Slope Cuts
By Andrew McLean

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Aside from being a fun adrenaline rush, ski cuts are an excellent opening sequence to any backcountry descent. Like testing a dicey aid placement, the idea is to give the slope a good hard bounce to see if it can withstand the weight of a skier. If it holds, that’s one more bit of info for your avalanche assessment. If it rips out, then it might slide and clean out other loaded areas below. The key to a good ski cut is to keep your speed up, give an extra big “ooOOOomph” with your weight right where you think it’s most sensitive and, most importantly, head toward a nice island of safety, like a ridge, rock outcropping or a tree.

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