Level 1 Ungroomed Terrain

Activity Description

Series of linked parallel turns of varied sizes and shapes on green terrain with small bumps, ungroomed, or slightly rumpled snow. The skier controls speed through turn shape.

Why This Activity Will Be Useful:

While developing fundamental skiing skills and movements on groomed terrain is fun for new and novice skiers, the exhilaration of skiing powder and gentle variable terrain adds excitement and opens up more of the mountain to the skier. Applying the skiing fundamentals and skills in ungroomed terrain challenges the skier to begin to adapt skill blends to situations and outcomes.

What The Skis Do (EFFECT):

• Skis maintain parallel relationship and consistent stance width in most turns
• Skis tip at similar rate and time in most turns
• Skis turn at similar rate and time in most turns
• Pivot point is near the center of each ski
• Skis maintain contact with snow when appropriate
• Turn shape controls speed

How The Body Moves (CAUSE):

• Flexion/extension movements of legs facilitate edge change and move body forward and diagonal to move with the path of the skis.
• Lateral tipping/rolling movements of the feet/ankles through turn transitions flattens, releases, and changes the edges to allow guiding of ski tips into the fall line.
• Flexion/extension movements and angulation direct pressure to the outside ski.
• Both legs turn in the hip sockets under stable upper body to control turn size and shape.
• Rate and intensity of the legs turning controls turn shape and controls speed
• Pole swing and touch enhances rhythm, flow, and timing
• Flexion and extension of joints allows for adequate pressure control in response to terrain variations


Green and blue terrain, may be small bumps or slightly rumpled snow conditions

Teaching/Learning Cues

Developing an adventurous mindset is helpful for skiing variable terrain. Skiers begin to experience sudden, but subtle, shifts in pressure as a result of the terrain. How the skis interact with the snow when tipping and turning in response to the soft, rumpled, of rolling snow and terrain encountered can be unsettling at first.

• Begin by exploring the least variable snow conditions and terrain available.
• Find an area that has a groomed area with ungroomed/variable conditions right beside it. Do a series of turns on the groomed snow, then move into the ungroomed snow. Repeat. Blend into one turn on the groomed, one on the ungroomed. This terrain provides the perception of an escape route, which makes many skiers feel more confident to explore new situations.
• D.I.R.T. cues: the skier may be tempted to use ineffective rate, intensity, timing, or duration of movements when new terrain is encountered. Use breathing, counting, or corridor drills to encourage the skier to continue to utilize effective movements and turn shape tactics in the new terrain.

© Professional Ski instructors of America - American Association of Snowboard Instructors - Central Division