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IMPROVE YOUR ON-PISTE SKIING: TOP TIPS


No matter what your level of skiing, it’s always a good idea to try and fine-tune your technique. For newer skiers improving piste skiing will help increase stability and reduce your chances of injury, while for more advanced skiers improving technique on-piste will help you once you hit the backcountry. 

 

We’ve been fortunate to get some top tips for optimising performance and enjoyment from Dynastar Ambassador and TDCski Coach Giles Lewis, who is based in Val d’Isere, France: 


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Before you hit the slopes

GET FIT

 

The fitter you are the better you’ll ski. Skiing requires stamina and asks a lot of muscles we don’t often use in our daily life, so keeping in shape when you’re not on the mountains will help you when looking to improve your skills. There’s also the altitude and low temperatures to contend with, so getting in good shape will help you no end.

 

As well as generally improving your cardiovascular fitness, you should work on increasing your core strength, improving your flexibility, increasing your power to weight ratio, and increasing your leg strength to get the best results. 

 

GET THE RIGHT GEAR

 

One of the easiest ways to improve your piste skiing is to make sure you’re comfortable from the off. Being too hot or cold, having uncomfortable boots, or poorly fitted goggles are just some of the niggles that can occur and put you off your best game. 

 

Getting your layering system right is the best way to keep yourself comfortable all day long, as you can add or shed layers as you go. It’s a good idea to check the weather reports in the morning so you know if inclement weather is expected and can prep accordingly. Find out more in our base layer and mid-layer buying guides.

 

SHOP MID-LAYERS

 


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Your hardware is important too. If you’re buying skis or ski boots, make sure you get them correctly fitted. At Snow+Rock, we offer a free fitting service where our experts will get to know more about how and where you ski and then fully tailor boots, skis and bindings to your requirements. If you’re hiring at the resort, don’t expect a perfect fit, but equally, don’t be afraid to speak up if your equipment doesn’t feel right. 

 

SHOP SKI EQUIPMENT

 

Don’t forget your helmet either - you need a tight fit, so it offers the best protection but not so tight, it makes you uncomfortable.

 

SHOP HELMETS

 

Ultimately, being prepared before you head up the mountain will enable you to make the most of your time on the slopes and fine-tune your skills on the piste. 


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On the slopes

WATCH THE PROS

 

Learning to be a better skier doesn’t just mean getting out there and doing it, as you can learn a lot from watching the pros in action. Seeing the nuances in how they adjust their weight and hold their poles, for example, can help you discover new ways to finesse your technique. 

 

FOCUS ON FORM

 

Feel what your skis are doing and how they interact with the snow, then ask these questions to finesse your skiing form:

  • Are both skis tilted the same amount?
  • Do both skis turn the same amount at the same time? If not, are they parallel?
  • Are you balanced through the outside ski rather than balanced through both skis?
  • Does your upper body wave around manically, or do you have good control of the shoulders with a strong core supporting the legs and torso?
  • Can you feel the heel, ball of the foot and shin touching (but not bending) the front of your ski boot? If so, you are well-balanced and should be able to steer both your skis?
  • Is there a consistent ski pole plant helping to link your turns?

 

VIDEO YOUR ACTION

 

Just as you can learn a lot from watching the pros, you can also learn plenty from watching video footage of yourself skiing. A lot of the time, you may be moving a lot less than you feel you are. Seeing yourself in action can be a revelation and may even give you the answers to some of the above questions about your form.


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BOOK A LESSON

 

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been skiing a lesson is always useful for refining your technique. There’s always something you can learn, and at the end of the day, top snowsports athletes have coaches and training instructors for a reason. 

 

A lesson gives you the chance to focus on a particular skill you want to improve, or if you’ve not had lessons in a while, it can just be a chance to check your form. Like anything we do with regularity, we can sloppy over time. 

 

SKI WHAT'S GOOD...

 

The effects of climate change are clear in the mountains, and areas that would have once been deep in snow at a given time of year may not get the same level of coverage now. Although this means the off-piste is not always ready to ride with a thinner snowpack making some routes non-negotiable, the pistes are often in pristine condition. A  mixture of artificial and natural snow creates a firm and grippy texture, the perfect conditions for a technical tune-up!

Enjoy yourself!

Don’t attempt to concentrate on improving all of the above points at once – take one element at a time and give it a go.

 

If you get frustrated, take a break, soak up the scenery, enjoy that fresh mountain air and keep smiling – you can always practice again later!

 

SHOP SKI GEAR

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