Oct 24, 2014
Want to be a better skier? You need to practice. Of course, hitting the slopes isn’t the only thing that will turn you into the next Lindsey Vonn or Alberto Tomba. You need good instruction, and following these tips wouldn’t hurt either.
Take Up Strength Training
Before you head off to book Park City long term rentals for the ski season, step into a gym with free weights. Why free weights? It takes an impressive amount of strength to shift and pivot out there on the slopes. While not every skier trains with weights, some do, and they benefit from the added strength.
Strong people are generally more capable at everything they do, so this is a general recommendation for just about any activity you plan on engaging in. But, it’s especially useful for demanding sports and hobbies, like skiing.
The program of choice? Keep it simple. Start with Starting Strength.
Take On An Athletic Stance
When you ski, you have to maintain a “hunkered down” stance to stay stable. Good skiers retract their legs under them. This keeps the body and skis connected. If you extend your legs too early as the ground gives way, you may lose your balance and fall.
Keeping your knees partially bent, and your quads tight, will help with balance. Keeping your glutes tight will also help give you power through the hips – useful for turning, stopping, and all that good stuff.
Be Forward Looking
You have to be willing, and able, to look down the hill at what’s coming. A second is a long time in downhill skiing. You must gather information about snow texture, depth, route options, exposure, and obstacles at lightning speed.
This is where experience helps the most, and getting out on the slopes is invaluable. But, it’s also where good instruction makes a difference. Partner with an experienced skier who knows how to develop this heightened sense. It’s a skill, but it’s something you have to learn conceptually as well as existentially.
Live In The Moment
Always focus your attention on what’s happening. You should always be looking downhill, but you have to be able to balance forward vision with living in the moment. What’s coming up in 10 yards isn’t nearly as important as what’s happening in 5 yards or 3 yards, and the ground moves at you at incredible speed when you’re out there.
Many new skiers have trouble with this one because they want to take time to think about what to do next. You can’t do that when you’re doing downhill skiing. It has to be instinct-driven. You can’t think, or you may end up face down in the snow, or worse.
This is something you can practice at home before getting out onto the slopes, fortunately. Speed drills and reaction time drills are what will help you develop a fast eye and better hand-eye coordination. Ultimately, you want to be able to put your brain on autopilot and just “go with it” all the way to the bottom of the hill.
About the author
Lonnie Graham is a self-confessed ski bum and avid writer. When he’s not swooshing down the slopes, he’s writing about it. Look for his entertaining articles on a variety of sports and skiing websites.
Featured Courtesy by Badge McVid