Tips For Improving Your Skiing at Any Level

Posted November 14, 2023


Older children skiing with an instructor

Learning how to be a better skier isn’t just for beginner and intermediate skiers.  

No matter your skill level, there will always be skiing tips to employ that take you to higher levels of performance. That might mean learning the basics on a gentle green run or preparing to take on a steep black run that you’ve been eyeing for a while.  

Heavenly Ski Resort boasts some of the widest ranges of trail difficulty, with 30% of the trails rated as expert level. There are also many beginner and intermediate trails, making this one of the best locations to practice and graduate to a higher level.  

Improve Your Fitness Before Arriving at the Mountain  

Learning how to be a better skier should go hand-in-hand with improving physical fitness. Before coming to the mountain to work on technique, spend some time improving your cardio, leg and core strength, and overall flexibility.  

Improving Cardio  

For cardio, try any combination of the following:  
  • Running  
  • Cycling  
  • Swimming  
  • Jump rope  
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT)  

Building Leg Strength  

For leg strength, swap between high-weight/low-rep strength exercises and low-weight/high-rep endurance exercises to mimic the dynamic changes your legs experience while skiing.  

Exercises might include:  

  • Leg press  
  • Walking and reverse lunges  
  • Romanian deadlifts  
  • Squats  

Improving Core Strength  

Pilates is an excellent option for improving overall core strength. You can supplement it with:  

  • Planking  
  • Bicycle crunches  
  • Sit-ups  
  • The Pallof press  

Increasing Flexibility 

To better your flexibility, try practicing yoga at least three times a week in the mornings or evenings for at least a few weeks before your trip to the mountain. You can also use yoga as a warm-up/warm-down while on your skiing trip.  

How to Be a Better Skier: Some Basics for Beginners  

If it’s your first time skiing or you only have a little experience, then don’t worry. Once you nail the basics from a few ski lessons, you’ll start making rapid improvements. Here are some essential beginner skiing tips that will get you cruising down the mountain in no time:  
  • Keep forward on your skis to get more stability and avoid leaning backward 
  • Be aggressive, take control, and commit 100% to your ski movements  
  • Use your turns as a form of braking and speed control 
  • Learn to dress in layers so you stay comfortable and can enjoy being on the mountain for longer 
  • Experiment with shorter skis for enhanced maneuverability on groomed slopes  
  • Stick to groomed areas until you can comfortably maneuver and control your speed  
  • When you are ready, tackle more challenging slopes alongside more experienced skiers who will be patient with you

Look Ahead and Keep Your Shoulders Straight  

Skiers of all skill levels can fall into the habit of looking down just in front of their skis instead of keeping their heads up. Looking up and ahead means actively watching for coming obstacles, allowing you to plan how to react rather than being surprised by the terrain or other skiers. Instead of focusing on one point in front, keep your eyes up, relax your vision, and take the entire landscape in all at once.  

Keeping your shoulders straight is just as important for looking ahead as it is for conserving energy because lots of upper body movement can tire you out and throw you off balance.  

To practice, make slow, gentle turns down a slope while facing your shoulders downhill. Your skis and legs will be doing the work while your upper body remains steady and stable.  

Private Lessons vs. Group Lessons 

Your age, experience level, personality, and budget all factor into deciding which ski lesson will benefit you the most. Younger skiers tend to benefit more from group lessons because they are more social and fun. If you are an older skier with a group of friends and your objective is to have fun, then group lessons will be a blast.  

For those at intermediate or advanced skill levels who want to perfect specific techniques, then private lessons might be best. Private lessons mean you can build personalized goals with the instructor and work 1:1 with the instructor's full attention for the entire lesson. 

Your personality and learning style will also play a role in your decision regarding learning in a group or trying private lessons; keep in mind that private lessons tend to be more expensive. If you have a budget in mind, group lessons can still teach you what you need while keeping costs down.  

No matter what option you choose, remember to prepare for your lesson correctly to maximize what you get out of it.  

Know When You Are Ready for Terrain Parks and Advanced Slopes  

Heavenly offers skiers some of the best terrain parks and advanced ski slopes in North America. If you want to start tackling jumps and performing tricks or are looking for a steeper slope to challenge yourself, then you will need to know when it’s time to move up a level.  

Signs that you are ready to level up include: 

  • Not tiring during the day at your current level  
  • Never falling while skiing at your current level  
  • Not losing your technique at any point in the day  
  • Maintaining complete control of your speed, movements, and balance  
  • Confidence and not freezing up due to fear at your current level  

If you can tick each of these items off the list, congratulations! You just leveled up.  

When moving on to a harder terrain park or slope, remember to test the waters, take it easy, and tackle it a few times with a group of people first. If you are a beginner or haven’t done this yet, then take some time to learn about mountain safety for slopes and terrain parks. You can also take the Mountain Safety Program to ensure you cover all bases and have someone to answer any questions.   

When you are ready to hit the snow and level up your skiing abilities, get in quick and book your lift tickets, season passes, and lodging while the best options are available.