How do you ski on steep terrain and actually have fun doing it? I’ve got four tips for skiers to help improve their control and speed on steep ski slopes.
Tip #1: Don’t Be Afraid to Lean Forward
Tip number one has to do with your technique when you're skiing. And the tip is to move forward.
As you're completing a regular ski turn, we typically want to start the turn in the front seat or press down through the tips of the skis. As the turn progresses, we move a little bit back before we move forward again to start the next turn.
It is a fun, rhythmic movement that keeps us more or less centred on our skis.
Now, as the terrain gets steeper and we get a little bit more nervous, we can have the tendency to stay in the back seat the entire time. You'll know you're doing this if you feel pressure between the back of your boot and your calf or between your toes and the front of the boot for the entire turn.
It is almost impossible to control the tips of your skis if you are in the back seat. So what you need to do is get a little brave, move forward, extend those hips and start the turn in the front seat or forward.
This might feel scary at first, but you're going to have more control on steep slopes. You're going to feel more stable because you're centred.
Tip #2: Train In The Off-Season
Tip number two is going to happen in the off-season, and that is building your strength, your stability and your power in the gym.
When you're on steeper terrain, the forces are higher. There's more gravity pulling on you. Being strong and being able to counteract those forces through the turn is going to be a lot easier if you've got a reserve of strength, power, and stability.
Remember to include full-body movements in your ski workouts. We spend the last four weeks of our eight-week dumbbell ski program working specifically on these characteristics because they translate so directly to having more fun on the hill.
If you are training on your own, just remember to start simple and to only progress when you are confident and strong in your movements.
Plyometric Training for Skiing
Ski Exercises for Beginners
Tip #3: Stay Separated
Tip number three has to do with a buzzword I hear often at the ski hill—separation.
What separation means is when you're skiing, you should be able to do something different with your torso than what you're doing with your lower body. The difference between a beginner and an advanced skier is the ability to move different body parts in different directions.
Now, when you're skiing on really steep terrain, I'll often see beginner or intermediate skiers turn into one solid block. When they're skiing, they're pointed across the hill with their entire body, including their head.
A more advanced skier is going to be able to keep their upper body pointed down the hill and keep their lower body pointed across the hill.
The reason this is important is that it makes it faster for you to react, turning from one way to another. If you've ever seen ski racers go down a course in a shorter turn, the separation is more apparent because the turns are faster.
To begin with, all you have to remember is to keep your upper body pointed down the hill while you do your turns down your steep slope.
Tip #4: Remember the Outside Ski
And my final tip is to remember that outside ski is key.
A lot of times on steep slopes, I'll see skiers kind of reaching for the snow, sort of leaning over towards the hill because the hill is safe and stable. But what actually happens when you do that is you're reducing the angle and the amount of pressure on your outside skis. You're actually making it more likely that you slip.
If when you're skiing, you feel your feet coming really far apart, this tip might be really good for you.
What you want to do is put the majority of your weight on the outside ski, we're talking 90% of your weight on this ski.
A good way to know if you're actually doing it is to try and actively lift your inside ski off the snow. That's going to help you get that feeling of putting almost all your pressure on that outside ski.
That's going to be helpful on steep terrain because we need more pressure to resist the force of gravity.
I hope one or many of these tips is helpful for you and that you think of them the next time you're skiing steep terrain.
After you're done your next day skiing, you should try one of our post-ski mobilities to keep you mobile and ready for your next ski adventure.
Have a WILDR day!