Saturday 9 February 2019

A Short Introduction to Alpine Skiing

Strathcona Provincial Park
(large park in the middle of Vancouver Island) 

If you want to learn how to ski there are several things you must learn to do.  There are relatively easy things such as acquiring the necessary winter wear and need ski equipment. Then you must learn how to put on ski boots and skis. Then, the harder part when your skis are on, you must learn to turn and stop. Be forewarned, skiing can take over your mind.
Turning is a little hard to describe because there are several ways to turn and several reasons why it is important to turn. Starting with something easy, turning is necessary to take you in the direction you want to go.  Turning is often for self-preservation to avoid dangers and bumping into other skiers or snowboarders. Turning is also used to control your speed.
Turning to control your speed is of most interest to a beginner skier for several reasons.  Gravity is the thing that pulls you down a hill. If you do nothing to control your speed you will go faster and faster. What will slow you down is the snow dragging on your skis and the wind drag you create due to your speed increases.  You will eventually reach some limiting speed depending on the steepness of the hill and if a wind its direction.  On a beginners hill, your final speed may be about walking speed or as fast as you can peddle a bike.  On really steep hills your speed could be anywhere from 120 to 160 km/hr. I have never even approached the higher speeds.
To control your speed on skis you must learn how to make them scrape sideways on the snow surface during a turn.  This is basically what you need to learn as a beginner skier. This is what your beginner lessons are primarily about. You must learn to ski a serpentine path down a hill, with each turn controlling your speed. The steeper the hill then more effort or energy you must use to make each turn. You progress to this skiing level.
If all you did was make turns down a hill, skiing would soon lose its attraction.  To enjoy skiing you must learn to meet the many challenges along the way.  Steepness is one, but there are different trails and terrain with moguls, glades, jumps, and bumps, etc. Speed is good for generating adrenaline and excitement. It can be addictive.
And then there are the 3-4 different ways to start a turn that got me started on the path to develop and create my ski method for beginner skiers. I reached a point in my skiing where I could not improve and couldn’t figure out why and what to do.  The secret was learning how to steer my skis quickly and efficiently. The question was why didn’t I learn sooner? And then, what and how soon could I have learned? This is what my manual and video are all about, how to become a good skier in the shortest and most efficient way.
This blogging site is for beginner downhill skiers, people returning to the sport and those wanting to improve their skills.  Highlighted is my free Manual, AlanR Method, Learn to Ski. The manual has 3 sections. The first section is about preparation to start. The middle section is lessons on how to ski. This section includes 6 sequential lessons which are based both on how skis turn and 5 basic skills we needed to learn in order to control skis. The last section is the background of a few of the basics.  

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