Common Mistakes Advanced Skiers Make

Emma Wilson 20.06.2024

Dean Hunter, of New Zealand’s Rookie Academy has seen it all. As the founder Dean and his team have trained the highest level of instructors and have seen very advanced skiers come and go.

“You get people who are comfortable skiing on all terrain and they’re pretty athletic. We all want to be better skiers, at the highest level it still comes down to the fundamentals and we see some very common issues”.

Fighting with equipment 

You need the right skis, boots and length of poles for YOU, Skis to suit your skill level and aid your skill development. Boots that fit your feet and suit your skiing skill level… In my view boots are the most important piece of our ski equipment, the cheapest are not likely the best deal for your technique. The length of your poles will change as you become a better skier and you move onto more challenging slopes and terrain.

Old Attachments

People come to us with habits they’ve grown up with, where they sit in their boots sometimes doesn’t serve them well. They’ve either had lessons or not a lot of lessons at all and have just survived in different terrain. Lets adjust those habits and create better habits helping you to have a much better snow experience.

Body Positioning

I have seen a lot of different body positions. You’ve got to be in an athletic position that  works for YOU, work through your skeletal structure, so you can move freely and have access to a full range of movements to be successful in all terrain when skiing. Skiing is an athletic, dynamic sport. Cardio will demand a lot more movement. The body should not be static in any aspect from turn to turn. Nothing is the same, even the snow is constantly changing. You’re fighting to control the speed and shaping of the turn all the way down, it’s constant. You should be looking about 2 or 3 turns down, there are too many people thinking of the turn they have done or the turn they are in.

Hand positioning

As the slope and terrain changes, the fundamentals of hand position shouldn’t change. Even a change from a taller position to a lower position, gentle slope to steep slope, the fundamental position of the hand/pole shouldn’t change. You have to be more active and skillful with what you do on your skis, and be more stable and disciplined with what you do with your body, ski poles and hand position is a big part in helping with this. Keeping the hands and shoulders level with the terrain/slope at all times, like walking on a tightrope… hands wide and to the side, just in front of the body that best suits your balance. It’s all to help us stay in the middle of the ski, lined up through our skeletal structure. A great tip to help – Get the right length of poles for advanced skiing, most skiers poles are too long!

 Knee positioning

I hear from too many people talking/worried about their knees. You want to worry more about your ankles and ask yourself –  Am I using my ankles when skiing? That’s what controls the feet and your skis are connected to your feet! Before we start trying to use the knees to ski, get a good feel for engaging both ankle joints through the calf and shin muscles, this should stay encaged always when skiing. The first step in our fundamentals of skiing, setting up an active/athletic stance through YOUR skeletal structure, working from the skis… Ankle joints, Knee joints, Hip joints. 

It’s all about going back to basics and getting them right. It is how your body works.

For more ski chat from Dean including tips for nervous skiers read here and is ski school the answer to get ski technique right read here.