Berni Haider, C-Trainer & Staatlicher Skilehrer.
This must be the easiest way to improve! Everyone knows how it feels when the piste is hard and icy and you can’t grip the snow. You feel certain that you’re standing on your outside ski but it’s just not happening.
It might be because your equipment is letting you down. My tip is to get your skis serviced at a sports shop and keep them sharp with a diamond file.
Skiing on sharp skis will help you grip the snow and reward the correct movements that you’re probably already making. Typically a ski shop will tune your skis with 88 degrees, this is perfect for recreational skiing. If you want to let out your ‘inner racer’ then ask for 87 degrees and hold on for the ride.
Mona Marko, Staatliche Skilehrerin
Variety is the spice of life! It’s all too easy to ski your favorite run, on your favorite skis, doing your favorite turn shape. It’s time to mix it up. As any coach will tell you, variety in training is key to learning new skills and testing your ability.
My tip is to practice skiing in different snow conditions and on a variety of terrain types. The piste is good, but the bumps are great for finding your middle position and leaving your comfort zone. GS turns are fun, but have you tried them in powder? The more slush, crud and icy you can ski the better. The body will learn to become adaptable making you a more rounded and stronger skier… that means no more downloading to avoid the moguls at the end of the day!
Mario Hanausek, C-Trainer & Staatlicher Skilehrer
Feel good! It’s often said that good skiers have a great ‘feel’ for the snow. Developing feel in skiing takes time, but the good news is it’s totally possible to teach your body how to do this.
For me this starts before I put my boots on in the morning. I use a simple coordination based warm up to activate my muscles and senses, heightening my body’s awareness. Once I’m on the snow, I like to make the first run with unbuckled boots at a slow pace to help find my middle position. It’s important to recognize that we are all different and therefore, every athlete will develop his or her own warm up routine to create ‘feel’.
Markus Hlebaina, Staatlicher Skilehrer and Skiführer
It’s all about the boots! When coaching the first thing I always check are my students boots. They are often way too big, meaning their feet slide around inside the shell, making effective skiing movements much harder.
The key is to find a boot that works with the shape of your foot and is appropriate for your level of skiing. Using a specially moulded foot-bed inside the boot helps to support your feet in all the right places.
For an instructor, a boot with a stiffness of 110-130 is normally appropriate. Too stiff and the ankles can’t move, too soft and it’s hard to pressure the skis. Ask an experienced instructor to recommend a good Boot Fitter because they are hard to find and you’re going to be spending all season in your boots!
Sarah Gamsjaeger, Staatliche Skilehrerin
I’m going to be cheeky and give two small tips. The first one sounds so obvious but it’s to take a refresher lesson. Focus on the one key aspect that needs the most work and use it to build your confidence. Make sure that the lesson includes video because seeing yourself on the screen is a powerful learning tool. Don’t forget to ask for a copy of the video at the end!
The second tip is about improving your decision making whilst skiing. Many skiers speed down the middle of the piste hitting every bump or patch of ice. Try looking further ahead so that you have more time to process the terrain and ski closer to the edge of the piste. Most people are too scared to ski near the edge of the piste where the snow is often perfect. This can mean fresh lines on a powder day, or the last of the corduroy in the sunshine. To achieve this you’ll need to practice your short turns!