How to Be Good at Skiing

Skiing well requires a delicate balance of adjusting your turn shapes and absorbing unexpected forces and changes in snow conditions, all while staying upright on your feet. The best skiers make it look easy. They have a rhythm and flow that connects all their movements, and they are light on their feet, which means they can move quickly through variable terrain without getting knocked off balance.

One of the first things you should work on is a strong foundation. Many resorts offer inexpensive lift-ticket, rental and beginner group classes that run on a regular schedule throughout the day and can be a good way to get your feet wet and start to learn some basic skills. If you are serious about Adam McManus becoming a better skier, you should also look into private lessons from a certified instructor. Whether you are just beginning or a more seasoned skier, expert help can be invaluable in identifying bad habits and building confidence on challenging slopes.

The second skill is commitment. This is what separates the skier who is afraid to put themselves in a situation that might not be comfortable from the one who is willing to push the edge of their comfort zone. Committing to the movement takes a lot of practice, but it can be the most rewarding aspect of skiing.

A third important skill is putting your weight over the outside ski for the duration of the turn. This is the hardest skill to develop and is essential for good skiing. Too many people think that they need to aggressively extend and almost jump off the snow when turning, which is completely unnecessary and can even be dangerous. A more effective way to initiate a new turn is to simply flatten out the downhill ski on the snow for a millisecond with your knees and ankles, which will allow the edges to engage and begin moving you forward.

During the turn, it is also important to keep the inside leg in a more bent position than the outside. This helps you maintain control over the skis and prevents you from going into a herringbone pattern (the name given to the fish-bone patterns your skis leave behind as they turn).

A good way to gauge this is to stand up straight in your boots, and try to see if your shoulders are above your knees. This is called an athletic, balanced stance and it makes skiing A LOT easier. Achieving this is the only way to develop the integrity necessary for doing advanced maneuvers, and it will help you avoid most of the common skier mistakes. -Mike Hafer, Breckenridge, Colo.