Published on: November 26, 2018

Preparing to ski

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and you’re looking forward to winter activities. This blog is about preparing to ski.

Our season in Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain has been jump-started by the early onset of winter. We have current snow depths that are probably two months ahead of schedule, and more coming this week. Hey, we’ll take it. It gets people really pumped to get out there and start ripping. But since most of us haven’t been on snow in maybe six to seven months, we recommend not biting off more than you can chew at the beginning of the year.

In preparing to ski, it’s not a bad idea to engage in some physical preparation in advance.

If you’re inclined to do so, please consult with your physician for a plan that makes sense for you.

When you get to the ski hills for the first time, your body will thank you.

Our resident ski expert and ambassador, Andrew Weibrecht, Olympic silver and bronze medalist and future U.S. Skiing Hall of Fame inductee, has this advice for those who want to be physically ready for the season:

“The point is to be in good enough shape when you starting skiing so that you don’t hurt yourself.  The two most injury prone areas are the back and knees. It is very important for your knees that your glut muscles are firing well, things like mini squats, mini one-legged squats and any sort of walking with rubber bands around the ankles get those muscles firing well. To protect the back, the most important thing is to have a strong core. Any sort of yoga, Pilates and any other type of core stabilizing movements will make sure that these muscles are strong, firing and protecting the back muscles.”

Two get ready for the hill, take your gear to a shop and get your skis prepped and bindings checked, including torque tested by certified technicians. This will give you great confidence in your equipment; that’s one less thing to worry about.

Your blogger has always had an early season plan in preparing to ski. I never start on the steeps. That’s where technical deficiencies become evident, especially if you’ve been away from the snow for a long time.

My concept recommends spending the first day or two on nothing more severe than intermediate runs. At Whiteface, that won’t confine you at all since there are beautiful, long blue trails from the summits of Whiteface and Little Whiteface. You’ll still get great views as you ski the big mountain.

Spend those initial runs working on technique on the easier trails. For instance, work on balance; don’t ski on the balls of your feet nor your heels. Instead feel like your entire foot is engaged on the ski and by default, it’ll be engaged with the snow.

Also, work on skiing with a quiet upper body, or what great skiers and racers call upper and lower body separation. Think angulation, not inclination, meaning angle your center of mass over the outside ski instead of leaning inside over your uphill ski. When the latter occurs, you lose contact with the outside ski and the snow. That’s the ski you rely on to make precise turns. Leaning in usually results in skidding out. Think of letting your legs and skis do much of the work, with the upper body coming along for the ride and turning much less than the lower body.

Make sure you ski with your head up. Skiers who focus on the tips of the skis will bend over excessively at the waist – not a dynamic skiing position. Also, you won’t be able to see what’s around you as you move down the hill. Focus your eyes well in front of the skis. Your body will be in that dynamic position where it can turn either way, and you’ll be able to see the entire trail.

Once you’ve checked off this entire list in preparing to ski, you’ll be ready for the steeps of Mountain Run, Niagara, Victoria and others.

Also remember to take a few brief breaks during those first days, but don’t sit for a long time. When I’ve done that, I’ve had more difficulty getting up 😊.

If you need a refresher, it’s a good idea to book instructional time with the certified pros at the Whiteface Mountain Ski School – This link opens in a new browser tab. I’m a big fan of getting “professional help” 😊. By now you’re done preparing to ski…’s time to ski!!

Finally, if you’re looking for a deluxe ski package, including a half-day of skiing with Andrew, please check our website. Andrew won his medals in 2010 and 2014; the Mirror Lake Inn is offering ski experiences with him. Just call 518-523-2544 – This link will open your default phone application.

Please check this blog regularly for more ski and ride information and other news pertinent to your stay in the Lake Placid Adirondacks region.