A 30-Second Ski Lesson from a Ski Instructor: Part 1

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There is one skill in skiing that if you can master it, you’ll be skiing the entire mountain and all the terrain in no time. Of course, as simple as the concept is to understand it’s much harder to perfect. Take thirty seconds in your ski day to improve you ski skills by doing one of the following easy drills:

One of the first things I learned when training to be an instructor is that skiing can be summed up in four basic skills: Balance, Edging, Rotation, and Pressure. What I learned while actually teaching skiing is that without proper balance, all the other skills don’t mean much. Most of the problems I see people have—heck, most of the problems I have—can be tied back to bad balance.

Proper balance in skiing is the key to everything and one of the hardest skills to master.

It doesn’t sound like it should be hard—we’re all upright when we get on skis. Isn’t that enough? Nope balancing on skis is a skill in and of itself. When you’re standing on the edge of a steep hill with skinny pieces of wood stuck to your feet, leaning back and into the mountain gives you a feeling of safety and of control. Yet this is the worst position to be in.

While it’s incredibly difficult to find the proper position, with a few tricks and thirty seconds, you can find your rhythm again.

First, let’s demonstrate why this is a problem.

  1. Go to a flat area on your skis where you are safe and secure.
  2. Lean forward as much as you feel comfortable.
  3. Now try to lift one foot.
  4. Lean back in your skis and try to lift another foot.

Tough, isn’t it? It’s difficult to shift your weight from one side of your body when you’re not centered over your skis. And if you can’t shift your weight, you can’t turn.

Now let’s fix it.

Do a little hop on your skis. That’s it, now you’re centered.

Notice how your body situates itself on landing. Your skis are about the same width as your shoulders, there’s a slight bend to your knees and ankles. Now try to lift a foot. Much easier now. As I ski, I periodically do a simple hop to get me back centered.

Think about someone tying a rope to your belly button and yanking on it to pull your butt up and forward. You should be able to draw a straight line between your shoulders, front of your knees, and toes.

Good luck on your next ski day.

For an outdoor adventure without ever having to get outside, check out the Lost Gorge Mystery series!

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8 thoughts on “A 30-Second Ski Lesson from a Ski Instructor: Part 1

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  1. That is a really good tip and I am totally going to use it!

    I find that I tend to lean back when I am feeling scared (just when it is more important for me to be leaning forward and balanced…) I will try to incorporate that little hop into my skiing. 🙂

    The next thing I need to improve is my skiing on powder. I got used to all the ice with the terrible conditions last year…this year there is piiiiles of powder – and I am not ready for it yet!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. OMG there is so much powder here (in Vancouver) it got too dangerous for avalanches so they have closed most of the slopes! It has been raining heavily for the last two weeks, so there is sooo much snow up on the mountains!

        Liked by 1 person

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