Expert, always-in-control skiers share one common trait: They ski with excellent form. You can improve your control and successfully ski more difficult terrain when you use the right body posture when turning. As you practice, remember that even experts fall -- and you will, too. For the best results, always wear protective gear and clothing, practice your form on every run and log as much time on the mountain as possible.
Proper Skiing Stance
Many beginners feel apprehensive when faced with their first intermediate run. Although your instincts may tell you to lean back, you'll have a much easier time controlling your speed throughout your turns if you bend at the knees in a squat position and lean forward. Ski Enthusiast recommends keeping your chest right above your toes -- with only a slight bend at the waist -- and a raised chin and eyes. Your weight should stay centered over your feet. You'll know you have it right if you feel your shins pressing into the boot; if your calves are sore at the end of the day, you spent too much time leaning backward.
As You Turn
Controlled skiing means making frequent turns while maintaining the skier's stance. Avoid twisting your upper body to face trailside; instead, keep the area above your waist facing downhill at all times. Keep your head and shoulders relaxed, and your arms and ski poles in front of you. When turning, keep your feet and knees at the same width and turn your front tips nearly uphill before initiating a new turn. Expert skiers can maintain the same speed during the entire run, but this takes practice; beginners should focus on slowing down so they can regain balance and proper posture for the next turn.
Using Your Poles
Ski poles have only one purpose, and it's not to slow you down; rather, they help you turn. The right body posture for skiing includes beginning every turn with a pole plant. For example, as you turn to the right, plant your right pole firmly in the snow near the front tip of your ski. Keep your upper body facing downhill and your legs in the skier's stance. Dig your right leg's soon-to-be-uphill ski edge into the snow and ski around the pole. Before turning to the left, dig the left pole into the snow and repeat the motion on the other side.
Practicing Turns on Difficult Terrain
Once you feel comfortable turning -- and you can turn equally well to the left and the right -- bring your skills to newer, more challenging terrain. Steeps, moguls and glades provide must-turn incentives that help you tighten your turns and master your posture. Keep in mind that skiing, like most sports, requires copious practice time. And although it may look like you're skiing over a cliff the first time you visit an intermediate trail, relax; as you gain experience, you'll look back on those early trails with fondness rather than fear.