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How to ski narrow tracks




How to ski narrow tracks is an art in itself! Nobody likes them. Often they seem to go on for ever. They always seem to have trees either side all the way down, or an intimidating drop off one side don't they?


What is worse is that because 99% of the other skiers around aren't any good, but most of them lack enough imagination to be nervous, they simply schuss the whole thing in a straight line with not even the slightest attempt at speed control.


But there are things you can do


Perception, Emotion, Technique (P.E.T.)

This simple but deceptively intellectual mnemonic was developed by Shedden and Edwards in the 70's and 80's. Be aware of it and it will help you in many situations and including narrow tracks.


What it reveals is that faced with a situation such as the one under discussion your senses will lead you to perceive the situation in a particular way. Whatever that way is, it will affect your emotions (how you feel about it). That may be good or bad.


No matter whether good or bad those emotions will affect your ability to execute the forthcoming required techniques in either a beneficial or deleterious way. Simply being aware in advance that this is the process that always occurs gives you the defender's advantage – forewarning.


Have a bundle of techniques always with you

In this (narrow tracks) scenario we know certain things:


There may be other skiers whose behaviour we cannot affect. But we know they no more want to get hurt than we do. We know they will be going in a straight line.

We know they'll almost certainly be trying to do so in the middle of the track.

And we know that often, like bananas, they come in bunches.


So some obvious defensive tactics present themselves

We can wait at the side of the track until the biggest bunches pass.


We can choose to ski to the side – the safer-feeling side.


Away from the middle of the track where all those other skiers have scraped and polished it, and very kindly deposited softer snow to the sides, for you to use.


We can condition our own thinking to prepare us for the fact that we can affect our own behaviour, but then needs must leave the rest to a (generally benevolent) fate.


How to ski narrow tracks? What can we do ?

Firstly, stop and take time to get your mind in “the right place” - calm, focussed, and resolved.


The most obvious technique to employ is snow-ploughing. That reduces our speed and risk.

We can choose to snow-plough in a straight line, to one side of the track, or we can ( after ensuring there is some blank space behind us ) snow-plough in arcs, weaving rhythmically side to side.


Do this in a predictable rhythm, it is the legal requirement for a skier coming from behind, to avoid the one in front. Make their job as easy as you can. The insurance company will bless you for this when the court case comes up!) Only joking!


If some idiot “cuts you up”, skis too close, and yells at you as if the track belonged to him/her, resolve to ignore them every time - they are not worth consideration. You have better things to be thinking about.


And finally perhaps, since you've been skiing many times before, and have encountered narrow tracks many times before, just remember that you have more skill on them than you may be crediting yourself with. Change your perception, it's within your power.


Ski Well !


Bob Trueman.