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Skiing in France


Ski Equipment

Ski Techniques

Telemark Ski Tips

Basic Skills of Skiing

Ski Safety Equipment

Ski Safety Rules

Val d'Isère





























The Basic Skills of Skiing

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Maintaining  Balance


Stand in your boots so that the pressure from the tongue of the boot feels equally distributed from shin to calf. Most of your weight should be felt between the heel and the arch of the foot. Discover how to "walk" by alternatively sliding one ski ahead of the other.


How to Ski





Straight Run 


Next, go just a few feet up a gentle slope. Your shoulders and hands should face down the hill, while your skis are sideways. With small steps, point your skis downhill, while putting your weight on your poles. Now stand on parallel skis, with knees bent and leaning slightly forward while putting some weight on your poles. Then just lift your poles off the snow and go!



How to Ski





Gliding Wedge  (Snow Plough)


It's now time to learn to control your speed. The usual way is called a "gliding wedge" or "snow plough". This is a V-shaped position that is formed by sliding  both skis tails apart by an equal distance  while keeping your ski tips together.



How to Ski



This position creates resistance as you go downhill and slows you down. A common exercise is to gradually make the wedge wider at you ski straight down the hill until you come to a stop. 






Wedge Turn to Stop


You need to realise that a turn can occur without any actual turning forces being applied to your body. That means no twisting or leaning the body in the direction you want to turn. 

Instead, white gliding straight down the hill in a wedge, simply apply slightly more pressure to your left ski. The pressure should be very subtle so that the left ski seems to magically steer you gradually to the right until you come to a stop. It is absolutely critical that you apply this pressure on the left ski while keeping your body still. 





Linking Wedge Turns


Once you have learned how to control your speed by turning across the hill, the next step is to link successive turns. Instead of continuing a turn until you stop, a new turn is initiated before you lose all the momentum from the current turn. This simply involves a subtle transference of pressure to the other ski, thereby causing it to instead become the "turning ski". 


How to Ski




When turning you will need to shift your weight to the inside edge of the previous outer ski and turn your body to face downhill again for a moment, before continuing across the slope. So shift your weight onto your right leg when turning left, and onto your left leg when turning right.


In the old days, eg. in the classic snowplow, the skis are always edged to control speed and the upper body is angled to weight the outside ski. Learning turns was a slow process, because it was difficult to "get out of the snowplow." Less experienced people got off balance, locked their knees, crossed their tips, hooked the downhill ski, or caught an edge. These faults carried over into stem, telemark, and parallel turns.




How to Ski




In a modern wedge turn the skier is erect and balanced, not leaning to either side, steering both skis which are almost flat on the snow. The knees are not pushed together as in the snowplow, because the skis are flattened. At higher speed on a steeper slope, there is some edging of the outside ski to prevent skidding. 


The modern gliding wedge is opened and closed by pivoting the skis under the feet, not by pushing the tails out. The skier controls speed by turn shape, not by braking with the edges. The braking wedge is still used to stop or control speed in narrow places, but it is not taught as a method of turning.









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