Turning Point: Keeping a Ski Journal

Turning Points

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It’s impossible to keep more than two or three instruction tips in your head at once. Yet skiing offers an endless list of things to ponder. Jotting notes down in a journal will help you sort out problems and quickly translate what’s in your head to muscle memory. The optimal time to make notes is right after you come off the slopes, when sensory recollections are freshest. It may be the most productive minute of your ski day.

Note what worked for you and what didn’t. Did your instructor provide any nuggets of wisdom? Did a skiing companion offer a useful tip? What did you discover on your own?

Then record information about your equipment. Which skis did you use? How were they tuned? Did your wax work? Where did you ski and why? How was the snow? Did it change? How would you ski the mountain differently given the chance? What about visibility? The temperature? What did you wear? What do you wish you had worn? Note how your boots felt: Which buckle notches fit best? How much forward lean felt strongest?

Write about what you felt in your best turns so you can recreate those sensations the next time out. (“The skis arced better when I got weight off my toes and felt pressure under the arch of my foot.”)By tracking such information, you won’t be as apt to repeat mistakes. If you find yourself writing the same points in different ways, you have identified your true trouble spots-all for the price of a pocket notebook.

Stu Campbell, SKI’s instruction editor, can be reached at