3 tips to improve your skiing technique: Intermediates
Do you know how to ski with a snowplough with your eyes closed and the blue slopes are getting dull? If that is the case, then it’s time to shift up a gear because learning to ski doesn’t stop there! You can teach yourself the techniques for advanced skiers or inquire about an advanced skiing course for your next skiing holiday.
We have summarised the best skiing tips to improve your skiing from beginner to advanced.
- Ensure you have the right posture
Correct posture is an essential thing when skiing, no matter what your skill level. Your posture controls your speed, the direction of where you are going and allows you to adapt optimally to the slope conditions.
The upper body is the be-all and end-all when it comes to balance. It should always remain straight, no matter what you do. If you move the upper half of your body forward, backward, left or right too much, you will lose stability and fall. The upper body must always remain straight, pointing in the direction of your skis.
POSTURE TIP 1: In the beginning, concentrate on one point in the valley. Always aim for this point when making your turns. This will automatically keep your upper body upright.
Your hips are the centre of your body and “the” most used when skiing. Most movements are made from the hips. While the upper body remains straight and still, you can determine the direction you travel with the help of your hips.
Think of this region as a sphere from which all movements come. Be it to the left or right, up or down.
POSTURE TIP 2: Focus on your belly button, the centre of your body. All movements of the lower half of the body are controlled from there.
The knees are always at least slightly bent when skiing. Depending on the slope and technique, sometimes they’re more bent, sometimes less bent. They not only give you a stable stance on the skis but can also compensate for unevenness.
They’re your suspension; think of your knees like shock absorbers. When skiing over a small hill, keep your upper body level as you ski over it by pulling your legs in to compensate for the bump.
The knees are also important when cornering. You can put more pressure on the ski facing the valley (valley ski) by pushing the “valley knee” slightly inwards.
POSTURE TIP 3: If you have difficulty kneeling correctly, this may be due to ski boots that are too stiff. Check your ski boots, as many can be adjusted for hardness and movement.
However, do not loosen the upper part of your boot, or you will have less support, which may lead to serious injury.
Always keep your hands about 10 centimetres in front of your upper body at hip level. Imagine you are holding a tray of drinks and you don’t want to spill a drop. Keep your poles pointing diagonally backwards.
Keep your arms slightly out and away from your body, however, not too much! You don’t want to look like an aeroplane (for style reasons too), and it’ll take away from your balance.
Never let your hands fall downwards or backwards because, together with the poles, they serve additionally for balance. Keep that tray level!
POSTURE TIP 4: Always make sure you are skiing with the right pole size. The ideal pole length is your height times by 0.7. You can always ask in a ski shop, or ask your ski instructor if you aren’t sure.
- Mastering the parallel turn
You should only attempt the parallel turn if you have mastered the snowplough down to a T! Once you have perfected the parallel turn, everything will move much faster, so it is essential that you can control your speed.
The best way to learn the parallel turn is in two steps:
First practice on flat terrain. Move into the turns still using the snowplough technique; however, when gliding into the next turn, place your skis parallel next to each other. Shift your weight more to the downhill ski.
If you feel that you are going too fast at the beginning, slow down slightly with the snowplough. Practice this until you get a feeling for the higher speed and get used to moving into the parallel position of the skis. When you feel confident doing this, try it on a slightly steeper slope each time.
Stand on a flat slope with your skis parallel, about hip-width apart. Keep your knees bent with your arms in front.
Slowly ski straight ahead in a parallel position and take pressure off your mountain ski. This will cause the tip of the ski facing the mountain to turn towards the valley, i.e. downwards, automatically.
Shift your weight onto the downhill ski while turning your downhill knee towards the mountain as your skis turn. Move your pelvis towards the centre of the turn. As soon as the ski that was previously facing uphill turns and points downhill, shift your weight onto it and push your knee towards the slope. This completes the turn!
Reading this may sound not very easy at first, but try these movements slowly and keep trying until you get the hang of it. The more you practise the sequence, the more automatic it will become.
At all times, make sure that you don’t turn with your upper body, because without the load change, your skis won’t turn. If you want to force it through your upper body, there is a very high risk that you will twist your knees. Your body must always be in the direction of your skis.
- Use the edges of your skis correctly
If you want to master steeper slopes such as those of red or black runs and slide less in the turns, you need to use the outer edges of the skis. You can do this by shifting your weight more. With the right use of the edges, you can make the turns more precise.
On a somewhat steeper slope, try sliding down the side, parallel to the mountain. Press more on the downhill ski while doing this. If this works well, try to put as little weight as possible on the uphill ski so that you slide down almost only with one ski parallel to the mountain. This will give you a sense of balance as you shift your weight more.
Ski slowly parallel to the mountain and initiate a left turn. Press harder on your right leg on the ski by bending your knee a little more and pressing the sole of your foot firmly on the ski. While doing this, press your knee and foot to the inside, i.e. not flat.
Press your shin against the ski boot to further enhance this movement. Before you enter the turn, make your body long as if you are going to stand up. During the turn, press your bottom down as you turn and bend your knees even more so you are doing a high-low movement.
By using the inside edge of the downhill ski on the snow, you do not slip in the turn. This makes them more precise, and even on a hard slope or ice, you’ll ski like you’re on rails. The harder or steeper the slope, the more the edges are required.
Practice the parallel turn on a flatter piste until you feel confident. Then increase slowly, allowing yourself to approach steeper terrain. The more you practise, the closer you’ll get to the red and black runs for the ultimate skiing experience.
And, once you’ve mastered these three tips, you can move on to the three advanced tips to improve your skiing technique even more. There’s plenty to do, and it never gets monotonous on the slopes!