Ski Like a Pro

Look ahead, not at your skis.

Hit the slopes on alpine skis and enjoy dramatic mountain views, invigorating fresh air, and the chance to fly down a trail as fast you as dare. Even better, skiing tones your legs and boosts strength and anaerobic capacity.

With advances in both techniques and gear, dare devils and tenuous turners alike can improve their skiing. These tips will help you cruise down runs with ease.

Relax Your Toes.
Its an unconscious act, clenching your toes when you get nervous. If you relax your toes, the joints in your entire lower body stay loose, ready to absorb variations in terrain.

Flex Your Ankles. Concentrate on bending forward at the ankles, rather than the knees. If your ankles flex forward, your knees automatically bend, and you can maintain a more upright, balanced body position.

Keep Your Shins Against the Tongues of Your Boots. Women tend to lean back on their skis, making it difficult to initiate turns. If your shins stay in contact with your boot tongues, your weight stays centered, and you have better control.

Put Pressure on Your Ski Tips to Start a Turn. Resist slamming all your weight to the middle of your skis at the beginning of the turn, which causes them to chatter. Your skis respond better if you steer your ski tips into the turn first, then let your feet follow.

Roll Your Skis From Edge to Edge. A flat ski with its wide tip is more likely to get tossed around by chunky snow and bumps. When you finish a turn -- rather than flattening your skis before starting the next curve -- roll your skis immediately into the new turn. This makes your technique more fluid, improves your control on ice and reduces the chance of an unexpected fall.

Keep Your Skis Parallel. A common mistake many skiers make when starting a turn is to hold the downhill ski on edge while allowing the uphill ski to go flat. Both skis should enter each turn and roll on edge simultaneously.

Keep Your Hands Forward. If your hands drop by your sides or if you allow a hand to cross over your skis, your skis will skid rather than carve. Your hands should be comfortably forward, as if holding a tray of food.

Plant Your Pole Down the Hill. As you finish a turn, plant your pole with the downhill hand. Touch your pole tip to the side of the ski rather than forward. An accurate pole plant helps you navigate the steeps with more confidence and puts rhythm in your turns.

Stay Centered in Powder. In the old days skiers used to sit back in powder to get their tips up. No more. Most skis are wider today, providing better buoyancy. By remaining centered and equally weighting both skis, youll float through the fluff with less leg-burn and fewer wipeouts.

Look Ahead, Not at Your Skis. Plan a path and avoid surprises by looking in front of you, not at the ground. Youll have more time to react to the terrain, obstacles and other skiers, and keeping your head up will help keep your torso oriented downhill.

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