Nobody likes to be left behind on the slopes. Fortunately there are a number of ways to make sure your skiing or snowboarding is up to scratch this winter – from watching technique tutorials and following fitness regimes to practising at your local slope – so make this the season you become a maestro on the mountain.
Top tips for skiers
Whether you want to learn how to improve your carving or progress from snow plough, Warren Smith’s easy-to-follow videos have all the tips you need to stay three turns ahead this winter.
Warren is part of the Völkl International Freeski Team and one of Europe’s most acclaimed ski coaches. He set up the Warren Smith Ski Academy 17 years ago to offer recreational skiers performance coaching rather than standard ski school lessons. Its groundbreaking courses – held in Verbier, Cervinia, Niseko and at UK indoor slopes – have transformed the skills of thousands of skiers, instructors and athletes.
Top technique tips for beginner skiers
- Learn how to advance from the snow plough: beginners often skip the vital stage of truly mastering their snow-plough turns in the rush to go parallel, it’s worth going back and nailing a powerful plough, as it will stop you skiing within your comfort zone and help you achieve your full potential.
- Practise a pre-ski warm up: warming up properly before you hit the slopes can help prevent injury and improve performance, whatever your level.
- Practise a post-ski cool down: just as you should always stretch out after going for a run or doing a gym session, you should do a proper cool down after a day’s skiing.
Top technique tips for intermediate skiers
- How to improve your carving: making the right angles from the hip and practising at home can really help intermediate and expert skiers improve their carving skills.
- Learn the importance of ankle flex: to use ankles effectively when skiing relies heavily on each individual skiers biomechanics and breaking of old habits learnt when wearing ill-fitting hire boots.
Top technique tips for expert skiers
When tackling steep terrain…
- Learn how to control side slipping: mastering the art of controlled skids and side slipping can get you out of a tight spot on the steeps.
- How to do step turns: using step turns can help reduce your speed and build confidence.
- How to make zero-speed turns: zero-speed pivoted turns allow you to control acceleration on steep terrain.
- How to do skidded turns: flattening the skis through the turn instead of carving on your edges, resulting in a skidded turn, can help to control your speed.
- Master jump turns: in narrow corridors and on super steep slopes jump turns allow you to make it down with style and control.
When skiing off-piste…
- How to plant your poles: many skiers underestimate the value of their poles, but pole-planting is vital when heading into steeps, off piste and other freeride terrain.
- Control your pressure: learning how to apply pressure when skiing off piste maximises the thrills of deep powder riding.
- How to banish the A-frame: working on your lateral leg control to banish the A-frame position will improve your off-piste skiing.
- Improve your core strength and posture: in deep powder snow you have to elongate your posture and maintain a strong core.
Top tips for snowboarders
Our series of snowboarding technique videos with British instructors Matt Barlow and Mark Godwin from Ninja Academy Snowboarding gives lots of top tips to improve your riding.
Whether it’s improving essential skills such as carving, improving your stance and balance or giving tips on sliding your first box, the Ninjas have it covered. This could also be the season you learn a new trick or two with their tutorials on how to do a nose grab, spin 180 off a rail, or pull off a flatland 180.
How to get in shape for the slopes
If you find your ski holidays leaves you exhausted rather than exhilarated then the answer is to prepare your body during the weeks leading up to your trip. Tailoring a fitness regime to winter sports will help you exercise the specific muscle groups used on the slopes and will ultimately improve performance and reduce chances of injury.
Snow-sports specialist physiotherapist Lucy Macdonald has collated a number of specific exercises, accompanied by free how-to videos at octopusclinic.com. Whether it’s to help you find the perfect knee position, realign your pelvis, hips and back or build leg strength, follow Lucy’s top tips here.
Our series of seven fitness videos with personal trainer Matt Roberts are the perfect inspiration to get in shape for the slopes. His quick and easy to follow videos will not only get your blood pumping but will improve your overall fitness and agility and strengthen key muscles groups to help you on the slopes, such as your core, glutes and legs.
Practice before you go
With a host of dry slopes and indoor snow centres open across the UK your next ski session could be closer than you think. For beginners the facilities at UK slopes are great for learning the basics before heading to the mountains and for experts it’s an ideal excuse to get back on snow, warm-up your legs and perfect technique exercises.