Off-piste skiing - deep snow and humps



        The rules that apply on skiing on arranged trails do not apply on skiing in deep snow, because deep snow is not as firm a base as the arranged ski slope is. What does this actually mean and how can we adjust our posture and load on skis?

       The dominant load on external skis leads to its degradation and can cause rollovers of skiers. In deep snow, the rule of a uniform (equal) load both on the internal and external ski applies.  The same rule applies when skiing on humps or with field skiing on old snow (with crust). It is also important to pay particular attention when it comes to this type of skiing to the rotary (circular) motions.

       In modern skiing, ski geometry and ground conditions often require us to use circular motion of active turning. Circular motion comes into play when you cannot only use the geometry of skis to do the turns. In cases when a skier cannot perform a turn just based on geometry of skies, then they will use a circular motion for active turning.

  These movements are reflected in the following:

  • rotation of thighs at the hip point,

  • smaller extent of knee movement and

  • quite a small ankle rotation.


       The consequence of the independent movement of the lower body is that the body doesn’t have the same direction as the skis, but a certain pivot of the upper body is evident, which is reflected in a greater or lesser orientation of the upper body down the slope. The pivot of the upper body was a characteristic position before the appearance of carving skis.

       Skiing on humps, fast meandering in deep snow or skiing on extremely steep slopes often require the use of circular movements when performing active turns, because in these situations the geometry of skis is much less expressed. The trace left by skis on the snow, following the circular motion of active turning, is unclear (semicircular clear curve). This trace is wider if a skier uses active turning more often and narrower if he/she uses more often the geometry of skis.

       Please note that this trace left by skis on the arranged slopes, when using the proper carving technique, is very clear and deep, because the body follows the carving geometry of the skis, i.e. there is no circular movement of the active turn, whereas thrusting of a pole is unnecessary.


       Let’s also distinguish the following points when skiing on such demanding trails:


  • Hand movements are important because they contribute to dynamic equilibrium. Inadequate hand movements can greatly disrupt dynamic equilibrium. The best hand position is achieved when the fists are in front of, above and slightly wider than your hips. This is the most functional position.  

  • The use of ski poles is one of the important elements of timeliness (timing) and rhythm in skiing. When skiing on difficult terrain, the moment of pole thrusting is the third support, which is an important factor in maintaining dynamic balance. The movement of the pole thrust is done from the hand wrist and slightly from the elbow and shoulders, in order not to disturb the balance by moving the whole hand.  




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