The following article is Courtesy of the National Ski Area
Being truly ready to ski no accident
Heads Up! Here we are gearing
up for the ski and snowboard season. The anticipation and
excitement for the sport—for the fresh mountain air, fluffy
snow, and the sense of freedom one gets from gliding down the
mountain—lasts all winter long.
There are many precautions slope enthusiasts can take to
maximize their experience. Serious ski accidents or fatalities can
and do happen in this sport. And, though unfortunate, many are
avoidable. Make it your New Year’s resolution to be aware
while on the slopes. Here are some tips for you to take in
consideration while you’re recreating at your favorite ski area
Be aware of the snow conditions. When it has been four or five
days since the last snowfall, the temperatures drop to sub-zero,
the winds increase, and the snow solidifies and turns too
hard-pack. As the conditions turn firm the skiing gets hard and
fast. It's easy to begin a run slowly only to find you are out of
control by your fourth or fifth turn. And once you're out of
control, it can be difficult to avoid other people or obstacles.
In this day and age of multi passenger gondolas and high-speed
chairlifts your time on the snow is maximized. You can increase
your ski time on the slopes as compared to the days when you were
limited to skiing fixed grip chairlifts. With high-speed chairs
whisking you to the top of the mountain in a matter of minutes you
can ski yourself right into exhaustion and need to recognize when
it’s time for a rest.
The key to successful skiing is control. To have it, you must
be aware of your technique, the terrain you are skiing and the
other skiers around you. A conscious state of awareness is
mandatory. Get distracted, go too fast, lose your confidence,
forget about where you are or what you're doing and you're a
recipe for disaster.
Skiing requires a mental and physical presence. A mistake in
judgment, control, speed or your choice of terrain can have
serious consequences. Skiing demands that your body and mind work
So you must be mentally engaged, which means you know where you
are and what you are doing. It means you know what you need to do
to turn, control your speed, slow down or stop. And you must be
physically present, which means you have the confidence to execute
this technique in terrain appropriate for your ability.
Control begins when you first put on your skis. Ideally you
should start your ski day with two or three warm up runs, though
they, too, often fall by the wayside. It's far too easy to head
directly toward your favorite runs. It's an easy trap to fall into
when you are with friends and the excitement and enthusiasm of
being on the hill cloud your judgment. Common sense, caution and
even your sense of control can go out the window in favor of
keeping up with your friends. You can find yourself going too fast
or on a run that is beyond your ability. This is not only unwise,
but potentially dangerous.
Without the proper time to warm up, your body is thrown into
duress as you try to make your skis come around on each turn. You
spend the first hour beating yourself up until you get into the
flow and rhythm of the hill. That is, if you ever find that rhythm
The all-important warm up run or runs prepares you mentally and
physically for the ski day that lies ahead. As with any sport or
exercise, the warm-up is an essential component of good
performance and setting the stage for a good day on the hill.
Physically it gives your muscles a chance to engage your heart to
beat faster, your blood to flow smoothly and your breathing to
synchronize with your turns. It also gives you an opportunity to
make the connection between your feet, the skis and the snow. You
get a chance to feel your ski edges under your feet as they bite
the snow on each turn.
Once you’ve committed to a warm up run, look for trails that
were groomed from the previous night and on which you feel
Once you’ve warmed up, you will find that not only is your
technique sharper but your confidence level will grow as well.
Then you will be prepared for the challenges you’ll find on the
CODE - Click here to view the CODE and other
skiing/snowboarding safety tips.