One way to improve your skiing skills is to go on a ski holiday and stay at a ski resort, where there are infrastructure and accommodation specifically built for tourists who want to ski.
Sometimes these places offer ski instructors for beginners, too. But if you are strapped for money or simply don’t have the time to go on vacation, is it possible to still practice at home without the snow and the slopes?
Because skiing entails your body responding to changes in the terrain as you slide downhill, it is not possible to fully practice ski moves at home. Instead of focusing on specific moves and positions, you can still prep for a ski trip at home by doing your research and maintaining regular exercise.
Just watching the sport may convince you that snow-capped mountains are the only place you can begin to master the sport of skiing. You may also be thinking that the only way to practice skiing is on skis.
However, there are other ways you can prepare yourself for your next ski trip and improve yourself from the comfort of your own home. You don’t even have to live in a place that snows to do so.
Can you practice skiing at home?
The art of skiing itself is greatly dependent on the laws of physics. It is only possible to experience the varying effects of physics on real terrain.
Therefore, the simple answer to the question is that you will not be able to do much in terms of practicing ski moves when you’re at home. Although this is the case, there are still ways you can prepare yourself better for the next time you go skiing.
Skiing requires the skier to have an understanding of physics, so perhaps the first step would be to learn about the physics that are involved in skiing. This can be done at home through online research.
In order to be a good skier, you need to be aware of how your body moves and the shapes that it takes in response to varying factors like wind, speed, and the incline of the hill you are skiing down.
It is important to identify where your center of mass is, and what happens when you shift. You also need to take into consideration the way other elements in nature, such as snow elevations, affect your body and its movement.
One of the most common forces a skier comes into contact with while on the slopes is friction. When the bottom of the skis rubs against snow, some of the kinetic energy from the downward movement transfers into thermal energy. This is what is known as friction.
When there is too much friction between the skis and snow, it can significantly slow you down on the slope. The best way to reduce friction is by waxing the bottom of your skis before embarking on the snow.
However, it is important not to over-wax, because a complete lack of friction beneath your skis can also cause you to slide faster. The higher the speed of your descent, the harder it will be to control, making it more dangerous for you. With this knowledge, you’ll be more equipped for your next descent down the hills.
Another force skiers normally face is a drag. Also known as wind resistance, drag is the friction that occurs between the skier’s body and the air going against them as they slide downhill.
An effective way to reduce drag is to perform the “tuck” position. This is a common movement in skiing and is probably the one skiing technique you can rehearse at home in the absence of skis or snow.
A tuck involves bending down to make your back parallel to the slope. You then crouch, tucking your ski poles under your arms and tucking your chin into your chest. This position helps push you forward against the wind.
While it is possible to practice this form at home, it is still not the same as feeling this technique benefit you when you’re actually on the slopes experiencing drag for yourself.
How can you improve your skiing at home?
In addition to doing an appropriate reading on the science of skiing, you can also prepare yourself by training to build your endurance.
To the inexperienced eye, it may look like skiers just glide along the hills with ease, but skiing actually involves more muscles than you might think. These muscles need to be consistently strengthened and kept in shape.
Not maintaining a physical training routine can be fatal when you head to the slopes. It can lead to exhaustion, thigh burns, and muscle aches when you return to the terrain.
In addition to your usual workout routine, here are a few specialized gears and exercises you can take on to keep yourself ski-fit while waiting for your next turn on the snow.
Exercises for cardio
While running is normally the go-to exercise for cardio, you can have a bit more fun by using an exercise trampoline instead. Jumping up and down can keep your heart rate up the way running does. It also helps with endurance.
Several moves you can perform on the trampoline include: bouncing up and down or back and forth in a squat position, incorporating your arms into the movements, and doing jumping jacks.
There are many other resources you can find online that teach you simple trampoline workouts. Make sure to start slow before you work yourself up to the more strenuous exercises.
Exercises for muscle strengthening
One way to strengthen your muscles is by incorporating resistance bands into your daily work-out routine. These are available from almost any sports brand and are affordable and travel-friendly. You can even bring them to your ski resort on your next ski trip.
When used with your normal exercise movements such as squats, sit-ups, or bridges, the pull from the resistance bands can build up the lower body, arm muscles, and core strength.
This is especially important in skiing because the core is where your center of mass is. The stronger your core, the better you can balance and adjust your body on varying terrains.
Equipment and exercises for balance
Balance is an essential skill to have in skiing. It is important to train your balance as well because you will be facing wind and speed which can knock you off your feet. Here are several gears you can invest in that can improve your balance.
The SkiA Sweetspot Ski Trainer is a great pair of training ski boots. They come with four balance blocks of varying sizes. Simply put on the boots and arrange the blocks for you to stand on to practice. This can work on any flat surface of your home.
Another piece of equipment that can help with a balance is the Bosu Home Balance Trainer. This balance trainer looks like half of an exercise ball that can be propped on its flat side on any level surface. The surface of the ball is wobbly and imitates the unstable terrain of a ski slope.
To maximize the use of this gear, stand at the top of the trainer, and repeatedly hop from one foot to the other. This helps improve your balance and helps you practice landing on various kinds of surfaces, which you will come across on actual snow.
The product comes with a training DVD equipped with other exercises you can do. There are also exercises you can find online which are specific to snow sports.
Finally, at the highest price point of over £3,000, you can invest in the Skier’s Edge T7. It is a full ski simulator machine that comes with ski poles and a special platform for your shoes. You can adjust the leg position and incline to rehearse for varying degrees of slope difficulty.
This equipment helps to build your strength, stamina, and muscle memory to prepare you for the slopes. On the Skier’s Edge, you can rehearse various ski moves and positions such as the aforementioned tuck.