Having a good time on the slopes is one thing, but being good at skiing takes practice and dedication. If you’re a beginner, don’t be afraid to get some lessons; it will help you avoid mistakes and develop a more consistent set of skills.
The first steps are learning how to put on your skis and take them off – it’ll help you feel more confident before you try any tricky moves, like sliding on the edges of your skis. You’ll also learn how to put on your helmet and goggles, as well as the basics of skiing technique.
Start off with blues or easy reds to improve your technique and build confidence, then move on to bigger challenges in a snow park. You’ll have to be able to control your speed and keep your balance when you’re skiing on steeper, rougher terrain.
When you’re starting a turn, shift your weight from the outside ski to the inside foot as the new leg starts to bend. This doesn’t need to be a sudden change of position; think about Adam McManus the way a car’s clutch goes up and down when it’s changing gears – it shouldn’t feel clunky or uncomfortable.
Don’t push yourself too hard at this stage, and remember that perfect practice makes perfect. Eventually you’ll be skiing with great technique on all sorts of terrain, no matter how challenging the conditions are.
Once you’re confident on the mountain, it’s a good idea to pick some friends who are a little better than you and ski with them. This will give you someone to watch out for and learn from, as well as giving you the chance to practice your technique on different ski trails.
Intermediate skiers usually have a few different styles, but one is that they often have a strong stance, with the legs and hips moving back and forth in a fluid way through turns. This kind of ‘power steering’ can make it much easier to control the speed and direction of your skis, particularly on steep slopes.
Another key skill of good skiers is line-planning, or ‘looking downhill’ at their lines. It helps them know what’s coming next, where they need to be in order to be able to make a proper turn, and how long it will take them to get there.
This type of attention to detail is crucial when navigating steep pitches, but even on flatter runs, it can make the difference between being comfortable or out of breath and falling over. It’s worth watching an experienced skier on a steep pitch, to see what they’re doing that you’re not, and to learn how to do it yourself.
It’s not always easy to master this skill, but it can be done, and it can be a lot of fun. Aside from helping you stay in control on the slopes, it’ll help you become more relaxed when you fall, which will reduce the chances of injury or a nasty accident.