Veteran Coach and Ski Racer Has A Six-DVD Package.

The problem with trying to teach your old-dog-self some new tricks using videos is that you tend to adopt “positions” when mimicking the skiing on the video. Just because you wound up in a similar position doesn’t mean you moved things in the right order to get there. Remember, all good skiing starts with the feet. If you move them first, you will always be on the right track. If the video you are using doesn’t explain the bio-mechanical details, STOP…and find a video that does. A great source of reading on mechanics is the PSIA Alpine Technical Manual available here.

Rick Schnellmann’s videos demo technique.

Ski instruction can be like a religious event. You either believe the instructor is a god, or you don’t. If you don’t ski exactly the way they do, you are a fool. The point of the Building Blocks DVD set by Rick Schnellmann is that it is entirely secular. No matter what you believe constitutes “good skiing”, Building Blocks will make you better at it. You can go to his store here.

Building Blocks comes as a six DVD set for $175.00. It takes you from Basic Balance to Basic Edging, on to Advanced Balance, Advanced Edging then, to Transitions and Angulation. If you follow the progression and really give it a shot, I guarantee that you that you will be a better skier.

I first stumbled over a helpful website called about six years ago. Rick also has a Facebook page by the same name and that is darned handy. If you are having issues, help is only a couple clicks away. I hadn’t been able to ski much in the previous decade and wanted to learn more about new technique. What I found is a lot of non-ego-driven help in sorting out my game and getting on a fast track to better skiing.

If you log into online forums about ski instruction, you will quickly get the impression that if that dude hadn’t shot the Arch Duke, WW I would have been started between ski instructors in the Alps. Everyone wants to be the ONE who figured all out and made skiing easier. Truth to tell, if you really want to improve, it is time to learn some of the details about the bio-mechanics of skiing

Rick breaks it down into some simple steps. If you engage in exercises that improve the basic skills of balance, edging and transitions, you get better and you don’t have to even KNOW you have a First Metatarsal let alone worry about it while you ski. These aren’t just a bunch of quick tips. It is a complete system of education.

Rick Schnellmann is a former FIS racer and has been coaching racers for 30 years.  Here’s an impressive clip that shows how one beginner progressed from sliding turns to controlled edge carves.


  1. Personally, I think it would be hard to learn from a video, unless you have somebody (video) recording and analyzing your moves. What I THINK I am doing might not at all be what I am actually doing…
    For better learning, it seems as ski “teaching” is gravitating from “imitating” what the coach is doing to what the student is “feeling” under foot… Granted, I have not watched the videos.

  2. Mike Stebbins Mike Stebbins says:

    One of the things about the Building Block DVDs is that the exercises are very difficult to do incorrectly and the narration explains how to tell when you are doing it wrong. They are arranged in a sequence that builds skills one upon the other. It would be nice if it were in a phone app so you could take it with you for reference.

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