Skiers: 5 things to know about linking turns
It’s that flow. You know, that graceful shushing down the mountain that seasoned skiers live for. And, when you’re just learning how to sync it all up, it’s that exhilarating ah-ha moment – one that’s especially zen on a powder day.
Are you looking to start linking turns and finding your flow? Breckenridge Ski & Snowboard School General Manager Mike Hafer gives us the scoop on linking turns.
Linking 101: What does “linking” mean?
“From the first-timer perspective, I imagine it is being able to flow down the hill as they would see in a video, while having the ability to avoid objects and people with a direction change,” Hafer says. “From the perspective of a ski and snowboard pro, many believe it is efficient movement from one turn or direction to another where one cannot tell the end of a turn to the start of another.”
Hafer recommends scanning the run at all times. Like mountain biking, when you’re turning, you want to look ahead. Beginners often have tunnel vision, he says, but it’s important to try to look where you’re going while also focusing on technique. Spatial awareness is also crucial to staying safe on the mountain,
All about stance
Hafer recommends a steady athletic stance, for starters. “To be efficient, one must have an athletic stance while they are sliding,” Hafer says. “When you look at tennis, basketball, or football, anytime an athlete is in a ‘ready’ stance, they have a slight bend in their ankles, knees and hips in order to be prepared for movement in all three planes.”
Best Breck run to practice linking turns?
If you are a beginner, Hafer recommends Silverthorne (a green run on Peak 9) as one of the best practice runs in the country, as it’s a considerably longer run with a consistent pitch.
Tips for progression
It all starts with the fundamentals. The best way to learn the fundamentals of the sport is to take a lesson, says Hafer. “We spend many hours training our instructors to be proficient in the field and to provide a safe atmosphere for our guests.” Why not learn from the professionals?
So when does the average skier “get it?”
It will take most individuals about three days to reach a point of confidence to be out on their own, Hafer says. Young children (3 to 4 years) typically take two to three times longer as they do not have the refined motor skills that develop as we age.
Confidence is Key
Take pride in knowing you’re well on your way to linking turns. Nothing is easy on the first go-around, but with the right direction and instructors, linking turns and progressing as a skier is in your future.