How to look better skiing

Aug. 26, 2013

Vail instructor's guide to looking good skiingAuthor Rick Rauch is the Training Manager for the Vail Ski and Snowboard School at Lionshead. Originally from Wisconsin, he has been enjoying the Colorado Mountains since 1985. In addition to his duties at Vail, Rick enjoys working with other instructors as an Examiner with Professional Ski Instructors of America – Rocky Mountain.

Some of you may be disappointed that this post is not about skiwear fashion or salon visits. Instead this is a blog about the most common question we get from skiers that visit the Vail Ski and Snowboard School: “How do I improve my form and look better when I ski?”

How to look good skiingWe’d like to offer three points to consider when you’re on a mission to “clean-up” your style on the mountain.

1. Stand up

It’s likely that you’ve gotten coaching from someone that “knows” about skiing. The advice often contains the concept that skiers are most effective when they’ve adopted some form of crouching. “Push you knees forward into your boots” or “sit back” on powder days are common directives. Not only will these positions interrupt the natural look of your posture, they will cause you to work much harder than you should. Stand up on your bones and let them provide the structure. This allows your muscles to make the controlled moves we’ll describe next. Not only that, but the taller stance will enhance the image you present as you glide down.

2. Create smooth, controlled movements

Tips for skiing from Vail Ski School

Let’s consider this idea of “smooth.” If you close your eyes and picture the best skiers you’ve watched, it’s likely that smooth will be one of the first words that you’ll use to describe the image. The reason that the good riders impart this picture is because they control the rate of every move they make. There isn’t a single element of skiing or snowboarding that occurs as an “event.” The movements of snow sports are processes, continuous and progressive. Whether you’re tipping the skis on edge or turning the board from right to left and back again, take your time. Think “smooth.”


3. Ski turns are round

Once you’ve started to master the idea of progressive movements you’ll notice that the tracks you’re leaving on the snow are round in shape. When it comes to ski and snowboard turns there are no straight lines. Take a minute to watch the folks with whom you’re sharing the slopes. Do they look like they’re turning or merely putting on the brakes to alternating sides. If looking better on the trails is a part of your sliding goals, think “round turns.”Vail Ski School tips

Our sports are truly governed by the adage that “form follows function.” The ideas supplied here, make your body long, move progressively, and make round tracks, will not only clean up the aesthetic of your performance but also help make you a better, more efficient skier or rider. Practice these concepts on your own or make an appointment with a Vail Ski School Pro to make sure you’re on the right track.