Chalky White's Skiing Blog
Professional Advice, Tips & Tricks
Accurate and proven skiing tips from professional ski instructor Chalky White, author of the acclaimed #1 bestseller “The 7 Secrets of Skiing”.
KASHMIR FUNDRAISER - The "For All" Snow Sports School
Kashmir? And I’m not talking about the wool. No, I’m talking about a ski resort nestling in the world’s highest mountain range. It is India’s Himalayan Kashmir ski resort of Gulmarg. Gulmarg, at 2,650 meters (8,694 feet) has the highest base station of all ski resorts in India, with a top station at almost 14,000 feet.
I’m scheduled to travel to Gulmarg in late January 2018. Why? My primary purpose is to help the poorer people of India, those that under normal circumstances cannot afford the fun of skiing - to do just that. How will I succeed in that quest? There’s an organization in Gulmarg, especially set up to help poorer people to get into or continue in yours and my great sport of alpine skiing – it is, The "For All" Snow Sports School. Gladly, I have volunteered 10 days of my time and experience, primarily, to further train the "For All" ski instructors – coach them to advance their abilities in helping their financially strapped students to have an even better time and improve skiing abilities more rapidly than perhaps they otherwise would. Knowing how financially tough it was personally for me to get into skiing and ultimately become a professional, my wish is to ease the burden on others; others that may possibly become champions or valuable other skiing professionals. Ultimately, the knock-on effects of my work and the staff members of The "For All" Snow Sports School could be future employment opportunities for those fortunate enough to have been either introduced to skiing by that not-for-profit school (in the case of the poorer people) or be further coached by members of the school.
But please, for me to carry out my quest, I need to ask for your help on a couple of scores:
1. As already alluded to, I have volunteered, for zero pay, 10 days of my time to coach the "For All" coaching staff. But the school cannot afford to pay for me to get from North America to India and back. So, I’m asking you, my clients, readers and supporters for, as generous as possible, help. That help would be a donation toward my travel expenses for my round trip to Kashmir, India. Other expenses including my accommodation and ski lift pass while in Gulmarg have already been taken care of locally in Kashmir.
2. Plus key items that "For All" are always short of are basic necessities - skis and boots. Christy Sports of Colorado and Utah have donated 30 pairs of skis/bindings and 45 pairs of ski boots. I’m sure you’ll agree, that is a most generous contribution toward the overall effort of making sure that The "For All" Snow Sports School is successful and continues to be so. Therefore, part of any donation, large or small, that you make will go toward the shipping of that equipment from the United States to Gulmarg, Kashmir, India.
My trip in January to Gulmarg ski resort, Kashmir, India is dependent on my raising enough funds for my round trip and ancillary expenses. Hopefully, it will not be the case as it is sorely needed, but if insufficient funds are raised to get the donated equipment to Kashmir too, my trip can still go ahead provided I have enough in hand to pay for my round trip to train the said ski school’s coaching staff.
Having thoroughly researched it, my estimate is that U.S.$4,000 will cover all costs mentioned. Any remaining funds, after all of the mentioned expenses have been covered, will be donated to The "For All" Snow Sports School. Why? The school will surely need funds for future purchases – for example for other equipment that could include warm ski clothing and safety helmets for their poorer students.
For deposits of donated funds, I have opened a bank account for which I am the sole signatory. Donations can be made in two ways:
- By PayPal to email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or
- For U.S. residents, by personal check made out to me B. White.
Send to B. White, P.O. Box 6853, Avon, CO 81620.
For any required further information my email: ChalkyGo@gmail.com, Cell: +1-970-390-6267
As I’m sure you can imagine, having spent the vast majority of my working life as a ski instructor and having been supported generously by so many of my clients down the past 40 years - the cause discussed here - I hold dear. I feel this is a time to give back, but in this instance I do need your help to do it. The lucky - not so well off students in India - The "For All" Snow Sports School staff and yours truly will be most grateful for any amount that you might be kind enough to donate.
My promise to you all: I will go to Gulmarg, Kashmir and give a hundred per cent to make sure that the coaching staff receive the best training that I can offer – most training will be based on the premise of my #1 best selling instruction book, The 7 Secrets of Skiing.
I thank you all in anticipation of your generosity and literally any donation to a cause that, again, is so close to my heart. Take care but not too much!
Europe or North America! – The Skier’s Coin Toss?
My career of 40 years plus as skier and instructor has been an almost even split – 20/20; half spent in Europe, half in the United States. Which do I like best? Hmm! Always a coin toss - I still don’t know; that’s a wonderful thing because my great affair with the mountains, wherever they are, goes on and my love for them all never diminishes. But, there is a range of mountains that for me beats all, even though there is little alpine skiing in them served by lifts; they are the biggest and grandest, the Himalayas of Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) and K2 fame and legend. Even though I’ve only been trekking around ‘the roof of the world’, when I think of that experience I’m still in awe of standing at thirteen or fourteen thousand feet craning my neck to look up and see the peaks of Everest’s siblings, breathtakingly, towering another thirteen or fourteen thousand feet above. If you’ve never been, go! The Himalayas are ‘a must visit’ for any mountain lover, a very different experience and, vitally, the generally not so well off local people desperately need your financial support.
But I badly digress. North America or Europe for skiing? I’m often asked where do I prefer to ski? Always ‘on the fence’ my general answer is, “If you are a European you should ski in the States/Canada at least once and if you’re a North American, at least once, definitely vice versa.” What are some compelling reasons for my constant repetition of that statement?
I have this definition of skiing utopia: “If you put western American/Canadian snow on French ski slopes and you add Austrian atmosphere to the mix, you might be approaching skiing perfection.” You see, for slope length, the French probably have it; for example, where I lived for eight wonderful seasons – Le Pre/Villaroger a little satellite village of the vast (approx. 200 ski lifts) Les Arcs/Le Plagne ski area boasted 7,000 vertical feet of skiing down one run, about nine miles; you read that correctly, nine miles long with a bar half way down and another right at the end of it. Talk about a leg burner! “Two large beers please!” Incredibly, the Grand Monte in Chamonix, home of the very first winter Olympics, has an even bigger 9,000 feet of vertical. Add that to the variety of terrain found in Europe, meaning slope steepness and slope/gulley width variation (if you’re a strong skier) and it makes the skiing forever interesting and nothing short of exciting. Please note, contrary to some American hype the slopes are just as well marked as in the U.S with mellower skiing as and when you want it. Then there’s the western States (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana Idaho, New Mexico)/Canadian snow; few places can compete with the champagne powder that regularly adorns the slopes there; Europe doesn’t get that so much. Plus, the wonderful regularity of the not so much in one dump as in Europe snowfalls that get you skiing virgin powder, sometimes day after day after day. Any skier would love that. But, many U.S. resorts tend to lack the atmosphere of, particularly, their Austrian counterparts. Austria is one big skiing party. Why? Many American resorts are owned by big ski companies, so they usually own most or all of the ‘up on the hill’ restaurants/bars – no competition and less enthusiastic management/staff, sterile atmosphere. Not in Austria! Austrian ‘up mountain’ restaurants are owned and run by individual proprietors. The result? Restaurants compete! They try to outdo each other. That creates the best atmosphere, food and service. One can walk into these ‘holes in the wall’ to be greeted with a shot of schnapps and a traditionally dressed musician playing a squeezebox as you are ushered to a beautifully dressed table; it just makes you feel that they really care. The ‘nice problem’ is it’s all too easy to eat, drink and make merry as the rest of the ski day melds into early evening and perhaps a less than steady let’s say, slide down the mountain. Certainly, in Europe, attention to safety seems less apparent; if you are willing to be a little more gung-ho then European skiing, Austria in particular, might be the place for you. Austria still offers great skiing and as an old pal says, “There’s nothing like fun for having fun!”
So the coin toss goes on; I love them all as all offer something different. French hills for slope length and variation, Western North American resorts for snow quality and, in particular, Austria for atmosphere and constant party time with some great skiing too. But, for little or no commercial skiing but great spectacle the awesome Himalayas (We can go heli-skiing there though!). That’s the great thing about our wonderful sport, just as no two ski turns are the same so no two ski resorts or ski countries are either. I encourage you to not keep on doing the same old same old: there’s a big ski world out there, so get out there and ski as many different places as you possible can. No doubt, variety is the spice of a skier’s life. Just do it! Wait a minute, I’ve heard that somewhere before. Hmm!
Through my operation, Ski the World with Chalky White, you and I can ski them all; always resort choice is yours! My specialty is taking skiers like you, whether from intermediate to advanced or advanced to really advanced, by helping you to adopt or continue applying my proven The 7 Secrets of Skiing system. Modestly, I can report that clients have said of me, “Chalky is one of the world’s best ski instructors.” I’ll take that accolade but still strive to continually improve my own coaching performance. Give me a call or send me an email, and remember... Take care but, not too much! Let’s ski – Anywhere you want!
I'd Rather Sweat Than Freeze – Every time!
“It's so warm down here. I'm going to take a couple of layers off and leave them in the hotel!” – DON’T do it! In my many years of teaching ski technique how many times have I heard similar words? From way back, bitter uncomfortable personal experiences have told me not to do what I want to do, but to do what I now know to be the wisest thing. Every time, I’d much rather ‘sweat than freeze’. Better surely to be able to take a garment off and stuff it in a pocket than to possibly be a long skiing distance from your accommodation and have nothing more to put on to resist plummeting mountain temperatures. Boy can they plummet!
Invariably, it’s always colder further up the mountain and at the summit than at the base.
Mountainous regions will always be spectacularly beautiful, fascinating and…. totally unpredictable. Possibilities are that in a few short minutes out of a clear blue sky visibility diminishes as clouds sock in and temperatures drop like a rock. Never, ever trust mountain weather. Be prepared!
- Always wear enough clothes; enough that you’re sufficiently protected from the unexpected. If you don’t want to wear it, at least have it with you.
- Most important of all! Do everything possible to never let your body temperature drop. (Before I learned much of all this information I once under-dressed on a ski day in the French Alps. I became hypothermic. Never go there! Definitely the worst feeling I’ve ever had when skiing; it’s no exaggeration to report that I thought it was the end of me. In fact for a short time, I thought that death might be preferable). Avoid at all costs!
- Hands? Remember, fingerless mittens are warmer than gloves (I wear them all the time).
- Carry a second pair, especially if you think it will be wet or humid. Damp hand wear quickly leads to cold hands and misery.
- Headgear? Apart from the safety aspect, helmets are generally warmer than hats.
- Socks? One pair of thinner socks works better than two or one thick pair (plus, one thin pair allows greater sensitivity and feel inside the technically built, insulated, ski boots you paid plenty for).
- Heaters? Always I’ve suffered cold feet. When it’s really cold I use battery operated ski boot heaters.
- Boot Gloves? Neoprene over the boot gloves are a great and cheaper option.
- When it’s bitterly cold I employ both the heaters and the boot gloves.
- Never Suffer! As my old pal and mentor John Pickett used to say, “Chalky, any idiot can suffer!” So don’t, because you don’t have to. Actually, John’s words were far less polite than that.
- I still don’t enjoy skiing in really cold temperatures. I do it because I’m a pro that works with short stay paying customers; they have little time to waste so some will ski no matter what the weather throws at them.
- If I’m cold, so are you! But, usually, if I’m cold I know that my clients are too. Experienced pros know what to wear, whereas many recreational skiers don’t.
- Go inside! They’d love to sell you hot chocolate! When it’s uncomfortably cold, why not ski a run or two, not allowing yourself to get very cold, go inside for ten minutes, have a hot drink even if you don’t want one, ski another half an hour and keep repeating that routine. Skiing is supposed to be fun right? When you’re cold it’s not!
- Masks and Gators? BEWARE FROST NIP! Frostbite that is. Protect your face with some kind of mask; neoprene models with breathing holes work even though you might look like something out of a scary horror movie.
- Or wear a neck-gator, my preference, that can be pulled up over nose and cheeks.
How do you know when someone is suffering frost nip?
- Early signs of frostbite are white patches that appear on skiers’ cheeks and end of nose.
- Ears are another possible place but should already be protected by a helmet.
- When you see those signs get the sufferer to IMMEDIATELY place a gloved hand over the affected area.
- If it’s a child, possibly an adult should place their hand over the ‘nipped’ area.
- White patches? They mean that blood can no longer reach the affected area and, effectively, that patch is in the process of dying; getting the person to a warm place usually gets vital blood going again.
- However, once a person has been so affected, that part of the body will always tend to be prone to frost nip.
- The answer? To prevent frost nip, on colder days, cover the whole face from the ski day’s beginning.
- Goggles? They offer far greater protection than sunglasses.
- Enclosed ski lifts? Use cable cars and gondolas whenever possible; try to avoid exposure to the elements on chair and old-fashioned drag lifts.
Outerwear? I tend to wear a thinner jacket with a hood that I know will fit over a helmet for extra weather resistance on chairlifts. A thinner jacket allows you to layer accordingly underneath. I tend to vary little with my layering and tend to dress on the heavier side always working on the premise of “Sweat rather than freeze!”
Underwear? Merino wool is perhaps the best material to wear next to your skin for upper body and long-john.
The bottom line: My advice will always be for you to tend toward “I’d rather sweat than freeze!” Wear more layers than you think you’ll need. After all, in the inimitable words of my old pal, “Anyone can suffer!” So don’t!
Ski with me! On my ‘Ski the World’ program – Anywhere, any resort!
- You name the resort and we’ll go there.
- If you want a coach that ALWAYS helps improve client performance I’m your man! (Read commendations here at www.The7secretsOfskiing.com)
- If you want an, always, fun companion, I’m your man!
- If you want someone to arrange your trip for you, I’m your man!
- If you want any help or advice regarding skiing, the long experienced one here is definitely your man!
IMAGINE…Then Let’s Do It!
From right out of this...
You can! Where? From the luxurious W Hotel in Santiago, Chile. The W is literally the only capital city hotel in the world where it’s possible to go heli-skiing right from the rooftop helipad to virgin mountain snow. Then at the end of each heli-skiing day be dropped off back at the W to enjoy your first cocktail in the W’s heated pool. Even as the most demanding of skiers, that’s possibly as amazing as it gets! For most skiers such a trip is a dream. But, it doesn’t have to remain that way. No! Your dream can come true, even if you say, “I can’t ski powder” or “I’m not very good at it”. How?
That’s my job! Helped by my coaching, usually rapidly, you learn and develop powder skiing skills. That occurs by utilising my 7 Secrets of Skiing system (my #1 book). One that leads skiers to learn and continually hone, virtually, any skiing skill there is. Yes, I go with you on your out of Capital city hotel heli-ski trip; all of the time I’m there to mentor and encourage you. Plus we don’t have to dive right into the powder. Before any heli-skiing, if need be, I will coach you and your companions in powder skiing fundamentals right in the close by resort of Valle Nevado also accessible by helicopter; it has a great lift system. All of this is classic ‘Ski the World with (me) Chalky White’ stuff which you can read all about right on this website. The South American ski season runs June through September.
Naturally there are many other mouth-watering heli—or other—skiing trips on offer worldwide through my ‘Ski the World’ programme. This includes the classic European Alps, the U.S. and Canadian Rockies, and Japan—another real mecca for you powder hounds. Remember, I’m renowned for helping skiers to rapidly improve their performance. Let’s go to any resort of your choice, together! It’s a truism that
The day you don’t ski is a day that you never will!.
Meantime, first imagine heli-skiing right out of the W Hotel only to return elated at ski day’s end, jump in the pool and savour that first cocktail with your friends as you relate the events of those pristine powder slopes. So, no more dreaming, let’s do it!
Chalky White is a sought-after skiing problem solver and author of the #1 bestseller, "The 7 Secrets of Skiing". Regarded highly as "one of the world’s best ski instructors" he operates ‘Ski the World with Chalky White’. Fun-loving Chalky specializes in overcoming previous "disappointments". Ski with Chalky. Your performance will build strength on top of strength.
"One of the world's best ski instructors."
- Howard Lutnick, Chairman and CEO, Cantor Fitzgerald
“But You Turned in Front of Me!” Ludicrous!
The first part of this blog concerns something that one would hope shouldn’t be necessary to write about. You see, I’m still suffering the pain and ill effects of being, when skiing, hit from behind almost six weeks ago. Only twice in the past thirty plus years have I been forcibly prevented from skiing; both times as a result of other ski slope users hitting me. Plus in the interim, far too many times, I’ve had close ‘shaves’ when ignorant of the etiquette snow-sports enthusiasts have narrowly missed ploughing into my back or brushed my clothing while passing from behind.
I use the word “ignorant” because far too many are unenlightened with regard to the rules or are simply disrespectful of their fellow ski slope users. It amazes me how many times when reminded of the safety code both skiers and snowboarders will blurt, “But you turned in front of me!” Turned in front of me! How ludicrous! That’s what both disciplines of descending the world’s ski slopes are about: turning. Turning is the basic art of both snowboarding and skiing! A friendly reminder to all, whether we slide down hill on one or two planks, no matter how a skier/snowboarder is operating further down, if you are approaching from above, it is your job to make every effort possible to avoid a collision. No argument, no question about it, if there is a collision and you hit another slope user lower down the hill, IT IS YOUR FAULT!
As we become more adept skiers or boarders a natural progression is to travel faster down the slopes. But—and that’s a big BUT—with speed comes much greater responsibility. You see, not everyone wants to go faster. Plus, not everyone has the ability to go faster. Then there are professionals like me who are obliged to ski at slower speeds when working with clients and students; that means that those pros too are at the mercy of those travelling down the slopes from above. Plus, those slower slope descenders are not supposed to—and don’t—have eyes in the backs of their heads. Which doesn’t mean when setting off down the hill after a stop one shouldn’t check behind, uphill before setting off again; that’s obligatory too. But, even if someone neglects to do that, those approaching from above should take a wide enough berth to allow for such errors and memory lapses i.e. leave the greatest margin for error possible.
The bottom line is this:
- The biggest ‘crime’ in skiing or snowboarding is to hit someone below you that is using the same slope. This may sound melodramatic but it isn’t; it is a very serious business. Slope users can and do take legal action against those that cause collisions. Remember, in the most extreme cases, collisions can and do result in death or permanent maiming of one, both or more parties involved. Also in the case of professionals in similar situations to myself, injury can result in the forced termination of a career with zero prospects left for making a living from that career. I am a fairly large, strong and fit individual that still, several weeks on, is feeling the effects of a collision; had I been a slighter built person or a child I believe the injury may have been far more serious.
- Remember, if you are the uphill slope user, 100% no less, it is your responsibility to avoid collisions with those operating further down the slope. When you first see slower skiers/boarders below, your first thought should be to get and pass as far away from them as possible. Plus, even more importantly, especially if the slope is narrow, RADICALLY SLOW DOWN, BE ULTRA PATIENT, THEN PASS WHEN THERE IS SUFFICIENT SPACE TO DO SO, NOT UNTIL! GIVING SPACE TO OTHER SLOPE USERS IS ABSOLUTELY KEY TO SAFER SPORT; THE VAST MAJORITY OF COLLISIONS ARE AVOIDABLE!
We should all, without exception, bear the following in mind, just as we should when driving vehicles on public roads: skiing on slopes supplied for recreational skiing and snowboarding, is a privilege not a right. That being the case, the ski slopes are not meant to be a racetrack. Just as driving a car fast on a public road is probably safe when circumstances lend themselves to doing so, skiing or boarding is no different. No slope user, whatever their level of competence, has any more rights than another.
Finally on this tetchy subject, the most used fundamental skill of skiing or snowboarding is turning to control speed; therefore, none of us should ever blame another for doing so. Plus, I’ve always found, there’s much more fun to be had in making great turns than going in straight lines; straight-lining doesn’t make one a good boarder or skier. After all, ski races tend to be won by the best turners, even in downhill, not by the one that’s the most nuts!
To finish on a more positive note, recently I’ve mostly worked with intermediate skiers. Just like everyone that I teach for the first time, all of them skied out of balance through one cause or another. As I always do, I worked mainly on helping those intermediates to more efficiently and athletically stand on their skis. Without exception, all of them soon improved their all-around balance skills. The knock-on effect was, all immediately improved their turning and so other skiing skills. Remember, when a skier of Olympic calibre further develops athletic stance skills, a higher level of all-around performance surely follows. The level of athlete matters not, similar results follow when stance and balance skills improve no matter who the skier is. When any of us inevitably makes errors or is forced off balance when skiing, it is nearly always because, as result, our athletic stance goes awry; rectify that stance issue, balance can once again be accurately employed, thus allowing the possibility of greater competence in all other skiing skills. Athletic stance is King! (Or Queen). Learn much more about athletic stance and every other skill that emanates from that most regal of skiing skills in my #1 bestseller, "The 7 Secrets of Skiing". It can be purchased right here on this website.
‘Til the next time! Take care, but not too much! (unless, critically, you are approaching other slope users!)
You Might Have Enough!
Most skiers when they are told by a ski instructor to exert most of the pressure on the foot that's on the outside of the turning arc probably rarely understand the point of doing that. Sometimes, I'm sure, a reason can be that the instructor doesn't understand the reason for doing that either. For those possibly confused by this concept, the reason is simple. It is so because unconsciously exerting pressure on the outside foot is something that we do many times during the course of the day as we walk around, mostly taking our balance for granted.
For example, when walking every time any of us humans changes direction or walks around a corner, physics dictates that we must walk around with the vast majority of the pressure on the foot that is on the outside of our walked turns or changes of direction. Simply, if most of the pressure is exerted on the foot on the inside of the walked change of direction, the walker will begin to fall, will over-balance toward the inside of the walked arc. Right now, give that a go! Wherever you are, try walking around a semicircle to your left primarily standing on the inside or left foot. How awkward does that feel? Try that a few times and even try in the opposite direction by primarily standing on your right foot to walk around a semicircle to the right; it doesn't work does it? Now change. Go to the left but stand primarily on your right foot and walk around an arc or complete circle; you can comfortably do that all day, though you might get dizzy! As you do it, gradually shift the pressure to your left or inside foot and feel your balance diminish; change the pressure back to the outside, to your right foot, and feel the re-establishment of your lateral balance.
If you haven't already realized, the physics of walking around a corner, running around a corner and skiing around the corner (a turn) dictates that if you are to, more or less, fully retain lateral balance then the vast majority of pressure, if not all of the pressure, must be exerted through the outside foot of a turning arc. As my old friend and twice British slalom champion Dennis Edwards said to me years ago, “If you get all the pressure on the outside turning foot/ski, you might have enough!” He was correct then and he still is! In other words, balance and pressure over the outside foot when turning, rules. The only difference between walking and running around a turn or corner is, when skiing, you are sliding on the snow rather than placing one foot in front of the other.
A school of thought in latter years skis, especially since the advent of the modern crop that tend to have a more exaggerated side cut and are generally torsionally more rigid (more difficult to twist, so assisting ski to snow grip), is that it is a good thing to also exert pressure on the inside foot and ski of a turn. Of course one can sometimes do that to get the inside ski of a turn to carve, and the forces created by greater speeds can allow that to happen, but physics still dictates that one must, if full control is to be retained, primarily pressure the outside turning foot and ski. When a skier fully concentrates, along with fore and aft balance controls, on exerting the vast majority of pressure toward the outside of the turn then most of the time a large degree of control will be maintained and such control offers a consistent opportunity to continue technical skiing improvements. Skiing is—I repeat—is fundamentally a one legged sport; right leg to turn left, left leg to turn to the right.
Naturally, factors of terrain, and weather changes that affect the skier psyche, plus losses of balance will cause loss of control. But, that's when the challenge of skiing, the fun, the fight begins; the constant fight to re-establish balance over that all vital outside turning foot and ski. All of that said, in a nutshell, the following definition from Secret 3 of my #1 best-selling book, "The 7 Secrets of Skiing", concisely sums it up:
The Goal of lateral balance is to allow a skier to consistently exert pressure through the centre of the inside edge of the outside of turning arc ski. It must be stressed that achieving this goal can only, consistently, occur with the presence of very efficient fore and aft balance (Secret 2) that develops from functional athletic stance (Secret 1). Those skills combined with accurate lateral balance are the platform that allows all-around skier balance and ski turning capabilities (and continued skier development).
Equipment will change, techniques will develop but in a hundred years time the definition above will have stood the test of time. Why? We may want them to change, but the laws of proven physics will never change. Remember, “If you get all the pressure on the outside foot of a turning arc you might have enough!” ‘Til next time. I hope to ski with you on my ‘Ski the World with Chalky White’ program: You choose the place, together we ski there! Take care, but not too much!
I write this in incredible Les Arcs, France as I continue skiing with Mark Simpson; Mark is a most determined to become, as he colourfully puts it, “Proper Skier!” He is with me on my ‘Ski the World with Chalky White’ programme. And, a “Proper Skier” he is fast developing into as he, sponge-like, absorbs information and daily blossoms a little more while gladly putting into massive action just enough information that he can systematically process, whilst on the move.
Right from the beginning of Mark’s current six days of skiing with me, to say the least, he has been subjected to having to ski in all kinds of alpine weather and snow conditions varying between light powder to, sometimes, heavy cement-like un-groomed snow. He has admirably not just ‘survived’ skiing those conditions but skied them efficiently and, it would be accurate to state, has had more fun skiing them than he has ever done when skiing far more mellow snow and terrain. As a result, I predict that the intrepid Mr. Simpson will now be a lifelong skier and student of our wonderful sport.
Mark’s whole learning and skier development experience with me has been based on what happens when first, a rock-like athletic stance continues to be established, thus allowing balance skills that emanate from that ‘Rock’ to inevitably and continually develop. Below is a table that contrasts what occurs when, as Mark is now consistently doing, constantly develop balance skills and, in stark contrast, what occurs with at least 95% of skiers that don’t pay enough or no attention to developing the all-vital skills of athletic stance development and the all-around balance abilities that continue to ‘blossom’ from that foundational ‘Rock’.
|IN BALANCE||OUT OF BALANCE|
|Can alleviate much fear||Has diminished control - creates fear|
|Skis with skill||Relies on skis/boots to stay upright|
|Can continue to develop||Has limited potential to progress|
|Can accurately use equipment/body||Limits effectiveness of tools/body|
|Uses minimal energy||Uses excessive energy|
|Can ski all day||Often/usually quits early|
|Recovers balance efficiently||Constant imbalance = no recovery|
|Can control pressure on skis||Inability to pressure whole ski|
|Ease of edge control||Can’t utilise edges to full potential|
|Ability to turn powerfully||Skiing dynamically is tough|
|Ease of subtle action||Small adjustments are difficult|
|Potential dominance of terrain/snow||Skier dominated by terrain/snow|
|Skier confidence continues to rise||Little potential for confidence to rise|
|Usually becomes a lifelong enthusiast||Frustration creates loss of interest|
|Often willing to ski tougher terrain||Rarely gets beyond easier terrain|
continual progress = MORE FUN!
|Limited balance development
minimal progress = fearful
Many, of course, believe that they already ski ‘balanced’. But too many are deluded. As a result, they prevent themselves from being forceful, deftly controlled skiers, as my friend Mark is now becoming. The unfortunate fact is that so many more should be enjoying the experiences of those that adopt the mantras of the above left-hand list.
I suggest you look good and hard before employing a, supposed, expert to help your skiing cause. You see, from my endless travels on the chairlifts of many ski resorts, unfortunately I see too many, inaccurately demonstrating, out of balance themselves, instructors leading groups of unknowing skiers. Those skiers naturally try to emulate the actions of the so-called ‘expert’ model that leads them. Understandably they usually have great faith in the information that is being fed to them; all too often that information is, at best, inaccurate and will not help the cause of any skier aspiring to be the best that he or she can be. It’s why Mark Simpson as he puts it, “suffered through” about 15 ski instructors before he discovered yours truly.
Make your ski coaching choice wisely. Find out before employing “Does this ski instructor teach set-up, and how to utilise athletic stance, and the ever-developing balance skills that emanate from that stance?” If you find that he or she doesn’t, move on until you find one that does. If after a time you discover that your instructor ceases to discuss stance and balance issues, move on again. As I’m sure by now you realise, stance and balance will be in someway touched upon in just about every coaching issue that you would be subjected to by me.
I hope you are intrigued! I hope you now want to know more! Contact me as at the top of the page.
Stance and balance rule. They always will. They are everything!
Take care but…Not too Much!
KNOWLEDGE + ACTION = CONTINUED PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT = MORE FUN!
My blogs this 2015/16 season will often be in the form of extracts from my #1 bestselling book, '"The 7 Secrets of Skiing!"' Why! Because physics doesn’t lie - it’s tough to argue against. As the whole book is based on sound physics, you can rely on the fundamental fact that the information you read in these blogs and in the book itself is sound and will, if you take consistent accurate action, lead you to consistent enhancement, whatever your current level of skill, of skier confidence, competence on varied terrain and what most ski for – Fun, Fun and More Fun!
Are my 7 secrets really so? Not in the true sense of the word. More specifically, the one true secret, if there is one, is in the basic order in which yours truly presents the ‘secrets’ or steps to the developing skier (Any instructor/coach worth his or her salt should be operating in a similar way). Then, there’s the most vital factor/secret of all: The power of balance! Literally, dynamic balance, the ability to lose and regain balance consistently, could be construed as, “everything” when it comes to a sport like skiing. Unfortunately, the vast majority either grossly neglects or, more importantly, has never been truly coached in the skills of dynamic balance.
In my opinion, the general skiing public could and should be at a far higher level of skiing competence than currently exists; that means so called experts too. Thinking, teaching professionals, plus skiers systematically helping themselves, can and do, help this situation to change dramatically. I know, because I prove it each day that I teach on the ski-mountains of the world. In a nutshell, what I advocate works. Should a developing skier immediately put into practice what I ask them to do, he or she will experience first-time positive results. From my last comments, perhaps, you realise that I am extremely confident that the information I supply is consistently accurate. You are dead right! In my opinion, the skiing public deserves the opportunity to enjoy their skiing far more than they do. Again, competence brings greater enjoyment. Skiers who learn to be efficiently poised and balanced when adopting an athletic stance, can and will largely bring about that happy situation.
So, what happens to skiers when they do or when they don’t, develop sound athletic stance and balance skills? In the next blog I’ll explain why, then outline the fundamentals of how you can become Queen or King of your favourite ski hills. If you want to jump the gun a little and buy my book (Of course, if you decide to ski with me you’ll receive a complimentary copy, on me!) you can either click on the book button at the top of this page or buy the Kindle version on Amazon.com. Until next time, take care but….Not Too Much!
In lots of places it might still be a bit early to have snow to slide around on but, it's not too early or too late to start preparing for the upcoming season; that prep should include some meaningful reading, to get the skiing juices flowing. First and most key is physical body conditioning? If you base most of that work around a squatting action of the legs while at the same time lifting a little weight above the head, then you pretty much cover the bases with regard to early-season fitness; that conditioning should improve if you are lucky enough to be able to ski on a regular basis all the way through the season. Of course if you're a skier that can only ski one or two weeks a year then you would be advised to train three or four times a week for a month or so leading up to your trip. Of course, if you have a regular fitness regimen that you practice throughout the year, you should be fine when you eventually hit the slopes.
In tandem with your fitness work start thinking about getting your equipment up to scratch. Most important of all, get your bindings checked by an experienced pro in a ski shop. Then be sure that your boots are not too worn at toes and heels, thereby possibly compromising binding release and boot retention efficiency. Skis? There is now a lot of competition between ski shops for customers. A big earner for them is ski rental. As a result the better rental shops replace their fleet of rental skis every season. Great for you, as you're almost guaranteed to get hardly used skis. Ski poles? Experience of going into ski shops with my clients tells me that most poles issued as rentals are way too short. Whether you are buying or renting, the most accurate way to measure pole length is by standing in street shoes or socks; be sure that the distance from floor to the bottom of the breastbone is covered by the length of the pole; if not they are too short unless you you are to do acrobatics in a terrain park.
In this day and age I've become an advocate for wearing a helmet. The number one reason is, apart from the obvious skull protection, generally helmets are warmer than woolly hats and they tend to help keep goggles efficiently placed. Talking of goggles, for the serious skier they make the most sense; personally when traveling at speed I hate it when my eyes water thus impairing my vision. Also, this might just be me, but I find trying to wear sunglasses to be uncomfortable as they are painfully forced onto one's temples by a well fitting helmet. With regard to the amount of clothing to wear, my philosophy is that I'd always rather sweat than freeze. You can always take a layer off and stuff it into a pocket but you can't put on what you don't have with you. Through bitter experience, I learned that, years ago.
Lastly, read as much as you can about ski technique. But beware! Magazines and some books can educate you a lot but all too often information supplied can lead you advertently into undesirable directions. Choose reading matter carefully. Especially for early-season preparation and first outings onto the ski hill you always want to go right back to basics. Basics means set up and recovery of efficient athletic stance. Remember, the most fundamental reason why 95% plus of skiers never make any meaningful improvement in skiing performance is inefficiency of athletic stance skills, along with the balance that emanates from those stance skills; poor stance is the major reason why so few ever progress to true advanced skiing levels. My #1 best-selling ski book, The 7 Secrets all of Skiing, will not only explain why you need that oh so basic but oh so important athletic stance but will explain and help to take you, should you try to be as accurate as possible with your practice, to almost any level of skiing that you wish to attain. Click on the book tab at the top of the page; there you can purchase a PDF copy of my 7 Secrets book right here on this website or click on the Amazon link to purchase a Kindle version. My preference is the PDF as it's laid out exactly the same way as the original printed version.
So there you have it. As the old Scout motto goes, "Be prepared!" When you are you'll be safer, more efficient and have even more fun. 'Til next time. Come ski with me!
Think of Skiing as Balancing on a Moving Platform
Referring to them all as platforms for the sake of this discussion, when travelling forward, imagine the following scenarios:
-You are standing on a moving bus or train or
-You are a passenger in a moving car and you have no backrest and you remove your feet from the car’s floor, hovering them in the air.
-In each case it would be true to say that on either train or bus you would, with regard to any movement, be standing still, balancing on your feet and
-In the car balancing only on your backside; in that scenario too you would also, in essence, be standing still meaning:
-Balancing on a moving platform.
No different are your skis. Gravity pulls them down hill, making them a moving platform(s) just like car, bus or train. Except, you become the operator, the controller; at least that is your hope and expectation. Critically, a controller that must be attempting to retain, adjust and recover balance on these, always wanting to slide, moving platforms.
But now comes the shocker! How many ski by genuinely and consistently utilising that oh so fundamental skill of balance? Not as many as you might think. Maybe only a meagre 5%! The vast majority, 95% or more, of skiers at least think that they balance, but really don’t. I even see racers, they should know better, skiing out of balance to the rear! If all of these skiers are not using balance to stay on their feet, how are they doing so? Most of them are held on their feet by the backs of their boots! As if that’s not enough, the attached to skis bindings that secure boots to skis allow the skier to use the leverage of their ski tails to literally, ‘hold them up’; take those ‘props/crutches’ away and most would fall flat on their backs. Is it any wonder that the average skier tends to tire early in the day, especially when skiing powder and crud? Such dependence on the equipment and dearth of skill causes the necessity to over use the big quadriceps muscles at the top of the legs. Skiing this way is also possibly the major reason why, in the big scheme of things, so few ever develop into confident, adept advanced skiers, let alone expert. A fact – get ready for this - if only 5% at most ski, most of the time, in balance there is an enormous chance that you do not ski in balance either. Plus, even if you do basically ski in balance, the chances are that you could develop those key skills much further.
So, what must a skier do to truly learn to balance on the moving platform(s) we call skis? Plus, as a result of ever continuing to develop balance skills what will happen to a skier’s overall skiing performance?
• Using myself as an example, even after the very many seasons I have spent skiing full time, every season I still eke out some improvement. The primary reason for that continued improvement is my approaching 100% attention to my balance skills – yes, 100%! Balance development gives me power – ever growing power to efficiently perform all of my other skiing skills; in turn, they then improve too. Yes, I am fairly strong but, skiing in balance allows a skier to utilise minimal strength; skill use can be subtler. Are you getting the picture?
• Still heeding advice I was given more than three decades ago, I attempt to prepare for and make each consecutive turn better than the one before. I get that result through concentrating virtually all of my efforts on my all-vital balance skills. Remember too, the more adept is your balance, the more fun you will have.
• As a result of that practice, even when I find myself on challenging terrain or in difficult snow conditions, my confidence abounds as I sense that I will stay on my feet, albeit that the going is tough.
If you continually try to put into practice that advocated here, at whatever level you currently are (even novice level), can your own skiing skills and your own confidence continually rise, just as mine still does? You bet! Of course it’s needed for your self-preservation and prevents you from being too crazy, but you can put the emotion of fear mostly on the ‘back-burner’. Second, those that ski most of time in balance are able to manoeuvre their bodies; more precisely, operate their major leg joints with far greater ease. That in turn allows equipment, namely ski boots, skis and poles to be manipulated efficiently.
The continual development of balance skills is what my ‘7 Secrets of Skiing’ philosophy is about. See the photographs. To the untrained eye the skier’s stance might look different to the way other adept sports enthusiasts set themselves up to perform other skills, but it really isn’t at all; look at the golfer and the tennis player examples, they stand in very much the same way as our skier. In the next blog I will, in some depth, explain how to, first, set up the stance and the balance on a moving platform – your skis, that emanate from that stance! Watch this space.
Two Jewels of the High Alps
Val D’Isere (and Tignes)
A fantastic resort, especially for more advanced SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE clients, for good reason most, the Brits especially, love Val D’Isere. When living in the French Alps I skied that incredible place as often as I could. From almost every standpoint, Val, as a ski resort, is about as good as it gets. As many of those Brits do, it’s possible to catch a sleeper train from London to go there for a long weekend; get off the train early morning (after sleeping or perhaps partying all night) and be skiing by the time the lifts open at around 9a.m. Plus when you add in the fully linked Tignes right next door, you have approaching 100 lifts and more than 170 miles of varied runs. I used to love the bump skiing there and the long cruisers found in Tignes. Val has long been the home of the famous triple Olympic Gold Medal Winner Jean-Claude Killy; I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him free ski in Val – poetry in motion!
Alight almost any lift, it’s a state of the art system, and you’re almost guaranteed to be at the top of some great run; a pet dislike of mine, I’m glad to report there is little wasted time traversing to your next run.
Although prices in Val D’Isere are definitely on the expensive side, that fact doesn’t seem to prevent skiers flocking back there, year after year. The cream will always rise and stay at the top. Besides, nobody has ever tried to claim that alpine skiing is cheap; it never was and probably never will be. For SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE clients, www.The7secretsOfskiing.com, Val and Tignes, along with the below featured St. Anton in Austria, should be close to the top of ‘ski it before I die’ resorts. Again, it will always remain one of my all time favourites. Onto St. Anton.
St. Anton, Austria
St. Anton is ranked in the very top few of alpine ski resorts, I only know of ‘Stanton’, as it is affectionately known by many, because of my advanced/expert pals that have skied there. This is what I’ve found out from them and others. In Austria’s Arlberg, St. Anton is an off piste/back country skiing Mecca. For all of you American readers, the skiing of off piste/back country in Europe is far more accepted than in the USA. During my time coaching in the French alps, for my clients, I ran a back country day every week of the season. But, those days were always led by very highly trained and qualified high alpine guides. The only prudent action to take, even as SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE clients, meaning skiing with yours truly, in the event that you decide to back country/off piste ski, we would ALWAYS be accompanied by one such expert Guide. In any ski resort danger always lurks. That’s expected. But, my philosophy is to minimize risk as far as possible. The guides know the terrain and they are the best judges of snow conditions. Even though I’ve skied with Guides in some pretty gnarly places, I have never felt that my overall safety was threatened. Back to St. Anton. For my advanced/expert SKI THE WORLD clients, off piste opportunities are wonderful to test and further develop your skills in many varied and sometimes difficult snow conditions. If you go to page 169 of my #1 best selling book, "The 7 Secrets of Skiing", there you will find comprehensive information pertaining to the skiing of powder and other challenging snow conditions. Go to: www.The7secretsOfskiing.com.
St. Anton of course is like almost all Austrian Tyrolean towns, it has great atmosphere. Walk into many, up and down, mountain restaurants and bars you will be greeted by a warm musical party atmosphere, as a schnapps shot is shoved into your hand. Austrians are probably the very best at Après ski.
‘Stanton’ is big! Incredibly, it has more than 200 miles of runs/pistes all served by a modern lift network. It’s no more than a couple of hours from three international airports and, just like Val D’Isere having one closeby, St. Anton has its own railroad/railway station.
Val D’Isere has Jean-Claude Killy but, St. Anton had the man, nickname Hans, Johanne Schneider; he is often credited as being the Father of alpine skiing and the old Arlberg technique. St. Anton, a classic advanced/expert ski resort, is definitely at the top of my skiing bucket list. I hope that some of you, when you become SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE clients, will choose St. Anton as one of the first destinations that you and I ski together.
Two Meccas, One Tough Choice!
In the USA, if ever there was a quintessential resort set up for the adventurous advanced/expert skier, then Jackson Hole must be right in the frame. That fact must place it close to the top of the list of choices for my plucky SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE clients (www.The7secretsOfskiing.com). In Wyoming, Jackson Hole offers two ski areas that would fully suit SKI THE WORLD clients. Jackson Hole ski resort is 11 miles from the town of Jackson in Teton Village. Long compared to many of its contemporaries, Jackson has one of the steepest, continuous vertical drops in North America. A good leg burner, you can ski 4,000 vertical feet plus, from 10,450 feet down to 6,311 feet. The place gets an annual, on average, 360 inches of snow. To get to the white stuff, there is the renowned tram (cable car, to Europeans), a gondola and eight chairlifts.
Having seen many beautiful mountains across the world, the right next to Jackson breathtaking Tetons, rank with the best for their spectacle. Just over an hour away, by car, from Jackson on the western slope of the Tetons, sits Grand Targhee; it gets even more snow than the Hole. It too is a very highly ranked North American resort. Grand Targhee offers snow-cat skiing and over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain served by lifts.
For premier luxury and about as convenient as it gets, right at the foot of Jackson Hole Mountain is, the fully ski-in-ski-out Four Seasons Hotel. A big plus, from many of the major U.S. cities, there are direct flights into Jackson Hole. Airlines include, United, Delta, American and Frontier. If you will be flying from outside of the USA, naturally you can connect with flights operated by these carriers.
The resort has more than 8,000 acres of skiable terrain spread across more than 200 runs. There are thirty-eight lifts and, this is amazing, there is 10,300 feet of vertical. Try short turning that without stopping! In the wetter than the Rockies Coastal Mountains of British Columbia in Canada, there are two distinct adjacent mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb.
The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver brought many improvements to the infrastructure of Whistler and Blackcomb. The Canadian government spent many millions on transforming the once treacherous Sea-to-Sky Highway to the resort, into a far safer road. Unlike before, one can use a conventional car to get there. But, an abiding memory of skiing Whistler was travelling from Vancouver airport to the resort by helicopter. Bond strikes again stuff!
The heli-skiing? That is another reason to ski Whistler and Blackcomb, even if you only treat yourself for a day. Why perhaps only a day? There are many places better suited for full heli-skiing trips than Whistler and Blackcomb, primarily because of their lighter snow conditions. SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE clients would probably go there to mostly ski in-bounds; after-all Whistler for several years was voted, best ski resort in North America. Whistler's relative isolation from the mountains of the interior allows it to have heli-skiing, with just one or two companies operating that service. Being close to the coast the powder snow has a propensity to be a little heavier than in the better known heli-skiing locations of, for example, the Caribous and the Bugaboos, located further inland.
Talking of the kind of powder and crud found in and around Whistler, a great and far less tiring way to ski it, is to not turn too quickly but to, while still completing your turns for speed control, allow the skis to travel along there own length as opposed to using a leg pivoting action; I constantly encourage my SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE clients to always be ready to change the way they operate their skis, in an effort to consistently dominate the conditions of the day or, even changing conditions as they occur through a ski day; when conditions change, so must you. Leg pivoting, great to use in lighter snow, will cause you to displace your skis sideways; that requires more effort to make them do so. In heavier snow, leg-pivoting actions will create far earlier fatigue than simply allowing the shape/the design of your skis to carry you, more or less, through each turn. You can find accurate information on how to ski many variations of powder/crud and other snow conditions in Section 3 of my No.1 bestselling book, "The 7 Secrets of Skiing". Right there, in Section 3, I completely dispel the myth, “I lean back in the powder, right?” Believe me, no matter what kind of skiing you involve yourself in, getting out of the backseat and into true balance will make your ski days much more fun and far less tiring. Expert you may be but never forget, “An advanced expert skier is a beginner that continues to master the basics.” Ponder on that for a while – I’ve never stopped doing so!
Which One Would Tip the Scales for Me?
Both mentioned resorts have great terrain that would equally suit my SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE clients but, given the tough choice, it would be Jackson Hole! Why? The resort is likely to have consistently lighter snow. Whistler is close to the sea and Jackson almost as far away as you can get. As a result, the snow in Whistler, overall, will be somewhat heavier due to it containing great water content. Having said all that, there is always the toss up for me between going for snow quality and places where there is big and expansive terrain choice. If there could be such a thing as utopia, I would take my SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE clients there if I could, that skiing bliss would be as follows: A combination of, The French Alps: (They may have the best terrain and, many resorts have very long vertical; consistently, up to as much as 9,000 feet. Plus, some resorts have up to 200, yes, you read correctly, 200 ski lifts). Austrian atmosphere: (It’s almost impossible not to enjoy time skiing in Austria, the fun of the up mountain restaurants are an experience that every skier should have, at least once). And the light, sometimes champagne powder snow, of North America’s Rocky Mountains: There might be ranges that have equal snow quality but none that have such an array of resorts that allow you to ski it. There is one more possible facet, it might make you laugh, that could help to create skiing utopia. But, you will have to ask what that is when you meet me; this may not be the appropriate forum to reveal it :o).
THE BIGGEST SKIING BUZZ
I’ve got a suggestion right here, but it’s hard to know what is the biggest buzz for the higher-level recreational skier when it comes to the most exciting places to ski. E-mail me with your ‘biggest buzz’ on a ski trip; describe and send your suggestions to SkiTheWorldWithChalky@gmail.com. I will then blog about a few of them. It doesn’t have to be a dangerous place, simply one that you found to be almost unbelievable. Here’s mine, even though I’m yet to ski there!
How about heli-skiing the world’s highest mountain range? That must get into the mix somewhere. And, there is only one truly practical way for SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE clients to do it; through Himalayan Heli-Ski Guides - a company that has an impeccable safety record. They are the first and still the only company in the Himalayas of Nepal that runs a heli-skiing operation. Next year marks their 14th year in operation in the Annapurna and Everest regions. The snow conditions and terrain, I’m told, are as good as it gets. I have not skied in Nepal, but I trekked for two weeks in its Everest region. So, what I can personally attest to are the views; absolutely incredible! Standing at 13,000 feet (almost 4,000 meters), already high by the standards of most, you would look up to see towering above, peaks 25,000 feet/7,500 meters plus. Instinctively for me as a skier, I would constantly look around and countless times say to myself, “Wow! That would make a perfect ski run.” Then, of course, there’s literally the ‘icing on the cake’, the peak of the roof of the world, Sagarmatha as the locals call it, sanskrit for Everest at 29,029 feet/8,848 meters. Unreservedly, I can say that it was magical seeing all of this from the ground, but can you imagine what it must all look like from a helicopter? – Mind-blowing! And then it gets better; you leave the chopper to make turns in virgin snow on slopes where so few other skiers have ventured. As I propose on this website, www.The7secretsOfskiing.com, SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE, me, can arrange such a, “could be the ultimate” trip for you. My contact information is below.
I glean that the Annapurna region is the better one to operate from. Everyone stays in Pokhara that sits on Lake Fewa. The entire area has spectacular views of the Annapurna mountain range. The best five-star rated hotels are used by Himalayan Heli-Ski Guides; it makes your heli-skiing trip very comfortable and luxurious. Upon request other areas of Nepal can also be skied. Mostly the skiing is on the north and south sides of the Annapurna range and both are unique in their own way. The south side has spectacular views of the south face of Annapurna one, fishtail peak and surrounding peaks. The Annapurna South region is known as the gem of Nepal's Himalaya. You don't need to use your zoom to capture a picture of these peaks; if anything they may not all fit into your camera frame.
When you factor in the Nepalese culture, lifestyle and the jungle safaris and plus a heli-ski trip that stands alone for most, a trip to Nepal will be one of the more memorable of your life; it was for me and I didn’t even get to ski. What a story for you to tell around the campfire.
In order to allow your ‘best buzz’ stories time to be e-mailed to: SkiTheWorldWithChalky@gmail.com, on November 5th, I will post a blog about one great American and one great Canadian ski resort. Then next blog will be about your ‘best buzz’ stories. Don't forget to send your 'buzz' stories in. Watch this space and remember, take care but, not too much!
P.S. As you probably know I have enjoyed amazing success with my #1 bestselling book, "Chalky White's - The 7 Secrets of Skiing". The inspiration for the book came from the consistent success of my systematic coaching approach on the slopes; skiers that decide to put into practice my teachings ALWAYS improve, usually rapidly. These blogs are written to help you in many ways, including with your skiing. Therefore, I am very happy, no mattter what your skiing level, to answer your questions with regard to technique or, if I can, anything else that is skiing related. Send them to SkiTheWorldWithChalky@gmail.com. I look forward to thearing from you. The snow flies in the Rockies and the Alps!
SKIING: ALIVE AND WELL IN UNEXPECTED PLACES
Last week I discussed one of the more famous ski resorts in the world, Aspen; in future, of course, I will bring such high-profile resorts back into focus. But, this week, in the spirit of SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE, I take you to the other end of the spectrum; I blog about places, spread across the globe, that are unusual and many would reason as, un-thinkable places to ski. Certainly, I don't suggest that anyone of the resorts mentioned should be right at the top of your list, they probably won't be, but it is good to know that our wonderful sport of alpine skiing is alive and well in far-flung places that most of us have never heard of. Following this, next week, I'll offer information about unusual places that are definitely, as good to ski as just about anywhere else on the planet. Here goes!
Cyprus - Right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, in the coldest winter months, the slopes of Mount Olympus on the island of Cyprus get snowfall. With its four ski lifts, I've heard that it's a real fun place to ski when there is a little fresh powder around. What a great blend, ski in the a.m., swim the crystal clear waters of the Med in the p.m. Snow or not, Cyprus is a beautiful.
Oregon USA - Timberline Lodge - Most Americans have heard of Mount Hood but perhaps fewer have heard of the Palmer Glacier and Timberline Lodge. The lodge, being on a glacier, makes it the only 365 days per year ski resort in North America. A little like Cyprus, Timberline Lodge offers the chance to ski in the morning and swim in the cooler than the Mediterranean waters, in the afternoon.
Africa? Really! - Yes, really! Thinking of Morocco, most would imagine Marrakesh, camels or the alleyways of the Medinah in Fez; not snow and skiing. But only 50 miles away from Marrakesh is the biggest ski resort in Africa, Oukaimeden, 9,000 feet plus, up the Atlas mountains. It has a lift and skiing, even for the more advanced; the very kind that SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE attracts - www.The7secretsOfskiing.com
South Korea - Alps Ski Resort - Probably, it rarely enters the minds of most North Americans and Europeans that, apart from in Japan, there is skiing in eastern Asia. But, on the Jinburyeong plateau in South Korea sits the Alps Resort. From there skiers can see the ocean and Mount Seoraksan. Not quite up to European alpine standards perhaps, but it has great runs for you advanced and expert skiers. Reputedly, Alps Ski Resort is very beautiful. If you are a business traveler to that part of the world and also a skier, it has to be worth a quick visit and slide.
Argentina – Mount Cathedral - Actually, a really good one to keep in mind, Cerro Cathedral or, in English, Mount Cathedral, is for real. Naturally, South America and the second highest mountain range on the planet, the Andes, are always on the SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE clients’ radar. Less heralded than its close Argentinian neighbor, Bariloche, Mount Cathedral has tremendous skiing for all levels with the kind of hospitality that one would expect in Latin American. If, on your SKI THE WORLD trip, you take family members or friends that are still at novice skiing level, along with some tips from yours truly, there is a ski school in the resort that will help their progress. Accommodation can be five star, nightlife and restaurants are plentiful.
Lebanon - Skiers that know have been skiing at the Mzaar Ski Resort in Lebanon for almost sixty years. Most people don’t expect that it’s possible to ski in the near or middle east but you can, even in Israel and Turkey. Situated on the beautiful Mount Lebanon, Mzaar has, for many years, been a popular skiers’ choice.
Of course, the resorts discussed here, with a couple of exceptions, I would not necessarily expect that my SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY WHITE clients to take their main annual ski trip to any of these places. But, I think you will agree it’s fun to know what’s possible.
Next week, yes my blog will be about unusual places for skiing but, the blog will cover places that will stick in your memory for all the right reasons, places that you might hanker to return to.
Please don’t forget, contact me, apart from SKI THE WORLD, I am here to answer your questions with regard to your skiing technique; I am renowned as a technique problem solver. That’s why I wrote my #1 bestseller book, "Chalky White’s, The 7 Secrets of Skiing"; because its information, if accurately applied, will work for any skier, no matter how adept or otherwise. Obviously I am biased, but it is not only me that says that my book’s information works and that I am an accomplished coach. At other locations on this site and at Amazon.com, checkout what many others say of my abilities.
Remember and ponder on the following fact and very last line in my book, “An advanced/expert skier is a beginner that continues to master the basics.” Take care but, not too much!
Aspen (Ajax), Aspen Highlands & Snowmass
Aspen somewhat unique is the fact that, when Buttermilk for beginners and lower intermediates is included, it comprises four different ski areas – Aspen town’s Ajax, The Highlands and Snowmass. The latter three will admirably suit skiers, adept intermediate or more.
Aspen, of course, is the St Moritz of the Americas. Fur coats and jewellery abound - bring the thickest wallet that you have! For ski in ski out, Aspen town has the famous Little Nell hotel. Plus, of course, there is the historic Hotel Jerome. Après ski is lively; often, there are opportunities for various kinds of concerts and other quality live music. Personally, as a base for a place to stay, Aspen town would be my choice; simply because it is where most of the best restaurants, evening and nightlife is situated. Probably, in the whole place, Cloud Nine with its atmosphere, halfway up Highlands, is the most fun up mountain restaurant.
Aspen will certainly suit SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY clients, www.The7secretsOfskiing.com. For the adventurous advanced and expert skier, Ajax and the Highlands have great steeps, moguls, crud (always my favourite) and powder. Very reminiscent of much of Europe's Alps, the up mountain views of such places as the Maroon Bells, are spectacular. The pearl of the skiing is the Aspen Highlands bowl – You’ll need to be fit though. To ski from the top of the bowl, even though there is the option of a snow cat carrying you for the first few hundred yards, you have no choice but to hoof it for around 40 minutes to reach the summit at about 12,300 feet. But, it’s worth it! Even when the latest snowfall has been down for a while, because of the altitude the snow quality remains good. The bowl is so large that, even when the snow has been on the ground for a couple of days, you can still find virgin, un-skied stuff.
For the more advanced and expert skier, Aspen, could be summed up as follows
• Ajax: For moguls and general skiing.
• Aspen Highlands: For its steeps, backcountry, meaning somewhat supervised (in the bowl) powder and crud terrain. Note: Many have said that Highlands is the best skiing that they have ever experienced. For me, certainly, it is up there.
• Snowmass: For more mellow powder, moguls and fast wide-open cruiser runs, Snowmass, when the Cirque lift is running, has the most vertical of any resort in the USA.
Most certainly, if variation of skiing is what you want, for SKI THE WORLD CLIENTS, then Aspen is ideal.
Next Week: The first of a series; skiing ‘Off-beat’ but great ‘Fit the bill’ for STWWC places – How about: SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY, Heli-Skiing in the Himalayas and on Mount Olympus, Greece? Now wouldn’t either of those be a great after dinner story? Tell your ski pals?
CHALKY TAKES YOU TO ZERMATT!
Impossible! What mountain is, possibly, the most photographed and impossible not to look at? The Matterhorn! In Zermatt, Switzerland. I imagine that Zermatt will ultimately be one of the very top picks for SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY clients. Why? Not only is the skiing for all levels great but, always, never mind Everest, it’s worth the price of the lift ticket just to stare at, the all dominating Matterhorn again, again and again; no boring lift rides in Zermatt. To leave your hotel in the morning, it’s almost a crime, not to carry some kind of camera. Skis will be confiscated if you don’t have one – Just kidding.
Even more important for SKI THE WORLD clients, especially as the minimum requirement is to be an adept intermediate skier, what does the skiing have to offer?
• On the Swiss side, Zermatt offers three interconnected skiing zones.
• Each has its own group of lifts; all runs are skiable with a single lift ticket.
• Then, connected to Zermatt, there is Cervinia in Italy, with its own two skiing zones.
• For lunch, pop across the border for a healthy portion of pasta and a glass of Chianti.
• Either side of the border, the scenery is unrelenting in its beauty.
But, the most vital for the SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY CLIENT, is the quality and amount of skiing, particularly on the Zermatt side. Just like so many resorts in Europe's Alps, the vertical drop of the runs - even in the Rockies it’s only around 3,500 feet - is very often double that. In Zermatt, the vertical is 7,152 feet. The runs in the Alps, generally speaking, tend to be longer and steeper and narrower than their counterparts in the USA’s, Rockies. More times than I can remember I have said the following, “If you could put, for example, Utah or Canada's interior snow on the European Alpine ski runs, you might have something close to perfection.” I digress - Back to, Europe’s jewel in the crown, Zermatt!
• As so many European ski resorts do, I spent the first 20 years of my career there, Zermatt has more than 50 on-mountain privately run restaurants; the up-the-hill ambiance is always something to be experienced; it even makes hot chocolate breaks more fun. Some Minstrel will of be heard playing a squeeze box.
• Zermatt, it has the highest skiing in Europe, is on the ‘must ski’ list of all advanced and expert skiers; there is plenty for the adept intermediate too. Be it steep runs, long runs, powder slopes, Off-piste/Back country (always accompanied by a High Alpine Guide) or bumps – whatever the SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY CLIENT wants, Zermatt has it.
• Some of the steepest runs on the mountain are on Rothorn and the Gornergratt. Then there is the Triftji mogul run, one of the world’s longest.
Zermatt Resort Accommodation: Pick your accommodation carefully, as the town is spread out. The attractive main shopping street is, Bahnhofstrasse; more than half of Zermatt's 126 hotels are clustered around it. There are buses and taxis to get you anywhere in the, everything easy to access, resort. There's no ski-in/ski-out accommodation in Zermatt.
• Most hotels are family-run. They range from the historic, such as the Zermatterhof, Mont Cervin and Monte Rosa to:
• the more affordable hotels such as the Beau Site; reputedly, it has the best pool in town.
• There are many bed and breakfast places, for those who love to sample Zermatt’s amazing restaurants.
• Some accommodation can only be accessed by ‘Bond’ style lifts or the funicular trains that pass through the rock.
That’s Zermatt. But, to re-state, as a SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY client, resort choice will always be yours. Next week: ASPEN!
SOMEWHERE NEW EQUALS EXCITEMENT, ADRENALIN & FUN!
Excitement, possibly an adrenalin rush, and fun! Probably for most, these are the thrills that skiers most crave. Because it is their first ever experience, first timer skiers experience, along with natural trepidation, those things in full abundance. But as they improve a little and they ski the same few runs over and over, the excitement factor can fade a little. When one, at whatever level of skiing competency, skis the same runs over and over, making the same old turns year after year, and experiences the same vacation/holiday destination year after year, and the thrills of the sport can definitely wane. So, what are effective ways of overcoming these, possible, losses of enthusiasm?
Having ‘suffered’ these feelings myself, I always find that the best way to re-invigorate myself and get very excited about skiing again, is to first make plans to ski at, for me, a brand new resort - Digressing a little, the biggest buzz for me was the mega exciting thoughts of my upcoming first ever heli-ski trip; sleep was definitely spasmodic! Euphoria, and a little fear, grew stronger again when travelling to Canada to do it. Can you imagine my excitement as, for the first time, I boarded the helicopter. It was almost unbearable when clicking into my bindings to ski a seemingly, endless field of virgin snow? For me, heli-skiing has to be the ultimate. But, no matter whether it is that or either going to a new resort or to one that I haven’t skied in many years, the buzz is nearly the same. Enter SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY!
If that kind of euphoria can affect a ‘dyed in the wool’ instructor like me, imagine how it must affect, probably even more so, countless recreational skiers. SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY is a seamless way, with a pro, me, for vacationers/ holidaymakers and other recreational skiers to go and ski in the places of their dreams.
Added to that, another thing that would get my ‘skiing juices running’, was the thought of being challenged by a skier better than I or by a knowledgeable, experienced ski pro. For the vast majority I, Chalky White, and my SKI THE WORLD programme, check off that box for you. As you probably know I published an, in category, #1 best seller ski book, "Chalky White’s, The 7 Secrets of Skiing". My main objective in writing the book was to supply solid information that could significantly help to improve the performance of any skier on the planet. When skiing performance is consistently worked upon, the excitement factor is further enhanced as you test your new found developing skills in new resorts and on new terrain and, possibly, in different types of snow conditions.
I've long realized, especially because I work with other professionals, that undoubtedly I will often ski with peers more adept than I. I like that; nearly always my knowledge expands again. But, no matter that the skier may be better than me, I can nearly always, even with the most adept, suggest ways that the skier can improve performance. Remember, if I can give another information that helps them to outperform me on the slopes, then as a coach that is a great compliment. At the elite level, very often, athletes being coached can, the coach, outperform those supplying the information. With me at SKI THE WORLD, the onus is very much on skiing; I will not coach you unless asked to do so. But believe me, eyes in the back of my head, I am always watching! Constantly observing to figure out how my 7 Secrets of Skiing system can work its magic. On you!
Next week, I will blog about favourite, SKI THE WORLD WITH CHALKY, resorts. Imagine, Act and, Go!
Binding Adjustment & Ski Boots
Bindings? - Leave them alone: Several skiers that I know have suffered serious leg damage that, probably, could have been prevented. A big reason? They decided to raise the settings of from those recommended by the binding manufacturers; 'playing with fire' in the extreme. Too often, regarding setting elevations, even by pros that should know better, I've heard ludicrous reasons such as:
• “I was racing and didn’t want them to release” or
• “I hate it when they release” or, even worse,
• “Where I come from, everyone turns their bindings up to near maximum.” (This statement was said directly to me; he, almost, had to have a leg amputation).
Injury prevention being the primary object of ski bindings, the more we increase their settings above those recommended by the manufacturers, the more we detract from that primary objective.
In an effort to prevent pre-release, it could be argued that the elite competitive skier trying to win has an excuse for raising binding settings. But, the recreational skier or ski instructor has no such excuse. Me, as I take a fall, after my skier mistakes, I love the feeling of easy, painless release, knowing that:
1. My bindings are doing their job and
2. After a tumble, unscathed, I click back in and ski again..
• Embrace the efficiency of your bindings.
• Leave them alone.
• Get them checked by pro ski technicians.
• Don’t let anyone else tamper with your bindings.
It is folly in the extreme to ignore such advice, whether from me or anyone else. So, never open yourself to the possibility of injury as a result of something that is so preventable. Leave your bindings be!
Boots: “The Crucial Link” – The most important piece of technique related equipment, choice of an appropriate boot is critical, if you are to fulfill skier potential. Every action you make is transmitted through your boots to your skis. So, your aim must be to get the most assistance you possible from these keys that can help unlock so much of your potential as a skier.
As a Beaver Creek ski instructor, too often my efforts to help have been frustrated by students having either poor fitting/poorly constructed boots. The main causes:
• Boot shafts that don't allow easy Ankle flexion/extension actions.
• This can lead to the major disadvantage of not being able to perform a key skiing skill – efficient fore & aft balance. Lack of this skill stunts skier performance & development.
What Should You Look for in a Ski Boot?
• Comfort. More expensive boots, often, are more comfortable; they are usually worth the extra cash.
• Boots appropriate to your current competence.
• Boots that allow easy flexion/extension actions.
Find the Right Boot Fitter – In the resort where you will ski, find an experienced boot fitter in a reputable ski equipment shop. Importantly, if you have any kind of problem with the boots, you can get them remedied right there. Certainly, most Beaver Creek ski instructors, as I'm sure they will in most resorts, will go along with you to offer advice.
• The fitter should ask what kind of fit you want, meaning ‘comfortable’ or ‘performance’. Unless you are a high-level competitor, go with the 'comfortable.
• If you don't, you might soon regret your decision, as I've done in the past.
• Very tightly fitting boots can cause, unwanted, injury
The Heel Lock-down Myth!
• In any ski boot, if you force it, you can cause minimal heel movement.
• So, the myth lives on! Just remember, there's not a boot on the planet in which some heel lift action is not possible.
• Yes, find a boot that allows minimal heel lift; if it's not excessive, ignore it.
In the ski shop, after wearing your potential boot purchase for 15/20 minutes, as you constantly flex/extend your ankle joints:
• Take your time, monitor development of foot numbness and/or pressure points.
• Re-evaluation of boot choice may be necessary if any of that occurs.
• Anyway, for comparison, try on more than one pair.
• First and last, be comfortable!
Foot Beds: Get Them! - Replace the boot manufacturer's foot bed with a custom fitted model. Following are the advantages of custom fitted orthotics, as often they are referred to:
• The foot bed, or orthotic, transmits energy that, you, the skier creates.
• So because they will be custom fitted, little or none of that created energy will be wasted.
• You raise your efficiency as a skier.
• Also, the fitting of a foot bed is vital to comfort and efficient stance.
My advice, pay the extra cash for a custom foot bed. It is worth it! Note: If you buy your boots from the same vendor, sometimes the foot bed is complimentary.
Rocker Skis? Simple Explanations
Later technology has brought Rocker skis to the skiing masses; including to beginners and intermediates. Perhaps you might want to know how they work?
Originally, Rocker technology was designed for powder or deeper snow conditions and for the use of more advanced skiers. The idea may have originally been spawned from the way a water ski works i.e. banana shaped, the tips and tails 'curl' upward. Plus, the water ski's tip is considerably wider than its waist, where the water skier's feet rest above the recommended place to exert pressure. Also, the water ski has no camber that can be skier pressured into reverse camber.
In some respects, the full Rocker snow ski reflects the water ski design just described. How does that work on/in snow? The banana shape, certainly when skied on hard pack snow, causes the skis' tips and tails, most of the time, to not or barely make snow contact, even when skier exerted pressure is consciously applied to the mid section of the skis. So, this design is greatly less efficient in any snow condition except powder; there, they can excel. Why? The full Rocker, just as with a water ski, has great float-ability; that allows the skis to ride higher in largely untracked snow. Good news; the Rocker technology makes them extra maneuverable in such conditions.
But, as stated, Rocker skis designed like this seem to be greatly less efficient on harder and groomed snow. Why? Because the full banana shape prevents much of the ski from contacting the snow, it makes turn initiation tough because, needed contact or grip between snow and tip of ski is so greatly reduced; grip that gives a ski turning power. So, if a beginner is to obtain skis that can be used for progression toward advanced techniques, a ski is needed with a tip that will, yes, grip the snow at turn initiation but also allow the skier, through pivoting /toe steering actions cause the skis to slide sideways at both tip and tail of ski (How to perform both mentioned actions are discussed in my book, "The 7 Secrets of Skiing").
So how do the designers/manufacturers come up with such 'Jack of all Trades/conditions' skis? In the main they did 2 things:
1. Maintained, more or less, ski camber – (Camber is the opposite of the upturned banana that is the full Rocker; it could be described as a downturned banana, meaning, when a ski sits unpressurized on its sole, its centre will be raised from the ground while its two extremes will rest on the ground/snow. A ski in reverse camber means that it is bent in the opposite direction as a result of a skier applying enough pressure to do so at a ski's centre). So, unlike the full Rocker, that allows skis to, as they have been for decades, to be springs i.e. after being pressured, often by the skier, into reverse camber, when pressure is relieved they will rebound, as it's known, meaning return to their natural cambered state. More advanced skiers having this rebounding ability constantly available can, when required, cause the skis to turn more forcefully/dynamically. Plus, as discussed, the skis' tips in particular can more readily grip the snow and assist skis to make a carving action. Useful, but not so much for less adept skiers. Why? because ease of early in the turn edge gripping power also, more or less, stunts sideways ski sliding actions. So, what have the ski designers done?
2. They moved the tip and tail ski to snow contact points near the end of the camber, closer to the centre of the skis; in doing so, more of a Rocker (closer to the full banana shape) ski shape is created. That means that at turn initiation, less of the skis edge/length contacts the snow. As a result there is less friction between skis and snow, making them easier to slide sideways; helpful to the less adept, particularly at the most difficult to execute part of a turn, its very beginning. Plus, the closer together the two tip and tail contact points are, the more the Rocker float-ability in powder effect comes into play. These kinds of skis can be more efficient all round performers.
One more thing; the less camber shape is built into a ski, the closer it gets to the full banana shape of a pure rocker ski – the lack of camber causes the ski to, even when not pressured at all, sit flatter on the snow.
So, are Rocker, or variations of semi Rocker, skis the way to go? Ultimately, there possibly won't be any choice. That said, most skiers, unless they are powder fanatics, won't want to own, as discussed at the beginning of the blog, full Rockers; simply, for all around use they are impractical. If you are to own one pair, get semi Rocker skis that will work efficiently in most snow conditions and, in particular, on the groomed runs.
Conclusion: Since the mid-nineties, what most refer to as shaped skis, made skiing a little easier and, I think, more exciting for all of us. The Rocker concept has probably added a little to that ease of operation and excitement. Keep it coming!
Example Skier Oriented Training Programs (Adapt to Any level)
If you are in good health, all workouts can be adapted to, more or less, any trainer fitness level. Today, the last the fitness blog, the discussion covers example training programs; all incorporate the 'King' of resistance exercises – the Squat; perhaps, the ultimate full body exercise to improve skier/snowboarder fitness. As alluded to in my last blog (see below), that means your body should be rested for, minimum, 48 hours before being trained again. So train, if you can, a minimum of 6 consecutive weeks before skiing/boarding:
• 3 days, Monday/Wednesday/Friday (Workout duration: little more than 45 minutes; helps ensure adequate intensity).
• Saturday, interval train 20 to 25 minutes; rest day Sunday. Or, possibly begin Tuesday, finish Sunday with Monday rest day.
• To gain most benefit, take little rest between sets, 30 – 45 seconds; 2 minutes between supersets.
• Taking short breaks simulates recovery time taken between each mini ski run that you take. Such workout intensity will be reflected in your eventual ability to ski harder for longer each day.
Words of Caution : NEVER PUSH IT SO HARD THAT YOU BECOME SORE TO THE POINT THAT IT DISCOURAGES YOU FROM TRAINING OR WORSE, YOU QUIT COMPLETELY; TRAIN AT A SUSTAINABLE LEVEL. Training steadily will bring the desired results. Train as follows:
• First week, workout # 1 (see all below).
• Second week, workout # 2 .
• Third week, repeat workout # 1 the third week and so on.
Note all of the following:
Note 1: As below, 3 x ? or 4 x ? etc. means: 3 Sets/Series of, for example, 6, 8, 10, 12 exercise repetitions. If your aim is more strength oriented, perform exercise sets using less repetitions per set and more weight:
e.g. a. 3 sets x 6 repetitions x Amount of weight selected (strength oriented workout)
e.g. b. 3 sets x 10 repetitions x Amount weight selected (endurance/strength oriented workout)
As can be seen below, for example, weeks 1, 2 & 3,
the sets per exercise increase
but the weight should remain the same; you can get stronger working this way.
Note 3: All squatting actions below i.e. clean & press, other squats such as, step ups or any form of lunge (also a squatting action), can be performed free, meaning using only your body weight for resistance – if you are a novice trainer, this is a prudent way to start; a push/press up is a prime example of a body weight only exercise.
Note 4: Each exercise suggested below is in the form of an openable hyperlink (use them to learn efficient form).
Example Training Sessions
Workout # 1
Perform a warm-up/5-7 minutes: e.g. fast walk/jog, jump rope/skip, stationary bike.
Superset 1 Week. 1 2 3
1a. Dumbbell clean & presses - 3 x ?, 4 x ?, 5 x ? (Each should read e.g. 3 sets x 10 reps x weight selected )
1b. Chin ups or pull-ups – 3 x ?, 4 x ?, 5 x ? (use as little machine support as possible)
Superset 2 2a. Dumbbell squats - 3 x ?, 4x ?, 5 x ?
2b. One arm dumbbell rows – 3 x ?, 4 x ?, 5 x ?
Two arm swings (A form of squat) – 2 x 15: Progress to 2 x 25 reps. Can also be done with a kettlebell .
6-8 minute interval training finish (If you feel you can finish each session with this); similar to Saturday sessions but shorter.
3-5 minutes stretching cool down (All muscle groups)
Workout # 2 Warm-up
1a. Step ups onto a bench – 3 x ?, 4 x ?, 5 x ?
1b. dumb bell bench press – or push/press up (perhaps do sets of 10 or whatever you can manage) 3 x ?, 4 x ?, 5 x ?
Superset2 2a. one arm snatch – 3 x ?, 4 x ?, 5 x ? (with each arm)
2b. Walking dumbbell lunges – Up & back 30 yards, rest, repeat for 3-5 sets
8-10 minute intense interval training finish (as workout # 1)
3-5 minutes stretching all muscle groups
Interval Training Saturdays – 20-25 minutes of wind sprints, hill running, or other high intensity interval training.
Cool Down: 3-5 minutes stretching all muscle groups (As per workout 1).
Valid naturally but, in this series of fitness blogs, I haven't, specifically, alluded to abdominal exercise. Why? My reasoning is that the squat is an all body exercise; as such, it positively impacts both the muscles of the abdomen and low back. I'll discuss concentrated abdominal exercises in a later blog. 'Til next time.
Getting The Most From Weight Training For Skiing – Why The Squat is 'King'
Bear with me; the blog is longer today but, the advice offers sound guidance. Important things?
• Take a Doctor's advice before starting a training regime.
• When possible, use a qualified fitness professional.
It has been shown, in several studies, that resistance/weight training causes significant increases in strength; even in very old people (85-95 years). The studies were carried out without complications, suggesting that resistance training was safe, even in this population. It surely follows then, that this kind of training is safe for all adults medically advised that they can do so. So, whether we ski or, play no sports at all, it can be argued that weight/resistance training should be utilised for the duration of all adults' lives.
How does weight training work &, how much do we need to do? – Muscle cells are broken down (fibers are split) by weight/resistance training. Your muscle fibers must then be allowed to repair. So, if all of the muscles of the legs are trained, at least 48 hours should elapse before the same muscles are trained again. Now, there's a big clue regarding training frequency.
To ski, it requires every muscle we have. So, all must be adequately trained. As discussed in the in the last blog, training should simulate the way we ski.
Enter the squat action and all its variations
Why? When we ski, we repeatedly squat both voluntarily and vice versa. Any squatting action engages all leg joints and the spine. That necessitates use of every major muscle group, abdomen and lower back included. Plus, when arms are extended above the head, then shoulder, elbow and wrist joints are engaged. Chest muscles might not be engaged much, so the addition of bench pressing or push/press ups can take care of that.
Endurance? – Some weight trainers, primarily, seek strength gains; so they tend towards heavier weight and perform less repetitions e.g. perhaps 4 to 8 per set. Adequate strength is needed, but skiers, need significant endurance to enable them to ski longer distances over several hours. Weight training simulates that through our using less weight (or none at all, even for the squat) and performing more repetitions. Following is an example:
• 3 or 4 sets x 10 to 15 repetitions.
• As you tire, the last 3 or 4 repetitions of an exercise should be very tough.
• If not! – TO BE EFFECTIVE, YOU NEED MORE WEIGHT.
• Ladies Note: You won't develop massive muscles, even if you want them; firmer, more shapely, is the likely result. Great prevalence of estrogen and great lack of testosterone in your body prevents, any, significant muscle growth.
Weight Possibilities? – Most of us are stronger in our larger muscled legs than our smaller arms e.g. dead lift actions allow me to, repeatedly, lift 150 lbs plus. But, doing the same thing combined with lifting the weights above my head (clean & press exercise) limits me to around 60 lbs. My suggestion? On days when squats involve any arms above the head action, use less weight but perform more repetitions per set.
• Experiment! – Find your 'right' weights; start lighter; GRADUALLY, progress to heavier.
• You'll soon find your level.
• Increase the weight to coordinate with endurance/strength gains.
Less days/Greater Intensity – So, muscles should be rested for a minimum of 48 hours before repetition of similar training. That means only training on alternating days e.g. Mon/Wed/Fri; still enough work that it positively impacts your skiing performance. Plus, training based around the squat allows you to weight train only 3 days per week and still experience significant strength and endurance gains.
And, I love this, 45 minutes and I'm out. Why? Intensity! Modern, far more efficient training methods tell us that intensity can cause:
• Quicker strength gains.
• Higher levels of anaerobic/aerobic endurance (great for mogul & faster skiing).
• That means taking little or no rest between exercise sets. Hard work? Of course. Effective? Very!
The next blog suggests resistance training routines that incorporate squat variations and other multi joint exercises. See you soon. Take care.
The Type of Training Best Suited to Skier Needs
Welcome back to the 2nd 7 Secrets of Skiing fitness discussion blog. Before getting into the discussion let me remind you that my 7 Secrets of Skiing book remains #1 in both 'Relevance' and 'Amazon Customer reviews'. Why is it so highly rated? Many Pros say that it's very accurately, yet simply, written. Any level of skier consistently applying the book's information WILL improve. Highly acclaimed instructor/trainer, Delfina Darquier, stated that the book, in her words, is a “great skiing problem solver.”
For a mini skiing encyclopedia it is very inexpensive!
• A digital version is available for as little as, US$11.95.
• Get it on Kindle and Nook.
• Plus, get the Kindle app., you can download a full-color digital version right onto your computer iPad/iPhone.
• Then there's "The 7 Secrets of Skiing" printed version. A great present for, literally any skier.
Big Skier Benefits Resulting From Weight and Interval Training – Both these forms of training help to achieve the same end. Both, to varying degrees, are explosive/dynamic forms of body conditioning; as such, they greatly simulate the way that Alpine/Telemark skiers and snowboarders tend to work.
• Mostly, skiers operate in short bursts and distances.
• They tend to ski until their legs begin to tire or even exhaust, then take short rests in between bursts. Skiers attempt to do that for the duration of each ski day.
• And, weight training mimics the just described perfectly.
• e.g. weight trainers (weights don't necessarily need to be used e.g. a push/press up can be as tough as lifting weights) will quickly, depending on the intensity and amount of weight used, tire toward the end of a set of a repeated exercise and, eventually, be forced to stop and rest.
• Then, the trainer either repeats the same series of repetitions or another, that will also quickly take muscles toward exhaustion.
Interval training is similar when performed with the intensity of something approaching sprint level.
• For example, sprint a hundred meters (or any distance of your choosing), rest, repeat, rest etc., maybe ten or fifteen times.
• Shorter distances encourage faster sprints; great, for example, for skiers who like to pound the moguls hard for very short distances, but not quite so good for endurance.
• Most of us rarely ski that way. We tend to ski at a more leisurely pace for longer distances. So, our sprints will tend to be less intense, but a longer distance (if running, 150 – 200 yards/meters).
Fartlek, is a German word that sounds less than polite in English! It is interval training with a difference and is great for skiers that want to get as long out of their ski days as possible.
• Fartlek, if running, means run as hard as you can for as long as you can to exhaustion and repeat several more times. The more in shape you are the further will you run.
• You will reach exhaustion a little earlier following each consecutive repetition. If you can do ten Fartlek reps., you are doing well; most are lucky to get to five.
Both Fartlek and conventional interval training can take almost any form e.g. jumping rope/skipping (I mostly use this), running sprints, swimming of individual laps/lengths, intensive bike pedaling etc.
• Returning to the subject of weight interval training. Did you know that, at least to some extent, weight training, if full range of joint actions are utlised, is efficient flexibility training?
• Of course the addition of other modes of body flexibility exercise, such as yoga, pilates and plain old conventional, if utilised efficiently, muscle stretching exercises can create even greater looseness of limb.
Ranked #1 for Ski Instruction Books in Amazon 'Average Customer Reviews'
Welcome to the first 7 Secrets of Skiing blog for the 2011/12 ski season. From now on, you can read blogs twice a week. My ski instruction book, "The 7 Secrets of Skiing" will be the basis for most blogs; any skier of any level will find, at least, several, and in most cases many, aspects from it to be useful and practical; I suggest you buy one; a digital version is available for as little as, US$11.95. More exciting news; now that I've finally arrived in the 21st century, you can get the digital version ski book on Kindle and Nook. Plus if you get the Kindle app., you can download a full-color digital version right onto your computer or iPad. Or, you can download the book right onto your iPad or iPhone from the iBooks app. (Easy & convenient! Read info. while riding the lifts, then immediately work on it). Plus, "The 7 Secrets of Skiing" printed version will make a great present for any skier that you know. i.e. a learn to ski better book for any skier, lower intermediate to expert, intent on improving or developing his or her skiing.
FITNESS DISCUSSION (1) Why be Skiing fit? – The thinking of some skiing professionals, is that few skiers will take the trouble to get into shape for a ski trip. But wiser skiers know that more fun is to be had when the body is conditioned to take the rigours and stresses of skiing; remember, ever present are those stresses, no matter what level of skier you are. Too often, following a trip's first or second day, I hear, “I wish I was in better shape” or “I'm not sure I can ski all day.” And, that can be even more drastic; I've known less fit skiers to take a full day or off from a one week ski trip – all because adequate body conditioning wasn't present. What a waste of precious, fleeting skiing time!!! Especially, when just a little effort three or four times a week leading up to a trip can make such an amazing difference to a whole skiing experience, including performance. Plus, fitter skiers are more confident skiers. Remember, “Skiing is a series of linked balance recoveries.” Fitter skiers recover with greater ease and recover more often. Fitness is a combination of whole body flexibility, strength and endurance; skiers having an abundance of each will be less prone to injury when, inevitably, a fall occurs. And, then there's the most wanted skiers bonus? Every ski-day, more fun, for longer! (Amazingly, one hour extra a day for six days suddenly turns a six-days skiing trip into seven).
Throughout the ski season, every Saturday and Tuesday, my 7 Secrets of Skiing blogs will appear on this website. The first two or three will, further, discuss fitness aspects to get you thinking about getting in shape for the ski season. Then I'll discuss different aspects off improving/developing your performance through "The 7 Secrets of Skiing" system of development. There will be extracts from "The 7 Secrets of Skiing" book. But, also I will, where possible, blog about skiing related subjects that you suggest or, that may interest you. And, don't forget why (click on the following hyperlink) 7 Secrets of Skiing courses. Yes I wrote a book but, remember, there's nothing quite like hands-on, 7 Secrets of Skiing coaching; just like the book, it works in spades!
The next blog discusses weight and interval training. That kind of training largely replicates the way that you ski – that's why it's so useful. Remember, “An ounce of practice (conditioning in this case) is worth a ton of theory.” Think snow; they did in Colorado and it worked already. 'Til next time.
The First of Many Blogs on this Website – Welcome!
Apart from my own efforts, I couldn't have produced the book without the help of so many other resourceful people. Chief among those is my long suffering wife, Lynn. But, then there is the expertise of principle book photographer and graphic designer, Linda Guerrette; all would have been much tougher without her steady guiding hand. To keep this Englishman's english honest, on the editing side, there was Tara Fulton, April Clark, Niq Hoffmann & Tiffany Truitt.
On the technical skiing side, my good friends, Bobby Butler and Matt Deem were invaluable in regard to the accuracy of the information supplied in the book. And of course my most able book photograph demonstrators, Delfina Darquier, Ian Parham and Gregor Neal; I am humbled that all of you honoured me with your voluntary contributions. World Champions all, I know you to be, highly respected throughout the ski industry, for your professionalism, skiing and demonstrating skills. And how could I have built this website without my friend, Tomas Jablonski; Tomas has helped keep my image professional. And last, there is four time Olympian and World Cup skier, Martin Bell; his kind writing of the “7 Secrets” foreword spurred me on to finish the book project. I remain and will continue to be eternally grateful to all of you and others that I may be remiss in mentioning. Thank you.
Blog Regularity – I am resolved to making sure that my blogs on this website will be published, once per week, throughout both the northern and southern hemisphere ski seasons. During the off seasons, blogs will be published on a bi-weekly basis. Reminders of blog publication will be posted on Twitter at skiings7secrets; please, feel free to become a follower. Also, if you are a Facebook friend, simply punch my name, 'Chalky White' into Search; my profile will come up with news about blogs etc. If you are not yet a Facebook friend, I hope you will wish to become one. Again, punch 'Chalky White' into search; you'll know it's me when an image of my book's front cover comes up. Fortunately for me, I believe I am the only ski instructor, Chalky White, in existence.
What Can You Expect From My Blogs? – Firstly, the basic mission of “The 7 Secrets of Skiing” is help skiers, of all levels, to a sounder understanding of the techniques required for greater dominance of body, equipment, snow and terrain. Secondly, it offers practical methods that can be used to further that dominance. But, being a system, the “7 Secrets” is one such that continues to evolve. Therefore, my mission, post the writing of the “7 Secrets” book, is to whenever possible, offer further and more refined ideas and methods to help you improve your skiing capabilities. Sometimes offerings will seem miniscule but, for example, to an advanced skier a small change can lead to big results and developments. Also, if you're not already aware, I'm excited to report that since the writing of the “7 Secrets” book, ski technology has moved on. I'm no 'tech-head' but, I will attempt to offer reasons why new ski technology may or not be good happenings.
Fitness For Skiing – I am a long time, fully certified fitness trainer. So, for obvious reasons, I can and will supply information on how to get into and stay in shape for skiing. I will also discuss how to prevent injury when skiing. For those suffering overweight body situations, something that never helps any athlete's/skier's cause, I will offer sound ideas on how to take off and keep off the extra pounds that don't help the causes of either your skiing or your daily life.
The “7 Secrets” Blog as a News Source – You'll be informed about:
• Places where I will give indoor presentations around the Beaver Creek/Vail and other areas.
• On-snow Clinic dates and locations.
• “The 7 Secrets of Skiing” Book Signings.
• Other relevant news.
A Service – This blog page is meant as a service to you. I will endeavour to keep blogs short, easy to read and understand. And, I don't want it to be “one-way traffic.” No, feel free to contact me with questions and observations to my e-mail address below. I know that I can and will continue my own development and education – in part, that will occur through my consideration of your questions, comments and observations. Never, have I been one that will instantly dismiss information because I don't perceive the source to be, necessarily, qualified. On the contrary. Sometimes the most junior of ski instructors will say or demonstrate a piece a of information; at first, I always believe, whatever is said or done, that it may well assist my own further development. I try to make sure that my own 'thirst for knowledge is never quenched'. What do I do? I first think about the information, then I exhaustively, in practice, test it and, if necessary attempt to adapt it. If I see real merit in information or a manoeuvre, I then integrate it into the “7 Secrets” system. The result? Potentially, you develop further and the system develops again. Questions and comments to:
“The 7 Secrets of Skiing” Book and You! – If you don't already, you should own a copy of my book. As it reads on the front cover, it truly is “A Proven Systematic Route into the World of Advanced Skiing.” Not only that if, as is the case with me personally, whether you are a lowly intermediate, high calibre ski instructor or beyond, if you relentlessly keep on going back to the basics there is only one thing that can happen – my book's information can and will help you and your skiing to improve, improve and improve again. “See you” at the next blog. Remember
“An Advanced Skier is One That Continues to Master the Basics.”