“I don’t know anything about luck, but that the harder I train, the luckier I get.”  (Ingemar Stenmark)

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According to Ron LeMaster, “ice is the most technically demanding surface we ski on” (Ultimate Skiing, p. 180).  His advice, which aims more at ski racing but is also useful for recreational skiing, can be summarized as: (1) keep your skis sharp and boots stiff; (2) maintain athletic stance, accepting the fact that you may have to make controlled skids rather than sharp, carved arcs on super hard surfaces; (3) get the skis on edge early (early knee angulation is important for making the ski start to carve early in the turn); (4) target the softer areas for the carving stage and plan transitions for the hardest spots; (5) outside ski is the one that does the work on ice (outside ski pressure, but not push, is very important on ice); and (6) if you are going to err in one direction or the other, it’s better to be too far forward than too far back.

Similarly, PSIA technical manual (p. 131) offered the following advice: (1) adjust edge angle and leg rotation with subtle, gradual movements to adjust turn shape; (2) engage edges as early as possible in the turn before the fall line; (3) be precise and accurate with body alignment as edges are engaged; (3) weight on outside ski, which controls the arc of the turn; (4) keep a moderate edge angle — a low edge angle cannot grip the icy surface; it is harder to turn a highly edged ski; (5) avoid a narrow stance; and (6) keep consistent pressure throughout the turn — avoid any breaking action. 

Below is advice given by Deb Armstrong, a former World Cup racer and Olympic gold medalist. Her solution is to make quick, short turns.  As she noted, this is more for recreational skiers.

Fred Lepine, a CSIA level 4 instructor, took a more aggressive, carving-focused approach.  His advice probably fits ski racers better because the technique requires good carving skills.  Unlike Deb, Fred demonstrated both long- and short-radius turns on icy surface, meaning that with good carving skills, various turn shapes can be executed on ice.   

Below are more detailed verbal suggestions from CARV, a digital ski coach.  These suggestions could work for both recreational skiers and ski racers.


And a demo by a professional skier, with four tips: (1) good position (stance); (2) be patient; (3) upper-lower body separation; and (4) go with the flow. 

Pole Usage

For more general discussion of the importance of pole usage, please refer to K-Blog post “Why Do We Use Poles?” Below are few videos showing the key elements of pole usage. For example, you should turn around the downhill pole (plant left pole to turn left; plant right pole to turn right). In terms of timing: pole forward, then edge release, then pole plant, and then turn.

Nice demo of pole swing, which “is the glue that binds the turns together.”

Off-piste pole plant:

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