Skiing on hard surfaces is at times unavoidable. Unlike skiing on soft snow, on hardpack you’re often putting 80 or 90% of your weight on your outside ski. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get more performance from the inside ski. In fact the more you use your inside ski, the easier it will be to carve on any surface.
Start with a wide stance placing your feet under your hips. If you’re too narrow you can’t use that inside ski to your advantage. If you naturally ski in a narrow stance make a run with an imaginary beach ball between your legs. Practice some railroad track turns in this way and use your little toe to “slice” the snow.
In the past, instructors advocated a big lead change: at the beginning of the turn the new outside ski tip was ahead of the other ski so that the body was pointed down the hill. This counter allowed the skier to use the body like an uncoiling spring to get the skis to turn faster. This type of turn is still helpful if you are skiing off piste, in The Slides or in any situation where you have to turn in a tight spot.
Equipment is now so much better that we don’t need to use that skill blend for turning on hard pack. With current gear, if you execute a large lead change, you may find that your skis are not working together. At times a diverging “V” may be the result (see the photo above). My inside shin is not engaging the front of the boot cuff and as a result I’m not getting the skis to work together.
Try actively pulling the inside foot back through the turn so that the boot cuff is flexed by the shin in a diagonal fashion. Do this from the apex of the turn all the way through the bottom. You’ll start your next turn in a very strong fashion. This allows the inside ski to work with the outside ski and you’ll see two solid tracks in the snow and feel the power of both skis carving. At the end of the turn your uphill ski will still be an inch or so ahead of the other ski but not much more than that. Start out trying this on easy blue terrain and make railroad track turns. Focus on pulling that foot back as described above.
Getting your inside ski carving will take your groomed skiing up a notch, giving you more power and control.