Cold Weather Survival
4 - Skiing and Snowshoeing
4-1. Purpose and Scope
a. The purpose
of this chapter is to provide information concerning—
(1) Techniques used in
military skiing and snowshoeing.
(2) Application of these techniques to facilitate
the oversnow mobility of troops engaged in military operations.
chapter also describes-
(1) Equipment available for military skiing and snowshoeing.
Maintenance and care of that equipment.
4-2. General Considerations
a. The Need for Individual Mobility.
(1) Warfare in snow-covered areas
requires oversnow mobility off the roads. Well-trained ski and snowshoe troops
are a definite asset on the snow-covered battlefield. In deep snow (61 cm (2')
or greater in depth) the individual has almost no mobility without the aid of
skis or snowshoes. Troops on skis attain mobility, are not roadbound, and are
able to move cross-country over all types of snow-covered terrain. They are ideally
suited for reconnaissance, security missions, and deep penetration patrols conducting
unconventional type operations. Aggressive action can be carried out with advantage
against the enemy flanks, rear, or communication lines by lightly equipped, fast-moving
troops on skis.
(2) Deep snow hinders movement on foot. By using snowshoes,
individual mobility will be restored to a point approximately equal to that of
movement on hard ground. Skis, on the other hand, provide individual mobility
usually exceeding that possible on foot.
b. Need for Certain Techniques.
During cross-country marches and in combat the soldier on skis or snowshoes will
be required to negotiate various types of terrain conditions. He will be moving
and operating in different weather and snow conditions. Carrying a rucksack-and
a weapon, he will be required to move in forests, over open terrain, uphill and
downhill, and often while pulling a sled.
(2) In order to execute his mission
with the least wasted effort, the soldier must apply the proper techniques of
skiing and snowshoeing required for the various conditions under which he will
c. Use of Oversnow Equipment to Achieve Mobility.
means available to the individual soldier for obtaining oversnow mobility are
skis and snowshoes. When operating in snow-covered terrain the soldier must be
equipped with either skis or snowshoes at all times. Using skis, he is normally
able to execute long marches with less effort and in less time than when using
snowshoes. Cross-country movement by soldiers on skis can be facilitated by towing
the skiers with tracked vehicles or animals (skijoring). Snowshoes are more suitable
than skis in confined areas, when working close to heavy weapons, or when training
time is limited.
(2) Rates of movement over snow-covered terrain cannot be
given in exact time requirements. They vary in each situation. However, as a guide,
the following rates are listed. Rates are given for movement over flat or gently
rolling terrain while individuals are carrying a rifle and loaded rucksack.
II. SNOW AND TERRAIN
4-3. Snow Composition
Snowflakes are formed
from water vapor, at or below 32° F., without passing through the liquid water
state. Newly fallen snow undergoes many alterations on the ground. As the snowmass
on the ground packs and becomes denser, the snowflakes consolidate and the entrapped
air is expelled. These changes are caused by effects of temperature, humidity,
sunlight and wind.
a. Temperature. In general, the lower the temperature,
the drier the snow and the less consolidation. As the temperature rises, the snow
tends to compact more readily. Temperatures above freezing cause wet snow conditions.
Lowered night temperatures may refreeze wet snow and form an icy crust on the
Sunlight. In the springtime, sunlight may melt the surface of the snow even
though the air temperature is below freezing. When this occurs, dry powder snow
is generally found in shaded areas and wet snow in sunlight areas. Movement from
sunlit areas into shaded areas is difficult because the wet snow will freeze to
skis and snowshoes. After sunset, however, wet snow usually refreezes and the
ease of movement improves.
c. Wind. Wind packs snow solidly. Windpacked
snow may become so hard that skiing or even walking on it makes no appreciable
impression on its surface. Warm wind followed by freezing temperatures may create
an icy, unbreakable crust on the snow. Under such conditions, skiing and snowshoeing
are very difficult. Another effect of wind is that of drifting the snow. The higher
the wind velocity and the lighter the snow, the greater the tendency to drift.
All troop movement is greatly affected by drifting snow and wind, the effect depending
on the relative direction and velocity. In addition, as the wind, increases, the
effect of extreme cold (wind-chill effect) on the body may slow down or temporarily
stop movement, possibly requiring troops to take shelter. The snowdrifts created
by wind usually make the snow surface wavy, slowing down movement, especially
The characteristics of snow which are of greatest
interest to the soldier are—
a. Carrying Capacity. Generally, when the
snow is packed hard, carrying capacity is greater and movement is easier. Although
the carrying capacity of ice crust may be excellent, movement generally is difficult
because of its slippery surface.
b. Sliding Characteristics. All-important
to the skier are the sliding characteristics of snow. They vary greatly in different
types of snow and temperature variations and materially increase or decrease the
movement of the skier, according to the conditions that exist.
Capacity. The holding capacity of snow is its ability to act upon ski wax
in such a way that backslapping of the skis is prevented without impairing the
forward sliding capability. Holding capacity changes greatly with different types
of snow, making it necessary to have a variety of ski waxes available.
Effects of Snow and Terrain on Individual Movement
a. Skis or snowshoes
are usually employed in military operations when the depth of snow is 30 cm (1')
or more. This equipment is needed in deep snow conditions to provide the necessary
oversnow mobility of the individual and the maneuverability of troops.
Snow cover, together with the freezing of waterways and swampy areas, changes
the terrain noticeably. Generally, the snow covers minor irregularities of the
ground. Many obstacles such as rocks, ditches, and fences are eliminated or reduced.
Lakes, streams, and muskeg, impassable during the summer, often afford the best
routes of travel in the winter when they are frozen and snow-covered During breakup
periods this advantage is reduced, since the snow becomes slushy and the carrying
capacity is poor. Even so, skiing or snowshoeing, although slow, is often the
only practical way to move during this period. The drop in temperature at night
will still freeze the snow surface, creating a good route for a skier or snowshoer
during the night and early
c. The effects of snow and terrain
on individual movement vary in different areas.
(1) The arctic tundra and vast
subarctic plateaus are similar. They are characterized by large plains and gently
rolling terrain with scant vegetation where rocky ridges, scattered rock outcroppings,
riverbanks, and scrubby brush still create obstacles to individual movement, when
encountered. The shallow snow cover normally found in these areas, as a rule,
is firmly packed by wind action and will usually support a man on foot. When the
snow has not been wind packed and is still soft, mobility will be increased by
the use of skis or snowshoes.
(2) Forested areas include vast coniferous forests,
dense brush, swamps, and numerous lakes and rivers. Skiing and snowshoeing are
relatively easy on frozen, snow-covered rivers, lakes, and swamps. In wooded areas
concealment is best, but movement is hampered by vegetation and soft snow, therefore,
greater skill is required in skiing to avoid trees and other obstacles. These
disadvantages are reduced by careful selection of the best routes
proper trailbreaking procedures. Woods retard the melting of snow in spring often
allowing skiing after the open fields are clear of snow. In autumn, the situation
is reversed; the deeper snow is generally found in the open fields allowing skiing
earlier than in wooded areas.
(3) Mountains present special problems. Their
varied and steep terrain place additional demands upon the skill of a skier and
make movement on snowshoes or skis very difficult. Slopes which are easy to negotiate
in summer often become difficult and dangerous to cross in winter because of deep
snow cover which is prone to avalanche. Large drifts and snow cornices present
other obstacles and dangers. Snow cover on glaciers obscures crevasses and makes
their crossing hazardous (FM 31-72 ).
III. MILITARY SKIING
4-6. Advantages and Disadvantages
In snow-covered terrain the weakest and the most vulnerable points of the enemy
are usually the open flanks, rear areas, and the lines of communication. Attacking,
defending, or delaying troops require a high degree of oversnow, cross-country
mobility to reach these objectives. Units on
skis are the most suitable troops
to be used for surprise attack on distant objectives.
(2) A trained individual
or a unit on skis can execute cross-country marches on roadless, variable, and
snow-covered terrain more efficiently and quickly
than on snowshoes or on foot.
Skiing over snow-covered terrain by properly trained troops is comparatively less
tiring than marching on snowshoes or on foot. Sliding characteristics
by the skier increase speed, mobility, and rate of march.
(4) Due to increased
weight bearing surface, a skier or a unit on skis is able to cross frozen lakes
and rivers when the ice will not support a man on foot.
(5) The use of oversnow
vehicles and other suitable means of towing troops further increases their mobility.
(1) Individuals require a considerable amount of training
before becoming proficient in the use of skis for military purposes.
terrain features, such as very dense brush and windfall areas, materially decrease
the rate of march of a ski unit.
(3) Skis often require rewaxing for changing
snow conditions, which consumes time. Skis also do not provide good traction regardless
of wax used, for pulling loads.
a. General Considerations. A soldier on skis
must be capable of moving under control across diversified, snow-covered terrain
while carrying the arms and equipment necessary for tactical operations. Since
skis are often the most efficient means of transportation in winter warfare, the
soldier should be so skilled in their use that skiing becomes a natural method
of movement. Since the skiing soldier will utilize his skis for the greater portion
of movement over snow-covered terrain, it is important that he acquire good skiing
technique in order to be able to move anywhere required both quickly and with
the least expenditure of energy. The soldier must develop these techniques so
that his movement either uphill or downhill will not delay the movement of his
When operating in mountainous areas, the soldier must possess efficiency in both
basic and advanced military ski techniques in order to move easily and safely
over steep and rough terrain; the soldier must possess endurance and must be in
top physical condition.
b. Training Time Required. To walk on snowshoes,
one day of instruction is generally sufficient. However, several days use of snowshoes
during normal training will rapidly increase proficiency. In a period of 2 weeks
a soldier can be taught enough ski techniques to enable him as an individual to
flat or rolling terrain with greater speed than if he were on foot
or snowshoes, but he will not yet be able to operate effectively as a combat skier
within a unit. At least 8 weeks of intensive training are needed in order to become
a military skier capable of operating proficiently in any type of terrain. It
should be noted that the level of skiing skill developed by the soldier during
any period of ski instruction is improved by participating in unit training which
is done on skis.
a. Skis. Military skis were formerly issued in 198
cm (61/2'), 213 cm (7') and 229 cm (7½') lengths. The standard issue ski
is now 213 cm long (7') ; however, until stocks are depleted the other length
skis may be issued in lieu of the standard ski. The standard skis are of laminated
wood construction with hickory tops and running surfaces. They are all terrain
cross-country skis with steel edges (fig. 4-l). The metal edges give better gripping
action in turns and on icy and hard packed snow which results in better control.
All skis are painted white and have a hole in the tip through which a cord can
be threaded when it is necessary to pull them as ski bundles or as an improvised
b. Ski Binding, All Terrain. The binding consists of a toeplate,
toe straps, soleplate, heel cup, quick-release fasteners and mounting hardware
(fig. 4-2). The toe plate is aluminum; the toe strap and heel cup are made of
white rubber and three plies of dacron, the soleplate is made of fiberglass This
binding will accommodate all types of cold weather footgear and is easily put
on and removed. The soleplate is flexible and allows free vertical movement of
the heel which assists normal foot movement.
Ski Poles. Nonadjustable tubular steel poles, 130 (51"), 137 (54")
and 147 cm (58") in length, are the standard item of issue, however, the
adjustable ski pole is being used until stocks are depleted. Figure 4-3 illustrates
the different parts of the ski pole. In an emergency, the poles can also be used
for tent poles, markers, or in the construction of emergency litters.
Ski Repair Kit and Emergency Ski Tip. This kit contains pliers, screwdriver,
screws, wire, drill, strips of steel edging, and leather thongs for use in emergency
repair of skis, poles or bindings while in the field. An emergency ski tip is
also available. This can be used to repair or replace broken ski tips and allow
the individual to continue the march until replacement skis can be obtained. Ski
repair kits and emergency ski tips are usually issued to units and are not intended
for individual issue. One ski repair kit per rifle platoon and one emergency ski
tip per squad is usually sufficient.
e. Ski Waxes. Ski wax is used to
obtain the sliding and climbing characteristics necessary for efficient military
skiing. The waxing of skis is covered in paragraph 4-10.
f. Ski Climbers.
Climbers are strips of canvas with mohair secured to the running surface,
which are attached to the bottom of the skis by means of straps (fig. 4-4). When
attached, the mohair material lies with the ends pointing towards the heel of
the skis. Forward movement of the ski does not disturb the material, thereby allowing
the ski to slide. Backward pressure, however, causes the material to become roughened,
preventing the skis from backslapping. Climbers are used by troops to make the
climbing of steep slopes faster and less tiring, providing the ascent is sufficiently
long to justify the time required to put them on and take them off. They may also
be used to give more traction while pulling sleds, and for descents where sliding
is not desired.
Preparation of Skis
a. General. Pine tar or ski lacquer is applied
to the running surface of the skis to fill the pores of the wood and to furnish
a base so that the skis may be properly waxed. They are also applied to the running
surface of the skis to prevent moisture from being absorbed by the wood. For military
skiing, pine tar is preferred as a base. If this is not available, ski lacquer
is a suitable substitute. They must be used separately since they do not mix together.
Application of Pine Tar or Ski Lacquer.
(1) Preparation of skis.
The running surface must be clean to prepare the skis for pine-tarring or lacquering.
If the ski has been used, the old base and
wax must be removed. The easiest
way to accomplish this is to use a scraper and sandpaper. Caution should be exercised
to insure that the running surface of the ski is not damaged. Old wax can also
be removed by the use of steel wool or a rag moistened with a high flashpoint
solvent. Solvent should only be used in an adequately ventilated working area
with no smoking or open flames. If conditions are such that these materials are
not available, heat can be used to remove the wax.
(2) Tarring procedure.
After the ski has been cleaned, a light coat of pine tar is then applied with
a soft brush or a rag. If the pine tar is stiff, it should be heated slightly
so it can be evenly distributed. Heat is then applied to the running surface to
cause penetration of the pine tar into the pores of the wood. The source of heat
may be a blowtorch (fig. 4-5), one burner stove, or an open fire (fig. 4-6). To
obtain the best penetration, work progressively on one section at a time rather
than heating the whole surface of the ski. Care must be taken to avoid burning
or scorching the wood by application of too much heat. It may be necessary to
repeat this procedure several times to obtain a sufficient coating. Excess pine
tar is removed during the heating process by
means of a rag. When finished,
the running surface of the ski should be dry and not sticky to the touch.
Lacquering procedure. After the ski has been cleaned, the surface is allowed
to dry thoroughly before applying the lacquer. The lacquer is applied
a clean brush, rag, or sponge, starting at the tip and working towards the heel
using smooth, even strokes in a continuous motion. None of the lacquered areas
should be touched until the lacquer incompletely dry. This requires several hours.
The application should be made at room temperature for best results. At least
two separate coats should be applied, making certain that each one is completely
dry before the next one is applied. It is recommended that the surface be lightly
sanded with fine sandpaper or steel wool, between coats. Care must be exercised
not to inhale toxic lacquer fumes. For prolonged or repeated exposure to such
fumes, unapproved respirator should be worn. No smoking or open flames should
be permitted in or around the work area and adequate ventilation should be provided.
Waxing of Skis
a. General. There are no standard ski waxes available
in the supply system therefore commercial waxes must be procured and used. The
purpose of ski wax is to provide the ski with necessary climbing and sliding qualities
to prevent backslip in various snow conditions. When snow conditions and temperature
change, the type and method of application of ski wax will also differ. Before
wax can be properly selected and applied, the individual must learn to recognize
the different types of snow conditions. It is also valuable to have some knowledge
of how ski wax performs in relation to snow. After snow has fallen on the ground,
its crystalline structure is continuously altered by the effects of temperature,
wind, and humidity. In very cold weather these changes occur much more slowly
than when temperature is near 32° F. Therefore, the most important factor
of waxing is the effect that temperature has on the character of the snow and
its sliding qualities.
b. Snow and its Effects on Wax.
effects of snow crystals. It is important to understand the relation of wax
to the holding and sliding capabilities of the snow. For this reason there are
specific waxes to use in cross-country skiing under different snow surface conditions.
Proper wax. When the soldier is skiing on the level, or uphill, his body weight
gives maximum pressure to the skis. The soft quality of the wax allows the crystal
structure of the snow to penetrate the wax under this pressure and thus keep the
ski from backslapping. When the pressure is lifted and the ski
allowed to slide
forward, the penetrating snow crystals will slide free from the surface of the
wax reducing friction. Continuous forward motion, as in sliding, keeps the crystals
from penetrating the wax.
(b) Wax too soft. When the skis slide poorly,
the following condition generally exists: the snow crystals have penetrated into
the wax but will not slide free. This causes clogging of the snow on the running
surface and may eventually cause ice to form. Under these conditions the soldier
will find that even vigorous sliding of the ski will not break the snow loose
from the wax surface. Little or no forward slide can be gained.
too hard. When the skis slide well, but backslip on the level and when moving
uphill, the following condition exists: the snow crystals are not penetrating
the wax. The soldier will find he has excellent sliding when going downhill, but
climbing uphill or skiing on level ground is very exhausting because of backslip.
This is the primary deterrent to the use of “downhill” waxes for cross-country
(2) Classification of snow. Snow is classified here into four
general types. This classification is intended to assist the soldier in snow identification,
of wax, and its proper application under these different conditions.
Wet snow. This type of snow is mostly found during the spring, but it may
also occur in the fall or late winter, particularly in regions of moderate climate.
This type of snow can be readily made into a heavy, solid snowball. In extreme
conditions, wet snow will become slushy and contain a maximum
amount of water.
Moist snow. This type of snow is generally associated with early winter, but
may also occur in midwinter during a sudden warm-up period. This type of snow
can be made into a snowball, but will not compress as readily or be as heavy as
a wet snowball. It will have a tendency to fall apart.
(c) Dry snow.
This type of snow is generally associated with winter at its height, but it can
occur in late fall as well as in spring, when abnormally
low temperatures occur.
This snow is light and fluffy. It cannot be compressed into a snowball unless
the snow is made moist by holding it in the hand. At extremely low temperatures,
such as those found in the far northern regions, this snow is like sand, and has
very poor sliding qualities.
(d) New snow. This is snow which is still
falling or has recently fallen on the ground, but has not been subject to changes
due to the sun or temperature variation. It can be wet, moist, or dry in nature.
Proper Selection and Application of Waxes. Cross-country ski waxes are formulated
to provide optimum sliding and climbing characteristics for various types of snow
conditions. Each type is labeled with appropriate instructions on its intended
use, i.e., wet, moist or dry snow conditions. Since the types of wax vary between
manufacturers, no particular type of wax can be prescribed for each classification
of snow; however, the instructions on each container specifies the weather conditions
and type of snow where performance of the wax is best. Proper application of all
waxes is important to achieve desired results whether they be traction or sliding
action. As a general rule, the wax that gives the best sliding surface for all
types of snow provides an excellent
base for application of other waxes. To
provide traction, varying amounts, combinations, and methods of application of
other waxes are used. When pulling a sled or carrying a heavy load, thicker coats
of wax may be required to insure traction.
d. Waxing Procedure.
Whenever possible, the waxing of skis should be done before the march when shelter
and heat are available, as the running surface of the ski should be warm and dry
to obtain best results. When on the march, ski wax should be carried in the pockets,
if possible, so that body heat will keep the wax soft and easy to use. If the
skis need waxing during the march, the running surfaces are dried as much as possible
by the use of paper or dry mittens. Whenever possible, old wax should be removed
before rewaxing skis particularly when a different type of wax is being used.
Refer to paragraph 4-9 b (1) for proper method for removing old wax.
apply, cover the running surface with wax. Next, smooth the wax by rubbing it
with the hand, using the heel of the palm or the fingers (fig. 4-7), a waxing
cork, or a heated iron. When heat is available, this process can be made easier
by warming the wax that has been applied. It is normally best to work progressively
on a section at a time, from the ski tip towards the heel. If the waxing is done
in a shelter, or heat is used, the skis should be allowed to cool to outside air
temperature before being used. Do not place the running surfaces of skis on snow
immediately after waxing if heat is used or if waxing is done in a heated room
or shelter as the snow may stick and freeze to the running surface. For the same
reason protect the running surfaces
against wind driven snow. To insure that
wax is properly chosen and applied, the skis should be tested before being used
on an extended march.
Care of Ski Equipment
(1) A broken ski or binding
may put a soldier at the mercy of the enemy and the elements and prevent him from
accomplishing his mission. If the soldier keeps his skis and equipment in good
condition, he will find that ski marches are easier and less tiring and that he
will not be the cause of any unnecessary delays and halts by his unit. Care of
ski equipment is the responsibility of the individual soldier— he must check it
before starting out on a mission, during breaks, and when in bivouac. At least
once a week the ski equipment should be thoroughly checked by unit leaders. During
combat the inspection must be done whenever the situation permits.
must be checked for proper base of pine tar, evidence of possible warping and
splitting, loss of camber, defective edges, and broken steel edge
or screws. At the same time bindings must be checked for worn straps, missing
rivets and screws, and proper adjustment. Ski poles should be checked to insure
that wrist straps, handgrips, baskets, and points are firmly fastened and that
no breakage has occurred.
b. Daily Care.
(1) After each day's use,
the skis and the skiing equipment should be checked and necessary repairs made
by the individual as follows:
(a) Skis. Remove any snow or ice that
has frozen to the ski. This may be done with heat. If heat is not available, this
can be done with a mitten, wooden stick, or piece of metal. Check the heels and
tips of the skis for cracks. Badly cracked skis must be replaced, as they are
weakened and break easily. At the same time, check for and replace defective or
missing edges and screws. The condition of ski bottoms is then checked and, if
needed, additional pine tar or base wax is applied. The surface waxing for the
next day’s march is deferred until snow conditions are determined in the morning
or shortly prior to departure. After maintenance of skis is completed, they should
be placed indoors, preferably in a ski rack (fig. 4-8). Under field conditions,
skis are placed in an improvised ski rack, planted upright in the snow or stacked.
Bindings. Insure that all straps, buckles, screws and rivets are present and
in good condition. Replace parts which are unserviceable. If necessary, readjust
the fit of the bindings.
(c) Poles. Check wrist straps, handgrips, shafts,
baskets, and points to insure that they are in good condition. Broken parts should
be replaced at the first opportunity. Temporary repairs can be made with wire,
cord, or tape.
(2) When snow cover is comparatively thin, be careful not to
damage the skis while skiing in rocky or stumpy terrain. Sometimes there is water
under the snow cover on frozen rivers or lakes. Try to cross them at a dry place;
make an improvised hasty bridge from trees or boughs, if time permits. If the
skis become wet during a crossing of water, the ice which forms on the skis must
be removed after reaching the bank. A long march or sudden change in temperature
may require rewaxing of skis during the march. When skis are removed, do not leave
them on the snow. It may stick and freeze on the running surface. Remove the snow
from the skis and stack them beside the ski tracks or lean the skis against a
tree. A ski stack can be built by each squad.
Repair of unserviceable ski equipment requires qualified personnel with necessary
tools and facilities, Therefore, the soldier will only be permitted to make emergency
repairs such as replacing bindings, screws, and steel edges.
repair. The repair of ski equipment under field conditions is emergency repair.
In many cases broken skis or worn out parts of ski
equipment must be replaced.
To facilitate this, the following arrangements are necessary:
unit should have replacement skis, bindings, and poles. There should also be available,
ski repair kits, pine tar or lacquer, and waxes.
(b) Every squad should
have one emergency ski tip (fig. 4-9 ) and each platoon, one ski repair kit.
Every man should have the following in his possession at all times:
3. Piece of light wire (malleable)
or nylon cord.
Combat repair. During combat, the most suitable time for maintenance and
repair of skis and ski equipment is when the unit is in reserve.
Proper storing of skis and skiing equipment is most important, during off seasons.
Improper care in storage procedures will damage this equipment,
making it unserviceable.
When the skiing season is over, skis and poles are turned in by the using unit
for storage. Before doing so, the skis must be cleaned and old waxes
Skis and poles are then checked thoroughly. Those in good condition are separated
from those in need of repair or salvage. Necessary repairs are made. Ski bindings
are not removed. All skis should be pine-tarred or lacquered. If needed, skis
are repainted. Skilled personnel are needed for repairing skis and poles and for
preparing them for storage.
(4) In further preparation, the skis are tied together
by matching pairs according to their factory markings not unit markings. A piece
of string or cord is used to tie the skis at their tips and heels with running
surfaces facing each other. A wooden block (waxing cork may be used) is then placed-between
the skis at the metal toe plates. The correct spread is about 6 to 8 cm (2” to
3“). After being Mocked, the skis are stored in a vertical position, with the
tips down. If the skis must be stored horizontally, they should be supported at
both ends and at the middle, with the end supports on the top side of the ski
and the middle support beneath and arranged so that tension is maintained on the
camber. Each ski should be supported individually when stored horizontally. The
storage room should be dry with an even temperature and good ventilation (fig.
(5) After ski poles are checked, repaired, and reconditioned, they should
be placed in the same storage area as the skis.
a. General. In moving on skis for the first time,
most beginners find that skis are awkward to handle due to the difficulty of obtaining
the necessary balance and coordination. To overcome these difficulties, the first
instructional phase is devoted to step turns and walking on level ground in order
to obtain the balance, correct body position, coordination, and rhythm necessary
in skiing. In addition, this basic movement is a means of forming the
for further instruction. Ski drill techniques are covered in appendix C.
Skiing Without Poles. The soldier will find that in performing duties, especially
in combat, he will be required to ski either with poles carried in one hand or
without poles. For this reason, it is important that he practice all techniques
with and without the use of ski poles. This is especially important in the beginning
stages of skiing, as practice without ski poles will aid in learning proper transfer
of body weight, balance, timing, and control of the skis.
a. Use. The step is the simplest means of changing direction
from a standing position. It is particularly valuable in brushy and wooded terrain
(1) From the standing position the right
(left) ski tip is raised, the ski is rotated to the right (left) side, using the
heel of the ski as a pivot.
(2) The ski is placed on the snow and the body
weight shifted onto it.
(3) The left (right) ski is moved along side the right
(left) in the same manner.
(4) Each pole is raised, moved, and placed with
the corresponding ski (i.e., right ski, right pole).
(5) The same movement
is repeated until the desired direction is obtained.
(6) In confined areas
it may be necessary to use the tip of the ski instead of the heel as a pivot point.
In turning to the right (left) the heel of the left (right) ski is raised off
the snow and moved to the left of its original position. Then the right (left)
ski is moved alongside the left (right) ski and this sequence repeated until the
desired direction is achieved.
a. Use. The kick turn is a method for reversing the direction
of a skier when in a standing position. It is used on both flat and steep terrain.
In combat, it is also useful to conceal a change of direction in a ski track (fig.
(1) Beginning in the standing position with
skis level, the left (right ) pole is placed alongside the left (right) ski approximately
45 to 60 cm (18" to 24") in front of the toe of the foot. At the same
time the right (left) pole is placed alongside the right (left) ski about 45 to
60 cm (18" to 24") behind the heel of the foot.
(2) The right (left)
leg is swung forward and upward until the ski is momentarily perpendicular, its
heel alongside the tip of the left (right) ski. To obtain sufficient momentum
for this movement, a preliminary backward movement of the right (left) ski should
first be made.
(3)The right (left) ski is then pivoted on its heel and lowered,
pointing in the opposite direction and parallel to the left (right) ski.
The body weight is shifted to the right (left) ski, bringing the left (right)
ski and pole around and alongside the right (left) ski in the new direction, placing
the ski pole in the snow.
(5) On a gentle slope the procedure is the same,
except the uphill ski should be turned first.
(6) On a steep slope, the skis
are placed horizontally across the slope and edged into the slope for necessary
stability. The movements in executing the turn are the same as described above
except that both ski poles are initially placed in the snow above the skis and
the downhill ski is turned first. Then the uphill ski and pole are brought around
simultaneously to complete the turn.
to The Walking Step