skip navigation

Information: Slipping A Race Course

The most common type of slipping during a race is a Snow Plow Slip:

  • Slippers usually go in groups of two or 3 as instructed by the Chief of Course or Slip Coordinator at the top of the race course.
  • First slipper usually goes down just outside of the race line (see diagram) pushing snow to the outside. Second slipper follows pushing the snow further out and so on.
  • Snow tends to accumulate in the spill zone (see diagram). Make sure to push the snow out wide in this area.
  • As you move around the gate the pressure will shift to your other ski in order to keep pushing snow out away from the race line. 
  • When ruts build up in the spill zone, you may be asked to do bring your skis together in a hockey stop to plow the ridges and berms over. Do not stop; keep going downhill with both skis across the face of the run until the ridges/ruts/berms are flattened and snow has been pushed outside of the spill zone. It may be easier to concentrate on one side of the course with your partner on the other side. That way you will each be flattening the berms on every second gate on your own side of the course.
  • If a course worker is raking and shoveling a particularly nasty berm, they may instruct you to help them flatten it. This may require taking a run at the berm and doing a harder hockey stop to push the snow far enough out of the way. But be careful, that same berm that can hurt the athletes, can also hurt you! Make sure you have the necessary experience and skiing strength before attacking larger berms.

Side Slipping:

  • Side Slipping is most common early on race day after an overnight snowfall. If the groomer has not been able to get on the run, snow will have to be side slipped away.
  • Choose one side of the course. Another group will go down the other side of the course.
  • If you are the uphill skier line the tips of your skis up with the tails of the person below you (see diagram). Do not pass the downhill skier.
  • Keep your skis parallel to one another and “slide” sideways down the hill. Try keeping your skis as flat as possible, as parallel as possible, and use your edges as little as possible.

If you don’t have much experience slipping, it is best to tuck in behind a more experienced person in a group of slippers and follow along.

Example Video

Here is a video of one way (each side individually) to slip a course... please check with the CHIEF OF COURSE prior to slipping a course to see if they want the course slipped via the trail or each side individually! 


  •  Know what the interval of racers is, usually 30 or 45 seconds
  • Once a racer has passed, move onto the course and have a mental clock in your head.
  • Pull off of the course before you expect the next racer to come down.
  • If someone yells “COURSE” move off to the side right away. That is a signal that the next racer is nearing your location. 
  • If you see a racer coming up toward a group of slippers/course workers yell “COURSE”. Yelling “COURSE” the universal racing language for get out of the way.

Good Luck! Your kids will love you for it and will even thank you!