Skiing Exercises 



1- Static exercises- doing a move statically allows you to make sure it is happening and you can assist students if necessary. Have students compare the move they are making to the one you want them to make so they feel the difference. This is a key exercise for: stance, ankle flex, and the flex and tip drill (progressive ankle flex and angulation)


2- Traverse- only use when not too busy or in a private for safety reasons. It is a key drill for stance and ankle flex in motion


3- Uphill christies- can be done from traverses of progressively steeper angles which is called a fan exercise. This is the fundamental drill in skiing. It allows instructors and coaches to work on progressive ankle flexing and tipping in a wide range of drills that can then be taken to linked turns. Touching the hand to the outside knee is the basic flex and tip exercise, and there are many variations described below. Uphill christies are also a great way to evaluate skiers. They highlight the natural moves most skiers will make when doing them.          

Exercises for intermediate or higher

Exercises help to develop or refine movements; they can be physical task or a mental focus. They break a turn into smaller pieces or add tasks to create new awareness and sensations.


1- Progressions- Do a move statically, then in a traverse, lower half of a turn(uphill christie,) whole turn, then link turns. A fan exercise is uphill christies from shallow to steeper traverses. Garlands are repeating a move in a traverse. Fans and garlands can be done in both directions, watch for traffic and do when not busy.  


2- Compare extreme and opposite movements- Skiers can be very unaware of how they are moving; sometimes they will make the opposite move that you ask them to make. To increase their awareness and break old movement patterns, have them practice the opposite move, or an extreme version of the desired move so they can feel the difference.

3- Variety- Once the moves can be made on gentle slopes; gradually progress to steeper slopes, higher speeds, and different snow conditions. Make small then bigger turns. Each step will challenge the new movement, and old habits will often return.


There are four basic movements: fore/aft, up/down, lateral, and rotary. These moves affect the edging, pressuring, and rotation of the ski. Putting these four movements together with the right formula and timing will produce smooth offensive skiing.


Exercises can be organized around these four movements, or as below they can be organized in order of how the elements are applied in a turn. There are over 100 organized and targeted exercises that can be done in progressions, for comparisons, and in more challenging situations. This will give you a huge number of ways to introduce and refine the Ski Moves. There are a lot of options to explore to find which will work best in the limited time you have to work with your students. Only a few will be used in an hour lesson.    


Skiing stance


Do one of the static exercises below at the start of every lesson, make sure the skier is centered over the middle of the skis.

1- Compare standing tall to putting the hands in front and slightly flex ankles, knees, and waist. video


2- Put the hands in front and bounce, stop before you are all the way up, hips and chest over feet


The skiing stance changes throughout the turn as skiers are moving in all 4 directions. Skiers move forward as the skis are edged and back when released. It is hard for some people to get into the skiing stance usually because of too little flex at the ankles, too much flex at the knees, and too much or not enough flex at the waist. They may not be able to coordinate the smooth flexing of their joints to move down and up which will move them off of the center of their skis. Boots that are too stiff can restrict movement. 


Demonstrate in front of students standing perpendicular to them so they can see the side view. Then watch them from the side and provide feedback. It is common to see people flexing their knees too fast, too much, or too soon relative to their ankles which puts them back on the tails of their skis where most people ski. Some skiers will stand too low and have their feet wider than their hips; others will be tall with their feet together.

Weight transfer


1. Statically step from the downhill ski to the uphill ski, then do it in a traverse.

2- With skis across the slope plant both poles downhill then transfer weight to the uphill ski and project body downhill to lean on the poles.


3- Link medium size turns on a gentle slope starting from a steep traverse(more downhill,) transfer weight to the outside ski and make the top of the turn first. Don't turn very far across the hill.


4- Thousand Steps on a gentle hill and make incomplete turns.

5- For smaller turns, ski straight down a gentle slope with speed in a small wedge, then add quick weight transfers to automatically create parallel turns.


 Inside lead


 Also called: parallel position, strong inside half, counter, active anticipation


1- Do a progression (static, traverse, uphill christies, link turns) advancing the inside half: foot, knee, hip, shoulder hand video

2- Do uphill christies then link turns with:

- Poles horizontal and moving with the inside half video

- Poles on shoulders (cross style)

With no poles


-Hands on thighs

- Grab the outside thigh with the inside hand (face the force) video

- Hands on hips

- Arms crossed video

- Hands together behind the back

- Hands as if using poles

3- Compare turns with rotation to ones with inside lead

4- Compare a lot of quick early lead to progressive lead


Flex ankles

1- Statically stand in a skiing stance and flex forward at the ankles. Be sure the skiing stance is maintained. No extra movement at the waist or knees. Check the boots to be sure they are not too stiff. Loosen the power strap and top buckles for the following exercises. video

2- In a traverse:

- Repeatedly flex ankles way fore/aft (weight on downhill ski with inside lead)

- Flex ankles just a little forward/aft (no extra: knee, waist, or back) 

- Flex ankles way forward and just back to center video

- Flex ankles just a little forward and back to center video

 3- Do uphill chrisites in both directions with progressive ankle flexing and inside lead. This is where skiers add extra moves: watch for rotation, leaning in, backing up especially at the ankles or waist and back, dropping down quickly at the knees or with the ankles and knees. Have them do an excessive amount of the problem move and then compare it to proper amount.

- Mental focus on the bottom of feet; try moving weight from the arch to the ball of the feet

- Mental focus on the hips, move from above arches to behind heels, to in front of the balls of the feet

- Raise the toes to help produce the flex

4- Do a fan exercise, when you steepen the traverse the speed increases, watch for unwanted movements back, down, or inside, they will creep back in.

5- Link the turns with progressive ankle flex. Watch for problems as rhythm triggers old movement patterns

- Mental focus on making a move like pushing on a gas pedal to start a turn; then letting off to finish.

- Compare progressive flexing ankles: to turns with ankle flex that ends quick or starts late

- Compare turns flexing the ankles versus the just the knees. Flexing just the knees or flexing the knees too soon, too quick, or too much is a common problem. video

- Link the ankle flex with other sensations to reinforce it. Connect the flexing with rounding the upper back

- Gradually buckle the boots and tighten the power strap to return their normal sensations. Watch for the ankle flex to disappear. They may also have been making their upper buckles and power strap/booster strap too tight, or the boots are too stiff

- Challenge the ankle flexing with more speed or steepness

6- Side slip down the hill while moving down and up in the middle of the skis, keep the path straight

7- Falling leaf from a side slip flex fore and aft at the ankles to create the image a leaf falling 

Tipping (angulation)


Hip angulation for GS turns. The uphill chrisitie is the most important exercise even for a high level racer. This focuses on the progressive nature of the angulation in a controlled manner and is very hard for most to do well without adding natural moves; back, inside, rotation. Then do fan exercises, and then link turns.


1- Statically stand in a skiing stance with inside lead. Practice flexing the ankles and tipping (flex and tip.) Use a ski pole or a wall for support. video

2- Do uphill christies and combine the progressive ankle flex with these moves:

-hand to knee video

- Put hands on knees and continuously increase pressure on top of outside knee video

- Slide downhill hand from the hip to the knee (combine with ankle flex for the “flex and tip” drill)  linking   video

-Outside hand pushes the inside knee into the turn

 - Put hand on hip and progressively push the hip inside the turn  link video

 - Mental focus on internal tasks such as touch the downhill rib to the hip, raise the inside hip, raise the inside shoulder, drop the downhill shoulder, or tip the head to the outside of the turn


Using poles-

- Hold poles horizontal; progressively tip the poles and shoulders to the outside

- Hold poles like pointers with arms horizontal; progressively angulate until the downhill pole touches the snow. Watch for angulation that is too soon or too quick

- In normal pole position, progressively angulate until the tip of the downhill pole touches the snow, then increase pressure on the pole tip until the end of the edging

- Cross- put poles on shoulders and gradually tip the poles

 -Ski below the student pulling on the end of their poles to help them create angles

4- Link turns doing any of the above

5-Turn on the outside ski only, then the inside ski only, and then ski on just one ski.

6 - Finish edging later (more completed turns) beyond the fall line closer to the next crossover point.


 Knee angulation- for small turns                                    


1- Side slip edge sets with pole touches vary the tempo; focus on ankles, knees or toes.

2- Moon turns – lock the downhill edge and ski across the hill.

3- Edge lock – start in a wedge then lock one edge then the other. These can start from a wedge turn for wedge locks.

4- Crab walk – step from edge lock to edge lock in a wedge. video

5- Hop turns – hop from edge set to edge set with the skis parallel. video

6- Weeble wobble – roll from inside to outside edges in a straight run.

7- Hockey stops

8- Partner pull – lead skier pulls the follower using poles; rear skier makes small turns.

9- Railroad track turns.

10- Make hard pole touches. Uphill christie with a touch video

11- Hold poles below the grips.

12- Tuck turns

13- Edge the inside ski first; compare to edging both simultaneously.


Rotary movements- active and passive


1- Statically lift one ski and turn it

2- Traverse steering both feet uphill

3- Do a fan exercise with steering movements

4- Link steered turns

5- Steer the start of a carved GS turn (Stivot)

6- Straight run then pivot to side slip straight downhill with weight centered

7- Linked pivot slips weight on downhill ski when release, keep straight path

8- Hold poles as a window frame vertical in each hand, focus on target below


 Vertical Movements and release


1- Static move up and down while centered over the middle of the ski

2- Traverse with moving up and down while staying centered

3- Fan moving down and staying centered

4- Link turns with a lot of up and down staying centered

5- Pivot slips with a lot of down and up, maintain straight path to show centered

6- Leapers and almost leapers

7- Compare extension to retraction to release the skis 

8- Relax legs while still edging to maintain momentum

9- Retract new inside ski at cross over

10- Finish edging well after apex, use progressive knee flex to keep COM moving


 Vertical movements- for small turns 


1- Statically jump with hard verse soft landings.

2- Make small turns with a lot of smooth down and up, and then make a quick down with a hard stopping of the down motion to create rebound.

3- Hop turns with hard then soft landings.

4- Bounce through the turns.

5- Quick down motion with strong steering and hard edge sets

6-Traverse moguls and absorb each one

7- Ski moguls with quick extension on downhill sides, maintain flow when absorbing 


Rhythm and symmetry- holistic tasks when linking turns


1- Change the rate or amount of pole swing

2- Make soft pole touches

3- Just the swing with no pole touch

4- Just touch one pole on the weak side to force awareness on weak side

5- Put both poles in the weak hand and make pole touches

6- Make two pole touches before turning 

7- Synchronized skiing; then ski turning opposite to the leader, stay very close to the leader

8- Ski from large to small turns and back

9- Ski three small, then three medium turns, keep repeating the pattern.

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