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  3. Learning to Ski? Three Steps to Getting Started

Learning to Ski? Three Steps to Getting Started

The pastime of skiing has a lot to offer: exhilaration, exercise, fresh mountain air, and great scenery. However, learning how to ski can oftentimes be challenging in the beginning. Slopes that seasoned skiers are zipping down may seem intimidating, and the fear of falling once you pick up speed also hold many people back. But don't worry! Learning how to ski can be both a safe and rewarding experience if done properly and step-by-step with a qualified instructor. Let's take a look at three essential steps to get you started.

Moving Around the Starting Area Effectively

After you have been fitted with the proper boots, skis, and poles, it is time to hit the beginner slopes. But how do you reach the slopes to begin with? First, make sure your skis are parallel to each other on the snow, meaning they should not be crossing either at the front or back. Bend your knees slightly so that your shins are pressing gently into the boots. This should improve your balance. You can also lean forward slightly but do try to maintain your weight at the center of your skis. Continuing to ensure that your skis are parallel, dig your ski poles in front of you and pull them back to propel yourself forward. Allow your arms a wide range of motion, and use mostly the strength of your shoulders in order to conserve the energy of your forearms. If you do reach an incline that you cannot propel yourself over, turn so that your skis are perpendicular to the slope, and "walk" up sideways by digging the edges of your skis into the snow, using your poles as support.

Wedging/Snowplowing

Now that you have reached the slope, preferably a "straight run", one that is not so steep that it will require turning, it is time to practice descending while controlling your speed. As a beginner, you want to avoid pointing your skis straight down the slope in the parallel fashion you are used to doing on flat snow. Instead, point your knees and toes inward so that a "V" or "wedge" shape is made. You can make the "V" wider and dig the inside edges of your skis into the snow more to decrease your speed as you descend. The inside edges of your skis will create more friction with the snow, hence the term "snowplowing".

Wedge Turning

Once you have mastered descending straight down a slope using the wedging technique, it is time to practice turning. It is also better to practice this technique on a beginner slope to ensure safety. Begin by wedging down one side of the slope first, but this time, instead of going straight down, apply more weight on the side you want to turn away from. For example, if you wanted to turn right, apply more weight on your left ski, gently digging its inner edge into the snow as you turn to the right. You should feel your weight and direction shift if done properly. Now as you are going towards the right, try making a left turn by shifting your weight onto your right ski while turning to the left. It is perfectly natural if you feel your skis becoming parallel instead of wedged once you make a turn, as this is the first step to mastering parallel turns, something you will want to do as you become more advanced. Hit the slopes with these steps in mind and you will be well on your way to mastering skiing. But remember to always have a qualified instructor supervise your progress in the beginning, and never attempt any slopes beyond your skill level! For a whole lot more information and tips on learning how to ski be sure to visit www.skia.com today!
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