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Ski Happy: Edging skills addressed

By Kimberlee Hutcherson
SUN Columnist

There are some basic skiing movements that help us learn to ski more effectively.

I wrote some about flexing and extending movements. Now, let’s address edging skills.

Tipping our skis on edge helps us to direct the ski to control size, shape and speed of the turn. You have probably felt the difference between an edged ski as opposed to a flat ski. If your ski remains flat through the turn, you will feel yourself skid. If the skis are tipped on edge, you will be able to control them better and feel more stable through the turn, which allows you to stay more in balance.

Unfortunately, most people tip their skis on edge by leaning their whole upper body into the hill. This will put you off balance and make it hard for you to initiate the new turn. So, instead, use just your feet, ankles, legs and hips to tip skis, with your upper body angled away from the hill to maintain balance.

The amount of edging you use depends on the terrain and various snow conditions. For instance, if you are skiing in powder, you will apply very little or no edge angle. If you are skiing on hard packed snow or ice, you want to be very aware of your edges and use them to grip the snow. This will give you security and stability that you don’t have when your skis remain flat and you end up skidding through the turn.

Most people have no problem edging their downhill ski but forget about their uphill ski. Both skis should be tipped on edge simultaneously.

Try this exercise to get you familiar with edge control movements. Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Now, roll your feet simultaneously to the right. Left foot is on the arch; right foot is rolled to the outside edge (baby toe). Now, roll both feet to the left. If you tip off balance, open up your stance a little until you feel stable. Ski in this stance, rolling from edges to edges.

Kimberlee Hutcherson is a certified ski instructor with Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and has been teaching skiing for the last 22 years.

This story was posted on December 26, 2013.