When you first start skiing it’s easy to see the improvement you’re making with your ski technique. You move from barely being able to stand up as you travel slightly downhill to being able to turn and, eventually, stop. Congratulations: you’re a beginner.
The next step is to master the parallel turn. You learn short and carving turns and, again, how to stop. Now you’re an intermediate! But what happens next?
This is actually the stage at which many skiers stop taking lessons. They can get down most runs safely, and maybe even with a certain style. The trouble is: if you stop here, you may never actually get any better.
If you’re stuck in a rut with your ski technique, then take a look at our tips for pushing yourself on to the next stage.
Get Into Training
When most people think about a ski holiday they think about cruising down slopes, long lunches on the mountainside, and lively après-ski. What they don’t think about is the physical exercise involved in skiing!
If you’re doing it right then skiing should be exhausting. The up and down position of a parallel turn is the equivalent of doing squats while hurtling down hill at 15 miles an hour. And remember, while you’re skiing you’re going to want to be doing it all day!
It is not unreasonable, therefore, to consider doing a little training before you go. Get to the gym (squats are great), swim, run or walk, but make sure that you are preparing your thighs – and your stamina – for the work ahead.
If you’re fit you will find it much easier to push yourself a little bit harder and that’s how you will improve your ski technique.
Hire the Right Equipment
If you’re renting skis then you will always be asked in the rental shop how good your skiing is. They aren’t just asking to make conversation – your answer will affect the kind of skis they will give you, so be honest.
Tell them exactly how many times you’ve been, or if you’ve been awarded any badges, and they will be able to gauge the right skis for you. You are unlikely to improve if you are always on beginners’ skis.
Ski With Better Skiers
It can be a little intimidating going out with skiers who you know are better than you, but one thing is for sure: it will improve your ski technique. Not only will you challenge yourself on harder runs than you might otherwise try, it will also push you to increase your speed.
Watching good skiers (even if it’s only sitting at home watching Ski Sunday) will help you see the correct position and movement. This will give you some clues as to what you might need to improve.
Take a Lesson
You may feel that you are done with ski school, but there is honestly no better way to improve your ski technique than to take a lesson with a qualified instructor.
If you really can’t bear the thought of missing out on time with your friends because you’re in ski school then consider grouping together and hiring a private instructor for a day.
An instructor will look at your technique and tell you exactly where you’re going wrong and, most importantly, how to correct it. Even one lesson will be enough to give you something to work on for the rest of your holiday.
Skiing is about having fun, and to some people that just means being able to get down a slope – and that’s fine if that’s all they want. But if you want to improve your technique, you’re going to need to push yourself a little bit harder. Follow our tips and before you know it you’ll be on to the next stage.
Belinda Smythson works for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service that has been helping avid outdoor enthusiasts craft their perfect winter holiday for over a quarter of a century. If you're looking for the best ski chalet accommodation in the Three Valleys, Paradiski, Espace Killy or Chamonix Valley, or tips on improving your ski technique, Ski Amis is the go-to company for sports fans searching for the experience of a lifetime.
This article is copyright free.