Logo Jim Frankenfield
jim@mountain-guiding.com; 1-877-604-0166

Mountain Guiding; Mountain Safety
An Experienced Professional

Rope Bar

Guiding Newsletter

April 2000 - Tech Tip Supplement


"4WD" Ski Techniques

I have had a certain amount of amusement on some ski trips watching people try to maneuver up, across or sometimes down tricky terrain. I'm always a bit hesitant to discuss ski technique since I am no champion when it comes to steep downhill skiing (although I continue to improve).

The reality of ski mountaineering terrain is that good downhill skiing is only a small part of the trip. Efficient travel going uphill, across slopes, or any direction in difficult conditions is essential. I just found a pretty good article on learning to powder ski which states that first the "4WD" techniques should be mastered, a category in which they include

  • Sit Turn/Step Turn
  • Kick Turn
  • Emergency Stops; wedge stop, turn towards the hill, hockey stop.
  • Snow-Plow Turn
  • Traversing
  • Side Stepping - upwards and downwards
  • Side Slipping - forward and down; straight down; backward down
  • Stem turn

My favorite source of amusement is kick-turns while roped. Or it would be amusing if it didn't lead to impatience.

Efficient travel requires proficiency at these techniques, even more so than good downhill technique. This includes doing them while roped.

Now, if I could just improve my own steep downhill technique some more ...


Rope Bar

Guiding Home PageGuiding page

Guiding Newsletter Archive

Climbing page Climbing Home Page

HTML 4.01 Transitional Compliant - Validate