So pizza and french fries…why am I talking about two common food items in a post about skiing? For those of you who don’t know, the concepts of pizza and french fries are your two best friends when first learning to ski. With these two simple techniques, one can learn to go down the mountain along with how to come to a slow stop.
Learning how to ski is no easy task. For me, the beginning of my skiing career was just four years ago on my local mountain, Ski Roundtop. It was a snowy, January day of my freshman year in high school and a group of my friends had decided to go skiing. Each of them have been skiing since the beginning of middle school and talked about it all the time. I’ve been asked to go before but I never had the urge to go based on a bad experience from my childhood (we won’t talk about this), but this day was somehow different. I got a text the day before begging me to give skiing a try and that it’ll be a lot of fun to go. I decided to give it one more shot and responded with a “Count me in!”
Fast forward to the next day, I was standing at the top of a single black diamond hill (we’ll get into what that means in a different post but for now just know it means the hill is not “beginner friendly”) thinking “what am I doing here?” We were waiting for everyone to make it up the ski lift, and once our whole group was finally at the top everyone started going down. What about me? Well I was too scared to descend so I stood up there alone (I know, what great friends). Luckily, one of them realized I had no idea what I was doing and came to instruct me. I don’t remember the conversation verbatim, but what I will never forget is “pizza and french fries”.
The first thing you should know before descending down a hill in my opinion is how to slow down or stop. Pizza is how one can easily obtain this skill. The shape of a pizza slice is a triangle, so that is how you are to position your skis. By angling them toward each other, you are creating friction with the edge of your ski and the snow/ice you’re going through which in turn slows you down. Depending on how extreme your skis are angled, you can slow down faster or slower: the larger the angle, the faster you will slow down. In the beginning, some may just want to pizza down the entire hill to get familiar with controlling your path/speed while descending. But after you’re familiar with this technique you can go onto the next, french fries.
When you’re trying to descend down a ski hill you want your skis parallel to not only the direction you are going down but also to each other. This form is regarded as “french fries” because your skis are side-by-side like two french fries. In this position your skis are encountering very little friction and are gliding over the ice and snow. This is the basis for going down the hill at faster speeds. If the speed ever picks up beyond your comfort, don’t be afraid to immediately angle your skis into pizza position to slow down and regain control again. By combining these two techniques, one can find their way down a hill.
“You ready?” I’m asked by my friend. I respond with a yes, and start to descend down the hill. Thanks to these two helpful tips, I had a great time skiing that day. Because of pizza and french fries, my exposure to skiing was very enjoyable and lead me to realize how passionate I am for skiing.