ALL MOUNTAIN SKI TIPS

Skiing on a mountain is a very open skill and you always have to adapt to a constant change of conditions and snow types.

When skiing the mountain you can turn a situation into your advantage or disadvantage. To turn the situation  to your advantage you have to adapt your techniques and tactics to your own ability as well as the conditions and snow type. This is what make a good and effective skier.

Check out some of our tips:

Improve your skiing in variety of ways:

  • Make different size turn shapes
  • Shorter turns, then longer
  • Rounder, then finish off your turns
  • Skiing slower and faster
  • Sliding more then steering/carving the turns

Try all the above in different snow types and conditions on flatter and steeper slopes on the mountain.

By experimenting for yourself you can start to gain new feelings that you can use to your advantage when skiing on the mountain in the future.

Come and join us to learn more about how you can turn a situation and snow conditions to your advantage so you can have fun no matter what the mountain throws at you.

Things that all skiers need

There are three main factors to focus on, balance, turning/changing direction, and steering. When lower level skiers start to ski the whole mountain they will come across varied snow types and conditions which will start to test and challenge them.

The challenge you may encounter with changing direction is a follow on result of your lack of balance control. You will find that as you become a better skier and your balance improves, your confidence and speed will increase.

As you become braver and test yourself in more challenging conditions you may find that turning and steering become more difficult again. It is important to introduce, at all levels of skiing, different activities in all types of conditions and types of snow, to improve, balance, turning/changing direction and steering, so as to progressively integrate these skills and develop your ability to ‘ski the mountain’ in harder and more testing conditions in future

 

Factors affecting our balance

Sliding across the snow on your skis makes balancing harder because you are moving at speed on a narrow platform. As you slide forward and turn/change direction, small adjustments must be made to keep the hips and your centre of mass over the centre of support (your feet) to keep you in balance.

Any quick or big movements in your joints will throw you out of balance, as the centre of mass will no longer be in the ideal position over your feet.

The width of your base of support (or leg stance) influences your balance as well. You can change the size of your stance to create a wider or narrower base of support, helping you to adapt to different conditions and snow types and maintain good posture and balance.

How and where you hold your arms and hands is an important factor at all levels of skiing as they help to keep your balance while in motion. They stabilize your body and help you to correct and win back your balance over your skis and feet. Arms and hands should be to the side, and forward in front of the body, acting like a balancing pole.

 

Balance

Balance is when you can move any part of our body, at any time, anyhow, anywhere, whenever you want to so as to maintain control over your change of direction in any type of snow and condition you are skiing in.

You may find to begin with, that keeping yourself centred and maintaining balance over your skis is not too hard as you change direction. The problems will start to as you become better and improve and venture out trying different types of slopes and snow types.

As you improve and become a more intermediate level of skier this issue becomes less important and technique and the way you ski play more of a role in improving and maintaining balance control.

In order to maintain balance you need to make constant movements and changes in your ski joints (ankles, knees and hips), so as to react to the changing terrain and different snow types on the mountain.

When the movements are co-ordinated, right amount of movement at the right time, you will maintain your balance and keep your body and hips over your feet as you steer into or out of a turn. You will find that steering your skis becomes easier and more effective.

Whatever speed you are travelling at, slow or fast, your movements have to be coordinated with the speed you are travelling at, so as to be able to maintain centred balance control over your feet, to turn/change direction and steer your skis effectively.

The joints in your legs are used as shock absorbers to absorb the pressure from under your feet and skis that is created when you turn/change direction. Using your joints in this way is to your advantage and help you as you turn, keeping you in constant balance and with your hips over your feet.

 

Optimal Speed

This is the speed where the turn/change of direction is at its easiest, movements are free, and you are in balance while in motion through the whole turn/change of direction. It is where you ski at the appropriate speed to achieve our goals at your own level. The optimal speed will change as you improve your balance, confidence and your all mountain experiences get better in different and varied snow conditions.

The shape of the turn/change of direction is important as well. This also influences our optimal speed through the turn/change of direction. Choosing the most effective line (sliding, gripping or carving) and shape for the speed, terrain type of snow and our ability is important, so you can ski at an optimal speed for our ability while staying in balance.

You make movements adjustments to stay in balance all the time. Try and use constant movements at the same speed at which you are moving down the hill at, and try to keep our body going moving forward with our feet to stay in balance over our feet, so that you can turn/change direction and steer our skis throughout the turn/change of direction at all times on the mountain.

 

All Mountain Steering Carving

Turning blends into steering when the edges start to cut in and grip and steer the ski through the turn/change of direction, depending on the speed you are travelling at. The slower you move the later in the turn/change of direction the skis/edges start to cut into the snow and grip/steer. When you move faster, then the skis start to cut in earlier in the turn/change of direction and steer/grip you.

When steering into the fall line, you have to be able to control the skis and be well balanced over the outside ski from the start of the turn/change as the skis accelerate.

Steering out of the fall line is the hardest part of the turn you must have a good control of pressure well balanced on top of the outside ski to control the edging to steer the skis and release the skis for the start of the new turn/change of direction.

When you tilt our skis onto their edges through the turn/change of direction the pressure/tension increases up to twice ones body weight and more. The radius, steepness, terrain (bumps), speed, snow types and type of skis (fun carvers, race carvers, all terrain carvers and free ride skis) all influence the steering pressures created in the turn/change of direction; you feels this through the legs and the whole body. The larger muscle groups of your body, the pelvic muscles, allow us to take in a lot of this pressure build up.

In shorter turns your legs do more of the steering. (Our feet/skis cross under the body) The upper body stays balanced over the feet. Weaker skiers¢ will become tiered more quickly. Grippy short turns create a very sudden build up of pressure making balance over your feet harder in the turn/change of direction.

At faster speeds our body crosses over our feet/skis; this is a greater test our balance for the skier.

The supporting ski (outside ski) and the inner ski, both have got steering qualities. The supporting leg/ski (outer ski) has better, more effective steering, feeling, and balance through the whole turn/change of direction while the inner foot/ski gives us a stronger edge grip but less feeling through the whole turn/change of direction, and less feeling for balance encouraging catching of the edges in the turn/change of direction. There for a very fine feeling is required when steering with the inner foot/ski at the right place, right time, and the right amount in the turn/change of direction, to create effective steering through the turn/change of direction.

While steering the skis they can be turned across the direction the body is travelling at. Or be steered in the direction the body is travelling at. In the first case one drifts and in the second case one carves. Carving while steering the skis through the turn/change of direction at higher speeds, makes us more stable through the turn/change of direction.

All factors are changing through the turn/change of direction.

  • Terrain
  • Snow types
  • Gradient
  • Speed
  • Weather

The skier must react to the changing factors all the time in order to steer the skis effectively, and stay in control whilst using the pressures to their advantage in the turn/change of direction. It is important that we are centred over our feet/skis, in order to get the most out of the modern skis of today.

Centeredness over our feet/skis requires all of our ski joints to bend (ankle, knee and hip).

With our hips over our feet, hands forward of the body and our body moving forward with our feet, while we are in motion, means we can stay in balance, turn/change direction and steer our feet/skis and ski in control whilst having fun!

Known – Un-known

Easy – Harder

Flat – Steeper

Slow – Faster

By making things harder and moving out of our comfort zone you can become more aware. We move from known to unknown, easy to hard, flat to steeper and slow to faster to raise awareness.

When you are made aware of the 3 factors balance, turning and steering at our own level of skiing and ability, you can start to become a more effective all round-controlled skier.