The Five Fundamentals Of Skiing According To Ski Instructor And 2015's Trainer Of The Year

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Answers by Mike Evans, Ski instructor, Vail Resorts; 2015 Trainer of the Year, on Quora.

A: At any level, skiing is about the fundamentals:

  • Control the relationship of the center of mass to the base of support to direct pressure along the length of the skis
  • Control edge angles through a combination of inclination and angulation
  • Control the skis rotation with leg rotation, separate from the upper body
  • Control pressure from ski to ski and direct pressure toward the outside ski
  • Regulate the magnitude of pressure created through ski/snow contact

It is important to understand and build a level of skill with in the fundamentals, but what separates an intermediate and advanced skier is the ability to blend and adapt the fundamentals to match the terrain, speed, and intent.

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A: There are many ways to ski moguls but first I would focus on keeping functional tension in your core and allow your feet to turn more than your upper body. If your intent is to ski a more direct line "a zipper line", the upper body will remain facing more down the hill. If the intent is a more rounded line in which speed is controlled more through turn shape, the upper body will move but the legs will turn more and at a faster rate. If the turn is initiated with the upper body, the legs will react slower and ultimately your weight will move toward the back of the skis. If you are the type of person who feels they can ski a few bumps then get a little late and out of control this is a good place to start. Next, the most efficient mogul skiers use their ankles, knees, hips, and spine, to actively absorb the terrain (like shocks in a car or mountain bike). This allows the head and shoulders to remain fairly still while the lower body  does most of the work. It is a similar motion to pedaling a bike backwards. There are many different tactics and lines to choose when skiing moguls. Play with what feels most comfortable to you.

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A: There is nothing like skiing to get in shape for the season. I am on the tennis court all summer and work out in the fall, still every season it takes me a little while to get my ski legs. Skiing is a sport in which we are striving for dynamic balance which is hard to duplicate off the hill. That being said, a strong core is a good place to start (I am a fan of planks) and choose exercises in which you are moving while strengthening. Lateral jumps and walking lunges are examples. A good physical trainer is always your best bet and will probably know a lot more than me.

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