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The Basics of Skiing

Nov 29, 2007
There are various techniques important in learning to ski. Below are some of the essential ones you will need to know.

Traversing uphill

Making your way up a long slope you will find the least tiring way is it "tack", just like a sailing-ship.

Both skis parallel, at right angles to the line of the slope.

Weight on the right ski and the left ski raised and pointing in the new direction. Left pole thrust into the ground close to the left foot.

The right ski is lifted up and brought parallel to the left, with the right pole thrust into the ground by the right foot. By placing the weight on the poles you will prevent any tendency to slide back.

Your "tack" is now complete, and you can continue to ski uphill, with knees well flexed.

"Snow plowing" downhill
You've reached the top of the hill, and you're now going to ski down for the first time. Your first problem is to determine your speed, and to have your skis under complete control as you ski downhill. For this purpose the "snow-plow" position is the correct method of braking.

The full "snow plow" position is flat skis, knees bent forwards, and not inwards. Assume a wide "snow plow" position, with the weight on the heels. Sit well back, with the knees flexed forward. The body from the waist up should be leaning slightly forward. All muscles should be relaxed, and the hands should be held close to the knees. In this position you will be able to brake, edging your skis as required.

Half "snow-plow" position
Running obliquely down a slope a less pronounced "snow plow" position of the skis will, as a rule, suffice to brake, and control the skis.

When you come to learning your first turns, you will find this position, and the practice it gives in the distribution of the weight, of great importance.

Place the weight on the outer (lower) ski by bending the corresponding knee. This ski should be edged a certain amount, while the upper ski should be flat on the snow, with comparatively little weight on it.

With this distribution of the weight you will be able to carry out your first turns. Changes of direction are determined by torsion, or rotation, of the body.

"Snow plow" turns
Learning to "snow-plow" will teach you the correct position of skis and body required for executing turns to the right and to the left. Transference of weight from one ski to another, combined with body torsion, will enable you to change direction at will. Every movement must be carried out rhythmically, and your skis should retain the full "snow-plow" position while the turn is being carried out.

Ski straight down hill, with your skis in the full "snow-plow" position. Place the weight on the left ski, and at the same time thrusting the left hip forward. You will find that you are turning to the right. Transfer the weight to the right ski, thrust the right hip forward, and you will turn to the left. Continue to ski downhill, turning alternately to left and right.

Perfect these techniques and your skiing will become a lot more enjoyable.
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