Learning to ski is a journey, not a destination. For as long as you will be skiing, you will be learning. No matter how good you get or think you are, you will always be able to improve your skills, your knowledge and your experience of this wonderful sport.
The thing about skiing is that the better you get the more places to ski will become available to you. And, just as get pleasure from your advancement through the different coloured slopes and their varying requirements of technical ability, you can also gain satisfaction from the learning itself.
Maybe you’ve reached a point in your skiing career where you think that you’ve learned all you can and your progression has levelled off. Unconsciously, this could be just you making excuses for yourself for not becoming a better skier.
Now is a great time to give your skiing ability a boost. Of course, you don’t want to go back to the beginners’ area to perfect a technique, but ski schools also offer advanced lessons and ski experiences; try some out. Advances in equipment have made previously difficult-to-achieve techniques more accessible. For example, the development of fat skis now means that off-piste skiing is no longer just a dream, but a possibility for anyone. Give this a go and you will feel like you’re Lara Gut when you get back on a Black run.
Whatever you feel is holding you back, there is always a way to get around it. If it’s just a lame excuse that’s holding you back, we might be able to fix that now.
Excuse 1 – I can snowplough everywhere, I don’t need another technique
OK, snow-ploughing may be essential when you’re learning and can also be needed in certain instances even by the best skiers; brake for a casevac stretcher, for instance. But, snowploughing for fun is a contradiction; it can only really be used on gentle slopes and it is very tiring on your joints. Also, if you can only snow plough, your speed will be limited drastically, as will your stopping ability. So, come on, let’s work on spreading the tips of those skis a bit. You’ll also look a lot better.
Excuse 2 – I can do what I need to on the slopes
When George Mallory was asked why he climbed Everest, his reply was “Because It’s There!”. He didn’t settle for what he NEEDED to do and neither should you. You’re a skier, so by nature, you’re an adventurist. Set yourself some skiing goals and get out on the hill and achieve them, just like George did, one step at a time.
Excuse 3 – I can ski on a nicely groomed slope but nothing else
Well, unless you are a billionaire who can hire out the whole resort for your personal use, you are going to have to get used to less-than-perfect pistes. You could always try being first on the lift every morning, but that’s not much fun and you’ll still only get a single perfect run. No, your best solution is to see these choppy conditions as a challenge and set the goal to tackle them. Remember when you first started, even a perfect piste was challenging. So, start making the small adjustments to balance and body position that you’ll need for different conditions. Soon, you’ll be seeking out the more challenging, less perfect runs – they’re a lot less crowded!
Excuse 4 – I’ve been there, done it, got the teeshirt!
Really? The best in any sport will tell you they’ve never stopped learning. Throw in the exciting and dangerous environment in which skiers operate and you have an infinite scope of techniques to master, experiences to have and sights to see. If you feel you have learned enough of one discipline, try another; snowboarding, Telemark or back-country skiing, for instance. Until you can descend Mont Blanc with two baking trays strapped to your feet, you’ve still got plenty to learn.
Excuse 5 – I want to ski off-piste but I’m afraid.
Now you don’t have to be. In the grand old days yore, when skinny parallel skis were the only option, off-piste skiing was not only difficult but incredibly dangerous. Technical advances in skis and the development of lighter, fatter skis have opened up this exciting opportunity to everyone. Also, because so many more people are going off-piste, resorts are making these areas safer. Now, fatten up those skis, take a deep breath and launch yourself into some virgin powder.
Hopefully, you now can tell yourself that these 5 lame excuses stopping you from becoming a better skier are just that – excuses!