Ready to ski faster, stronger, and better than ever? Take advantage of the limited terrain available during the early season to practice drills that will benefit you on the groomers and beyond when the season really gets started. Start with these drills that focus on terrain-specific skiing technique and tactics that will build a solid foundation for your skiing the rest of the season. 

Groomers: Carving 

Michael Rogan carving at Taos SKI Test

SKI's director of instruction, Michael Rogan, aka Master of the Carve

If you haven’t already, it’s time to master the carved turn. The most common mistake intermediates make when trying to carve is to enter the turn with their head and shoulders, which takes them out of balance laterally and forces them to pivot their skis in a skidded turn. Instead, start turns by rolling your skis on edge with your feet and legs. It should feel as if you are trying to ski on the sides of your feet. Sidecut will bend your skis into carve-ready arcs as you balance your weight on the edges. Use cat tracks and flat slopes to practice this skill.

More: Prime your body for carving

Bumps: Short Turns

Marcus Caston, Bumps at Squaw Valley

Warren Miller athlete Marcus Caston bashing bumps at Squaw Valley. 

Bumps are possibly the hardest condition to master. To ski them well, you have to be able to make great short turns—emphasis on short. To practice, start a run making short, skidded turns at a normal cadence. After a few turns, speed up until you start to lose coordination. Back off a few beats to regain control, and then speed up again. This drill improves coordination and turning speed.

Read more: How to Bash Bumps

Off-Piste: Pressure Control

The ever-changing mix of ungroomed conditions requires the ability to shift weight between your feet quickly, smoothly, and purposefully. To develop this skill, try skiing on one ski. Most people can lift the inside ski off the ground once the turn has been started. To make it harder, lift the outside ski off the snow before you start a turn. Then try lifting each ski off the snow multiple times during the same turn.

Looking for more tips and tactic to improve your skiing technique. SKI Magazine teamed up with Michael Rogan and PSIA to design the online course, How to Break Through. This comprehensive, step-by-step course covers everything from the fundamentals of good skiing technique to drills to improve in all kinds of terrain and conditions. Learn more and enroll at skimag.com/breakthrough

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