On January 2nd and 3rd I had a small group of participants for a ski technique course to improve and develop the ability to ski off-piste.
Parallel carving is a skiing skill that is essential to master on a prepared slope before getting in the back country. Why? because twisting your skis doesn't work in powder, crud, and other types of variable snow.
The ability to balance over the downhill edge and maintain a centered, balanced, stance can only be learned on the piste.
We did a number of exercises on slope in order to improve balance, footwork, steering, edging, etc. The group then tried to transfer the movements to off-piste terrain. The pistes in Schladming were very well prepared with a lot of artificial snow. Hard, icy, slopes expose all imperfections in balance and edging.
Everyday the group also was able to skin into some off-piste, un-tracked terrain to ski powder. The highlight of the short course was the descent pictured below.
We climbed the ridge with skins and then were able to ski down the face on the left (in shadow) for a wonderful steep powder descent. It was a nice end to the the weekend in which all the participants made clear and noticeable improvement in their skiing ability.