Good skiers know that the best snow late in the day on groomed trails is always right along the edge; however you need solid short radius turns to hang there. If you want to ski in the woods or bumps, it’s the same deal, you need those short turns. We don’t live in the land of the large open bowl, so if you want to be a good skier in the northeast, you need rock solid short turns.
Do this “corridor drill” in the morning when the groomer tracks are still fresh. Find a nice moderate pitch and make short turns staying inside the track of one groomer width. Work on keeping your belly button pointed downhill with your legs turning under a stable upper body accompanied by rhythmic pole touches.
Try to keep both skis turning and working together. You shouldn’t be going any faster than the speed you reach by your third turn. If you are accelerating with each turn, you need to shape your turns more at the end. Look back up at your tracks – did you stay in the lane? What shape were your tracks? You want them rounded like S or C shapes (depending on the pitch), not like a Z.
Once you master this, move onto a steeper pitch and work there. Once you are good at this drill, you can use the sides of trails when it’s icy in the middle much more comfortably. My favorite place to do this is the far skier’s right on the lower half of Mountain Run at Whiteface between the woods and the chair towers. Many times, it’s practically powder there when the middle of the trail is very firm.
To improve your bump and tree skiing, slow this drill down by making the corridor even smaller (about half a cat groomer width) and practice skiing these short turns as slowly as you can. To go slower, you’ll need to skid them more as you would in the bumps and keep your legs (not your upper body) turning.
If you are having trouble with these drills, try taking a clinic with a PSIA Level 3 certified instructor who can help you nail those short turns that are so important to becoming an strong eastern skier.