Tune Your Body for Skiing

Winter is just around the corner. Time to tune those skis, and if you haven’t already started, tune your body. A well designed fitness program can help you get in shape for ski season.

Judging by the topics in the NYSkiBlog Summer Sports forum, skiers are active paddling, cycling and hiking. However, if you’re not hitting the gym to lift weights, you’re missing a key component.

Weight training is beneficial for all the ski disciplines. In this video, Ted Ligety demonstrates massive core strength that keeps him off the snow, and leg strength and hip mobility that enable him to work magic around those gates. We might not be skiing as fast as Ted, but we can still benefit from regular gym workouts.

Continue reading

Making Rounded Ski Turns

It seems to me that the art of making properly rounded ski turns has been lost by much of the skiing public. Other PSIA Level 3 certs I talked with have confirmed it: they have never spent so much of their teaching time working with clients to make round turns.

I attribute this, at least in part, to the increase in the amount of tip and tail rocker on the skis being used by everyone. Rocker makes it easier to twist skis quickly and the result is that all the turning force comes right at the apex of the turn.

Our self-preservation instincts push us to get around that corner as quickly as possible so the response is to twist to get the started and finished post haste.

Continue reading

PSIA Master’s Academy: Ankles Flexed

This past week, I attended the Master’s Academy at Killington skiing with PSIA Demo Team Member Robin Barnes. Robin skis 300 days a year working at Heavenly during our winter and is the ski school director at Portillo during our summer.

The key concept for our group was a simple stance adjustment to make sure we had contact with both ankles on the boot cuff all through the turn. A more traditional PSIA turn concept is to start the long-leg / short-leg extension in your ankle, so this was surprisingly tricky to master for our group of experienced level 3 instructors.

We spent the first two days focusing exclusively on this adjustment so we could make it second nature. It takes lots of repetition to break a long-term movement pattern. The key thought for me is to feel the ankle / lower-leg biting and holding onto the lower part of the boot tongue. Robin suggested that we imagine we had teeth tattooed on our lower legs and ankles. The extension / flexion for pressure control comes from the knees and not the ankles.

Continue reading