Cold Weather Survival
a. Use. The herringbone is used to climb short, moderate,
or steep slopes. It provides a quicker ascent than the sidestep. It is more tiring
and should be used only for relatively short ascents.
The body is faced uphill with skis spread to form a wide V. This is obtained by
spreading both ski tips outward. The skis are edged sharply inward, to prevent
backslip, by bending the knees forward and inward (fig. 4-17).
(2) The first
step is made by placing the weight on one ski, raising the other slightly above
the snow and moving it forward and upward. This ski is then placed in the snow,
edged inward, and the body weight transferred to it. The other ski is then moved
in the same manner and placed slightly ahead.
(3) The ski poles are used in
the same manner as the sidestep, except they are alternately placed to the rear
of the body and to the outside of each
ski to act as a brace and to aid in
(1) Use. The half-herringbone
is a variation of the herringbone technique and is used to aid in preventing backslip
on gentle to moderate slopes in both
straight uphill climbing and traversing
(2) Technique. The half-herringbone is executed with one
ski in the herringbone position, the other pointing in the direction of movement.
The poles are used for support to prevent the ski pointed uphill from backslapping
while the other ski is advanced. The downward angle and edging of this ski is
increased with the steepness of the slope ascended.
d. Herringbone Turn.
Use. The herringbone turn is a method of changing direction while traversing
a slope, while climbing, or when in confined areas where a kick turn may be difficult
to use. It is also used to change direction from a herringbone position.
Technique. From a traversing position the upper ski is moved first in the
desired direction, using its heel as a pivot point. This ski is then placed into
the snow, as in a herringbone step, with the full body weight on it. The other
ski is moved up in the same way and placed into the snow. This brings the skier
into a herringbone position. Both poles are held to the rear to brace the body
during this movement. This cycle is repeated until the lower ski has
the desired direction. The upper ski is brought parallel with the lower ski into
a traversing position again, completing the herringbone turn.
Straight Downhill Running
a. Use. Straight downhill running is
the first technique learned in skiing downhill. It provides the individual with
the balance which he must have before he can effectively descend a slope or learn
more advanced techniques. Although it is the fastest means of descending, speed
must be kept within the capabilities of the skier (fig. 4-18).
In a normal standing position with skis flat and parallel, one ski is advanced
10 to 15 cm (4" to 6").
(2) Body weight is evenly distributed on
both skis. The knees are bent and pushed forward from the ankles, keeping the
heels flat on the skis.
(3) The body is leaned slightly forward in a relaxed
and natural upright position, head up, knees and ankles flexed without bending
the body at the waist to the front.
(4) Ski poles are held pointing to the
rear with baskets above the snow. The arms are bent slightly at the elbows and
held close to the body with hands to the front.
(5) Body and arms are kept
relaxed. Knees are kept supple to act as shock absorbers. The skier must be alert
at all times.
a. Use. This is the method most commonly used
in descent; either used by itself or in combination with other techniques. An
individual who has learned the techniques and has chosen a gradual route of descent
can, in combination with a kick turn, travel over a great variety of terrain (fig.
(1) The basic position is that of straight downhill
running, except that the uphill shoulder and ski is always slightly advanced and
most of the weight is
on the lower ski.
(2) Stand directly over the skis
and avoid leaning into the slope. Both skis being edged into the slope.
If more edging is needed, it is controlled by knee and ankle action, and is kept
even and constant.
(4) The ski poles are held as in the straight downhill positions.
a. Use. The snowplow is a means for controlling and slowing
down forward motion in all types of terrain. In gentle or moderate terrain it
can be used for stopping. The snowplow uses fundamental positions which are employed
for furthering other skiing techniques (fig. 4-20).
From straight downhill running.
(a) To move into a snowplow, both heels
are pushed outward evenly, keeping the ski tips even and close together, forcing
the skis to form a wide V.
(b) The body weight is kept even on both skis. The
knees are bent well forward in the direction of the ski tips, causing the skis
to be edged slightly inward. The heels are kept constantly on the skis while continuous
outward heel pressure upon the skis is applied.
(c) The upper part of the body
and the ski poles are held as in the straight downhill running position.
To increase the braking action, the skis are moved into a wider V and edged more.
(a) When only one ski is brought into snowplow position,
this is referred to as a half snowplow. The half snowplow is used in confined
areas and in traversing where a full snowplow is impractical for braking action.
It is also used in conjunction with basic and advanced turns.
(b) This motion
is executed by pushing only one ski outward in the snowplow position described
above. Braking action is controlled by the degree of weight placed on this ski
and the amount of edging applied. It is important that the ski be edged to a pronounced
degree on the inside to eliminate the possibility of “catching” an outside edge.
The snowplow while traversing downhill.
(a) To move into a snowplow from
a downhill traverse, the body weight is shifted momentarily to the uphill ski.
The lower ski is then moved downhill into a half snowplow position by dropping
the tail and keeping the ski tips in the same relative positions and edging slightly.
The body weight is then transferred
back onto this lower ski. Additional braking
action can be obtained by increasing the edging of this ski and placing more weight
on it. To complete the snowplow, the upper ski is flattened and pushed uphill
in full V (fig. 4-21).
(b) If it is desired to continue traversing in a snowplow,
most of the weight is kept on the lower ski. Braking action is increased by a
wider spread of the skis and increased edging of both skis.
Ski Pole Riding
a. Use. Ski pole riding is a braking method which
is sometimes necessary to use in confined areas where ability to control descent
is limited by snow conditions, terrain features, or obstacles. Two different methods
are used (fig. 4-22).
(1) Poles are kept together and
to the rear and held between the legs for vertical descents.
a straight downhill running position the lateral spread of the skis is increased
and both hands are removed from wrist straps. Both poles are held together and
placed to the rear between the legs and the heels of the skis.
body is placed in a squatting position with the weight over the skis and one hand
grasping the pole handles in front of the body with the palm facing upward, while
the other hand is placed to the rear, grasping the shafts above the baskets, palm
(c) Control of descent is obtained by applying the required
pressure on the ski poles to force the baskets into the snow.
braking action may be increased by using the half snowplow or snowplow position.
Poles together and on either side of the body for traversing.
a downhill traversing position both hands are removed from wrist straps and the
poles are held together on the uphill side.
(b) The hand on the uphill
side grasps both pole shafts near the baskets with palm facing down and the other
hand is held near the pole handles, palm facing upward.
(c) The uphill
arm is braced tightly against the hips to increase the braking action.
a. Use. Sideslipping is a braking method used in descending
slopes at all speeds. It is especially useful in confined areas and in steep terrain
where the snowplow or pole riding is impractical. It is the least tiring method
of braking. In addition, it employs a sliding action which is characteristic in
advanced skiing techniques.
(1) A downhill traverse
position is assumed. The edging of both skis is decreased by bending both knees
well forward and slightly outward. This minimizes the holding power of both ski
edges so that gravity will cause the skier to slide sideways down a hill (fig.
(2) Care must be taken that the weight is kept well centered on the
skis and that the lower ski pole is not placed in the snow during the sliding
action. The uphill pole may be used to initiate the sideslipping action and for
balance. Avoid the tendency to lean on the uphill ski pole which will hinder the
skier’s ability to maintain a good sideslipping body position.
(3) By shifting
the body weight in front of the center of the skis while sideslipping, the tips
will drop toward the fall line; by bringing the weight to the rear, the heels
of the skis will move toward the fall line. This is a means of correcting or controlling
the angle of descent during the sideslip (fig. 4-24).
(4) The speed of descent
is controlled by the degree of edging applied to the skis. To stop sideslipping,
the edging is gradually increased by pressing the
knees forward and toward
(5) In adverse terrain and snow conditions the aid of both ski poles
may be used on the uphill side while sideslipping. The poles are used in the same
manner as in pole riding on a traverse. This method adds a third point of suspension
and braking action.
(6) At all times during sideslipping, delicate control
of knee and ankle action is important to prevent the downhill edges from “catching.”
Step Turn in Motion
a. Use. This method of changing direction while
in motion is useful at slow speeds in all snow and terrain conditions. It is particularly
useful in adverse snow conditions and in confined areas.
Before turning, lead with the ski which corresponds with the direction of the
turn, i.e., right ski ahead when turning to the right.
(2) In turning to the
right the weight is placed upon the left ski, which is then edged to the right.
The unweighted right ski is then raised and placed on the snow in the new direction.
The weight is transferred to this ski by moving the body in the new direction
while pushing off from the left ski. The unweighted left ski is then lifted off
the snow, and placed close to the right ski to complete the turn. Complete transfer
of body weight is essential, and the movements must follow smoothly and almost
simultaneously. The ski poles are held to the rear (fig. 4-25). The higher the
speed, the more the center of gravity is lowered by bending the knees and ankles.
This adds stability and aids in keeping up with the turn.
(3) If desired, the
steps can be continued as long as the skier is in forward motion and until the
desired direction is obtained.
(1) Use. A variation
of the step turn in motion is the skating step. It is used to accelerate forward
motion on level ground or gentle slopes and is a useful
aid in developing balance,
weight shifting, and coordination. Basically, the movements of shifting body weight
from one ski to the other are the same as in the step turn in motion except that
direction is not changed and the skis are edged inward on each pushoff.
From a straight downhill position body weight is placed upon either ski and knee
and ankle bend is stressed:
(b) The other ski is lifted above the snow
with the tip pointed slightly outward.
(c) The weighted ski is edged
inward as the body is pushed off at a slight angle to the front, i.e., in the
direction the lifted ski is pointed.
(d) The lifted ski is moved to
the front, placed flat on the snow and weight is shifted to it.
The unweighted ski is lifted from the snow and brought to the front near the weighted
ski in preparation for the next step. These pushing steps are alternated left
(f) A strong pushoff should be made with each step to lengthen
the glide and gain acceleration. Knee and ankle bend should be stressed with each
(g) The step can be aided by double poling, especially to gain
a. Use. The snowplow turn is efficient for use at
slow speeds, especially when carrying a pack and rifle. Because the snowplow position
is retained, this turn enables the individual to maintain good control. In this
turn, fundamental body positions and movements are used which are an important
part of advanced turns.
b. Technique (fig. 4-26).
down the slope.
(a) In executing a snowplow turn to the LEFT while
snowplowing directly down a slope, the body weight is transferred smoothly onto
and over the right ski (note that this ski is already pointed to the left) by
a rotation of the body to the right and by a pronounced bend of the right knee
to drop all body weight onto the right ski. This transfer of body weight initiates
the turning action.
(b) As the turn progresses, the body is not allowed
to rotate beyond the new direction of travel, i.e., face straight ahead, not uphill.
The left knee is kept well bent with this ski flat and unweighted throughout the
(c) Ski tips remain even and the V-angle of the skis constant.
Avoid leaning into the slope. Ski poles are carried as in the snowplow position.
Care must be exercised to keep them pointed to the rear as the body is rotated.
As the turn is completed the body weight is either placed evenly on both skis
to continue in a snowplow or gradually transferred to the left ski to start a
turn to the right.
(2) From downhill traverse.
(a) In making
a turn while traversing, the snowplow position is assumed as described in paragraph
4-27 b (3) (a). The edging of the lower ski is decreased and the body leaned forward
and both ski tips allowed to drop into the fall line in order to bring the skier
into the fall line in preparation for the turn, as described above. As the tips
come downhill the snowplow position must be maintained by a holding push on the
tails. The turn should be continued until the skier has obtained the desired angle
of descent (fig. 4-27) . As the tips pass the fall line, body weight must be transferred
to the downhill ski to
complete the turn.
(b) After the snowplow
turn has been completed and it is desired to continue with both skis together,
as in the downhill traverse, the body weight is kept on the lower ski while the
upper unweighted ski is brought parallel with it into a traversing position (fig.
4-27). This turn is also known as stem turn.
(3) Variation. To make
a snowplow turn from a traversing downhill position in variable snow conditions,
and when skiing with a pack, it is advantageous to make the half snowplow with
the uphill ski. In this method the body weight remains on the lower ski. The upper,
unweighted ski is moved into a half snowplow, kept flat, and the tips of both
skis even. The edging of the lower ski is decreased, knees bent more, and the
body leaned further forward to bring the skier into the fall line. In reaching
the fall line, both skis are brought into a full snowplow and the body weight
is gradually shifted over and onto the other ski in executing a snowplow turn
as described above.
The advanced turns used in military skiing are the christiania
turns. These are applied at all speeds to change directions, to reduce speed,
or to stop. These are the most advanced turns taught in military skiing and are
executed with the basic motions already learned, such as forward lean, edge control,
and body rotation. The application of these turns may be limited by terrain and
snow conditions, as well as the degree of proficiency attained and the load carried
by the individual soldier. The christiania turns are started from a variety of
positions, but all are completed in the same manner (fig. 4-28).
The uphill christiania is used to turn uphill, to reduce
speed and to stop. It also forms the basic movement which is used in completing
other christiania turns.
a. In preparing for the uphill christiania
during a downhill traverse, the upper shoulder is brought well forward in order
to increase the body rotation that will, be applied during the turn.
The turning action of the skis is started by decreasing the amount of edging and,
at the same time rotating the lower shoulder and hip forward in the direction
of the turn. Forward lean of the body and knee bend are increased and the upper
ski leads throughout the turn (1, fig. 4-28).
c. During the turn, both
skis are controlled by gradually edging them into the slope. The weight is directly
over the skis. Avoid leaning into the slope.
d. Forward lean and body
rotation are increased and continued as the turn progresses. Forward speed will
gradually decrease, permitting the skier the choice of continuing in a new direction
or coming to a stop.
e. Care must be exercised so that the ski poles
are not allowed to swing to the front during the rotation of the body.
This turn can be made from any angle across the slope to and including the
g. From a fall line the turn can be made in either direction.
In preparation, the ski corresponding with the direction of turn is advanced (i.e.,
left ski leads for a left turn) and more of the body weight placed on the other
ski. Emphasis is given to body rotation and knee bend to initiate the turning
action of the
h. To assist the turning action, a down-up motion
can be used in this turn. As the turning action is stated as in b above, the body
is lowered and returned to normal as the turn is completed.
a. Technique. The snowplow christiania, also
referred to as the stem christiania, is used on turns made downhill while traversing
at greater speeds than employed in the basic turns. For this reason the turn looks
complicated to the student. Basically, it is a combination of the snowplow turn
and the uphill
christiania. The basic techniques of the snowplow turn made
from a traverse position are also used here to reach the fall line. The uphill
christiania is then applied to either change direction or to stop. In combining
these methods the speed must be greater, the body weight shifted more rapidly,
and the spread of the skis in the snowplow position at a narrower angle. Using
the snowplow christiania it is possible to link a number of turns together to
control speed in a continuous descent. A breakdown of the technique is as follows:
In making a downhill turn to the left from a downhill traverse, the body weight
is shifted momentarily to the uphill ski. The lower ski is then moved downhill
into a half snowplow position, keeping the ski tips even. At the same time, the
lower shoulder is brought forward. The uphill ski is then pushed uphill to form
(2) Body weight is then transferred back to the upper ski by body
rotation, initiating the turning action.
(3) As the fall line is reached, the
unweighted left ski is brought slightly forward and parallel with the right ski.
The turn is then completed as in the uphill christiania (2, fig. 4-28).
The upper body is kept from leaning into the slope throughout the turn, especially
during the initial turning phase. Forward lean and knee bend are increased. All
motions are fluent and smooth and must be well timed during the turn.
a decrease in speed is desired before starting the turn, there are two methods
which can be used. In the first method the lower ski is first placed into a half
snowplow position. Temporarily transferring the body weight to the ski and edging
it will cause a braking action. When speed has been decreased as desired, the
upper ski is pushed upward, the edging of the lower ski decreased, and the turn
continued as in (2), (3), and (4) above. In the second method both skis are kept
parallel and a sideslip from the moving traverse position is started. Edging of
the skis in this movement will provide braking action. When speed has been decreased
as desired, the turn is started as from the downhill traverse position.
(1) In difficult snow and terrain conditions another method
may be used to execute a snowplow christiania. In making a downhill turn to the
left from a downhill traverse with this method, the upper (right) ski is brought
into a half snowplow position. Leaning well forward, increasing the knee bend
and decreasing the edging of the lower ski will bring the skier smoothly towards
the fall line; the body weight is transferred over and onto the right ski in a
smooth forward and downward motion, assisted by bringing the right shoulder forward.
As the transfer of body weight is completed, the unweighted left ski is brought
forward and parallel with the right ski and the turn completed from the fall line
as in the uphill christiania.
(2) As more skills and balance are acquired,
the snowplow christiania may be done at higher speeds with the angle of turn kept
closer to the fall line. In this method only a half snowplow with the upper or
lower ski is used in the preparatory position, or skis are kept parallel and the
fall line is reached with a pronounced knee bend and forward lean of the body
while the turn is completed with an uphill christiania.
The Lifted Christiania
a. Use. The lifted christiania turn is very
useful in adverse snow conditions and in confined terrain where a short radius
turn is necessary. It is also useful for skiing at night and with heavy loads,
since it is a slow turn made with one ski pole being used to increase lateral
(1) The turn is started by applying either
of the methods described for christiania turns, except that the speed is adjusted
to suit the circumstances.
(2) For a turn to the left as the skier approaches
the fall line, the left ski pole is placed in the snow forward and down the slope,
but not directly in front of the left ski tip. The reach should not be overextended.
The right pole is held in the normal manner. Weight is then applied to the left
ski pole, using it for means of support and as a pivot point.
(3) Body weight
is then shifted to the right ski. Since it is difficult to turn the left ski in
such a short radius, this ski is lifted and placed parallel to, and slightly ahead
of, the right ski, and the turn completed as in the uphill christiania.
to Military Snowshoeing