HOW TO CARRY SKIS
Judging by the number of people we see struggling to manage their skis at Colorado resorts, you’d think slinging a pair over your shoulder was rocket science. It’s not. Place the bottoms of your skis toward each other, with the tips pointing to the sky, and interlock the skis using the binding of each brake (those little black plastic and metal things that stick down). Then, making sure the skis stay interlocked, lift them parallel to the ground and place the toe piece of the bindings just behind your shoulder. (The tails of your skis should point into the air; the tips will be in front of you.) Wrap your arm around the front of the skis to stabilize them.
HOW TO BUY THE RIGHT SIZE SKIS
The right ski length can vary wildly depending on your height, weight, and ability. “If there’s one mistake people generally make, it’s that they are aspirational with their ski buy,” says Mike Blakslee, general manager of the Beaver Creek Children’s Ski & Snowboard School. “Shorter skis allow the skier to start getting the right movement patterns and be successful faster.” Here, a few sizing guidelines for buying your next pair of sticks.
First-Time Skier: Skis should come to the middle of the chest.
Beginner: Aim for between the top of the sternum and the chin.
Intermediate: Ski length should be between the chin and nose.
Advanced: The planks should land between the nose and five to 10 centimeters above the head. (Varies depending on the type of terrain an advanced skier plans to tackle.)
HOW TO OFFER POINTERS ON THE SKI SLOPES
Mike Blakslee from the Beaver Creek ski school offers two simple tips you can use to help out-of-practice lowlanders or new-to-skiing friends.
Finding The Stance
As with most athletic endeavors, proper stance is important. Skiing isn’t that different from, say, football. Think of how Knowshon Moreno positions himself before Peyton Manning says “Omaha”: He’s ready to move. Help skiing rookies by making sure their knees are bent and they’re leaning slightly forward—enough so that their shins remain in contact with the fronts of their boots and they’re balanced over their feet—or what Blakslee calls “relaxed, yet athletic.” “Are they too far back; too far forward; stiff as a board?” Blakslee says. “The biggest thing is that they feel comfortable. You want them to be able to make offensive moves rather than defensive moves.”
Though newbies may be tempted to rush off the bunny slope and onto a blue square, don’t let them. “So much of skiing comes back to the terrain,” Blakslee says. The easiest way to tell whether your friend is in over his head on a trail (aside from listening to his shrieks) is to watch his turn shape. Novice skiers on difficult terrain tend to rush their turns, which can result in tracks that look more like a “Z” than the preferable “S.” “I look at the skis and see what they are doing,” says Blakslee, “and work my way up the body to see what’s causing them to act the way they are.” If they’re Z-ing down the slope, take them back to easier terrain.
HOW TO LOAD A BACKPACK
If you’re heading out for a three-day trek through the mountains, you’re already sacrificing a lot in the comfort department. Don’t make it worse: The weight of a loaded camping pack can be 50 pounds, and knowing the best way to distribute that weight is imperative for balance and easing the strain on your body.
» Frequently used items like maps, snacks, and a first-aid kit should be placed on the top or side of the pack for easy access.
» Lighter gear, such as extra layers or your tent, should go on (or toward) the outside of your pack, away from your back.
» Dense, heavy items (food, extra water, and cook stoves) should go in the middle part of the bag and as close to your back as possible. This helps with weight distribution and balance.
» Your sleeping bag and pad should fill the bottom compartment of your pack. You’re not going to need them until you’re done for the day, and this setup will keep your sleeping items separate from fragrant items such as food.
HOW TO AVOID I-70 SKI TRAFFIC
A gnarly I-70 traffic jam can ruin a good ski day, and trying to time a trip to and from the mountains is a game all Front Rangers have played. To help, here’s a cheat sheet: a by-the-hour look at traffic on a weekday and a weekend (Sunday) in March at the Eisenhower Tunnel.