Basic Guide to Alpine Skiing
Learning how to ski takes a little bit of athleticism, and whole lot of patience. There is a basic method that all new skiers should perfect before moving on to advanced techniques.
One of the most important things to take into consideration when learning how to ski is the location you choose to learn on. Many times a new skier will decide to go skiing with his more experienced friends and feel obligated to take on larger hills. This pressure will most likely lead to a bad overall experience and possible bodily harm. While skiing is a relatively safe sporting activity, it should be approached with patience and safety at all times, especially by a beginner skier.
Often times the first part of skiing that gives beginners trouble is not skiing down a mountain, it is simply mastering the chairlift. The chairlift should be approached with focus and patience, as it can be a very scary experience for beginners. The skier should always hold both their poles in one hand so that they have one hand free. While they watch the approaching chairlift over their shoulder they should calmly sit back as the lift whisks them away. A person should keep the tips of their skis pointed upwards and always make sure their safety bar is pulled down tight until they approach the unloading area. Skiers should note that there are often signs posted towards the end of the lift that let them know when it is completely safe to raise the bar. Once the bar is raised, the skier should keep their skis pointed up until they touch the snow. They can then stand up and lean forward to glide towards the side of the lift area.
One of the first methods a new skier should learn is referred to as “the snow plow” position. To accomplish this method, the skier forms a slight “V” shape with their skis, positioning the front of their skis closer together. This position should be practiced on a slight hill and will let the skier slowly move downward without going too quickly due to the angle of their skis. In order to build confidence, a new skier should practice putting more weight forward and bending their knees more while about midway down the slope. This position will allow them to stop completely if done correctly. Once stopped, the skier can then carefully ease up on the pressure they are putting on the skis and lean backwards. This will allow them to start moving down the hill again.
Once a new skier masters a simple start and stop position, they can learn how to turn successfully. In order to turn left, the skier should drop their right shoulder and move it towards the tip of their right ski. They should also increase the pressure on their right foot, thus digging slightly into the snow. In order to turn right, the skier should drop their left shoulder towards the tip of their left ski while increasing pressure on their left foot. These positions will allow a skier to slowly turn in either direction as they move down the ski slope. The skier can also practice stopping while turning at any time. All they need to do is place pressure on both feet evenly and form the slight “V” again or they can turn to one side completely until their skis are perpendicular to the hill. These basic ski methods do not have be practiced with ski poles, but it is recommended by instructors because it lets a beginner get used to the overall feel of holding the poles while going through the various motions. A new skier should practice these methods on smaller slopes until they are completely confident with their skills and feel that they can move forward to more advanced methods.