Updated: Dec 8, 2019
Beyond ski school? You're on your own, it's a big white world out there!
The prime job of ski school is to introduce non-skiers to skiing. To show them a few rudimentary techniques for steering themselves down a very easy slope. After a few visits most skiers stop going and take to the hills! Too soon and with too little support.
What are your hopes for your skiing? Is it just a bit of annual clowning about and pouring excessive quantities of new liquids down your throat? Nothing wrong with that, and it suits most folk but not everyone. Some, maybe you, would like to pursue a goal of getting really good at skiing.
Perhaps you found ski school didn't teach you as much as you hoped it would. Or thought it had. BE VERY CAREFUL. There is a lot of misunderstanding of how to get to be an expert skier.
Mistake # 1
“Once I get the “basics” behind me I can get on with the proper stuff”
You were never more wrong. You can never put “basics” behind you, and you are better off thinking of them as “fundamentals”.
The World Champion Slalom Skier is a hugely better skier than me, and yet he uses exactly the same fundamentals I do, and even as a well-taught beginner does. He just uses them much better. He is skillful in their use. Don't try to put them behind you – you can't. Instead, work to doing them well.
You can find many of them on the Bobski Youtube channel
“I'll be able to learn by watching other skiers”
Well you might learn something about how they ski, but only if you are a fully trained coach who's prime function is to watch skiers. You will not be able to improve your own skiing, and you are very likely indeed to jump to some false conclusions. You cannot become expert at a physical craft by watching. This is because what you see is the outcome of what the expert is doing. It is not the essence of it. Watch a really top-notch skier and the arcs appear to happen by magic.
You could watch Roger Federer play tennis, Tiger Woods play golf, Ashkenazy play the piano, or Lewis Hamilton drive an F1 car. You could do this all day, every day, and you would make no progress whatever toward becoming an expert. Or in the case of skiing even an advanced skier.
The key take-away is that you need to understand. Ski school probably didn't tell you, and watching other skiers won't either. There's more on this in my book Ski in Control which you can purchase from Amazon.
Mistake # 3
“You just need to get the miles in”
Developing as a skier means you need to continually change. That means you need to learn what to change and what to change it to. Getting the miles in won't do that for you.
But – I hear you protest – practice makes perfect. No it doesn't; practice makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect. You came out of ski school with just a few very basic and insufficiently practised techniques suitable for very easy pistes.
Take those onto more difficult terrain, or let someone else persuade you to go there with them and you will come unstuck. You will likely get frightened. You will be out of your depth. You may spoil what could otherwise be a superb holiday.
What is worse is that your instinctive reactions to those situations will instantly instill poor skiing habits you will later have to fight like Hell to get rid of. “If you always do what you've always done (up to that point) you will always get what you have always got”.
Uncover the right learning process
Are you a person who wants to be the best you can be? If you follow the right course you can do that; you can become a first rate skier. It isn't easy, it will probably not be quick, but it is perfectly possible, no matter your age or gender.
One major difficulty is finding the right process once you leave ski school. The key to it is building the right foundations and learning how to understand it. My books, my YouTube channel, and my personalised skiing courses all address these issues. Take a look for yourself.