All-mountain Skiing

Fresh Powder Next to the Piste

What is it and how do you get started?

What is ‘all mountain’ skiing?

A way to experience more and a to get a nice little adventure on your ski holiday.

All mountain skiing is typically 50% offpiste and 50% skiing on the slopes, but it can naturally vary, mainly with more piste skiing, otherwise we start talking about offpiste skiing.

Your skiing will therefore be:

dynamically adjusted skiing adapted to the conditions

This means you must constantly adapt and change your skiing to adjust for the ever changing snow and terrain conditions.

This, you don’t typically learn during a ‘normal’ ski school lesson, there you will often be taught a very static way of skiing, that you will quickly grow out of. Typically you won’t either be taken out on small adventures, which helps to give your ski holiday that extra little kick.

All-mountain skiing

You can probably recognize some of these ski types:

  • Carving
  • Slalom
  • Big mountain
  • Freestyle

Happy Skiers

Stacy and Tracy sisters from the States, where on a ski trip together here in St. Anton and enjoyed a days guiding in the backcountry terrain. We had some great firn skiing, both down from Albona to Verwall and also here over on Rendl. This is beginning of March 2011.

Just to name some of the most popular types. They’re all good, to just one task, for example a carving ski is excellent to cruise down the slope cutting deep into the snow, while a big mountain ski is great in deep powder snow.

But none of these skis are good at a little of everything, therefore the ski manufactures developed all-round skis, back in the middle of 2000, the ‘all-mountain’ ski was born, to accommodate the skiers who wanted to ski a bit of everything.

You might say that an ‘all-mountain’ ski is average at:

  • Carving down the piste
  • Ski dynamic short turns
  • Bump skiing
  • Ski in very deep snow

but they are in the contrary quite good at:

  • Ski in chopped up snow
  • To the not super fit skier
  • Ski powder snow up to about 20-30cm
  • Handle smaller irregular bumps

Which makes it much easier for you to ski next to the slopes, where it is ungroomed.

That is why you might call it an all-round ski, but with focus on the entire mountain, not just the groomed runs.

A Typical Day Skiing

Perfect Freeride Terrain

Wide open and not too steep, this run is very popular for some fast freeride turns

As more and more skiers are becoming aware of how cool an experience it is, to ride deep powder snow and to get away from the crowded slopes, the demand for a more terrain and snow based skiing has also increased.

That means, the majority of skiers has to get used to how they as skiers constantly has to adapt their skiing after the varying conditions.

During your daily ski trip, you might experience snow and terrain conditions like these:

  • Hard blue groomed slope in the morning, for a little warm up.
  • A steep black slope to get to a certain lift.
  • First trip out in some fresh powder snow from the night’s recent snowfall – a nice and easy angel.
  • Back on the piste and now we have to navigate around and in between several skiers and there are slowly coming small bumps and a little ice.
  • Now the time has come for a wide, chopped up, but nice and long offpiste run, not far from the groomed run.
  • On the way home, we are skiing down some small bumps
  • Then we finish off on the otherwise well groomed run from this morning, which has now become a bit bumpy.

Piste or Offpiste

Look how deep the snow is, the signs are over 2m high.

As you can see, you have been through some very varied snow conditions, but with your ‘all mountain’ skis, you have not had any problems and are still feeling quite fresh here mid-afternoon.

So tomorrow you’ll be ready again, to do it all over, one more time, perhaps with a few slightly harder routes added. And the rest of the week continues this way.

Imagine if you have been through all this on a typical all-round carving ski, that we used only a few years back, you’d guaranteed to have felt much more worn out, when the time for a little après ski had come.

I personally know skiers who have experienced exactly what I have described here, and they are not necessarily super good skiers, typically with 8-12 ski days a year, but thanks to a well selected ‘all-mountain’ ski, all this can be within reach.

Aided by the right and some well-targeted ski lessons, you will also have the opportunity to experience this kind of skiing- maybe even with small adventure added somewhere along the way.

Contact Ski Adventure, to arrange time for an ‘all-mountain’ session.

In future articles, I will go more in depth with how best to get started with your all-mountain skiing.

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