When I was a child, my father forced me on the mountain to ski. With no hope of getting professional lessons, I needed to master this sport on my own. With enough practice and studying really good skiers, I figured out the form and I guessed the rest. With determination, I became an exceptional skier in my teens. But, as I entered my twenties and other interests took priority, I abandoned the sport.
It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that the New England winters seemed to get longer and I decided to return to my childhood pastime.
I was surprised to find the equipment and even the style of skiing had changed tremendously over a decade. Nevertheless, I was determined to become an expert on the new equipment and with the current technique.
I started skiing with a close friend I met through boating. He taught skiing for 40 years all throughout New England and, at 70 years old, he skied better than most professionally trained skiers in their 20’s. We frequently hit the slopes together and though he never gave me a formal lesson, he would subtly make four suggestions. I now ski at an expert level and I am happy to share his tips with you….
Arms Bent and Ski Poles in Front
I am sure you have been told this many times but I cannot stress the importance enough. Your arms should be bent close to your sides and your hands and poles in front of you, leaning slightly forward. This not only puts your weight forward but also gives you better balance. If your arms are flailing around or just hanging down, it puts you off center.
The most important way to ski in control is to put your weight on the front of the skis. By bending your knees, it puts your body weight forward giving you maximum control. When you stand straight up, you put pressure toward the tails of the skis. This puts you out of control.
Downhill Ski Pressure
This tip, executed correctly and consistently (while keeping your weight forward), will make you an expert skier. While you are facing downhill with your skis parallel and you want to turn to the right, you need to put pressure on your left ski (downhill ski). To execute perfect turns, it is quite simple. Put both skis up on the right edge and push down hard on your left foot. Do not worry about twisting your body or any other movement, stand hard on the downhill ski. The moment you do this with consistency you will be absolutely amazed at how your technique has improved.
Using the pressure on the downhill ski will help you carve your turns and not skid sideways. You want to put the skis on edge and make a flawless arching turn. A lot of skiers think they ski well but you will see that they twist their body and skis sideways when turning creating a skidding movement. Excellent skiers focus on putting the skis on edge and putting all your force on the downhill ski.
Adopting my friend’s four basic tips, and with consistent focus, has transformed me into an expert skier. If you practice these steps as well you will become the skier everyone watches and says, “look at that person ski!”
What skiing tips have you found helpful? Please share in the comments below.