6 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Skiing

by Wagner Skis / Aug 18, 2023

Like golf, skiing is one of those sports that is difficult to get good at if you learn it later in life.

Because the taller we grow, the farther we are from the ground and the more it hurts to fall. Also, our maturing brain questions whether strapping two boards on your feet and pointing them down a steep snowy slope is actually a good idea. Finally, the fundamental coordination required needs to be so ingrained in your brain that it is automatic for expert level skiing, which takes a long time.

Katy killing it.
Former Wagner employee Katy Kirkpatrick laying down some impressive turns. She's been skiing since she was 3 years old.

So, unless you were lucky enough to start skiing as soon as you could walk, chances are you’re constantly looking to improve. Taking lessons is always a good idea, but there are also some simple things you can do off the slopes to help you get better. Most of them are related to physical fitness, but some are mental exercises you can do from your couch.

1. Lunges.
We know, they hurt muscles you never even knew you had, but these are key to building strength where you need it most on the slopes. You can start slowly with just your body weight and build up to carrying weights while you do them. As always, be sure to keep your front knee over your ankle to avoid injury. 

Good lunges
Holy cow, there are some photos of bad lunges out there. This is a good lunge.

2. Plyometrics.
These are exercises that use speed and force to build muscle and power. Good skiing requires both—and these exercises mimic the movements you’ll need to execute on the hill. Things like box jumps, single leg hops, and burpees are key.

3. Cycling.
Biking of any kind—road, mountain, gravel, stationary—strengthens the same muscles you use on the hill. It’s good for your knees, too. We recommend a combination of road biking for stamina and mountain biking for explosive power. Mountain biking also has the benefit of mental exercise, as picking your line through a rock garden and looking down the trail for the next swooping turn is very similar to what you need to do while skiing.

Mountain biking
Yeah, we really do love biking in the summer.

4. Watch videos of good skiers.
This is an easy yet extremely effective tool. When you watch good skiers, you connect with them in a way that makes you feel as if you are in their boots. It helps you familiarize with the skills needed to charge through steep trees, carve on groomed, or zip down bumps.

5. Balance training.
Balance is incredibly important to good skiing. It helps you adapt to a changing environment, which, from the snow conditions to terrain to visibility, happens constantly on the slopes. The more finely tuned your body is to react, the better you’ll be able to ski. Try just standing on one foot on a balance pad or Bosu ball, and then up the ante by turning your head side to side or up and down or even closing your eyes. This will build stabilizer muscles that will help keep you centered on your skis.

Balance training
Bosu training is very effective, but you could balance on practically anything and still see vast improvement.

6. Visualization.
Mental imagery is one of the most powerful ways you can improve your skiing, which is why all the World Cup athletes do it before every race. Close your eyes and imagine the best run—or even a few turns—you’ve ever skied. Picture going down the hill, and try to really feel it. This not only helps train your brain, but research shows it can also activate your muscles, too.

If you commit to doing these things at least a few times a week, you’ll be surprised at how much it helps you on the slopes. Happy training! 

Want more training tips? We have TONS. Click here.


Article by Kimberly Beekman

Kimberly Beekman is the former editor-in-chief of the late, great Skiing Magazine (RIP), and a longtime editor of SKI Magazine before that. She currently uses the title of “freelancer” as a beard to ski powder all over the world. She lives in Steamboat, Colorado, with her wonderful daughter and terrible cat.

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