Tip #5: The first turn

You're standing on a steep slope, elbow virtually touching the hill, wondering how you'll ever get your skis to round the first turn and save you from a plunge to the valley far below. Or, perhaps you are surrounded by trees or atop a narrow gully with little room for a first turn. How do you get going in a reliable and safe manner, your skis making that crucial first turn, and you ready for the turn after that?

My approach is to face my upper body downhill before starting to slide. My upper body facing downhill relative to my skis produces some twist throughout my body, which acts to pivot my skis into the first turn, provided I let them flatten on the snow as I begin to slide. From there it is an easy matter to have them continue to turn and slow my descent, and I'm ready to continue linking turns thereafter.

This method has the advantages of getting started downhill within a fairly narrow corridor, while standing relaxed and balanced. There's no need to traverse a little to get some speed first, hence, I can travel directly downhill from my starting point.

The gif below illustrates the action on a gentle slope. This approach works on any steepness as long as you have the courage to let the skis flatten and glide into the initial turn. Be brave!

Turn your upper body first, then go!