While I was in Canada I took an instructors course, and later got to work as a ski instructor, teaching adult beginners how to ski. It was a life changing experience, to be honest.
However, it also taught me some very valuable lessons about skiing, and what to do and not to do.
Since I came home, I have been teaching my family, my boyfriend and some of my friends these few tricks, and it is incredible how much of a change it actually makes. They are really simple, and if you’re on a skiing trip you can pick a new “trick” to focus on each day. I will also mention a few exercises you can use to implement the trick in your skiing.
So here goes:
1. It’s all bout shifting that weight
When we want to make a turn, a lot of people overthink the different movements going into it.
They have seen how incredibly cool it looks when other people kind of just swoosh-swoosh and throw their legs from side to side really quickly.
It kind of looks like you have to forcefully throw your legs from side to side to get that effect, doesn’t it? Well, you don’t!
All you have to do is actually just shift the weight from leg to leg. For example, if I want to turn to the right, I simple shift the weight to my left leg. You want all of your weight to be on this leg – to the point where you can actually lift the other leg.
Another way of saying it is: That the leg that is “downhill” in the turn, is the one that has all your weight on it.
When you finally start to get the feeling of the weight being shifted completely, and you can feel how ALL your weight is on one leg, you will also start to feel how your ski completely just cuts through the snow as if it was butter. It is the nicest feeling!
Make someone else hold your ski poles, or place them at a cafe you can easily access, so that you have your hands free.
Every time you make a turn, you simply put both your hands on your “downhill” knee.
You put your hands on your knee as soon as you decide to turn the other way – and keep them there ’till you want to turn the other way. This is a simple way of reminding yourself to shift the weight.
Now you can have your ski poles back 🙂
Every time you make a turn, you lift the ski that doesn’t have any weight on it (the up-hill ski). You lift it so that your heel is higher than your toes – and so that the front-tip of your ski touches the ground. It can be quite hard to get the hang of it, but when you do, it also becomes clear how much more effective your turn becomes.
You keep going like this, so that when you shift the weight in your turn, you also shift which ski is lifted.
2. You should always feel the pressure on your shins
When skiing you want your weight to be more forward than backwards. Therefore you should always feel the pressure of your ski boot on your shins – not your calves. Also, you should bend in your knees. We have a rule of thumb: that your knees should always be over your toes and that your shoulders should be over your knees.
As soon as you get your stance sorted out, you will feel how much more your stable your skiing becomes.
unexpected bumps and deep snow will be a hell of lot easier to deal with.
I know its annoying to look stupid. But if it helps you look awesome in the near future, its somewhat worth it, isn’t it?
So again – you have to get rid of your ski poles for this one.
It’s really simple: Put your hands on your knees. Yea – that’s it. And keep them there. Feel the pressure against your shin. Feel how much more steady you become.
And whenever you feel ready. Stop.
Get your poles back – but keep that feeling of pressure against your shins, and keep focusing on your knees being above your toes.
3. Your hands should always be where you can see them
This both sound and feels weird – I know. It was one of the things that I struggled with the most. But as mentioned in 2, it is all about getting your weight forward.
Therefore, a good rule to keep in your backhead, is that you should always be able to see your hands. So that you have both them and your ski poles in front of you – and not just down by your sides. My instructor used to say that it should look like you were trying to tree-hug the biggest tree.
But what about the little “tap” you have to make with your ski pole before you turn – can you do that with your hands in front of you?
Yes you can – but do not focus on that now. The little tap is nothing but a little tap for you own sake. It doesn’t really do that much for your skiing – at all.
Now you need your ski poles. Stretch out you arms, like you wanted to hug a big tree, but so that your hands are visible to you – however they should only barely be visible – don’t hold them together or let them touch or anything like that.
and then put your ski poles on top of your hands. You should have open hands and let the palm face the snow. Now the challenge is to keep your poles on the top of your hands – and keep your hands in front of you.
4. Don’t stand on your heels
I can not stress this enough – how you ski is all about where you put your weight.
I myself, made the mistake of skiing on my heels. This puts your weight backwards, and you’re therefore not nearly as stable.
So when you ski, you should focus on feeling the weight more on your toes than your heels. This sometimes comes naturally when you start to feel the pressure on your shins. However, you should still be aware of it!
The weight should be somewhat equally divided between the entire foot. But it is better to have a bit too much weight on your toes than on your heels.
The exercise is more about focusing on your feet than anything else. It is pretty easy to feel where the weight is on your foot. So every time you feel yourself sink back to the weight on your heel – shift it towards your toes.
5. Tighten your ski boot
This might sound obvious, but you can only ski well, if your ski boots are tight enough.
I have had days where I just did not feel like my skiing was good, only to come home and realize that my boot had been undone. It really seriously makes a huge difference.
Of course you do not want the boot to be so tight that you can not feel your toes or that it hurts.
But a good rule is that you should really just be able to get a couple of fingers down in your boot in front of your shin, when your leaning against your calves.
The buckles closest to your toes are not so important. The buckle just before your ankle is the one that holds your foot in place, so that is important. And the buckles that are on your ankle is there to make the boot tight around your ankle – and they are also very important. They make sure that your ski reacts the minute you want it to!
I hope I made it clear enough – it is hard to describe without videos or pictures.
I do understand if you feel like it will be quite intimidating doing some of these things.
As mentioned in my post, why a ski holiday is the best holiday, I myself have never picked up snowboarding, simply because I did not want to look stupid – So i get it!
However, I do think that these exercises in the end will make you look more cool. So I think it is worth a try!
Especially if you do it with a couple of friends, or your family, so you’re a whole group of people that look stupid – then most people will just assume you are taking a lesson! 🙂