Skiing style & different types of skiing
Your skiing style - What does it mean?
When we talk about skiing style, there are a number of things that go into the makeup of how you look when you ski down any given slopes. Dave and Jim went into this on a recent Facebook live chat when we covered the topic of ski style and types of skiers.
There are a number of things that make up any given persons ski style as follows;
Your physical shape and how you move dictates how you look when you ski. For example, Dave at 186cm (6’1”) and 95kgs is now going to look like world cup star Albert Popov (about 5’5”).
There is no way that he would be able to match the lateral speed of his movement as it simply takes more time for his long legs to get from side to side than his would.
We are all built differently and how you ski is unique to you and the makeup of your body in terms of its bone lengths, weight, height and if you are male or female.
Depending on where you were taught to ski and how much tuition you have had and where from, you may have varying degrees of national style within your skiing. Even at the highest level of skiing in the world cup, we can see differences in national style, take a look at Austrian world cup style vs Italian for example.
Even within ski instructors, there are various national styles to be seen. Have a look here at the highest level of ski instructor demonstrators and the differences in for example, the Swiss and the Koreans. You can have a look here at the last Interski congress, the 4 yearly meet up of instructors to discuss technique and teaching trends.
Now all of these instructors are on the same ski length and radius and you can clearly see differences in national style between nations, even if you don’t know what exactly it is that you are looking for!
So depending on who taught you who to ski and where they were from, you might see some of that national style coming through in your own skiing.
It’s never been easier to learn how to ski. Modern skis and boots make skiing pretty effortless and it is way less complicated to get skis to turn and stop than it was even 30 years ago.
For people that did learn to ski 30+ years ago, they often have a certain style that was necessary at that time in order to get the skis to work. Long straight-edged skis required certain up and down unweighting movements to get the to start turning. Have a look at this cool video that friend of the ski school Marcus Caston made.
Although it’s tongue in cheek and Marcus is an amazing skier, you can still see the upward movements and jump turns that he needs to make to get the skis starting to turn.
Modern skis don’t need this, you just need to be balanced over the top of them and they effectively autoturn. This inevitably dictates the movements that you don’t have to make and thus how you look from the outside.
Feeling for the snow
The last point is a little more complicated than the rest and it’s something of a work in progress of a teaching idea but I read in a recent study that there are certain groups of people (in general, I am not talking specific individuals) that cannot feel and manage forces as well as other people. I suppose this is logical in that we are all good at some stuff and not others.
This study pointed out that in some instances this difference can be as much as 78%. Imagine a whole professional body of people who choose skiing as their way to make a living. It stands to reason that we can all feel and manage forces, since that’s what we do all day, we all take it for granted. Now imagine that you are 75% less able to feel the snow under the ski or you have a minimal appreciation of how to manage force that pushes back at you from the snow. Is this likely to affect your skiing style?
If you can’t feel and work with the snow, then how exactly are you skiing? Are you just making shapes with your body, just doing what you think that your instructor is asking you to do?
This is a super interesting topic and one that we are going to expand more on in the coming months.
These are just some of the things that go into what makes up a persons ‘ski style’. The great thing about skiing is this difference and the scope of personal expression in this sport that we all love. No two skiers are the same and the slopes would be very boring places if they were.
Written by Dave Burrows