SKI TIPS: Don’t forget your ankles when skiing

Whitewater Ski Team coach Dylan Henderson provides some tips for getting the most out of your time on the slopes.

Dylan Henderson is a coach with the Whitewater Ski Team.

The Whitewater Ski Team’s main technical focus this year is skiing with ankles. Here is a little something that will keep your skiing fresh even if the snow isn’t.

1. Go to an easy run and get into your athletic stance, hips up, knees bent with some shin pressure on the front of the boots. Stand and feel how mobile your ankles are in this position and how you can roll your skis up on edge just using your ankles.

2. Now start down the hill and do five little wiggly turns using just your ankles, then one bigger turn across the hill using your knees, then five little ankle turns, one knee turn. Try to get smoother with every repetition.

Once you are feeling the difference between carving using ankles and carving using knees, analyze your turning and notice how you initiate your turns with your ankles and then use your knees mid turn when we increase the edge angle.

We will often rush into our turn with our knees or hips and don’t fully utilize the ankles.

How can you see if someone is using their ankles in their skiing? If you are using your knees or hips it is obvious because you can see the angle of your legs from these big joints and you can see the edge angle of the ski on the snow.

When you are using your ankles it is evident in the fluidity of your skiing, there is a certain magic that is hard to describe.

This magic will come out in your skiing no matter what the conditions are like!

Remember to appreciate the beauty around you and don’t let expectations take away from your day on the hill. Chair lift chats are my new social media and are often the most interesting seven minutes of my day.

Dylan Henderson is the head coach of the Whitewater ski team. He is a certified Development Level coach with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and a Level 1 ski instructor with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association.

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