COLUMN: Listen to what your skis say

Now that the hill is open we find ourselves running from car to lift in a mad rush to feel that mid-season stoke.

This is a ski tips column for all skiers; don’t let the “ski racing” scare you away!

Ski racing is just free skiing at a high performance level, and we all want to ski at our own personal best right?

I am Dylan Henderson the head coach for the Whitewater ski team. I am a certified Development Level coach with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and a Level 1 ski instructor with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association.

My goal is to give you something to keep your skiing fresh every week even if the snow is not.

In the last column we focused on pre-season conditioning, and this week we will work on our ski day warm up run.

Now that the hill is open we find ourselves running from car to lift in a mad rush to feel that mid-season stoke that will bring meaning and clarity to our otherwise blurred lives.

However, as we find ourselves part way down last year’s favourite run feeling awkward and lacking rhythm, we begin wondering — damn it, what am I doing with my life?

This is not good mental self-talk for your well-deserved ski day.

In life, we can’t skip steps on the path to personal fulfilment so let’s go back to the basics and begin building a solid foundation that will support the rest of your ski season.

When we rush into something we are imposing our desire on the external world without taking the time to observe and let things happen naturally.

My first day with the ski team, I remind the athletes of the importance of “listening” to their skis.

Our first run we will do without our ski poles and begin with a simple drill such as the roller blade drill.

Go to an easy groomer and put your hands on your knees. Now listen carefully as this is the important part: do not turn your skis, but rather let your skis turn you.

We are working on our relationship with our skis and you have neglected your little love boards all summer so let them do the talking!

Use the same stance and body position as you would when you play tennis — feet shoulder width apart, knees bent and same distance apart as your feet, core engaged, and some forward pressure on your boots.

Relax and go. Now hands on knees and gently use your hands to move your knees in unison so that both of your skis go over on edge.

All you want to do is push your knees, and let the skis do the rest.

Now let the skis continue carving until they are taking you across the run until you are beginning to go back uphill and then repeat the other direction.

Let your skis tell you when you have fully completed the turn.

Now speed it up, add some rhythm, and clap your hands over your head in the transition where you would normally plant your pole.

See, you still have the touch, and you are looking good!

Now that you have the communication flowing between you and your passion planks, they will take you to those places that you have been dreaming of.

Grab your poles and as you go to steeper and more complex terrain you can progress at a sustainable pace and reach new peaks of skiing pleasure.

Visit our website at whitewaterskiteam.ca and see you on the slopes!

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