How Can Seniors Advance Their Skiing Skills?

Ski Coach Bob Trueman shows how to assume a proper stance.

The hardest challenge for me is convincing older skiers that you can change your skiing dramatically for the better no matter your age or gender.  Not everyone wants to, but if you do, you can.

That’s the key to advancing your skiing as a senior skier.

Lesson One: The Key Is Belief In Change.

My most recent pupil—a man of 80—has powerful imagery skill,  considerable confidence, and knows how to relax and reduce anxiety.  He’s fit for his age.  He also has years of skiing behind him: but not quality skiing, just “getting down things”.

But he didn’t know what to DO.  In our first session he found two small actions that reaped big changes.  In all those years no instructor had ever told him how to hold his hands for best results!  From that moment on his self-belief, his hopes for the future, took off.  He ain’t done yet!

Lesson Two: You Will Improve Faster If You Ski Slower.

Provided you know what you intend to do—what movement you will make and you know how you will know what you actually do, do. Don’t try to “ski”. Decide to make one movement only.

If you ski fast, you’ll have too much to think about.  You won’t be able to focus, and you’ll be back to “getting down things”.   Ski slower, improve faster.

Lesson Three: Patience Pays.

Be non-judgmental. The more patient you are, the sooner you’ll reach your goal. Being in a hurry slows you down. So does cussing yourself. Even older skiers with years of life experience still call themselves names.

Lesson Four: Your Learning Curve Will Be Steeper When The Slope Isn’t.

Once I have convinced my older skier that it isn’t “baby-ish” to work on changes on beginner slopes, we make faster progress.  It’s an intelligent approach to do so;  it’s not smart to work on new things on steep ones. 

Learn your new techniques and become skillful with them on the easy slopes, where you have less to think about and “survival” is not an issue, and only then head up the hill.

Lesson Five: Work On The “Intention/Attention Feedback Loop”.

What has worked best in every instance for over 25 years has been what we ski coaches call the “Intention/Attention Feedback Loop”.

It works for everyone, but for my older skiers who for the most part are higher educated, mature, and thoughtful, it has worked even better.  It has been a revelation for them.

It goes like this.

Decide before you set off precisely what movement you will practice.  Decide which of your senses will give you the best feedback.  Will you feel it, see it, smell it, etc.?  When you stop, after only say 50 yards, mentally review it.  Ski only very short distances at a time when you’re training.

The results all my older skiers get is the sheer satisfaction of finding they’re not washed up, and they are becoming more controlled skillful skiers than they ever believed they could. It pays huge dividends.

[Editor Note: You can read more in Bob Trueman’s books. Search Amazon here. And even more explanation on his new, free Youtube Channel “Ski In Control With Bobski” where you’ll also find some the movements to make.]

7 Comments

  1. Avatar Roger Wangen says:

    How can I get a copy of this article? I have some friends that I would like to share it.

    • Avatar Michael Maginn says:

      Depending on your browser, you can go the PRINT and you will probably find an option to save as a PDF. That’s probably the fastest way to do it.

      • This came to me as an email…I hit “Forward” and forwarded the articles to my ski buds. They can fill out the application and receive all the articles.

  2. I’m an 81-year old male advanced+ steep fall-line skier. About 4 years ago, while linking turns, I fell twice. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had fallen. I hired an instructor to watch me. He advised me that my technique was exceptional, and that my falls were caused by speed, saying, “Your edges aren’t keeping up with your brain. Slow down about 1/3rd.” I took his advice and I haven’t fallen since then.

  3. Sounds like a reaction-time issue. We are not what we used to be – although it sounds like you’re a hell of lot better than me at skiing.

    I’m not sure falls are actually caused by speed though, they’re caused by what we do or don’t do at the moment concerned. And how did you interpret his comment that “your edges aren’t keeping up with your brain”. I’m afraid that conveys nothing to me at all.

    In any event, sounds like you certainly ski and good luck to you!

  4. Avatar Marc Gershel says:

    Hi, I can relate to the “skis and your brain” comment. Sometimes I feel that my brain is telling my body to turn, and my body isn’t listening. Haha

    • Maybe I’m a little too serious but remember your skis “turn” you, you don’t “turn” your skis. Although I don’t like the term “turn” which conjours-up inaccurate mental images.

      Having said that – my own brain plods ever slower! 😉

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