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Become a Slalom Skier in 7 Steps

5 February 2018
Junior slalom skier

Does the idea of racing down a steep slope around slalom gates or poles excite you? Do you know how to become a slalom skier? Head of The Snow Centre’s Snowsports School, and instructor and coach of 31 years, Pete Gillespie shares the steps to becoming a slalom skier.

Below Pete Gillespie, examiner and educator for various instructor organisations and Ireland representative (IASI) at 2 International world congresses (INTERSKI).

Step 1 - Begin the Journey Becoming a Slalom Skier

“The first step is to learn to ski. You can learn to ski at your local centre in the UK or on holidays in the mountains.

I suggest becoming a regular participant at your local real snow slope or dry slope reaching a level where you can ski independently and control turns enjoying participation on blue and red terrain on the mountain.” 

Step 2 - Become an All-round Skier

“Once you’ve mastered the skills for skiing in control, it’s time to become an all-round skier. By this I mean having the ability to ski a variety of terrains well, bagging the skills to ski whatever slope you find with the appropriate technique. I suggest working on drills to stretch performance and balance.

In your free time, work on developing great posture as a solid foundation to build on. Begin to ski in narrow corridors developing flowing performance. Start to experiment with various steering skills Edging, rotary and pressure skills. Challenge balance through jumping and stepping skills around the turns. Begin to steer curves rather than zig-zags. 

Take a look at our skiing tips videos for some ideas for drills!”

Step 3 – Devote Yourself to Continual Learning

‘At this stage, many people reach a plateau with their skiing progression, simply because they choose to stop learning anything new. Once you’ve mastered getting down any slope, the enjoyment of skiing everything with some ease can become comfortable, but there’s always more to learn and room for improvement. Keeping this in mind will help to take you to the next level.

Stay in your local lesson programme in between regular practice. Practice regularly. Vary your sessions and practice with a focus. Your coach or instructor will be able to help you define a focus for every session, especially if they know your overall aim is to become a slalom skier.”

Step 4 – Join a Ski Club

“While participating regularly in skiing with friends or family, join a club or local session aimed at advanced skiing, at The Snow Centre we offer SnowStars for juniors age 4 -16, and regular Skills Development Coaching Sessions for adults, there’s also Hemel Race Club on one evening a week..

Work with a regular coach throughout these sessions and agree short term goals. Set small and easy to achieve targets that you can plot overtime. Start to consider your mid-term goal, what do you want to be able to do in 3 weeks and how will you plot your progress. Use a coach or instructor to help you.”

Step 5 – Participate in Slalom Focused Training

“Through your regular skiing session, club or weekly training your coaches and instructors will begin to introduce you to skiing around markers (stubbies). This will encourage you to be accurate with you turns, work on an efficient line, and enjoy and understand rhythm changers.  

Don’t forget the basic stuff! Posture, balance and movements are king! Challenge this on every training session.” 

Step 6 – Put in the Training Time & Get Competitive

“Keep up the regular training with your coaches and club. Work on varying turn shape. Develop your turns from curving (rounded arcs) to carving. Challenge yourself through skiing various slalom course corridors with various rhythm changes. Begin to enjoy the competitive environment within your club sessions, and keep pushing your own skills. 

Consider your generally activity level away from skiing. Develop your fitness through cycling, swimming, and walking. Start to become an all-rounder!” 

Step 7 – Become a Slalom Skier

"Enter some local and regional races, and start to find your feet in the competitive environment. With your coaches, begin setting even longer-term goals, and plot your progress. Continue to measure your progress through short and midterm goals.

Join a club session in the mountain environment if possible. Develop your all mountain skills, including bumps, off-piste and steep terrain. Become an advanced all-round mountain skier and train slalom skiing in the mountain environment."    

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