I am not a good skier. I can look ok on the majority of intermediate slopes, and make my way down diamonds. I’ve never been on a double-diamond in my life. I have a lot to learn. However, I have improved over the years (yes, years: I went a decade between trips to the mountains) and would like to share a few tips that would have made my life easier if I’d known them when I started.

Free Advice (Worth Every Penny)

Lean forward in the boots. Quite a bit of your weight should be borne on your shins. This posture/weight distribution makes it much easier to control the skis.

Don’t Panic. Not only good advice when hitch-hiking across the galaxy, it’s essential advice when skiing. When things start to go bad – when you’re going too fast, on unfavorable terrain, or heading towards cliffs, trees, rocks, or cliffs with trees and rocks, it’s important to maintain your form and technique, and commit to your posture and turns. The natural impulse to, for instance, lean backwards is distinctly unhelpful.

Pay attention to weight distribution. If you’re having trouble turning, there’s an excellent chance the problem lies with poor weight distribution. In particular, try putting more weight on the outside/downhill ski.

Avoid powder. Fresh powder is very pretty, a lot of fun, and nice cushioning for when you fall, but it’s also a whole different animal to packed snow. Avoid it until you want to practice with it specifically.

Watch the terrain. When the snow gets bumpy, it’s important to work with it, rather than against it. Plan your route down the slope s.t. your skis maintain good contact with the snow. Following in the tracks of a good skier is a good way to get a feel for this.

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