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Top 5 Common Mistakes Made By Intermediate Skiers (And How To Fix Them)

Top 5 Common Mistakes Made By Intermediate Skiers (And How To Fix Them)

 common mistakes made by intermediate Skiers


As an intermediate skier, you're exploring the mountain with renewed faith in your skiing talents. It's a fantastic feeling, and you should take full use of it, but bear in mind that the intermediate zone is the easiest period to form negative habits, so don't be afraid to ask for help.

As you practice and refine your new talents, it's crucial to have an experienced pair of eyes to ensure that all of your hard work is benefiting you rather than harming you. Perfect practice leads to perfect results!

Here are five frequent mistakes I see intermediate skiers make and how to correct them...

1. Over-terraining

The most prevalent error we see on the hill is skiers attacking slopes that are beyond their ability level on a regular basis. While it may be tempting to take your newly gained confidence to the expert slopes, most intermediate skiers will benefit more from staying on intermediate terrain. The obvious worry here is safety; no one wants to end their run or season on a sled behind a ski patroller. However, there are other advantages to remaining on proper terrain that make it a smart idea even if your thinking is more Evil Knievel than Nervous Nellie.

By staying on familiar ground, you offer yourself the opportunity to practice new abilities in an atmosphere where you may explore. It's far simpler to experiment with your balance and technique on flat ground than it is to battle for your life in an ice chute. When skiing in terrain outside of your comfort zone, you are more prone to resort to old, often harmful behaviors simply because they seem secure. On a soft field, on the other hand, you'll find it much simpler to experiment, develop new abilities, and make errors without harming yourself.

Of course, this does not exclude you from trying new things. Finally, the only way to progress is to occasionally step outside of your comfort zone. The idea is to strike a balance, with the majority of your skiing taking place on familiar terrain and a few daring expeditions outside of your comfort zone.


2. Skiing in the Backseat

Skiing in the backseat entails leaning too far back as you down the slope. Almost every skier on the world makes this mistake at some time in their day, and it's something you'll work on throughout your advancement, but the sooner you start, the simpler it will be in the long run. Learning to place pressure on the front of your skis can help you regulate speed on steeps, retain control through jumps and drops, and, most importantly, avoid knee damage, which is the most prevalent kind of ski-related injury.

You'll know you're skiing in the backseat if:

  • You are having shin-bang under varying situations (shin bang always feels a lot like shin splints and results from too much pressure on your calf from the back of your boot).
  • You regularly make mistakes. - You have trouble sliding your skis during a turn, or you take up your inside ski to change edges.

Achieving a solid, aggressive posture on your skis will take some practice, but here are some pointers and workouts to get you started. To begin, place pressure on the front of your footwear. Consider flexing your ankle muscles as though you were attempting to press your knee downwards towards your toes. When you can see your boot bend at the ankle hinge, you know you're doing it correctly.

Next, take a couple of runs on an easier pitch and try to leap into the air. To get acclimated to the experience, simply go straight up and down for the first few jumps. Then, to increase the difficulty, "ollie," or leap off the rear of your ski and landing on the front. If you execute it right, the tail of your ski will be the last to leave the snow and the tip will be the first to land.


3. Excessive Inside Ski Pressure

As an intermediate skier, you're probably done utilizing the wedge in most skiing situations, but the muscle memory from those early turns is still likely to be there in your skiing. Many intermediate skiers exhibit what is known as "A-frame" skiing. In other words, balancing the weight on both skis.

You may believe you are skiing parallel, but unless you eliminate this common mistake, you will almost certainly have a small wedge somewhere in your turn. Every turn for a skilled skier involves a significant shift in pressure from one ski to the other.

An expert will generally have more than 90% of their weight on the outer ski at the broadest point of the curve, with just enough pressure on the inner to keep it parallel with the outside. They will only have even pressure on both skis for a fraction of a second during the transition between turns. This talent is partly about technique and partly about confidence, therefore the remedy is to practice, practice, practice! Learning to balance on the outer ski might be difficult, but the following easy practice is certain to help.

As I previously stated, the key to advance is to practice abilities on easier-than-usual pitches before moving on to steeper terrain. So, choose a beginner slope and begin making turns down it. Pick up the inside ski from the snow as many times as you can in each spin. Begin with one lift, then two, and work your way up. Your ultimate objective is to ski every turn with one ski in the snow and the other in the air. To take this practice a step further, try maintaining your inside ski's tip in touch with the snow while lifting the rear end into the air.


4. Shoulder Turning with Skis

When observing a very expert skier manage a steep slope, you may observe their laser-focused attention downward. Anyone skiing at a high level, whether watching Ted Ligety break gates or Ingrid Backstrom crash down a steep Alaskan face, will maintain their upper body practically vertical, with their shoulders perpendicular to the slope's fall-line while their legs and hips bounce back and forth through the turns.

Most people would assume that this is just a matter of optics: they need to see where they're going. In actuality, this talent serves considerably more purposes than merely line planning. The skill at hand is known as upper body-lower body separation, and it might be one of the most valuable to learn at the intermediate level. You will be able to maintain your legs going across and back by separating your actions at the hips, arcing tight turns over tough terrain or extended cruising arcs over a larger region. You should feel an improvement in your traction and control, all while keeping your attention on the downhill.

Many intermediate skiers will notice that their shoulders tend to follow their hips, with each turn finishing with them facing the edge of the slope. Make a cross with your poles upside down to fix this. Then, identify a position at the bottom of the pitch you're skiing (the mountain base or lift line works good) and attempt to maintain your pole crosshairs pointing at that same spot as you make few cautious, low-speed rotations across the pitch.

Your hips should be working hard to maintain your upper body pointing downward while your legs go left and right across the snow. Caution: You must be aware of your surroundings while performing this practice, so avoid tunnel vision!


5. Ignore your Ski School

It's easy to think you've graduated from Ski School when you can successfully negotiate blue and occasionally black terrain without incident. You're full of self-assurance, skiing quickly, and having a fantastic time. Why would you spend extra money on lessons if you can get by on your own? In reality, practice is essential, so you don't need to spend every hour on the hill with an instructor, but it doesn't mean you should avoid it totally.

The intermediate level is the easiest time to adopt poor habits that may hinder your growth later on. All of the abilities listed above may (and should) be practiced on your own, but having a second set of eyes, especially those of a qualified expert, will be beneficial in evaluating your development, offering feedback, and, most importantly, counseling you through the inevitable difficulties.

Rest assured, progressing from intermediate to expert skier requires effort, but with the help of an experienced teacher, you can ensure that the effort you put in will have a direct influence on your goals.


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