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Ski technique

Seek and dispense advice regarding snowsports technique at The Ski School.

Ski technique

Postby Sharon » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:02 pm

Recently I was asked to help some friends with their ski technique. I love to teach friends. It helps my skiing by defining each movement and it is gratifying to help other people ski better with more confidence.

I am always trying to ski better, and it doesn't just happen automatically, it takes effort which includes thought and exercise, mental and physical. There are many clinics and such that deal with these things for the advanced skier, but they are usually pretty costly.

Just wondering how many of you try to ski better, or are just happy skiing the way you do, happy to get down the hill uninjured each run. Do any of you take lessons, clinics, view how-to videos, even if you are an advanced skier?

Skiing with good technique is easier on the body, less fatiguing, looks good and feels good. It makes it easier to get through difficult terrain. Good technique improves confidence.

I'd like my friends to feel good skiing and for them to feel comfortable getting down challenging terrain. I can only imagine how stressful it must be to be in survival mode making your way through tough terrain while everyone is waiting for you. When they ask for help, I am happy to give.

My husband learned to ski at the late age of 47. He's nearly 60 now and skis pretty well. I can take credit for his skiing, which is actually quite a challenge for any partner to teach the other. We certainly had our issues on the snow in the teacher/student mode and I gave up because it was unpleasant. No one wants to be told what to do by their partner. Thankfully he absorbed something. He now has no desire to improve and he really doesn't even like to ski as much, which is why I take my vacations without him. When he saw my pictures and where we went, and all the hiking and traversing he was very happy he wasn't there.

Just wondering what others do regarding ski technique.
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Re: Ski technique

Postby EMSC » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:37 pm

quite a challenge for any partner to teach the other.


Which goes something like this in my experience: :ski: :? :-k :-s :ski: :? ](*,) ](*,) ](*,) :-# :evil: :twisted: :cry: #-o

"but we're different than other couples..." Yeah right we are [-X . Oh well. In my case, she, did learn to ski and is still working hard at getting even better; quite the trooper putting up with me on a number of occasions.

Do any of you take lessons, clinics, view how-to videos, even if you are an advanced skier?


I am in a unique situation as a coach and (now ex-) racing program director. Far more often I'm the one giving clinics and advice to others (at all levels). I try to let friends just be, unless they specifically ask me to give them pointers. Still it's a very challenging job to teach people or kids in the correct way to get good results without pushing too far or etc...

And for myself, far too often others assume I already know everything, even though I love getting constructive feedback and on certain video taken of me I will analyze frame by frame what I am doing and could/should be doing differently (though getting video used to be very rare until last season when the coaching duties diminished). And even though somewhat out of the coaching biz now, I've been lucky to stay involved in at least one clinic per year - albeit not having to drop cash to do so given my connections to the race team.

Unless a true beginner, I wouldn't recommend a group lesson. A specialty clinic at local mtns are usually rather good for many folks. Otherwise best bet is to find a way to pay for about one hour of private or nearly private instruction. The instructor gets to see your skiing for just long enough that by the end he'll have 2-3 tips/drills for you to try and you can practice them on your own instead of continuing to pay someone just to look at you and tell you the same thing over and over.

Kids, the group dynamic/camaraderie I find is a critical aspect, so especially development (Devo) level of race teams are usually a reasonably priced option for dramatic improvement IMO (then wait to see if the racing part is really their cup of tea - at least in the meantime they get great instruction and huge improvement as well as many life lessons out on the hill).

Big topic (at least for someone like me) and I could drone on, but won't (esp cause I know that I don't know it all).
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Re: Ski technique

Postby rfarren » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:54 pm

I learned the hard way that I couldn't teach my partner. Ski school works for her way better. I think it helps that she is athletically gifted and that in ski school she always shoots to the top of the class. When I was teaching her, I think she felt pressure to ski faster and better than she felt comfortable with. Although I teach for a living, I don't think I know how to teach that well enough... I tend to want to go to harder terrain too soon.

As far as self improvement, I'm always trying to figure out the best technique on the hill. I will watch video and read articles but eventually I would like to fork up the money and do an advanced clinic to fine tune my technique.
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Re: Ski technique

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:25 pm

In recent years the Extremely Canadian trips/clinics have been the only instruction I've had. It usually "puts me in my place" to ski with their groups because I've always been below average in ability/technique.

When Adam was very young (ages 3-5) I did most of his instruction myself, with tips from Garry Klassen, who used to teach kids at Baldy. Once Adam became advanced at age 7 I made a point of seeing that he got a couple of lessons a year. Group lessons for advanced skiers tend to be small groups so he got an appropriate amount of individual attention. These lessons were also at places like Squaw, Jackson and Snowbird where I knew the enthusiasm and quality of instruction would be high.

Teaching one's own kids can be like teaching a partner, a recipe for disaster. But with a young and motivated kid progress comes pretty fast, as JSpin is currently demonstrating.
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Re: Ski technique

Postby BigSpencer » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:41 pm

Skiing is always so much better, and easier, when applying attention to specific issues in technique, especially since I found the places to find either discussion (and combined video) in recent years on the Web. I started late(my early 30s) in the 80s and neglected to seek live in the flesh instruction..thus wasted time on a few things, however I was constantly grabbing videos during the 80s and VHS :wink: tapes with Nelson Carmichael, Glen Plake(Stump's), and Scot Schmidt(sp?) helped, along with finding a few websites in the 90s. Have always been able to visualized words into a feel for movements...so that helped, however as I'm revisiting this thread in Feb 2014 I can safely say that as my skiing has improved, my frequency on the mountains has waned a bit, but it's looking better. The more one knows the answers to technique's questions...the more one misses skiing when not able to do on a daily basis....
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Last edited by BigSpencer on Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ski technique

Postby Pajarito-Bred » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:19 pm

I was in the category of "I already know how to ski, I don't need a lesson!" for many years.

About 10 years ago, I was given a free one-hour lesson a Snowmass, and it was a real eye-opener. I was amazed how a few pointers could help me ski better (after 30 years!) I learned a lot about how do describe how to make turns! But not nearly enough to be a half decent instructor. Guess I'd picked up a few bad habits along the way, skiing on those straight stiff boards. I get told every once in a while it's obvious what decade I learned to ski in (the 60's, yikes!) since my feet are usually way too close together unless I make a concsious effort otherwise.

I'm extremely lucky to have parents that ski, that dragged us along to the ski hill every weekend, and turned us loose to play on the mountain with our friends. I don't know which high-school buddy's bright idea it was to tape two frisbees together and invent ski polo. Ski patrol somehow didn't think it was a good idea for us to be tackling each other at speed. Guess we weren't smart enough to tape two skis together and invent snowboarding. I certainly learned some things about skiing that adults learning to ski are just not going to pick up. Might have been a good idea to have taken a lesson or two in the 80's.

It's good to challenge yourself once in a while-- how many turns can I make from here to that sign? That's some wretched crud, let 's if if I can make a couple turns in it!
There's often a steep or a slot, or some funky (bad?) snow condition out there to challenge any skill level.
At Aspen, they have local's clinics on Saturdays-for all skill levels, all-day group lessons for pretty cheap, I took one about five years ago when I learned to telemark. I learned that a large amount of my ski ability is dependent on my heels being firmly attached to my skis. I'm still "advanced intermediate" on the tele boards, and am due for another lesson.
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Re: Ski technique

Postby aarenlainey » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:11 pm

Warren is a leading British freeskier and an Internationally Certified Performance Coach. He has spent many years teaching recreational skiers, developing ski instructors and coaching racers all over Europe.

Warren is one of the most innovative Ski Instructors working in the Alps today and has earned a name for himself for getting results with his students.

The Warren Smith Ski Academy teaches the four key disciplines of interest to the modern recreational skier; Carving, Skiing Moguls, Steeps and Freeride skiing.

j2ski are pleased to feature some of the theory and exercise tips that can be so effective in lifting skiers above the intermediate plateau.
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