Now we're going to try a few bumps linked together, so instead of side slipping to a halt in the dip, keep up some forward momentum by pointing the skis more down the hill. You should almost come to a stop on the bump before dropping over it. Remember the pole plant. Gauge your speed, and use the dip with the snow in it to brake you before the next pole plant. You will have to keep a very close look at the ground; anticipate the braking trough, and the accelerating downside, and move your weight slightly backwards for the dip and slightly forwards for the downside.
This weight shift backwards and forwards needs some explanation. You will recall that as a general rule the weight should remain over the middle of your foot. Well it actually should stay over the middle of your foot, but as the gradient is continually changing, there will be an apparent shift of weight all the time.
Well something like that. The main thing is to anticipate the change in gradient. It's one thing for the skis to slide out from underneath you as you sit down with a bump. It's quite another for them to stop dead on the upside of a bump catapulting you head first out of both bindings. Even after a hundred catapults I still find it embarrassing.
You may find to start with that the uphill ski crosses over the top of the downhill as you come round, thereby putting you in a somewhat tricky position. Quite often there appears to be a lot of weight on the uphill ski as it crosses over, and you stop dead and fly out of the front. As long as you project your weight forward as you put the pole in, and keep it forward until the skis have come round, you should avoid this problem as your weight will remain over the downhill ski.This tentative exercise of linking some bumps together should be done at the start of every session for twenty turns or so to get you into a good rhythm. If you do it slowly and methodically, there is a good chance that you will complete at least one run without mishap, and at this stage you need all the confidence you can get!..
Simon Dewhurst has taught downhill skiing in North America, Scandinavia and the European Alps for 35 years. He currently runs a ski chalet agency in the French Alps. His book "Secrets of Better Skiing" can be found at http://www.ski-jungle.com If you have any comments about the above article, he will be happy to answer them.
By: Simon Dewhurst