Hey there, WILDR folks! In this post, we are going to go over four simple steps that can help you get your ski legs back on your first day out.
I've used these tips when I coach and for myself. And sure, just getting back out and doing turns will help you find your feet again. But you can drastically increase how quickly you regain your skills and confidence by following these four steps.
STEP 1: WARM-UP
Before you even put your ski boots on, complete a five-minute warm-up.
Doing a warm-up less than 45 minutes before you start skiing will activate your muscles, tendons, ligaments and brain so you are ready to ski from the very first lap. Focus on combining quickness drills and active movements that take you through the entire range of motion.
You can do your favorite movements from the gym or check out these videos that are perfect warm-ups before a day of skiing:
STEP 2: FIND YOUR EDGE
Get reacquainted with where your edges are.
Whether you're on brand new equipment or using tried and trusted gear, getting familiar with how different edge angles feel can translate into you having more control and quickness on the snow.
My favorite way to do this is with slow-moving drills like Braquage.
Start by slowly sliding down the hill in one direction and playing with how fast you go at different edge angles. You'll want to start on a moderate slope without a lot of ice for your first time out.
And if you want to progress this drill, include a smooth transition from one side to the other. That transition can be tricky, so start by giving yourself a little room to move vertically. Remember to keep your torso facing down the hill and aim to have your ski tips relatively matched.
Even just a couple of minutes of playing with this can help you regain your feel for the skis.
STEP 3: BALANCE
The third step is to play with your balance.
We have fore, aft, lateral, vertical, rotational balance. But experimenting with all of these different planes can help us find the center of our ski, the spot where skiing becomes the most effortless.
My favorite way to get familiar with my balance is to undo my boots.
Start on simple, easy terrain that you know well.
Next, loosen your boots so you can feel your feet working.
Only do this when it is safe to do so, on a run you know well that is not busy.
With your boots loosened, you will notice if you are leaning on one portion of the boot more than another, and will be able to easily feel when your balance goes back and forth, side to side. I love to actively play with coming forward and back through the turn. It's quite fun!
Only do this for short sections of the run that you're comfortable with. Safety is the first priority on snow, especially on that first day back!
STEP 4: TRY NEW TURN SHAPES
My final step is to try different turn shapes.
I don't know about you, but sometimes I can get stuck in the same turn shape over and over on a certain pair of skis.
The best way that I've found to break that is to follow a friend. By trying to mimic their turn shape, you can play with different styles and get exposed to more variety on your first day back.
It is important to leave a safe following distance and to have a hand signal to indicate when you’re about to stop to avoid collisions.
Regaining our balance and edge awareness and playing with different turn shapes is way easier if you have the strength, power and endurance to handle a day on the snow.
Check out our Pre-Ski Fitness Program to get in shape for the best season of your life. It helps skiers show up with confidence on day one and ski thousands of vertical feet on day one, without being sore!