Balance on the Back Foot

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Private Lessons
Get Schooled, April 2005

So you're cranking tele turns in the pow when suddenly your uphill, unweighted ski decides to dig for China—and wham, you're on your face wondering what happened. The culprit is your cable binding. Even though you don't have much weight on that back foot, the cable is so tight that it's pressuring the tip down.

The key to dropping your knee in powder is to transfer more of your weight onto the back foot and allow the forward ski to plane on top of the snow. This move requires some serious balance, and a lot of trial and error. To minimize face plants, do your dry runs on a flight of stairs.

As you walk down a flight, stop just before your front foot touches the stair below you. Hold that foot about five inches above the stair and balance for five seconds. As you begin to feel the burn, you'll also start to feel the balance.

Now take that technique back to the hill. Start on a groomer and experiment with shifting your weight back and forth between your front and back feet. When you move to the powder, it's best to start with more weight on your back foot, gradually developing a feel for how hard you can pressure the front foot. Perfect this balancing act, and you'll power through snow—with your front ski surfing through big arcing turns.

Dylan Crossman is the 2004 U.S. Telemark Association freeskiing champion.