Back to Basics… Pass it on!

At the December, Alpine SnowSports Development Workshop (ASDW) hosted by Cascade Mountain, I participated in Toboggan Trainers workshop.

In establishing a learning partnership with candidate patroller, whether at a Basic, Senior or Certified level of training, your goal is to create a lesson that:

  • Is creative, individualized, and student-centered
  • Is interactive, experimental, and FUN!
  • Contributes to the student’s success
  • Produces positive results
  • Provides ownership of skills
  • Creates lasting memories
  • Encourages future learning

Alpine Skiing Fundamentals

  1. Control the relationship of the Center of Mass to the base of support to direct pressure along the length of the skis
  2. Control pressure from ski to ski and direct pressure toward the outside ski
  3. Control edge angles through a combination of inclination and angulation
  4. Control the skis rotation (turning, pivoting, steering) with leg rotation, separate from the upper body
  5. Regulate the magnitude of pressure crated through ski/snow interaction

Simply put, a skier is constantly changing, adapting and managing

Rotational Controlthe direction of the skis

Edge Control– the angle of the skis to the snow

Pressure Control-the pressure created through tuning and terrain

Toboggan Handling Fundamentals

The following skiing maneuvers can be taught to facilitate direction change and speed control while handling a toboggan.

Sidelip A method of moving down the hill with the skis or snowboard perpendicular to (across) the fall line.

  • Slip downhill sideways to refine edging and pressure-control skills
  • Balance mainly on the downhill ski
  • Maintain a slight upper-to-lower body separation
  • Maintain stance width and the parallel relationship of the skis.
  • Balance over the center of the ski so that the tips or tails do not pull the skis into a turn
  • Increase edge angle to slow speed, decrease edge angle to slip faster.

Falling Leaf– A maneuver in which the skier/snowboarder sideslips forward and backward while traveling directly down the hill in an imaginary corridor.

  • From a traverse, flatten the skis to slip sideways while moving either forward or backward
  • Slightly flex/extend at the ankles (small movement) to pressure the tips of the ski
  • Maintain stance width and parallel relationship of the skis.
  • Balance mainly on the downhill ski.
  • Decrease edge angles to slip, and increase edge angles to traverse.

Pivot Slip (is probably the most technical skill taught by Toboggan Instructors). A maneuver in which a descending skier quickly pivots the skis to slip sideways while continuing to travel in the same direction as before.

  • Starting from a straight run on a shallow slope, use quick ankle and leg extension to reduce the pressure on the skis while pivoting both skis perpendicular to the fall line. Slip sideways, flexing slightly to control edge angle.
  • Starting from a sideslip, use quick extension of the ankles and legs to reduce pressure on the skis while pivoting both skis into the fall line, realigning the lower and upper body.
  • From a sideslip, pivot the skis 180 degrees to sideslip in the other direction. Turn the legs/hips while keeping the upper body facing downhill.
  • Link pivot slips, turning 180 degrees for each directional change of the skis.
  • Keep the skis the same distance apart (hip width) throughout the pivot slip.

The pivot occurs when pressure is reduced.  Balance must be centered over the skis so the skier can travel directly down the hill following each pivot.  By incorporating Alpine Skiing Fundamentals to your Ski/Toboggan Training you will be able to engage your patrollers while training maneuvers to enhance Toboggan handling.

Hope to see the Ladies of Southern Region at the 2017 Women’s Event at Sundown, Mtn. Iowa.


Jennifer Ibata-Fetzer

Southern Region Women’s Advisor

Level II PSIA Alpine


CARVE of Skiing

In collaboration with members of PSIA Education Staff at Wilmot Mountain this year and the Patrollers of Central Division in Southern Region, I present to you my CARVE of Skiing:

  • Collaboration… All you need to do is ask
  • A Culture of Learning…. When we hear we forget, when we see we remember, and when we do we understand.
  • Relevant… Keep it all to the task
  • Video/multimedia… A picture is worth a thousand words
  • Explore… Safety Fun Learning. Try anything once.