Quite a few of us do not have the pleasure of skiing in soft powder snow all that often, in fact, many of us in the Midwest and on the East Coast often experience skiing on ice. I am not being figurative, I am being literal.
Rarely are the runs solid ice from top to bottom, but more often we ski across patches of exposed ice. What I find is the ice patches often become exposed on the more difficult trails especially on approaches to headwalls, quite predictably skiers & boarders of lesser ski and experience skid on the headwall approach and scrape off the snow from the underlying ice.
What is a skier to do?
The key to handling these ice patches is two fold. The first is more technical and equipment oriented and the second is technique.
Look at the edges closely, do you see rust spots, nicks, or burrs? If so, get them cleaned up and sharpened.
The first one is to make sure your edges are sharp. Dull or rusty edges are not going to cut into and grab hold of that ice. Take your skis into the pro-shop if need be, but make sure your edges are clean and sharp. Run your thumbnail on the edges and if the edge isn’t cutting into your fingernail (obviously, do not put much pressure on the thumb) the edge is not sharp and will not hold well on ice.
One thing I notice in my skiing this last weekend was I often did not notice if I was on ice or not. I knew there were ice patches present, but did not pick up on obvious signs while skiing that I was on ice or not. The key is to be on edge and to be driving those edges down and into the snow or surface.