Wanna get off those groomers and into the trees and pow? First you need some Bluetooth helmet speakers so you can be cool but really, here’s how.
Tailor Your Workouts
Whether you’re mountain biking to build your leg strength, doing yoga to improve flexibility and core strength, or running for cardiovascular endurance, you should be training for skiing when you’re not skiing. This will pay off in spades when you’re working on speed, attempting longer runs, and practicing bumps.
Quality AND Quantity
You may have heard of “Powder Snobs.” By definition, these individuals only get on the mountain for powder days and, while that’s all well and good for them, if you wanna take your skiing to the next level, being picky about conditions should be the furtherest thing from your mind. Certainly, you don’t wanna hurt yourself if conditions are icy and unsafe, but waiting for the perfect powder day is a waist of your valuable time. That being said, try for as many powder days as possible but ski on the “just average” days too. When you’re trying to improve, the general rule is that you should be eating, drinking, and breathing the mountain. End of story.
Ride with the Badasses
Simply put: Ride with people who are better than you. Skiers are generally very cool and kind people. Though they may not sacrifice a powder day to teach you new techniques, they might be willing to ride with you when conditions are simply “meh.”
The key here is to be patient. It can be really frustrating to ride with your double-black diamond, backcountry, skiing friends. You wanna do what they’re doing and you wanna do it NOW! But, as is the case with anything on the mountain, time and dedication will pay off.
Drop Some Cash
There’s no arguing with the fact that skiing is an investment. The passes, the gear, transportation, and lodging can drain pockets fast and many hardcore skiers have 2 or 3 seasonal jobs so they can have the flexibility and finances to do what they love. If you’re serious about improving your technique, dropping cash on more aggressive skis, buying a pass to ensure that you get to ski a variety of terrain and log a lot of time, and saving for some multi-day trips, is the reality of improving on your skiing. It’s not a sport that you master in 10 days on the groomers and it’s not a cheap sport, so be prepared to pay and reap the benefits.
Take a Lesson. No, Seriously.
For many people, once they get the basics down and start transitioning from blue to black runs, they get a bit complacent. It’s also at this point that a lot of bad skiing habits have, potentially, started to form. An excellent way to up your game and correct those bad habits early on is to take a class or, if you have the time, attend a ski clinic. Classes are typically small and last anywhere from 1-6 hours depending upon the price and form of instruction. Clinics, on the other hand, are multiple days and usually meet once or twice a week for several weeks. This is an excellent way to make friends, get instruction, and ride with people who are sure to push you.
Plan a Trip
Most expert skiers will tell you that one sure-fire way to see steady improvement is to ski for multiple days in a row. Sure, you’re quads are shot by the end of Day Three, but you gotta break ‘em down to build ‘em up. Try for at least a 3-4 day trip to your favorite resort with friends or family. Now, here’s the kicker: You need to maximize your slope-time every day. Which means you hit it hard every day that conditions allow. No relaxing days cruising down the easiest groomers you can find. Another way to efficiently use your trip time is to choose goals for each day. Perhaps Day One is all about focusing on tight, parallel turns and speed. Make Day Two about bumps, if that’s your thing. The point is to push yourself each day, learn something new, and improve.
Log Your Progress
With all of the apps out there allowing you to measure, log, and calculate every run and every foot of elevation gain, if you wanna get serious about your progress then keeping track of it is one sure-fire way to hold yourself accountable. Since the numbers don’t lie, downloading Trace Snow (formerly Alpine Replay), for example, can help you track your max speed, slope time, distance traveled, and vertical feet.
Like other performance aps, you can add and track your friends, so friendly competition is encouraged.
Want It Bad
In the end, a large portion of improving in any mountain sport boils down to shear drive and dedication. Do whatever you can to maintain the stoke all season, reward yourself when you meet goals, and remember that any day on the mountain is a good day.