How to Ski Double Black Diamonds

How to Ski Double Black Diamonds
Double black diamonds represent advanced to expert terrain on any mountain. Don't attempt to ski these runs without experience on the mountain. It's always better to ski well on easier terrain than it is to ski badly (and dangerously) on advanced terrain. However, the following tips may be helpful. There are three main reasons why a run will be rated double black diamond: Steepness (typically above 40 or 45 degrees), narrowness (chokes, couloirs, trees) and hazards (cliffs, rocks, outcroppings). Black diamonds may or may not have moguls, depending on the accessibility of the run.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Challenging

Steepness

Things You’ll Need:
  • Skis
  • Helmet
  • Ski gear
  • Skill
  • Courage
 
Step 1
Approach the run slowly. Make sure you execute your first turn leaning out, away from the slope. This is contrary to one's instinct to lean into the slope.
Step 2
Engage the inside edge of your outermost ski during the turn, and keep a firm contact.
Step 3
Allow the ski to direct your turn. When slowing, disengage the edge and shift your weight onto your uphill ski engaging its inside edge.
Step 4
Repeat the maneuver, but in the opposite direction. Your weight change will engage the ski, and the turn will occur automatically if you don't fight it.
Step 5
Remember to keep good posture, crouching into the skis, keeping your center of balance over the downhill ski throughout each turn, before shifting to the uphill ski to complete the turn.
Step 6
Shift your weight appropriately in powder--typically less forward. But stay out of "the back seat."
Step 7
Make sure you're in shape. Strong legs and abs are a must.

Narrowness

Step 1
Keep short turns in narrow terrain.
Step 2
Shift your weight early, and skid the skis into a more horizontal position.
Step 3
Sideslip or sidestep if in fear for your life.
Step 4
Don't rush; take your time.

Moguls

Step 1
Turn on top of the mogul, and use its shape to direct your skis.
Step 2
Rush into the zip line, and execute another turn when reaching the next mogul.
Step 3
Ski the zip line with rapid short turns, guiding the ski edges into the pits.
Step 4
Ski the middle of the moguls with grand slalom turns, riding the skis' edges in wide swaths. This is great fun in fresh snow.
Step 5
Let the mogul assist your turns, don't fight the terrain. Get air on the turns by executing turns over the moguls.

Hazards

Step 1
Avoid all hazards. Don't jump off cliffs or rocks until you are confident you can land safely. Get familiar with the terrain before going at it fast. Look from the ski lift, if applicable, or ski a run a couple of times to build up confidence.
Step 2
Ski around and away from hazards. Avoid trees, and the snow wells around their trunks.
Step 3
Check your speed when near a hazard. Never show off. Remember: Safety first.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Always perfect your style on easier terrain first. If you're style is off, you won't be able to ski steeper, more challenging runs well.
 
Keep your shoulders square to the ground. This will ensure your balance is in the right place. A good exercise on blue terrain is to see whether you can keep contact with the slope with both poles during turns. Hold your poles out to your side with straight arms so that the points are touching the snow. Do a couple of turns. If your downhill pole comes off the ground, you're leaning into the slope and will fall on steeper terrain.
 
Practice edging on blue terrain. "Rail" turns leave two tight lines behind you. If you do this right you will be better able to control releasing and engaging your edges on steep, advanced terrain.
 
Take a lesson. It's worth it. An instructor can see what you're doing wrong, and correct it quickly.

Article Written By Benjamin Williams

Ben Williams is an award-winning reporter and freelance writer based out of Colorado. He has written for conglomerates of newspapers and magazines, supplying news, features, editorial and opinion. While running an Energy Services and consulting firm, he also writes for multiple websites.

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