve by getting out there and skiing hard for the last days of the 2015 season!

Dylan Henderson is a Level 1 ski instructor and head coach of the Whitewater Ski Team.

 

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