Intermediate Instruction

2019-2020 Schedule

Snowpack permitting and enough interest,  an intermediate practice session at the beginner hill of Sandia Peak Ski Area can be scheduled. If the ski area is up and running, participants may buy a lift ticket for the beginner lift to get in lots of practice turning downhill, or, if you prefer, hike or ski up the hill. See the PDF document Intermediate Ski Curriculum linked in the blue box at right.

What Are Intermediate Skills? Learn to carve turns!

Intermediate sessions are for a wide range of participants. You may practice one style of turn or work on all styles. If you have basic cross-country experience but want to gain more control descending hills, or you want to improve your technique, or perhaps, finally nail a telemark turn, come out and join the fun. If you're interested in back-country tours and hut trips, the intermediate sessions are good practice and include a review of back-country skills.  For "how to" details, check out the PDF documents Intermediate Ski Curriculum and Back-country Skills in the sidebar.

  • step turnDSC03829
  • stem christie
  • parallel turn
  • telemark turn
  • using skins
  • linking turns
  • skiing the fall line
  • powder skiing
  • back-country skills

Which group should I join? Your skills and fitness level

Choose the goal that's right for you and please start from your actual level of ability and fitness. Cross-country and back-country skiing include the quiet beauty of the class 1 tour through meadows & forest, groomed tracks and familiar trails, hut trips, scenic kick and glide, wilderness and Nordic area tours, AT and telemark turns on big mountains, trail-less back-country wilderness, and skinning up steeps above tree-line in the mountains. It's all good!

Ask yourself: “Am I comfortable snow plow turning on a slope and doing step turns?” If the answer is “no,” stick with the beginners. That's just what the beginner group will practice.  If the answer is “yes” and you think you are an intermediate student, “Have I skied for most of a day, 5 miles or more?” You should be fit enough to be out all-day, ski six miles & do some work up and down hills.

If you haven't skied in years and feel rusty or out of shape, consider reviewing with beginner instruction. The document What are Beginner Skills? on the Beginning Instruction page may help you decide which class to take.


Telemark practice day at Crested Butte Ski Area

Why Learn Intermediate Skills? Your desires: hut trips, back-country, downhill

A skilled cross-country or back-country skier has a repertoire of turns and skills. Picture a bluebird day, the powder is deep and slow, and there's nothing more fun that a series of turns downhill!  On a mountainous back-country tour or hut trip when a trail is narrow or icy or steep or trees are close and skiers carry heavy packs, to descend treacherous places skiers may snowplow, use kick-turns, or make a wide traverse instead of going down the fall line. When the legs are tired or the snow very deep, skiers may use techniques such as parallel or use step turns. Good judgement means using whatever is safest and comfortable for each skier.

Some skiers come to cross-country and back-country skiing from a downhill background. When people learn downhill (alpine) skiing, they usually learn that only beginners snowplow, and once you move beyond beginner level, you parallel ski and no longer snow plow. This is NOT true for cross-country and back-country skiing. Check this attitude at the door. Cross-country & back-country means having options & making choices, depending on conditions & terrain. Just because someone can parallel or telemark turn doesn't mean they don't snow plow when necessary.

The NMCCSC does a lot of back-country touring. We want you to join us, to learn, to be competent, safe, and have fun.


Allen & Mike's Really Cool Telemark Tips, Allen O'Bannon and Mike Clelland

Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book, Allen O'Bannon and Mike Clelland

Youtube videos

Touring Uphill Strides:                  

Touring Basics:                                

Skins on & off                                   

Telemark Turn on Cross-country skis

From Snowplow to Telemark Turn

A Fun backcountry ski video:        

There are umpteen parallel ski turn videos out there. Find some you like.

Updated November 2019