I proudly proclaim myself as the finest beginner skier in the land. A dubious title, I agree.
As the fates would have it, I went skiing in Italy before Christmas and managed to secure around four hours of private tuition for the princely sum of sod all. I am definitely the luckiest beginner skier in the land, if not the finest. Enough qualifications to review an app designed to help you learn to ski.
Following my lessons, I felt as though I made a big leap forward in terms of my skill level. I was parallel turning with confidence while comfortably handling the pace, but I’ll admit that I was struggling to piece together the various techniques my instructor was drip-feeding me. The rate at which he was showing me new things seemed to imply that he had a natural on his hands, but I was much less convinced. It’s all part of the learning curve though and overall it was a pretty cool feeling to be skiing confidently, if not perfectly.
Features? – It’s in the name
“In fact I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you have to go skiing to learn to ski.”
All this brings me to today’s topic – an iPhone app, ‘How To Ski’. It’s a succinct app containing 16 videos with instructors talking about, and then demonstrating, various skiing techniques. It doesn’t cover the very basics of skiing, and quite rightly too – with all the will in the world it’s very difficult to learn to ski with just a video. In fact I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you have to go skiing to learn to ski.
There’s no way around that, but that’s not a criticism of the app. What it does really well is condense loads of those little technique tips that I was struggling to remember, into short, well-produced videos. Personally I think it’s really useful to refer to when you’re skiing outside of lessons, plus there’s a good range of topics that cater to more than just the beginner or intermediate.
I actually picked up an enlightening tip on the very first video I watched. In the clip about stance and balance, Colin Tanner explains that a lot of teachers say you must lean forward, which is exactly what I was told in Italy. It’s not quite right though. He argues that you need to maintain a centred, balanced stance that shifts as the gradient of the slope changes – which in hindsight is what I was trying to do – so the constant niggle to lean forward never quite sat right with me.
The topics cover parallel turns, carving, steep skiing and navigating bumps. The summary videos are quite short while the longer ones can go up to around two minutes, so either way they’re all really convenient to watch when you’ve got a few spare moments.
On a chairlift perhaps, although I won’t be doing that myself – I’ll probably drop my phone, my gloves or both. Do chairlift-multitasking skills improve as your skiing gets better? How many items roll down the hill once the snow thaws? I’d love to know.
Anyway, I digress. How To Ski is available for the iPhone via the App Store – go and check it out.