Improve your skiing performance through proper form, technique and targeted muscle training. Train your skier’s muscles in specialized sequences, angles and ranges of motion. Joanne Younker, a top ski instructor at Whistler/Blackcomb, offers tips to enhance your form, strength and overall endurance
Skiing Training Tips
There are three phases to ensure quality and fun in a ski run. It’s important to warm up because that allows your body time to adjust to the physiological demands of the sport. Take a couple of minutes before each run to stretch out and loosen your muscles. Remember, while you’ve been on that chairlift, your muscles have probably cooled and tightened. The run phase is the part where you just relax and enjoy the physical exertion and the terrain of the run. It’s also important to cool down because that allows your body to reset and prepare for recovery.
Proper hydration is also critical to performing well and staying safe. Since the body is more than 70 percent water, it’s crucial to replace what you expend. Skiing often takes place at high altitudes where it’s easy to get dehydrated. So when you’re bouncing over moguls, make sure you drink plenty of water at regular intervals during the day. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps, heat stroke, premature fatigue or even muscle injury. Keep it saturated.
Stride and form: Most importantly, you should make sure that you’re centered on the skis. You want to concentrate on keeping your shoulders over your toe pieces, and your hips over your heel pieces. Then when you move up and down you maintain that balance at all times. Remember that turning comes from the legs. It starts from the bottom and moves up so you’re using a lot of rotator muscles in the upper leg to get the ski to turn.
Safety: You must pay attention to what’s happening below you, so you can avoid other skiers and stop if you have to. At the same time, you should be careful of the environment above you: take note of how busy the run is before you cut across the hill and interrupt traffic. Also, try not to stop below a knoll where you aren’t visible, because another skier could run you down.
Having the right equipment can also reduce wear and tear on your body.
Choosing the right boot: Your boot fit is probably the most important factor in ensuring a comfortable ski run. You want to slip your foot into the boot, move your toes so they touch the end, and then feel the area behind your heel, making sure there is no more than one to one and a half fingers width from your heel to the boot shell. Between 60 and 70 percent of the population wears a ski boot that is too big.
Goggles: You want to make sure your eyes are properly protected so you can see clearly down the hill. So if it’s snowing out or a hazy day, you want to have goggles on. And if it’s a sunny day, you want to protect your eyes with sunglasses.
The quality of your ski run also depends heavily on whether you have the correct ski length, ski pole height, proper binding tension and more. Consult your local ski shop for more information.