As ski season sets off into full swing, I’m sure you’re all as excited as I am to get out there and get skiing. I want to feel that cold wind in my face and let my body glide gracefully down the hill. I have been skiing my entire life and have still found myself in need of improvements. I’m constantly trying to fine-tune my abilities and have benefitted from living near a ski mountain and surrounding myself with skilled professionals. While I don’t think I will ever be entirely satisfied with my abilities, and I’m certainly no Olympian, I do have some technique tips to help you improve your own personal performance. Don’t expect yourself to be better than anyone but your own previous self. Don’t try to make your run better than anyone else’s, except maybe your previous run. Skiing is about the movement and joy of being out in the fresh air and enjoying the hobby itself.
Part of what will really improve your technique is strengthening exercises, even off the slopes. Doing cardio that is not ski related as well as doing some weight training, especially in your legs, will increase your strength, agility, and endurance when you hit the slopes and push your body to its limit.
Here are some exercises that you can try out to help you improve your carving technique.
- When skiing, try to lay over way farther than you normally would, almost to the point of falling. You will learn to control your force, speed, and the radius of your turn. You may fall a few times, but it’s all part of the process.
- With your skis in a parallel position, speed up and put your ski on its edge, ensuring the entire edge is still touching the snow. The ski will turn on its own. Complete the turn and try the other side. You can play with the different pressures to see if you can tighten up your turns.
- With the skis in a parallel position, gain some speed then set both skis on an edge in the same direction, using your hips to control it and your ankles and knees to tighten it up. You’ll feel a slight turn as the edging does its job. Don’t move your feet but you can increase the angle of the edge the next time you try it. You can also repeat this same exercise, but instead put your skis at a sharp 45 degree angle and make a run. The skis will turn on their own and you’ll be able to increase the edging to carve out the arcs in the snow. Stay in the turn and just let the skis do the job you need them to.
- This one is a great exercise to practice. Work on making large and fast turns down a moderate slope. Once you are at the point in the turn that you have some control, raise the inside ski off of the snow and increase the pressure of your outside ski in order to compensate. Put the ski back down once you complete the turn.
When running drills and exercises while working on your technique, I always advise you to do it on an unpopulated area in order to maintain the upmost safety. You should also never attempt these drills on a black diamond run as they are meant to increase your ability and should only be practiced safely. While you should avoid high traffic areas, don’t put yourself in an unoccupied area of the mountain either. Make sure you are on groomed slopes. If you do fall, you’ll want to make sure that you are where you will not get hurt and where people will be able to see you and find you in the even that you do get hurt. Be safe and smart, then have fun.