As someone who loves skiing, I know that there is always ways to improve my skiing ability, and therefore maximise my fun and enjoyment of the mountains every season. From short turns and carving over park skiing to waist-deep powder: It only takes a small break-through in your technique to put a smile on your face! We asked a long-time ski instructor to list nine ways that the average person can use to improve their skiing this winter:
1. Short Turns
A useful skill to master, short turns are parallel turns in quick succession, mainly used on narrow runs. This elegant technique keeps you traveling down the slope at a constant speed overall.
Nik’s Tip: Turn the skis with your legs. A solid, centred stance and good edging movements will allow your legs to make all the movements and help keep your upper body still. Imagine skiing through a tiny tunnel where you have a duck to avoid banging your head. A useful exercise is the hockey stop, which is basically a parallel turn into sliding sideways until you stop. The hockey stop is the most efficient way to stop, as it gives the maximum resistance possible.
For skiers who love speed, ripping down a hill with a true carve is one of a skiing’s most graceful maneuvers. True edge-to-edge carving is meant primarily for wide-open groomers.
Nik’s Tip: To carve the perfect turn, you need to get your skis on edge as early in the turn as possible. This is best done as you are pointing straight down the slope, by rolling the knees over so that the ski edges dig into the snow and steer the skis across the slope. The skis need to be put on the edges enough that when they start turning the skis will “cut” into the snow and not slide or drift. This means changing your weight from ski to ski early and then inclining your body to put your skis on edge. Once you are balanced on your outside ski, extend your legs from under your body so that your body is inclined down the hill – ensure your body is straight, not bent in the waist. With a little bit of practice you will soon be able to enjoy the centrifugal forces at work during the parabolic curves.
Skiing Steeps is an exhilarating and challenging experience, but it requires high degrees of both confidence and control.
Nik’s Tip: Less experienced skiers can use slide sideways to go down a slope in a very steep traverse: Weight over the downhill ski with the upper body facing the direction of your descent. Experienced skiers use upward and downward movement to help power the skis through the turns. This is used a bit like a jump, as the skis come across the slope our body weight has been thrown upwards from the last turn and there is not so much pressure on the skis. Swing your skis round across the fall line to check your speed. This technique can be a remarkable addition to your bag of tricks, however, it requires a bit of practice. Useful exercises are side slipping and the hockey stop.