Skiing on a mountain is a very open skill and you always need adapt to a constant change of conditions and snow types.

When skiing the mountain, you can turn a situation to your advantage if you adapt your techniques and tactics to your own ability as well as the conditions and snow type. This is what make a good and effective skier.

Check out some of our tips:

Improve your skiing in variety of ways:

  • Make different size turn shapes
  • Shorter turns, then longer
    Rounder, then finish off your turns
  • Skiing slower and faster
  • Sliding more then steering/carving the turns


Try all the above in different snow types and conditions on flatter and steeper slopes on the mountain.

By experimenting for yourself you can start to gain new feelings that you can use to your advantage when skiing on the mountain in the future.

Come and join us to learn more about how you can turn a situation and snow conditions to your advantage so you can have fun no matter what the mountain throws at you.

Scroll down and check out the All Mountain Ski Tips.


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Optimal speed is the speed at which the turn/change of direction is at its easiest, the movements are free, and you are balanced throughout the turn/change of direction. You should ski at your optimal speed to achieve your own goals at your own level. Optimal speed will change as your skiing improves, as you become more aware of your balance, and as you gain confidence. Gradually, your improvements will allow you to take control of your body and your movements to adapt in a more effective way, which will give you an fuller all-mountain experience, increasing your ability in different and varied snow conditions.

When changing direction, the shape of the turn (radius) is very important, it also effects your optimal speed. It should be noted that you will start to become more aware of how to choose the most effective line and shape of the turn while being able to assess the type of terrain and snow.

It is important to choose the most effective line (sliding, gripping, or carving) and shape for your speed, snow type, and skill level so that you can ski at an optimal speed for your ability while staying balanced.

A skier should always be changing and moving to adapt to maintain a good, centred position on your skis, this allows you to stay in balance for the situation on the mountain.

You are constantly adjusting your movements to stay balanced. Try to make constant movements at the same speed you are going down the hill and try to keep the body moving forward with the feet to keep the balance over the feet so you can change direction at any time on the hill and steer the skis while turning/changing direction.



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The amount we steer our skis on the edges and when we begin to grip through the turn/direction change, depend on the speed we are traveling at. The faster you travel the earlier the edges engage in the turn and cut through the snow at the top of turn. Conversely, the slower you ski, the later in the turn/change of direction the edges begin to cut in and start to engage and grip/steer in the snow.

When you start to turn into the fall line, you must be able to control the skis. This requires the skier to be well balanced against and on top of the outside ski from the top/start of the turn so you can maintain balance against the turning ski, ie the outside ski.

There are four phases of the turn and all are very important for you to be aware of.

  • Start of turn/set up
    The skis glide in the new direction, you start to edge the skis and build pressure against the outer ski (from the start to the middle of the turn is the most important part of the whole shape of the turn)
  • Middle of the turn
    The highest pressure of the turn. The optimal alpine position/balance is very important here to maintain good body tension/posture.
  • End of turn
    Here you start to release the pressure off your skis and move into the next turn.
  • Gliding phase
    Here the turn is finished and you begin to prepare for the start of the next turn (the gliding phase blends into the start of the new turn).


Steering out of the fall line and feeling for when you want to release the skis is the most challenging part of the turn especially in challenging conditions and terrain.

You need to be well balance against and on top of the outside ski to control the pressure build up through the outside ski. This will aid the feeling of where and when you want to release the skis to change edges to start the new turn/change of direction.

When you tip your skis onto the edges during the turn/direction change, the pressure/tension increases. The turn shape, steepness, terrain (bumps), speed, snow types and type of skis (Race ski, all-terrain carver and freeride skis) all affect the steering pressure generated in the turn/change of direction; you feel this through your legs and whole body. This pressure builds and you can use this to your advantage or disadvantage. With practice you can develop awareness and feeling about where and when to release the pressure and then you can become a much more adaptable skier in all terrain on the whole mountain.

The support ski (outer ski) and the inner ski, both have steering and balancing qualities. The support foot/ski (outside ski) has better, more effective control, feel and balance throughout the turn/change of direction, while the inside foot/ski has stronger edge grip but less feel throughout the turn/change of direction and less feel for balance, which promotes edge catching during the turn/change of direction. Here, a very fine sense of steering with the inside foot/ski in the right place, at the right time, and to the right degree in the turn/direction change is required for effective steering through the turn/direction change.

You can either drift your skis or carve/steer your skis on their edges. Carving, which involves steering the skis through the turn/change of direction at higher speeds, makes us more stable in the turn/change of direction. The factors that will affect and influence us and whether we are carving/steering or drift all depends on your ability, confidence and some of the factors below.

Snow types

The skier must constantly respond to the changing factors to effectively steer the skis and maintain control while using the pressure in the turn/change of direction to their advantage. It’s important to be centred over our feet/skis to get the most out of today’s skis.

Being centred over the feet/skis requires flexion of all ski joints (ankles, knees and hips).
With our hips over our feet, hands in front of our body, and our body moving forward with our feet while in motion, we can balance, change direction, control our feet/skis and most important take advantage of the build-up of pressure and control pressure to our advantage on the whole mountain.

Known – Unknown
Easy – Harder
Flat – Steeper
Slow – Faster

By making things harder and moving out of our comfort zone, we can become more aware and raise our awareness and becoming more aware of the 3 factors balance, turn and steering at your own level, you can begin to become a more effective, all-around controlled skier.



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Turning/changing direction

When lower-level skiers start to ski the whole mountain, they will come across varied snow types and conditions which will start to test and challenge them. The challenge you may encounter with changing direction is the result of your lack of balance control. You will find that as you become a better skier and your balance improves, your confidence and speed will increase.

As you become braver and test yourself in more challenging conditions you may find that turning and steering become more difficult again. It is important to introduce, at all levels of skiing, different activities in all types of conditions and types of snow, to improve, balance, turning/changing direction, and steering, so as to progressively integrate these skills and develop your ability to ‘ski the mountain’ in harder and more testing conditions in future.



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Balance means you can move any part of your body whenever and wherever you want to maintain control of your directional change in any type of snow and in any conditions you ski in.

In the beginning, you’ll find that it’s not that hard to stay centred and keep your balance on your skis as you change direction. The problems will decrease the better you become and the more you venture on different slopes and types of snow.

As you improve and become an advanced skier, this issue becomes less important and technique and the way you ski plays a bigger role in improving and maintaining balance control.

To maintain balance, you must constantly move and use your ski joints (ankles, knees and hips) to respond to the changing terrain and different types of snow on the mountain. Taking in the feeling and pressures through your legs you will slowly be more adaptable and more aware of this. Feeling this will give you the freedom to maintain a more of a constant balance and give you the confidence to use this and challenge yourself in different conditions and slopes.

If the movements are coordinated, the right amount of movement at the right time, you will maintain your balance and keep your body and hips above your feet as you steer into or out of a turn. You will find that controlling your skis becomes easier and more effective.

Regardless of the speed at which you are traveling, slow or fast, your movements must be coordinated with the speed at which you are traveling to keep control of your feet in balance to change direction and control your skis effectively.

The joints in your legs act as shock absorbers to absorb the pressure under your feet and skis when you turn or change direction. Using your joints in this way is beneficial and helps you turn by making sure you keep your balance and have your hips over your feet.



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When you glide over the snow with your skis, balancing becomes more difficult because you are moving at high speed on a narrow platform. As you slide forward and turn or change direction, you will need to make small adjustments to keep your hips and centre of gravity above the point of support (your feet) to maintain balance.

Any rapid or large movement in your joints will throw you off balance, as your centre of gravity is no longer in the ideal position above your feet.

The width of the standing area (or leg stance) also affects balance. You can change the size of your stance to create a wider or narrower support surface. This will depend on the conditions, speed and gradient of slope you are skiing on. This allows you to adapt to different conditions and snow types, and maintain good posture and balance. So don’t think your ski stance should be skis narrow all the time or wider all the time; you stance should change as you learn and as you become more adaptable and confident on a mountain.

How and where you hold your arms and hands is an important factor at all levels of skiing, as your they help maintain your balance while moving. They stabilize your body and help you correct and regain your balance over your skis and feet. Arms and hands should be forward of your body out to the sides appropriately, acting like a balancing pole.


Sean Langmuir - BASI Trainer and World Cup CoachMay 20, 2023
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‘Toby is one of the best ski trainers in the business. He is a fantastic skier himself and has the experience and technical knowledge to develop world class performers. Toby offers his students a unique approach that is driven by an unsurprised passion and energy for developing skiers’.
British ArmyDecember 20, 2020
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Toby has already twice spent four weeks helping to run an annual alpine skiing exercise for around 120 British Army soldiers. ... He has added real value to so many different elements of our ski training and race training. We enjoyed his company very much and could benefit from his wealth of experience in various areas of the alpine environment. He is a true professional and is so versatile that he has improved the experience of our entire team on the hill.
Siri Gasmann-BrottJuly 16, 2014
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In the short time that I and my daughter have gotten to know Toby, he continues to show his love for his work, the love and passion he has for skiing and helping others develop .... I feel privileged to have met Toby and I would like to say that I am confident that wherever Toby goes and whatever he does, he will inspire and motivate others.
Ian CopleyNovember 27, 2016
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Great 3 days in Hintertux. Focused on the core issues, clear in message and delivered with humor! I have the feeling that I have improved significantly. As Arnie said, "I'll be back!"