The great thing about a private lesson is you can run the show. During my first lesson, my instructor and I focused so much on technique that I just wanted to ski and have some fun during my moguls and trees lesson. My instructor Erik Trabka and I found plenty of powder leftover in the trees a couple of days after a recent storm. Even better, about 4 inches fell during the afternoon while we skied, and ducking into the trees is always a quick fix for visibility.

Erik had skied with me before and already had an idea of what we should work on that day. I tend to be a hippy skier and over exaggerate my turns. My parents are always commenting on my great form, but Erik held no such allegiances, and we got straight to his to-do list.


Erik’s top tips:

• Focus on skiing more efficiently

I can ski groomers all day without so much as a break — well, maybe just one for beer — but it’s a different story in the bumps and trees. I assumed that’s because skiing bumps and trees is inherently harder than skiing groomers, and that’s true, but it’s also how efficiently we ski that impacts our energy.

Skiing efficiently goes back to the basics, including how you stand over your skis and how you turn. If your weight is in the back seat, you have to work harder to stay upright. Always keep your weight centered over your feet with slight pressure on the tongue of your boot, similar to how you would stand in your boots before stepping into your bindings. Turning efficiently means turning your skis with your feet and legs rather than your hips or upper body. The more of your body you move, the more energy it takes to get back into a balanced position.

• Make turns more rounded

When we headed into the bumps on White Out, we talked about making more rounded turns. I grew up learning to ski the bumps in the troughs, which can be deep, icy and rutted. Erik recommended taking the easier line by making more rounded turns along the tops of the bumps. It was a challenge for me to visualize the new lines, but it made for a smoother run and helped keep my speed under control.

White Out is not one of my favorite bump runs on the mountain. I like BC Lift Line, Norther and Surprise off Burgess Creek lift. For some less intimidating bumps, try the moguls alongside groomed trails like Buddy’s Run and lower Rainbow. That way, you can always escape to the corduroy if it’s not your day in the bumps. Spring is a really great time to venture into the moguls. Wait for the trails to get plenty of sunshine because the slushy bumps can be really forgiving — what we call hero bumps.

• Keep upper body facing downhill

I’m typically pretty good at keeping my upper body facing downhill, but as Erik and I worked on making more rounded turns, he’d catch me facing across the slope. Keeping your upper body facing downhill helps with maintaining balance and conserving energy — less movement uses less energy.

After exploring the bumps and trees, Erik had me worn out in two hours flat, but I did make some of my softest, deepest turns of the season in Christmas Tree Bowl, where fresh snow lingered days after the recent storms.


Read more

Room for Improvement Part 1: Turning Technique

Room for Improvement Part 2: Moguls and trees

Room for Improvement Part 3: Freestyle and Terrain Parks


Nicole Miller, social media specialist

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