Gliding over the winter landscape on cross-country skis is great fun and great exercise. But sooner or later his path will take him down a slope, sometimes a steep one, and then things can get scary.
The best way to handle such declines is to use a technique called half snowplow in which your skis are placed in a wedge shape.
To learn it, you need a stretch of grooved track that gently slopes downward. It is important that the slope reaches flat ground, so you can stop safely even if you do nothing to slow down.
Equipped with such an earring, divide the technique into the following six elements. Then work through them one by one. Repeat each element several times until you feel confident.
1 Glide down the track
Get into a position where your knees are slightly bent, your shoulders are relaxed, and your hands are slightly in front of you.
Hold this basic position and just slide down the hill. Keep your skis in the grooves on the track.
2 Shift your weight onto your right foot
Start down the slope in your basic position, then gradually shift most of your weight onto your right foot. Your right foot, knee, hip, and shoulder should be in vertical alignment.
Then, keeping this new position, slide down the hill.
3 Lift the left ski out of the snow
When you’re happy with the right weight position, it’s time to start lifting the left ski briefly off your piste.
Practice lifting and lowering the ski as you slide down the slope. Keep your weight on the ski straight at all times. Repeat several times, lifting the left ski longer each time.
4 Chock your left ski
Maintaining the right weight position, lift the left ski as just described. But now he put it on the snow in the form of a wedge, placing it to the left of the track slots. His right ski is still pointing forward on his track. His ski tips will be quite close together.
At this stage, don’t worry about the width of the wedge. As long as the tails of the skis are further apart than the tips of the skis, you are making progress.
Now put the left ski back on its track.
Go down your slope several times repeating the sequence: Elevator; cradle; replace on the track.
5 Gradually shift your weight to the left ski
Now, when you’ve got the left ski engaged, shift some of your body weight onto it. Do this gently and gradually. Feel your upper body moving from your right weight position through a center position and gradually to a left weight position.
Try it a few times. You can feel the wedge widen as your weight changes.
6 Gradually bring the left ski to its inside edge.
This last element requires a light touch.
Now, when you have trimmed and weighted the left ski, force the inner edge down into the snow. To do this, gently push down with the side of the big toe of the left foot.
You should stop!