Tuesday, March 22, 2011


There is a certain craft, elegance even, to putting in a good skin track. It should be steep enough to make uphill progress, but not so steep that you can’t keep a steady pace. Kick turns should be as infrequent as possible while still keeping you on the ideal path up the mountain and should use the natural contours so the turn itself is almost effortless. Tree wells should be given a wide berth, and wind-scoured or wind-exposed terrain should be avoided.

Similarly, there is a certain grace in a well-executed turn. All the crap I’ve given Dustin notwithstanding, even tele turns can be beautiful (though calling them “soulful” is still pushing it). Good turns are not derived from shoulders twisted across bodies in hopes that the skis will follow. Shoulders should be square to the fall line, center of gravity balanced, and knees and hips should all work together to follow the lead of the big toe on your outside foot.

When it all comes together, especially when you’re skiing 5% density, light, white powder, the result is an exquisite high. Fitting, then, that this morning the song that shuffled on my iPod as I exited was “Cocaine.”