Best Off Piste Skiing Tips
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Catered ski chalets are very popular holiday options for those avid snow sport lovers wanting to make the most of their annual ski holiday. Many people that venture to the slopes year after year to improve their skiing revel in the excellent facilities of catered ski chalets, enjoy the wonderful après ski, and explore the slopes both on and off piste.

If skiing off piste is something you fancy having a go at, but have never tried before, read on for some tips on how to enjoy the best experience.

What to Consider Before You Start

Firstly, you'll need to remember that skiing on and off piste are completely different, and when heading off into fresh powder you may feel like a complete beginner again! The huge amount of snow off piste causes great resistance around your skis and requires a lot more effort from your legs to steer. You need to use your whole leg and also try to lean back a little to encourage the tips of your skis to bounce above the snow. You may have seen off piste skiers looking much like they are about to sit down and this is why.

The idea of off piste skiing is that you get to explore the mountain in fresh powder - and the deeper the powder, the easier the skiing!

How to Get Started

The best way to introduce you to off piste skiing is to go with a guide, something you can often organise through the catered ski chalets. They will generally start you off on the un-groomed areas between the specified runs, which is a good way to get your confidence up. Experienced guides will know the safest places to go, be wearing the necessary safety transmitters, and offer helpful tips on technique. Never be tempted to go off on your own when you're a beginner.

Technique Tips

The technique of off piste skiing can be hard to master, but if you stay relaxed you have a better chance of getting the hang of it sooner. Start gently, and if you think about what your skis are doing you are more likely to stay upright rather than nose-diving into the snow!

You need to keep your feet a little bit further apart than you would normally when skiing, and spread your body weight across both skis evenly. More importantly, though, you need to have the confidence to point your skis down the hill. Traversing and turning in large looping arcs on the slopes when off piste is not an option for beginners, and is almost impossible for accomplished skiers.

Keep your knees soft and think of your legs as springs. Try never to stand upright, as this will soon get very uncomfortable, but once you get a good bouncing side-to-side rhythm you will feel like you are mastering the art. Reach your arms forward and when steering, plant your pole firmly.

While it may seem tough at first, once you get the idea you will start to get the sensation you're skiing on air! It is a wonderful feeling that requires no effort (apart from the aforementioned skills!) and offers lots of opportunity for fun on the mountain.

Often, the staff in your catered ski chalets will have all the information you need in regards off piste skiing and hiring a guide or instructor for the day to help you get started. Give it a go – you'll be glad you did!

Danielle Hodges is the Marketing Manager for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service offering bonded holidays staying in catered or self catered ski chalets in La Tania and other fantastic destinations. For a luxury or good-value skiing holiday and the best catered chalets call Ski Amis.


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