Alpine Skiing Quick Guide

1.Taking lessons

2.Choosing the right clothing

3.The best equipment for you

4.Where to skiv 5.For the extreme skier

Taking lessons

If it’s your first time on skis, there are several ways you can learn the proper style and technique. You can teach yourself, learn from a friend or take lessons from a professional ski instructor. Teaching yourself might not be the recommended option.  There are more risks of injury and you can learn some bad habits. This could result in missing out on some (or most) of the fun, getting discouraged and not enjoying the sport.

If you decide to take lessons from a friend, you will definitely save yourself some money but you might not get all the important information and tips you would get from a seasoned pro. What if your friend taught himself and learned some bad habits?

The most practical option is to take lessons from a professional ski instructor. This will help you stay safe and learn important techniques. You can also choose to have the lessons tailored to your skiing needs. Luckily, all five ski resorts around Canmore offer lessons.

What to wear

When it comes to staying warm on top of a snow covered mountain, you will need to find the appropriate clothing from head to toe. The good news is you don’t have to worry about the boots; they come with the skis. However, they don’t offer much insulation and extra socks might be a good idea. You will appreciate having two pairs of socks.  The outside pair should preferably be wool.

For your legs, layers are recommended. A good pair of flexible pants (i.e. not jeans) covered with water tight ski pants will usually be adequate. Depending on the forecast, long johns might also be necessary. You might be thankful of spending a little extra for some ski pants with reinforced knees – this is usually the first place to wear-out with frequent falls.

Your upper body should also be covered in layers; a minimum of three.  The bottom layer can be a comfortable long-sleeve T-shirt.  However, the next layer should be water resistant but breathable.  This will keep water away from you body, keep you dry and help keep you warm (there’s nothing worse than cold water to steal all your body warmth).  The outside layer should break the wind – most ski jackets do the trick.  They also have several zippered pockets to stash all things necessary (lip-balm is indispensable).

Let’s not forget your noggin’. A good percentage of body heat is lost through the head. This makes it very important to cover it up. Start with a good neck warmer or scarf for you neck and chin (if you opt for a balaclava ski mask, this might not be necessary). You will also need eyewear. While sunglasses usually do the trick, winds can pick up unexpectedly on the mountain tops so goggles are recommended. If you buy goggles, make sure they offer UV protection; the sun glare off the snow can be hard on your eyes. Finally, cover up your head with a warm toque.

Note: the amount and warmth of the clothing you decide to wear all depends on the forecast and the season. Obviously, spring skiing asks for cooler ski wear. Use your best judgement and always remember – too warm is better than too cold!

The right equipment for you

When it comes to choosing the best equipment, a beginner can more than manage with some inexpensive rental skis and poles. All of the ski resorts near Canmore offer  1ff8 rentals.

Plus, you might find out that skiing is not for you so you might not want to spend too much money getting all geared up before hitting the slopes a few times.

Once you get the hang of it, enjoy it and start skiing more frequently, it’s time to look at the option of purchasing your own equipment. Luckily, several online outlet stores (like let you browse various items before deciding on what brand, type and style of skis, poles, bindings and boots you want to invest in. Some online stores even offer used equipment if you want your own gear with a less expensive approach.

Where to ski

With five major ski resorts within an hour’s drive, your stay in Canmore gives you access to a wide variety of skiing options.

Choose Nakiska, just 35 minutes away, for its smaller, uncrowded atmosphere. Visit Fortress Mountain for its two mountains and sweet snow conditions. You can try Mount Norquay if you like night skiing. Maybe you prefer Sunshine Village, which offers fast lifts, the most snow and great powder.There’s also the ski resort in Lake Louise, the largest ski area in North America. No matter which resort you choose, there is enough skiing around Canmore to keep you coming back season after season.

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For the extreme skier

If you’re an experienced skier, you know that powder snow is the ultimate experience. However, you also are aware of the fact that it’s rare and hard to find. Even though most ski mountains get frequent snowfall, the dryness and depth of the snow is marginal. Add the early morning traffic to all this and the deep, smooth, untracked powder is soon groomed and packed, making that ‘perfect powdered run’ hard to come by.

The good news is that there are alternatives to being a conventional ‘powder chaser’. There is ski touring, Heli Skiing and Cat Skiing.

Ski touring is arduous and time consuming. For those who aren’t familiar with it, you basically trek through the backcountry on remote alpine peaks, far from crowded resorts. You can then enjoy the powder as well as the peaceful nature of the uncrowded slopes.

Those who are willing to spend a bit of money to get the ultimate skiing experience can choose Heli Skiing. This type of skiing has been around for several years. It consists of hitching a ride aboard a helicopter to the top of the mountain where there is powder as far as the eyes can see. This however will run you around $1000 a day and is only available to proficient skiers.  Also available are multiple day guided tours on huge, isolated slopes upon mountain tops.

This type of adventure does not come without its downsides. There are days when the helicopter cannot fly due to inclement weather conditions and there is always the inherent risk of avalanches. However, all reputable heli-operators provide qualified guides who know the safest routes down the slopes. When weather is unforgiving, guides will restrict skiing to the wooded areas; ’skiing the trees’.

Tree skiing is usually associated with another type of mechanized skiing – Cat Skiing. This type of extreme skiing is fairly new. Basically, a snowcat (a large mechanized snow caterpillar) takes you up the mountain. This takes more time than by helicopter but some prefer its more cozy, relaxed and tranquil environment. Snowcats boast comfortable cabins than can accommodate up to 12 people, a guide and a driver. While you scale the mountain in this comfy coach, you can nibble on some snacks, warm up and even sit out the next run. Yes, even if snowcats are slower, most people get their money’s worth and wear themselves out.

Cat skiing is more affordable than its big brother, heli-skiing. It will run you approximately $600 a day, including transportation, lodging, meals and guiding. Plus, snowcats still run in inclement weather. This cuts down on ‘down days’ you would get with a helicopter. This way, especially if your ski vacation is limited for time, you get the most amount of skiing possible.

Of course, like its big brother, cat skiing has its limitations. The snowcats can’t go everywhere a helicopter can so cat skiing is more limited geographically. However, cat-operators become very familiar with their ‘limited geography’ and this limits unpredicted events.

For more information on Canmore and its various skiing opportunities, visit Canadian Rockies Canmore’s skiing page.


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The Importance of HeightAlpine Skiing Equipment

I took skiing lessons for six years, from the age of eleven until I was seventeen. During that time, some of my instructors were more memorable than others, but the one I will never forget was Stephan. The man was about 6′4″ with shoulders so broad they were appeared to stick straight out from his neck. When he skied, his skis were so close together that his body formed a perfect triangle. Needless to say, he was a very skilled athlete and an excellent teacher, but one of his methods for teaching (or torturing) his advanced students was to force us to ski down the hill on one ski WITHOUT poles. If you’ve never attempted it, skiing on one ski is difficult, but if you add a no poles scenario to the equation, it becomes darn near impossible. Of course, the point of the exercise was to teach us balance, but for me, the unintentional upshot was an increased appreciation for my ski poles.

Most modern ski poles, as with most ski gear, fall into two categories: those intended for cross-country skiing and those intended for downhill. Although it is possible to use poles intended for one application in the other, I would not recommend it. Ski poles, while they appear simple in design, are specially designed to best aid the skier in specific situations.
skiing | sport |

For those of you who have never gone downhill skiing, first of all, you should. Second of all, when you do, you should make sure you get properly sized ski poles. When watching the speed skiers on the Olympics, it may not seem as though poles really serve much purpose. This, however, is not the case. Proper downhill skiing technique involves (among other things) carving turns into the snow with the edges of the skis. When the skier reaches the apex of the turn, he or she plants the inside pole and turns towards it, beginning a turn in the other direction.

The act of planting the pole may seem purely cosmetic, and in the case of an amateur skier it usually is. However, a well-planted pole can also go a long way towards establishing a good turning rhythm for an average or advanced skier. Consequentially, if the pole is too long or too short, the skier will find the act of planting it awkward and the rhythm will be thrown off. Additionally, a pole that is too short will result in an overly flexed stance, throwing the weight forward and increasing the risk of a fall.

There is a fairly simple method to determine if a downhill ski pole is the correct height. Turn the ski pole upside down, place the grip on the floor, and grasp the pole just below the basket (the found part at the bottom of the pole). Place your body, including your arms, in a skiing stance and put the grip in front of your feet. Ideally, the ski pole should force your arm to create a 90 degree angle. If it does, great. If not, try again until you find the right poles.

A telescoping arm with a twist-lock  system lets you adjust the pole anywhere in between those dimensions to fit your height and the current geography.Jackson Hole Skiing
If you need ski or snowboard instruction, Jackson Hole offers the Mountain Sports School which offers classes for individuals and groups. Snowflake Kisses

A miniature horizontal bar at the front of the shoe clicks onto the front of the ski. The heel remains free. The height of the poles should enable the elbow to bend at a 90-degree.Widebody Ski Crampons

However, I have been in some situations that merited keeping the uphill ski binding in the lower heel elevator position but the downhill ski binding in the higher heel elevator position.The Sydney Morning Herald Blogs.

This involves putting your skis perpendicular to the slope of the hill. Now just lift them slightly so that you slide down the hill very slowly.

Alpine Skiing EquipmentAlpine Skiing Equipment

There are two main types of snow skiing – alpine and Nordic. Alpine is downhill skiing, and Nordic is cross-country. The equipment and techniques used for the two disciplines are quite different. If you want to do both, you can, and many skiers enjoy both styles of skiing at different times of the year.

Although there are a number of differences, the main one is that Nordic ski boots are only attached to the ski at the toe end. The heel can be lifted from the ski, allowing the skier to use a striding motion. If you’re alpine skiing, your ski boots must be attached firmly to the ski at both the toe and heel, to allow maximum control at high speeds or during turns.

The equipment is different, particularly the ski boots and skis. Nordic skiers use flexible, low cut ski boots, which are quite different to the high, rigid boots that are appropriate for alpine skiing. Also, Nordic skis are thinner and longer, so that they glide easily over the snow.

When it comes to alpine skiing, there are plenty of disciplines to choose from. You can choose different skiing styles, such as mogul, powder, off and on piste, or there are specific skills such as free-style, speed skiing, telemark and ski jumping.

Powder Skiing

Powder skiing is often described as the ultimate experience by skiing enthusiasts. Snow that is light and dry is known as powder snow. Cutting through light, pristine powder is an amazing experience, and skiers will often go to extreme lengths if it means they can ski in powder.The techniques of power skiing are quite different to those used on groomed trails.

Turns need to be more gradual, and the skier’s weight has to be kept further back on the skis. When powder skiing is done well it’s beautiful to watch the technical finesse required, and it’s often described as feeling like you’re floating on clouds.


If you’ve seen a ski run with lots of bumps, then you’ve seen moguls. These moguls form on a ski hill because so many skiers follow the same paths down the slope. On a busy hill, it’s possible for the hill to become covered in moguls, and skiing them well requires very specific techniques. Control is of high importance when skiing through moguls. Looking down at a hill full of moguls can be scary, but if you take them at a slight angle and use your downward pole as a pivot point, you’ll be okay.

You need to pivot around the pole and use the spring action of your knees to ski over the mogul at the same time. It’s important to start at beginner levels with moguls, but a good preparation will prepare you for the excitement and fun of speed mogul skiing. Rhythm is the key, so it’s important to get into a rhythm with your turns to help you stay in control.

Backcountry Skiing

If you’re getting bored with the groomed trails of your favorite ski resort, then why not try some backcountry skiing? This can be a great way to see the outdoors in a way that most people never experience. It can be challenging, which also means that it can be dangerous. Most ski resorts give you access to ski patrols and other rescue services, but in the backcountry you’re on your own. Shelter might be miles away if a storm blows in. If you’re a strong skier and are well prepared, though, you may well find the challenge of backcountry skiing irresistible, and enjoy it without any mishaps.

Author: Tim GormanWhat is the best thing in the world

Nasty asked me on my birthday, “What is the best thing in the world?” Apparently, saying “travelling” is too cliché. He said skiing is the best thing in the world. Khan vouches for skiing

Those of you who have the resources and ability to try out skiing please do so, it is absolutely one of the best things I have done in a long time.Some of the best things

Some of these enjoyable things are water skiing, snorkeling, and diving.