By Wild Bill Kelso, PSIA Certified Ski Instructor
What was your sport in high school or college? Football, basketball, tennis, volleyball, baseball and other sports all have something in common that you need to put to use. The linebacker set position, basketball defender position, receive serve position in tennis and volleyball, shortstop in baseball all use the universal sports position. Same position for skiing. Flexed low with knees, ankles, and waist bent and hands in front. Chin up and looking ahead. Feet and legs at shoulder width. Centered and balanced.
Use your natural ability and muscle memory to apply to skiing. Use the flexed position with hands in front on the easy runs to get in the habit for the steeper runs where your will need it.
You need to be centered left to right. Don’t lean into your turns (that is until you are an expert) and don’t twist your upper body into the turns. Either way you are loading up your weight on the wrong ski and fighting the turn. Ski with your feet and skis and not with your upper body.
You also need to be centered front to back on your skis. Don’t lean back or let the skis get away from you. It doesn’t work for your inner linebacker (who would get run over) and it doesn’t work for skiing. Get up and go with the skis. If you lean back, your quads will burn up in an hour. If your quads are screaming at mid-day or late day, it is a sure sign you are leaning back or falling behind your skis.
Other than leaning back, the next most common mistakes are 1. no flex at the ankles (yes, you can flex the ankles in the ski boots). Your shins should be pressing on the front of the boot. and 2. too much bend at the waist. You want to flex downward and balanced, not bowing down at the waist.
Don’t swing your arms and pole on poles plants. That’s too much weight flying around confusing your balance which will cause your muscles to be too busy (and get tired). No extraneous movements unrelated to skiing. Be smooth and maintain your balance for skiing.
If your skis are running away in front of you, there are other issues with your skiing. You have to be aggressive and not timid. If you stiff-leg your turns, you will fall behind your skis. Tackle each turn in your linebacker position. Attack down the mountain.
Leaning back in the powder is a myth and a mistake. You always have to ski in balance even in powder. Leaning back will cause your tips to float and you will speed up and lose control. Not to mention the quad burn above. Skiing powder is another huge topic that is not addressed here.
Don’t turn your shoulders around looking for your ski friends. That’s a sure way to spin out.
I hope this helps!