3 Quick tips to become a better skier

ski-carving-turn

 

1. Stay centred on your skis

Generally, your weight needs to be evenly distributed along the length of your feet, to maintain downward pressure right along the full length of the skis.

The bindings on the skis are usually set a bit back from the middle, so you need to lean forward to get your weight to the middle of the ski, pushing with your shins on the front of the ski boots, this position lets you transmit your inputs to the ski much better.

The boots also are designed with a tilt forward to force your ankles to bend, you should feel your shins resting on the padded front of the inner liners. The feeling is as if you are leaning on something solid with your shins.

If your weight is too far back, the front of the skis will not be pushing into the snow, resulting in a slow and late start of your turns, meaning loss of control.

2. Keep a relaxed intermediate position

Keep the three main joints of your lower body half bent, which means your ankles, knees and hips in an intermediate position, and keep the muscles holding these joints in a semi-relaxed state, not too tens, not too weak. This is going to give you a more adaptable stance, making it easier for you to keep your balance.

You have to think as these three joints are your suspensions, the better they work, the easier is going to be for you to absorb all the vibrations and bumps, and stop them from affecting your balance.

Holding this semi-flexed and semi-relaxed position is tiring, so is important to prepare the muscles before the winter with some specific exercises. The longer you are able to keep this position, the longer your runs will be and your ski days skiing at your best.

Ski semiflex intermidiate position

The hardest part for all skiers is to keep their ankles relaxed. People tend to think the knees are the most important joint, but the secret resides in the ankles. When we are skiing, the joints closer to the skis are the ankles, there is where we start feeling all the sensations that the contact between the skis and the snow transmits to our body, and where all our body actions and commands end up being transmitted to our skis. Skiers tend to tens them up in the hope of having more control over their movement, but too much muscular tension means losing our first line of suspension, which also reduces our sensitivity and our ability to regulate our pressure over the skis and snow.

3. Even up the weight distribution between your feet

The way your weight is distributed between your skis determines how much each ski will influence your movement.

Lateral weight distribution (more weight on one ski or the other) brings you out of the fall line and takes your skis sideways to the slope (this combined with other actions makes you turn basically).

The ski with the most weight on it will also control your movement more than the other, as it is being pushed into the snow more, and has more grip. The more weight over one ski, the quicker you will reach the sideways position as well.

The problem is that skiers tend to put too much weight on the outside ski, the one situated on the outside of the semicircle drawn by our skis in a turn as if the weight was the only factor that make the skis turn. That means that our outside ski has an excess of pressure on top of it (our whole weight, the inertia and the centrifuge force), which makes it more difficult for it to hold the grip with the edge on steeper slopes, harder snows or higher speeds.

Ski uneven weight distribution

Have you ever felt that you are skiing well and with control on blues and easy reds slopes, but when the terrain starts to get steeper, and the snow harder, you start to suffer too much, skid a lot, and have the feeling that you aren’t under control.

People tend to blame the edges, for not being sharp enough. It is obvious that having the skis in good condition is going to help, but sharing the work and pressure between the two skis during the turn is going to help you even more (try to get a weight distribution of 70/30 or 60/40 as a rough measure).

Ski even weight distribution

Start using more your inside ski and you’ll become a much better skier, feel much safer and with control, also your turns will look much smoother.

4 thoughts on “3 Quick tips to become a better skier”

  1. Wow, nice tips! I like the part about the ankles, I’m going to concentrate on them this winter. Give us some more tips!!!

  2. Derek Dewitt

    My friends want to take me skiing for the first time this winter, so thanks for sharing these tips. I like your point about how the ski with the most weight on it will also give you better control. I’ll be sure to keep this in mind so I can get to a sideways position quickly.

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