Originally Posted by Capri
I was asked how narrow a trail: something like a cat track that crosses the mountain. There's one in particular that gives me trouble that has a mogul field above and another below, so many advanced skiers/boarders use it when coming off of (or going on to) one of the mogul fields. It's also the main route to three chair lifts, so it's crazy busy, with a lot of lateral traffic as people move between the two fields, and it's pretty narrow so there isn't a lot of room for maneuvering. It's not very steep but with so little room for moving side to side, I can pick up too much speed.
Also I've got good all-mountain skis, middle-width with some rocker. They're not very long, but they're good for the snow here on Mount Baker which can be pretty heavy powder. I think Colorado skiers call it concrete, with good reason. Depending on the weather, this can slow me down or speed me up, depending on whether I'm skiing through or over the snow. Light powder days are easier to ski, as the powder flows over my skis and slows me down. The heavy days are harder, as I ski right over the snow and it's wet enough that it turns glassy and fast as I ski over it. It's also tough for catching an edge. I've been working on loosening my muscles, so I can absorb terrain and snow bumps instead of bouncing off them, and that's helping. But wet new snow is the standard condition, so I need to learn to control my speed when it's like this.
Kneale's advice is really good. I'll focus on using my edges to control my speed. I've been doing side-slipping exercises and they really help.
The article you linked in your first post discusses the two ways to slow down -- friction and direction. For a variety of reasons, slowing down by changing your "direction" (i.e., going uphill) is preferable -- as you've found, it's less taxing on your legs, and it uses your skis as the precision tools they're designed to be.
This concept of "slowing down by changing direction" is known by a variety of names; perhaps the most common is "ski the slow line fast". However, I feel that's an unfortunate shortening of the full phrase which is:
Ski a slow enough line as fast as you can, when you can
i.e., note the "when you can" part. Nobody can ski "slow line fast" all the time. (Most people never ski the slow-line-fast, but that's a different topic entirely). If you have to hit the brakes (i.e., "friction") through whatever means are necessary, then you have to hit the brakes. The scenario you describe in the quoted text above -- i.e., narrow cat track which is essentially a feeder trail to get from Point A to Point B for everybody -- is the nightmare scenario.
Is the scenario skiable with "gliding / direction changing" turns? Yes. It involves being able to change turn shapes at will and ditching speed (i.e., go uphill or "hit the brakes") when the opportunity to do so presents itself. Is it easy to do all that? No. So don't be too hard on yourself or analyze your technique too carefully in those situations; you do what you have to, you get through it, and you move on.
So. That brings us back to the original question concerning "how do you actually do this"? You can ski "direction changing turns" in anything from a beginner's wedge turn to an expert's carved turn. The key is not what you do, it's more in what you don't do.
And what you don't do is rush through the fall-line portion of the turn -- i.e., a very common mistake from skiers is that they try to rush through the fall-line portion of the turn (because lingering in the fall line will increase your speed). As soon as you rush through the fall-line (invariably causing a dubiously controlled sideways skid) the "slow line fast" concept is gone as it becomes very difficult to "go uphill" at the end of the turn. It's one or the other -- go uphill or hit-the-brakes. You can't have both.
So, now we're to a somewhat simpler concept. You don't want to rush through the fall-line portion of the turn. Let me rephrase that. To devotees of the "slow line fast" concept the time to start a turn is because "I am going too slowly, I want to speed up".
If your thought process upon starting a turn is based on the all-too-common belief that "turns are to slow down" -- you will hit the brakes as you start to speed up (and you will speed up as soon as you hit the fall line), and that's not what you want.
This simple concept -- "I start a turn because I'm going too slow" works wonders because now you WANT the fall line, you WANT to speed up and all that gets your skis doing what they're designed to do in the first place.