Have fun in the snow!
Ski play is a great way of improving your skills on skis. Once you have got the basics you can play games, practise jumps, and do some basic easy drills. All will improve your balance and agility on skis.
Fun schoolyard games for the snow
Many schoolyard games can be played on skis. Most are best played without poles, and can be done on skating or classic skis. All you need is a wide, relatively flat area of snow. The aim of all these games is to promote confidence and mobility on the snow. Make up some new games of your own that involve plenty of skiing and changes of direction.
Play the same as for touch on the grass. Use a plastic drink bottle if a ball is not available.
Select two teams. A goal is scored every time all players on one side touch the frisbee without an intervening possession from the other team.
Fox and the geese
Mark two lines on the snow about 40m apart. The fox stands in the middle and the geese line up one one side. When the fox calls ‘Go’, the geese try to make it across to the other line without being tagged. Once tagged, the geese join the fox and the game continues until all are caught.
Mark an area on the snow to indicate playing boundaries. One person is ‘It’ and must try to tag the others with one hand to the body. Anyone caught must stand with their legs in a V until someone else frees them by crawling through the legs.
Basic technique drills and games
With many techniques it can be helpful to practise the motions while standing still. This allows you to get the timing right. There are also many drills and games that can be conducted on skis to help build confidence and improve general skills. For most of these, all you need is a flat section of track or a wide area in which to work without disrupting other skiers.
Skiing without poles
Put your poles on the side of the track and ski back and forth or around a circuit. Swing your arms to generate the momentum and try to get your weight out over your ski.
Take off one ski and your poles and push yourself along, like on a skateboard. Keep the ski gliding continuously, using the other foot to push along without putting too much weight on it.
Skiing in unison
Form pairs. Take it in turns to copy the skier in front. Ski as close to your partner as possible and stay in time.
Figure of eights
One a wide, flat area of snow, mark out a figure of eight and skate around it. Use quick steps and keep the momentum going. For a variation, try this activity on a slight slope.
Find some downhill corners on the track and practice skiing around them. Try to keep your centre of gravity low and take small steps.
Balancing on one leg
Double pole or skate to build momentum on a long gentle slope. Lift one ski off the snow and hold it for as long as you can. As a variation, try hopping up and down on one leg while gliding.
Take off your poles and place them about 40m apart. Count the number of glides it takes to get from one pole to the other, and then attempt to reduce this number in subsequent tries.
On a wide slope, hold hands in lines of four or five. Try to link turns down the slope in unison without letting go. Take it in turns to be the end person. Increase speed on subsequent attempts.