My last column was focused on getting your weight forward and this week we’ll look at maximizing the feel of skiing.
With this incredible start to the ski season at Whitewater I have been paying attention to the feel of skiing. What does skiing feel like? How would you describe skiing to someone who hasn’t skied before?
Skiing is an incredible sensation, whether it is the thigh-deep powder that creeps up and over your shoulders, giving you a full-body tingling sensation, or the firm groomers that accept the pressure of your edges and push back at you giving you the sensation of flying. What about your other senses? The sound of the tinkling hoar frost, the screech of edges losing ground on an icy day, of laughter in the trees just when you thought that you had the run to yourself.
What does skiing smell like? Have you ever stepped outside on a cold October morning, taken a deep breath and been instantly transported, smiling, to that snowy mountain top? What do you see when you are skiing? Do you notice the change in light as you drop into steeper terrain, the texture of the snow as you search for pillows left behind after the previous storm, or how your ski tips disappear from view when you lean forward on a groomer?
Skiing has a lot to do with your senses working together to give you the necessary information to adjust your balance, speed and line as you charge down the complex terrain of your favourite run. In order to increase your feel of the snow, let’s loosen the connection between you and your skis.
1. Leave your poles behind.
2. Go to an easy uncrowded run — Upper Yankee Girl is good — and unbuckle your boots.
3. Now start sliding and gently roll your skis on edge doing simple turns back and forth across the hill with your hips up.
4. Feel the snow through your skis. Can you feel your skis bend and release? Move weight from your heels to your balls of your feet. Use your ankles to roll your skis on edge.
After a few turns of this, stop and buckle your boots back up nice and snug, with only your socks in them and not your long johns. Now, look around at the view, breathe deeply, listen carefully, wiggle your toes, and take it all in.
We are blessed here at Whitewater with surroundings that include the beautiful views, incredible skiing, and who are these beautiful people anyway?
Can you feel it? Winter, I love you.
Dylan Henderson is the head coach for the Whitewater ski team. He’s a certified development level coach with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and a Level 1 ski instructor with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association. His goal is to give you something to keep your skiing fresh every week even if the snow is not.