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Intermediate Skiers: Common Mistakes & How to Fix Them


Skiing Holidays Val Thorens


Are you gearing up for a Meribel Mottaret skiing holiday? As an intermediate skier, you’ll be approaching the slopes with some new found confidence and gusto in your abilities to ski. It’s definitely an amazing feeling and you should relish in it, but you should still keep in the back of your mind that the intermediate zone is the easiest place to develop bad habits, so don’t be shy about taking some extra ski lessons. As you build upon your skills, it is important to keep an experienced set of eyes on you, to make sure that you’re doing everything correctly. After all, practice makes perfect!


Here are some of the most common mistakes made by intermediate skiers, and how to correct them.


Skiing in the Backseat


This essentially means, that you are leaning too far back as you go down the slope. Basically every skier on the planet is guilty of this error at some point or another, and it’s something that you will have to keep working on throughout your progression as a skier, but the earlier you begin this, the easier it will be in the long run. Learning to put the pressure on the front of your skis will help to control your speed on steeps, maintain your control through drops and jumps and, help you to avoid knee injuries – which are the most common type of skiing related injury. Being in the best physical shape will help to reduce the chances of injuries, do you know how to get fit for skiing?


You can tell if you are skiing in the backseat if:

-          You are finding it difficult to slide your skis through a turn, or you find you are picking up your inside ski to change edges

-          You are experiencing shin-bang in variable conditions (shin-bang can feel a lot similar to shin splints, they result from having too much pressure on your calf from the back of your boots)

-          You frequently fall backwards


The goal of achieving a good, aggressive stance on your skis is one that you’ll be working on and towards for quite some time.



Turning Shoulders with Skis


When watching truly experienced skiers navigate a steep pitch, you’ll notice their laser-focused attention downhill. Anyone who is skiing at a high level will keep their upper body almost vertical, with their shoulders perpendicular to the fall-line of the slope, whilst their legs and hips gracefully dance back and forth through the turns.


The skill we are talking about here is called upper body - lower body separation, and it can be the most beneficial skill to improve at the intermediate level. Having the ability to separate your movement at the hips means you’ll be able to keep your legs travelling across and back, arcing tight turns through complicated terrain or just long cruising curves over a wider area. Improving this skills means that you’ll notice significant improvement in your traction and control, whilst retaining your downhill focus.





The most common mistake made by skiers is they regularly attack slopes that are outside of their capabilities. Though we understand the temptation to take your new-found confidence to the expert slopes – most intermediate skiers should be sticking to the intermediate terrain. A major concern here is obviously safety, no one wants to end their season with injuries.


By sticking to more familiar terrain you can practice honing your skills in an environment where you have the chance to experiment. It’s a lot easier to practice your balance and technique on easier terrain! Of course, you want to explore and try new terrain, and this isn’t a bad thing, and you should do it – but it’s all about balance. The majority of your skiing should take place on familiar terrain, but with a few adventures thrown in for good measure.


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