Here are some practical drills to improve your technique.
- Edge locks (a.k.a. railroad tracks) are a great way to work ski roll, balance, leg position and speed. Roll the ski on its edges using the lower half of your body, let it carve the snow naturally and transition to a lateral movement after bringing the ski flat with the snow. After you feel comfortable doing single edge locks in it either direction, begin to link into one continuous motion down the mountain.
- Ankle pivots are excellent for building rotary strength in the lower leg. Keeping your skis flat on the snow, kick both your heels from side to side as you move down easy terrain simulating a windshield wiper.
- Stepping is used to improve your balance and stance. Walk up and down a mild grade and feel the pressure against the tongues of your boots. This feeling is very similar to the pressure you should feel when you are in the proper stance. Walking in the snow up and down a hill helps you to focus on proper balance.
- One ski turns are very challenging but unmatched at building overall balance and rotary strength in the opposite direction of normal turns. Lift one ski or only apply a small amount of pressure on it (<10%) and ski on one ski. Initiate turns by rolling your ski and applying even pressure throughout the turn. You can shorten the radius of the turn by pushing your heel in the opposite direction of that you are heading. Practice this with both legs until it feels comfortable.
- Short radius / long radius turns should be part of your warm up each day. Vary the speed and radii of your turns until your comfortable in all situations.
- Descending 360° turns are done without leaving the ground and improve ski roll. Start with a normal turn and continue 360° rolling your ski such that the edge is always up in the direction you are turning. Practice 360’s in either direction then link a few in a row. Just be careful not to become dizzy.