"I look forward to skiing again. You can't get that sensation
anyplace else," notes veteran Black Diamond skier Keith Morris, one
of many New England skiers who has spent many years travelling
north to ski Killington. "Skiing is exciting! And I love the
scenery in the mountains."
For most skiers, the first turns of the season can be exciting.
But, at the same time, following a long summer layoff, most skiers
find their skills are rusty.
Here's reality: Not everyone can make those first turns of the
season with as much style as those end-of-season turns.
Fortunately, there are "warm-up" drills to help but most skiers
don't know the best maneuvers. Interested? Class In
Ski pointer #1: Relax on opening day
Manage your expectations on opening day. And manage your
Ideally, unless only expert terrain is open, try to avoid jumping
into the steepest terrain on that first run. And don't start skiing
on the 'fast-track.' While great in business, its not ideal for
opening day on the mountain.
To maximize muscle memory start by taking the first few runs on
relaxed terrain. Concentrate on feeling the snow, feeling your
skis, and feeling your balance.
The take-home? Choose appropriate, moderate, terrain for those
first runs. Ski at a moderate pace. Relax.
Ski pointer #2: Vary your first turns
At the close of the season, most top skiers naturally vary turn
shape and rhythm to accommodate the terrain. But, after a long
summer it is helpful to systematically practice making different
On your second or third run practice making several long, round,
"C" shaped turns. Practice making each turn round and smooth. Avoid
abrupt movements. Gradually refine and polish your turn shapes.
Start by striving for consistency. Gradually make turns longer
and then shorter.
The take-home? Try to vary the shape and rhythm of your turns.
Ski longer turns. Ski shorter turns. Ski at various speeds.
Remember that varying turn shape, rhythm, and speed is an excellent
way to help focus your attention on basic - and advanced - skiing
skills and balance.
Ski pointer #3: Look up
Visual input is key to advanced skiing. Just as you must scan while
driving in traffic so its important to scan while skiing. This
allows us to see things down the trail. As a general rule, if we
see our skis we are probably looking down too much. Then we don't
have time to react. Look ahead. Look at the snow. Watch the
Try this game: Have a partner ski approximately 50 yards down
the hill. Fix your eyes on your partner, and without moving your
head, try to use your peripheral vision to become more aware of the
slope. How much of the terrain can you see? Now, while still
watching your partner, ski to your partner. Slowly. Good skiers
look ahead when skiing, it is not only safer but helps you
anticiate the terrain to better react to changing conditions.
On these first days skiing look for good snow. Look at the
traffic. Become aware of the entire range of your vision. With
practice you can ski better, and actually enjoy seeing much more of
the entire mountain experience.
Be aware and ski with care. See you on the mountain.
Contributing Columnist Tony Crespi has served as both a
Ski School Supervisor and Development Team Coach. He is a
contributing writer for publications throughout snow