The mountain is a playground for everyone, and there’s always fun to be had. Despite conditions not always being favourable. We’ve put together some tips to help you navigate skiing in variable conditions, so you can still have loads of fun on the slopes. By following these tips, you’ll become a much more rounded skier and feel more confident to tackle anything that’s thrown your way.
Skiing in Variable Conditions
The snow begins to get slushy later on into the springtime as the temperatures warm and the snow begins to melt. Usually, the snow is pretty decent first thing in the morning, but as the day goes by the snow melts. And about the time when you’re heading home and tired, you have to tackle the slush! It can be hard work to push yourself through the slush, but that doesn’t mean there’s no fun to be had.
- Stay balanced by keeping your core strong
- Keep your body facing down the hill to help keep your speed and momentum
- To allow enough speed and rhythm try longer, sweeping turns
- If it’s really slushy, your edges won’t achieve much, so focus on more rotation to turn
- Avoid sudden movements and go with the flow
Skiing in variable, bumpy snow can be physically demanding. That means you need to be constantly adjusting to the terrain, and readjusting your balance so you don’t get caught off-guard. Balance, looking ahead and rhythm are the main players when it comes to skiing bumps successfully.
Essentially, you want to remain as cool, calm and collected as you can whilst you absorb the bumps. No one will ever know you’re sweating under that helmet and goggles because you’re keeping it together. Here’s how…
- Take a deep breath at the top of the slope and mentally prepare
- Pick a line through the bumps and try to look 3 bumps ahead (or more!)
- Keep your core strong and calm to allow the legs do the work
- Use your poles – consistent pole planting will help with rhythm
- Keep moving! Yes, you may get thrown off balance now or then but fight to get back on balance and keep moving forward
Ice or Hardpack
Ski racers love ice and actually inject the racecourses with more water, so it freezes and hardens the snow. It sounds like a bizarre concept when most skiers we talk to avoid ice at all costs! Instead of fearing the ice, we recommend going with the flow.
If you hit black ice in your car, you wouldn’t slam your brakes on so no need to hit the breaks on skis.
- Start by being confident – you can and will get past this bit of ice with a bit of self-belief
- It helps if you have sharp edges so take care of your skis and keep them tuned
- Allow your skis to side slip if your edges aren’t sharp enough to grip (walking down on plastic ski boots will be more difficult!)
- Stay balanced on the downhill ski throughout the turn to maintain your grip
- Ignore the noise! Often, the sound of ice makes it sound worse than it is!
Powder, the stuff ski dreams are made of. But sometimes turning in the deep powder can be tricky. You might sink to the bottom, or you physically can’t see your feet so you find it harder to control them. These feelings are all a bit bizarre to someone who’s new to skiing powder.
But with these tips, you can get your energy and rhythm in check. The good thing is that powder can naturally slow you down, so point your skis down the hill more than you would on the piste. Use shallower turns rather than finishing with your skis facing across the hill. This will enable you to go with the flow and without breaking your rhythm.
- Make sure you’re on the right kit – the right skis will help you float and do some of the work for you
- Keep your rhythm by using a pole plant to initiate the next turn
- Bounce or spring into the next turn
- The powder can slow you down, so try to keep a bit of momentum by using long flowing turns
- Always look ahead to your next turn and enjoy the floating feeling
Crud is otherwise known as the messy chopped up conditions left at the end of a powder day. Crud is random and less uniform than skiing bumps, so you need to be quick to adapt and avoid the large build-up of crud. It can be a bumpy ride but here’s how to tackle it, to enable you to crush skiing in variable conditions.
- Ski the fall line (what we mean by that is: face down the hill more instead of going across the hill)
- Stay soft with your lower body so you can absorb anything under your feet
- Keep a strong core to help you stayed balanced over your skis
- Tune into the lower legs joints and try to use the ankle joint to absorb any “micro” variations in the snow
- Look ahead and pick a line through the lumps and bumps to help you stay in control
If you’re looking to boost your confidence on the slopes this year, then why not take a lesson? Our group ski lessons make learning so much more enjoyable in a sociable setting. Not only are they perfect for beginners to intermediates to learn a little bit each day during the week, but they’ll bring you together with people of a similar level in a sociable setting.
We offer group lessons for children, teens, and adults, with week-long or weekend courses. Our group lessons often run during the morning, leaving you plenty of time to ski with family or friends (or practice!) during the afternoon.
If you are more interested in a one-on-one session or private ski lesson for you and a friend then take a look at our private ski & snowboard lessons. Even just one lesson will help boost your confidence in skiing variable conditions.