Tips from The Rusty

Search tip: pick a key word and use "edit, find" to find a tip for you or use the Google search engine on the front page. The Rusty provides these tips based on over 30 years of on snow experience. They can help make your skiing experience better without going through the trial and error process that Rusty has gone through, but they are not intended to replace professional instruction so please don't sue me. If the advice sounds a little hokey, click on "... Rusty" to see what he really does. Hey all you ski  instructors out there. Rusty has teaching tips for you to match each of the tips on this page. Just click on "...Pro". Rusty also has a list of tips on the web. Should you tip instructors?
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Tip#72 - Goggles - Most folks get just one pair of goggles. Some are smart enough to select the lens color of the goggles on purpose. Do you know what different colored lenses do for you?  Different colors work better for different people, but in general amber and darker colors work for fair weather skiers, while yellow and pink help to improve contrast in low light conditions. Bolle has a nice flash page explaining their color options (select Technology - then lens colors).  ..Rusty    ...Pro  

Tip#71 - Edge Control - An indoor drill. 
1) Stand parallel to a wall (shoulders at a 90 degree angle to the wall) far enough away from the wall so that your outstretched arm is about 1 foot away from the wall. Lean/fall into the wall catching yourself with your hand flat against the wall.
Now bend your knees and sit back a little bit to sink down. You should feel the pressure light on your outside foot. Now feel how easy it is to turn the outside foot versus the inside foot. This is why your edge changes are sequential.
2) From this position, now rise up This is the vertical movement that I was talking about. Instead of sinking down with a sitting motion, move your belly button over the little toe of your inside (close to the wall) foot as you sink. Notice how the hips come forward? Feel the weight move forward on the bottom of your feet? Now try turning your feet. See how both feet move together more easily than the first exercise? Now try twisting your knees back and forth? Feel your feet roll up on edge?
3) Now, from the starting raised up position away from the wall, turn your hips and shoulder toward the wall as far as you can get them while keeping your feet aligned parallel with the wall. Next, as you fall into the wall, you should feel your feet roll up on edge without the wild knee movements in exercise 2. Finally, do the move in exercise 2. If you're doing it right, you'll see how your inside leg collapses while your outside leg lengthens. This is where we want to take your skiing.
..Rusty    ...Pro  

Tip#70 - Alignment - Get yourself tested. Everyone's body is unique and changes over time. Many skiers have body parts that are not put together for optimum performance while skiing. If your body is aligned such that your feet are not flat when you are standing straight up or such that your weight is centered forward or backward of where it should be, then you're skiing will suffer. It's hard to find a good alignment specialist to get yourself checked, but you can do it yourself with this self test. ..Rusty    ...Pro  

Tip#69 - Edge Control - The Falling Leaf exercise- There comes a time on one skiing career when your skis no longer feel like funny clown feet. This is when you've finally developed a feel for your edges as if they were extensions of your own body. The Falling Leaf family of exercises can help you develop this feeling faster. Start with a basic sideslip. Can you slide perfectly sideways down a trail? It's easier to do on harder snow and a little risky in soft grabby snow, but the goal is to not let your ski tips or tails get ahead of each other.  Next work on slideslips with fast starts and stops (spray some snow with a hockey stop!). Now do a slide slip where you stay falling in a straight line down the hill, but you let the tips or the tails point more downhill during the slide. Now do side slip that  "tracks" left and right across the trail. If you sort of put these last two together, you can start tracking to one side, then nose up (let the ski tips drift uphill) until you stall, then slide backwards, dip down then let the tails drift uphill until you stall and reverse direction to go forward again. This will make your path down the trail similar to when a leaf falls off a tree. When you've got the hang of the basic falling leaf, you can "trick it up" by doing 180s and 360s at the stall points instead of just reversing in your tracks. When you can comfortably do these exercises, you'll never feel awkward on skis again.  ..Rusty    ...Pro  

Tip #68 - Freestyle - 180s - Wind up the upper body prior to take off. You don't need a lot. Release smooth and flex ankles, knees and waist on landing. 360s -Wind up as much as possible prior to take off. Edge your skis before takeoff and release at or slightly before the lip. Lead the rotation with your head and spot the landing. Control spin by putting hands out to slow down or pulling them in to speed up. If you underspin, land on the trailing ski first and keep the lead ski airborne until it's all the way around. Then pick up your trailing ski and step into parallel. ..Rusty    ...Pro

Tip #67 - Balance - Many intermediate skiers have fore/aft balance issues. Sometimes (more often for women than men) these problems can be fixed with a custom boot alignment session or getting your bindings remounted into a better position. Most often however, the problem is a result of a combination of fear (that's usually not noticed) and simply not keeping up with the skis. The big solution is to move your hips forward as the skis start to go faster. You can practice this move inside on the dance floor. It's the old Elvis style pelvic thrust. On snow, it will hardly be noticeable because you're only thrusting forward and your shoulders will come forward too instead of arching back like they would on the dance floor. As simple as this sounds, it's very hard for skiers to just do it. So instead, there is a long list of exercises designed to help get you there with moves that are easier to practice. Here are a few of Rusty's favorites: hold your hands like you are carrying a tray, hold your hands behind your back, shuffle your feet back and forth continuously while you make your turns, make tiny steps continuously while you make your turns, lift your big toes up so that they back contact with the top of the boot, imagine you have a $100 bill tucked half into the top front of your boot (if you don't stay forward you will lose the money!), ski without your poles and Tony Knows (keep your toes, knees and nose aligned vertically). ..Rusty    ...Pro

Tip#66 - Socks - What kind of socks should you wear for skiing? For a lot of people, plain old cotton athletic tube socks will work just fine. However, cotton will absorb sweat. If your feet sweat a lot, this could get squishy. On a warm day, you might just want to pack an extra pair of socks for the ride home. Some people also easily get cold feet when they ski. Even though it might not be noticeable, switching to a ski sock could help warm your feet and keep them dry. Ski socks cost from $8 - $25. The cheaper ones use less expensive fabrics that are not as durable, don't wick as well and don't insulate as well. In general, the thin socks provide enough insulation for most people. If your feet get cold enough to be uncomfortable, then you should consider electric boot warmers instead of using a thick ski sock. A lot of people still think you need to wear two pairs of socks to keep warm. With modern boots and sock materials, this is no longer true. If your boots start to pack out, you can use thicker socks to help create some extra tightness, but you will still be losing responsiveness between your foot and the boot. Do you want to know what special ski socks feel like? Try going to a ski shop. They usually have a basket of socks for people to use when trying out boots. It might be worth getting a pair or 2 just for the added comfort. Ski Press had a couple of nice reviews on ski socks (Lightweight, Midweight) ..Rusty    ...Pro

Tip#65 - Turns - Do you want to get a little more zip in your turns? Try this exercise. Start with a traverse. Lift the tail of the uphill ski and press the tip of the ski into the snow hard to bend the ski. Do it until you can hold this all the way across the traverse in both directions. Repeat with the downhill ski. Next continue holding the downhill ski tip pressed hard down from the traverse into the next turn. Roll your foot so that only the inside edge of the downhill ski tip is in contact with the snow during the turn. Repeat for the other direction. Finally, do a leaper turn. At the end of one turn, leap into the air while your skis are still on their uphill edges and turn while you are in the air and land on your new uphill edges. Land on both ski tips first and bend them like you were during the traverses. ..Rusty    ...Pro

Tip#64 - Turns - Do you have trouble making a turn in one direction? Did you know that you could be .... "normal"? Some people have a weak excuse for making weak turns in one direction. If you've had an injury or you've got a physical issue like having one leg longer than another, a good ski shop performing boot and ski modifications can do wonders. But for the rest of us, our only excuse is "we're normal". Most people have a "footedness" just like they have a preference for using one hand over another. This means that one leg is slightly stronger and more coordinated than the other. Since the outside leg is more dominant in a ski turn, it just makes sense that it would be natural to have a little more trouble turning in the direction that has your "weaker" leg controlling your outside ski. When we get in trouble, we have a tendency to cheat and when we cheat, we end up making sloppy turns. Now, the 64,000 vertical foot question is "How do you fix this?". It's not easy. There will be a lot of symptoms (e.g. skidding, upper body movement) through out the turn, but your root cause is probably very early in the turn initiation because you've had trouble for so long you start cheating right at the start. Determining how you are cheating often takes the trained eye of an instructor, but the key is comparing how each piece of the body from the ankle to the head moves during the beginning of a left turn versus the right turn. Video analysis is helpful here. But computerized analysis is even better because software can digitally flip a left turn to make it look like a right turn. Using computer software you can also display the turns side by side to make it easy to see the differences between your stronger and weaker turns. Then your solution becomes "instead of doing that" (the moves in the weak turn), "do this" (the moves in the stronger turn). Of course, knowing what to do is easier that doing it. You're still going to need to practice, to work more on that weak turn than just every other turn. You can do this by making garlands. Travel across a slope making short turns up into the hill, then releasing and drifting back down before making another short turn. Make one big turn to get back to the other side, then repeat. Your weak leg will get a lot more work than your strong leg, you'll get a chance to focus on making your new moves and soon you'll be "abnormal" - one of the few people who can make smooth rhythmic turns in both directions! ..Rusty    ...Pro

Tip#63 - Moguls - If you're having trouble with moguls, the odds are you're trying to go through too fast versus your ability to make short turns in the bumps. You could work on carving real short turns on the groomers, but where's the fun in that? What you really need is some magical way to get your skis turned quicker despite all those nasty bumps being in the way. Rusty's secret trick for speed control in the bumps is to attack them from the side. Imagine looking down the hill and seeing a a clock face on a mogul where 12 o'clock is the point where the bump meets the rut at the lowest point down the hill and 6 o'clock is where the bump meets the rut the farthest up the hill. Most skiers are going to make first contact with the mogul somewhere between 8:00 and 4:00. That's good if you want to go fast through the bumps. If you want to go slower, try making first contact between 8:00 and 10:00 o'clock or between 2:00 and 4:00 o'clock. Then start turning back towards the 6:00 direction. You'll go slightly back uphill and higher on the bump at the same time and you'll be in the softest snow. This way you will let the bump slow your speed through gravity and the friction of the soft snow. As you get your feet to the 6:00 o'clock position on the bump, you want to be almost stopped and near the top of the bump. Touch your pole at the top of the bump and roll onto your new edges as you go around the back side of the bump. You want to exit the bump around 10:00 or 2:00 so that you are set up to attack the next mogul from the side. Once you can get a rhythm going at slow speed, you can work on gradually going faster by making your contact point closer and to 6:00 o'clock. ..Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#62 - Stance - How far should your feet be apart? The answer is: it depends. In powder, you want your feet a little closer together than on groomed snow (unless you're on powder skis!). In moguls, you might also want your skis closer together in order to keep a more even stance in highly variable terrain. With more modern equipment, you want the skis to be a little further apart than on older straight skis because the technique for shaped ski turns relies more on tipping the skis to let them turn than turning your feet and legs to force the skis to turn. The wider your feet are apart, the more stability you will have have, but the harder it will be to get your skis on edge. The closer your feet are together, the easier it is to get your skis on edge, but the more likely you are to have your inside leg "block" the outside leg from getting to the same edge angle. For most people, the ideal stance is to have your feet "about shoulder width" apart. But the exact width of your stance is not a problem unless you're having edging problems. Here's an exercise you can try at home with or without your ski boots on. Grab a chair, stand with your feet close together, then lean over sideways using the chair for support. Can you feel your feet brush together? Then try leaning over with your feet at various widths up to shoulder width apart. Can you feel your inside foot getting on edge? Finally, carefully try getting your inside foot on edge starting with your feet greater than shoulder width apart. That's the breaking point. By the way - you can get on the inside edge with your feet greater than shoulder width apart. It just requires an extreme amount of lean and high edge angle. Check out the slow motion on a downhill race and you can see it in action. But don't try it with the chair unless you've got an assistant holding it. ..Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#61 - Carving - Add more power to your carved turns by initiating and guiding the turn shape with rotation of the upper (outside) leg. Although  your quad muscle does not really rotate this way, by thinking about it this way you will move your knee, hips and ankle together in a very specific way. ..Rusty    ...Pro

Tip#60 - Carving - The second secret to a good carved turn is knowing which body part should start the turn. In really smooth skiing, there are many body parts moving as the skier finishes the previous turn. The skis are flattening out and the body is moving more on top of the skis as opposed to being "inside" the skis (i.e. at the end of the turn inside means more uphill). So before the next turn starts the ankle, knees, hips, arms, shoulders and head should already be moving. In one sense, all of these body parts should just continue moving when the new turn starts (i.e. when the skis go from flat to on edge). However, it is helpful to think about extending the ankle of the outside (i.e. uphill) foot. Another way of thinking about doing the same thing is lifting the heel of the outside foot while straightening the outside leg. This move helps get the knees and hips moving to the inside as well as helping to get the upper body look to the inside of the new turn as well. It also starts the lead change of the feet to happen above the fall line (i.e. the inside ski is slightly ahead of the outside ski in a turn). ..Rusty    ...Pro

Tip#59 - Carving - The first secret to a good carved turn is getting it started above the fall line. One way to help get your turns started above the fall line is to finish your previous turns more across the hill than down the hill.
..Rusty    ...Pro

Tip#58 - Skiing the steeps - When your are skiing very steep runs, watch out for terrain traps like chutes that narrow on your way down. If the snow starts sliding, a narrow chute will concentrate any slough you may kick up. Plan ahead to ski fast out of the chute or look for routes out of the fall line so that you can let sliding snow pass you without taking you for a ride.  Do you know what slough is? Natural slough is when snow "drifts" off steeper terrain, sort of like a river or waterfall of snow coming off the mountain. Skier's slough is the snow you kick up when you make turns falling down the slope with you.  This is sort of like an avalanche, but not quite as intense, but sometimes intense enough to take you places you may not want to go. ..Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#57 - Turning - Progressive movement. The hallmark of an expert skier is the smooth motion of their body parts. But what body parts should be moving and how? During a turn, the feet are rolling from one edge to another. The feet/skis should be at maximum edge angle when the skis are directly in the fall line. The skis should be flat on the snow at exactly the point where one turn ends and the next turn (as far as the tracks on the snow are concerned) begins. This can be when the skis are going directly across the fall line, but it can also be before or after this point depending on the desired turn shape. If you do it after the skis cross across the fall line (i.e. when you are going back uphill), you can do some incredible carving). In between these points, the feet should be changing their angle at a steady pace. Other body parts also need to be moving to accomplish this. Feet tipping is assisted by ankle (slightly), knee and hip movement. When the skis are flat, the ankle, knees and hips should be directly above the skis. When the skis are directly in the fall line, the hips and knees should be at the furthest distance away from being directly above the skis. In between, you guessed it, everything needs to be moving at a steady pace. When the skis are flat, both knees should be flexed (bent) equally. When the skis are directly in the fall line, the outside leg should be at its straightest position and the inside leg should be at it's most bent position (i.e. greatest knee bend). The degree of straightness and bentness depends on the speed and shape of the turn. The faster and sharper the turn is, the greater the difference between the legs. In between directly in the fall and directly across it the legs should be continuously flexing (one leg) and  extending (the other leg). Finally, although in general the upper body should not have movement, the shoulders and hips should be moving slightly. In the most efficient turns, the shoulders and hips are mimicking the angle of the slope. This gets a little tricky. When you are traveling straight down the fall line, your shoulders and hips should be level. When you are going across the fall line, your shoulders and hips should be tilted to match the slope angle. In between, you guessed it again, continuous movement is desired for smooth skiing. ...Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#56 - Travel tips for the 2002-2003 season! Airline are starting to enforce weight and bag count restrictions. If you are taking your own equipment with you, you can easily get hit with the 2 checked bag or maximum 50 pound weight limit. TheRusty says call the airline BEFORE you buy your cheap discounted ticket. Paying $80 for an extra or overweight bag may be more expensive than a more skier friendly airline. If you do fly one of those airlines that is "cracking down", try arriving WAY early for your flight and checking your bags at the curb. Do it with your $2  for light bags, plus $5 for overweight or an extra bag TUCKED INTO THE TICKET FOLDER and a nice smile. The sky cap may let you slide. Also if you want to use a kiosk to get your boarding pass make sure you have your frequent flyer card OR the credit card you used to buy the ticket or the kiosk may not let you log in.  ...Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#55 - Turns - Short turns - Short turns require more guiding movements than long turns. Your skis have a natural turning radius that is usually larger than the turn you want to make. The natural turning radius defines the circular path your skis will make if they are put on edge and otherwise left alone. The smaller turns you want to make, the more you need to coerce your skis to get them there. You can do this by applying more turning pressure with your feet, knees and hips. You can do this by getting your skis on a higher edge angle. And finally, you can do this by bending the ski more. Use all three techniques together and you can achieve some smart looking short turns. For very short turns, try keeping your upper body facing square down the fall line and letting your legs "cross under" your body. Also, short turns are more athletic. You will burn far more energy making short turns. If you are not in shape, even good short turns will get lousy quickly. 

One exercise to help you develop better short turns is called a "funnel". Start by making large turns and then make each successive turn smaller and smaller. If you mess up, stop and start over. If you can make your ski tracks look like a funnel, you've got it! 

If you are still having trouble with short turns, get a ski instructor to help you out. Short turns tend to magnify minor flaws in technique or equipment set up. An instructor can diagnose the problem quickly and tell you how to fix it fast. ...Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#54 - Turns - Initiating a turn - There are many movements required to initiate an efficient turn. One of these is moving the hips towards the tip of the inside ski. Starting from a position at the finish of a previous turn, the hips should be slightly over the old inside ski (old inside leg bent slightly more than the old outside leg). To initiate the new turn, the hips should move forward toward the tip of the new inside ski. The new inside hip and inside foot should be slightly ahead of the new outside hip and outside foot. This will slightly straighten (make longer) the old inside leg (which will become the new outside leg) and slightly bend the new inside leg. The lengthening and bending moves should be progressive (i.e. your legs are continuously either bending more or less), with the equal point occurring when you are traveling sideways to the fall line and the maximum bend occurring when you are in the fall line. These movements will help you get your skis onto the new inside edge earlier in the turn to help round the upper half of your turns. ...Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#53 - Health - Dry skin is a common problem for people who spend time in the outdoors in winter. You can help avoid itchy and scratchy skin by applying moisturizer within 3 minutes of bathing, keeping well hydrated and avoiding over heated automobiles and homes. If your skin has become dry, stay away from hot tubs, hot showers and fireplaces. Remember that alcoholic drinks and caffeinated sodas use more water than they provide. 

Tip#52 - Powder - Learning to ski in powder snow can be intimidating. Here are some tips to help make the learning process less traumatic. Cheat - rent a pair of  powder skis (aka fat skis). With powder skis, you will ride on top of the snow almost like it was a groomed run.  But you will also get some of the "floating feel" and build confidence. When you are ready to tackle powder on your "normal" skis, try to find "patches" of powder (e.g. on the edges of runs) so you can get in and get out. Try to find powder from 3-6" deep for your first experience. Adjust your stance so that your feet are a little closer together and more evenly weighted. Make your first runs through powder as straight glides. Concentrate on feeling the "floating" of the skis. If you are not a speed daemon, go a little faster than you are comfortable with to experience the increased speed you need to use in powder. Think about picking up your toes without sitting back. Experiment with little wiggle turns and and then one big turn to a stop to get out of the powder patch. When you start to link turns, keep them shallow (i.e. close to the fall line as opposed to across the fall line) and let your speed accelerate until you have to bail out.  If you try to control your speed, you will likely end up going to slow to make your turns and get frustrated. As you make turns, think about doing everything in "slow motion". ...Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#51 - Frostbite - Avoiding frostbite in the first place. People with poor circulation and people with less body fat will get frostbite easier than others, but anybody can get frostbite. If the temperature is below freezing and you can feel your fingers or toes tingling or going numb, it's probably the first signs of frostbite. Here are some tips for staying as warm as you can. Having the right clothing when you go outdoors is a big help. Wear a hat. 50% of your body heat escapes through your head. When it's really cold, you need a hat that also covers your ears. Some of the new Helmets have heat distributing material that saves excess heat and gives it back to you when you need it. Boot heaters and charcoal activated heat packs work great to keep you warm in the coldest weather. Good quality ski gloves (costing over $75) are much better at keeping your hands warm, but cheap mittens work almost as well. Silk or "therm max" type glove liners help a little bit, but they tend to get ripped up easily. Below 10 below Fahrenheit, any exposed flesh starts to freeze. Suntan lotions and moisturizers help a little. A bandana over your mouth is a cheap fix. Neoprene face masks work great when it's really cold, but will be too warm for most athletic skiers when it is over 0 degrees F. 
Once you start getting cold no matter what you're wearing, try these tips. If you have gloves on (as opposed to mittens which are warmer), pull your fingers and thumb into the center of the glove and make a fist. Try isometric exercises - put your hands together and push against each hand. If you are not wearing gloves, put your hands under your armpits. For cold toes, try curling your toes and leaning your knees hard forward to stand "tippy toed" to put as much weight on your toes as you can.  While you are in a lift line you can stomp your skis (like running in place). Remember that your speed down the slopes adds to the wind chill effect. Alcoholic drinks make you more susceptible to frostbite - so leave the fanny pack with the schnapps in the car if it's cold.  Stay hydrated - you have to come in often to warm up anyway. If you've worked up a sweat during the day and it starts to cool down in the afternoon (especially during spring skiing), change out of your wet clothes (bring a spare shirt and socks). 

Tip#50 - Conditions du jour - breakable crust - When you've got deep powder, then the weather gets warm, then freezes up you can get the condition known as breakable crust. A crust forms on the snow that is not firm enough to support all of your weight, but is firm enough to resist the movement of your skis. Making turns in breakable crust can be very difficult because your skis will constantly be traveling through different densities of snow. As with all "conditions du jour" tips, the most important skill is adaptability. There is no one "sure fire" approach to skiing breakable crust. People of different weights may have different experiences on the same run. You have to adapt your technique to the specific snow conditions. If your skis can slice the crust without being deflected, you can ride at a constant depth and ski almost normally. If the crust is heavier you may have to pound into and out of the snow, turning while your skis are either in the air or on the "bottom" of the "base" under the crust. Try to make your first experience with breakable crust on the side of a trail versus going "off piste" and being miserable for a full run. Some of the newer shaped skis eat breakable crust for lunch. If your faced with a mountain full of crust that you can't ski, consider hitting the rental shop and ask for performance skis that can eat the crust.  ...Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#49 - Steep Terrain - Here's some tips to ski better on steeper terrain:
-practice short turns on flatter terrain, short turns help you control speed better
-practice skiing straight down the fall line on flatter terrain while still making turns, be able to use different turn radius's from small to wide to mixed
-practice using the steepest sections of flatter terrain, be able to keep your speed at a constant rate when you change frmo flatter to steeper and back
-"flatten" out steeper terrain by traversing, then gradually increase the steepness by changing the route down the slope (i.e. work your way up to skiing straight down the fall line on steep slopes), be able to "read" the pitch of the slope
-practice moving from flat (to get comfortable) to steep (to find your problems) then back to flat (to work on your problems) terrain then back to steep (to practice your fixes)
-accept that "brain lock" (being unable to commit to making turns) is going to happen; don't get mad at yourself; stay calm, use positive thoughts (e.g. I can do it!) and be persistent in your efforts until brain lock goes away
-also see tip#15 on fear  ...Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#48 - Gear - Powder Cords (Powder Skiing). Thinking about skiing powder for the first time? Powder cords can be a big time saver. If you release from your ski, and you will, the free ski tends to submerge into the powder and disappear. Sometimes you can find your ski right away, sometimes they got lost till springtime. A powder cord is a piece of string or heavy nylon fabric that is attached to your ski and trails behind it. When the ski submerges, the cord tends to stay on the surface. This makes it easy to just pull your lost ski right up from the depths. You can buy commercial powder cords for $5 - $10 or make your own using a sturdy piece of brightly colored string (cheap stuff will get cut up by the ski edges). Shoelaces work ok. Surveyors tape works great. Here's a link for cordless powder cords ...Rusty       ...Pro

Tip#47 - Gear - Goggles - Need a replacement lens? Call Pro Lens at 800 776 5367. Give them the the goggle name, model number (if you have it) and the lens tint color.  ...Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#46 - Tuning - Got Rock Damage? Doesn't it really bite when you get your skis back from a fresh tune and, sure enough, you got right back into the rocks? If the damage is just a scraping on the base (versus a gaping hole), consider just buffing out the scars with a file instead of sending your skis back for another $30 tune. It's worth it to just smooth over the rough edges of the scrape. If you've picked up a burr in the edges (if you can see the scratches and feel the roughness, you've got a burr) you can use a pocket stone on the hill ($5), or a file to file down the burr until it's smooth. This will hold you until your next tune up job.  Remember that the average file at your local Home Depot is not hard enough to easily work on ski edges. Spend the extra money to get a ski tuning file. ...Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#45 - Frostbite - There are three stages of frostbite: frostnip, superficial frostbite and deep frostbite. Frostnip is when the effected area tingles, then hurts, but the skin will remain soft. The area may turn white. Remedy: breathe on the area, until it can be soaked in warm water (< 105 degrees). It may take up to 1/2 hour for the numbness to go away. The last 10 minutes of warming can be painful. You may take acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but do not take aspirin. Superficial frostbite will turn the effected skin hard. The skin will be numb and will be in white, gray or yellow. The skin will feel waxy when touched. Remedy: wrap in warm towels, then soak in warm water for about one hour. After the skin thaws blisters will form the next day - don't pop them. Monitor the area for signs of infection (continued pain, redness or pus). If infected, see a doctor. Deep frostbite occurs when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees. This is an emergency life threatening situation. The victim's skin is completely numb and hard as wood, waxy to touch and pale in color. The victim will be nauseated, tired and confused with slurred speech and clumsy movements. Remedy: get the victim indoors, then to an emergency room as soon as possible. Remove any wet clothing. Immerse in warm water or wrap in warmed towels. Hot liquids are ok, except for alcohol. Tobacco products do not help because they constrict blood vessels. ...Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#44 - Technical knowledge - A little smarts goes a long way on the slopes. Do you know how shape ski technology changed the way we make parallel turns? The "shape" makes the ski want to turn (think about putting edges on a banana then pushing it at one end - which direction will it go?). So instead of taking weight off the skis so that you can physically steer them to a new direction, the shape ski turning technique is to tilt the skis onto the new edge and let the ski do most of the turning by itself. ...Rusty       ...Pro

Tip #43 - Tactics - Do you use tactics on the slopes? Think about how to avoid crowds on the slopes and in the lodge by timing when you break for lunch (before 11:30 or after 1:30). Time when you hit certain trails based on their exposure to the sun and whether you're trying to find it (to stay warm and get soft snow) or lose it (to avoid getting baked and stuck in mush). Set a general plan of where you want to be throughout the day, but willing to change the plan as you go. ...Rusty       ...Pro

Tip#42 Fitness - Get in shape for skiing. The most important fitness element in skiing is balance. Anybody can practice balance in the off season. Try "tightrope walking" along a curb, with your eyes closed. Quad stretches where you use one hand to grab your ankle to pull your heel up towards your butt and hold for 30 seconds are also good. Balance boards and Bosu balls are great for developing exceptional balance skills. Older people need to work on this more.  ...Rusty 

Tip#41 - Performance Improvement: psychology - When you face a challenge on the slopes stop and visualize your way through it. Planning your way through a challenge so that you can see yourself doing everything step by step helps keep fear out of the equation and builds confidence for a successful run. ...Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#40 - Equipment - Your ski equipment is a tool. The quality of the tool you use directly effects the quality of the ski experience. Spend the time necessary to find the right tools to do the job for you. Not everyone needs top of the line equipment, but most people would have more fun on skis by getting different equipment. Your local ski shop is a great place to stop and just talk. Tell them what kind of skiing you do and then listen to what kind of equipment they recommend to you and WHY. Also, there are a lot of chat boards on the Internet. Find out what works for other people. ...Rusty       ...Pro

Tip#39 - Performance Improvement: environment - It's a lot easier to ski when the weather is nice and the runs are flat, but weather happens. Match the difficulty of the runs you choose to the weather and snow conditions. Stay off the steep icy moguls runs when it's cloudy and the light is flat. Think about environmental conditions before choosing which run will be your next. ...Rusty 

Tip#38 - Tuning - When you are using a Ptex candle to repair a base gouge. keep the burning flame small (blue color), if the flame gets too big (orange or yellow color), a carbon (black) residue will form and weaken the repair job. If your PTEX candle gets black from carbon residue (rub the burning candle against a metal scraper to rub the carbon build up off). ...Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#37 - Buying a helmet - More and more stores are carrying helmet's these days. This is good because you're going to need to try a bunch of them on to find a good fit. The bad news is that most stores only carry one or two brands. So you're going to have to hit the circuit to try enough different brands to know which is the best for your head. Charles Glass writes in Skiing that oval shaped heads fit well in Giro and Leedom (site is pending update for year 2000 models) brand helmets. Rusty has more of a rounder shaped head (no jokes please!) and his Boeri (cool sound on their web site) helmet fits great. Some brands now have enough different models to better fit different head shapes as well as ones that are different because of their "features".  Helmets usually cost anywhere from $90-$200   ...Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#36 - Taking care of your skis and boards and boots- Wiping your skis down at the end of the day will help keep your edges in top shape. Start by knocking the big clumps of snow off as you leave the slopes. Get your gear indoors and wait until all the snow melts before you wipe. Carry a small rag with your gear. Wipe the tops, the bottoms, the bindings and then the edges so that nasty moisture doesn't sneak back to the edges. Carry a pocket stone (about $5) to debur your edges after every day on the slopes. Also be sure to rebuckle your boots when you're done skiing. This helps to prevent the shell deforming. If your boots are wet inside, learn how to remove and replace your boot liner. It can take a little bit of brute force to do this, but it's worth it to keep the mold out! ...Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#35 - Buying new boots - It's time to buy new boots when the bottoms are severely worn (e.g. from walking on hard surfaces) or the lining has "packed out" (i.e. compressed so that your fit is not snug anymore). After 3 hard seasons of 40 days, your boots are going to be worn out. After 6 seasons of light skiing (<10 days/year), your boots may have life left, but they will be so obsolete technologically, that it's worthwhile to buy a new pair and ski swap the old pair. After 10 years, it is likely that your boots have been exposed to so much light that the plastic has aged to the point where the shell can break under the stress of skiing. Although you should always try to buy boots at a shop that has a good bootfitter, shops carry a limited selection of boots that fit "most" people. If you're one of the exceptions, it's better to hit several stores to find the right pair then trying to get the bootfitter make a boot fit. Nonetheless, you'll still want to use a good bootfitter to make footbeds for your boot, take care of small fit problems and to fine tune your alignment.  You will usually need to make an appointment with a bootfitter. Plan on a fitting session taking at least one hour, more likely two. Most times you will need to make repeated trips to the bootfitter in order to get things perfect. This is not the bootfitter's fault. That's just the nature of the beast. If you've got very big or very small feet, shop between September and November because shops run out of odd sizes quick. Try on boots in the afternoon or evening, your feet may swell as much as a half size during the day. Bring a clean pair of (thin to medium thick, preferably thin) ski socks with you for your fitting. Check the fit of a boot by taking the liner out, sliding your toes to touch the front and checking for a finger and a half of space at the rear. Your foot should also not be touching the sides of the boot. Rusty recommends buying new orthotics to go with your new boots. A good orthotic is fit to both your foot and the boot so if you change your boot, you should also change the orthotic. But take your old orthotic with you when you try on new boots because it's better than not having them. If you are fortunate enough to have a choice of bits that fit you, you might want to choose a boot that has replaceable toe and heel pieces. Why spend $10 on cat tracks to save your boots from walking wear, when you just replace the parts when they wear out?  Check out this advice for buying boots and getting them fitted.  ...Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#34 - Balance exercises - try skiing on one ski. It's easy to do when it's the outside ski, but much harder when it's the inside ski. Try do it until you can do it smooth instead of forced. Use your poles for balance if you need help. Do it for fun through untracked snow to leave "weird" tracks. ...Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#33 - Ski poles- how to choose the right kind of pole. Why buy an expensive skinny pole made out of "composite" fiber instead of aluminum? If you ski more than 5-10 days per year or do mogul or tree skiing, the odds are that sooner or later you're gonna trash an aluminum pole. This usually means a 1/2 hour detour to get to the on mountain ski shop and pay top dollar for a replacement set of poles. Skinny poles bend a little and thus are a little friendlier to use in the bumps. They are very hard to break. However, quality aluminum poles are probably a better economic choice since they cost 1/2 to 1/3 the price of composite poles. Unless you are a racer, the kind of pole you have does not make a difference on your skiing. ... Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#32 - Ski poles- how to choose the right size pole. Selecting a set of ski poles, used to just be a matter of getting the right size. This part is easy: hold the ski pole upside down with your hands gripping the pole underneath the "basket" that stops the pole from going all the way into the snow). When you can do this with your forearm parallel to the ground - you've found the right size pole. If you're in street shoes, if you can't get an exact level arm go with the taller pole. If you're in ski boots, go with the shorter pole.  ... Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#31 - Boot heaters - are they worth it? Boot heaters are expensive and sometimes a bother, but they do work well and many skiers love them. However, most skiers do not need them. Modern boots have a lot of insulating power. A good pair of socks and a little activity on the slopes is enough to keep your feet warm in "normal" ski weather. For those who are on the borderline, try ski specific socks (e.g. Thorlo) and/or thin sock liners. ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#30 - Dressing - If it's cold - wear a hat or a helmet because most of your body heat escapes through your head. Helmets are so good at retaining heat it's important not to block their vents (e.g. with a jacket hood) or you will overheat. Layering clothes is the big secret. If you wear a T shirt underneath a flannel shirt, sweater and jacket - you can stay warm well into subzero (F) temps. As temps warm up during the day, you can shed layers and remain comfortable. One trick for layering is to wear a thin layer (e.g. silk/coolmax) closest to the body. This allows moisture to wick away until you cna peel away the next layer. Mountain weather changes quickly - so carry extra clothing and spare stuff (e.g. goggles and gloves). At some resorts you can safely leave some of your extra stuff in the lodge, but in general it's better to utilize a locker, your car or a backpack. When you have layers of clothing you can adjust for minor differences while you are on the slopes. One pair of socks is all most people need. Wearing two normal pairs of socks cuts off circulation or allows too much play in the boot fit. Drop the extra pair and go a size smaller boot for better skiing. ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#29 - Invest in ski clothing and accessories. Outdoor clothing technology keeps improving. Buying top end ski clothing is not just paying for high fashion. New (and sometime expensive) can greatly improve your comfort on the slopes. Fleece sweaters are a real treat because it's real comfortable, warm and lightweight. GoreTex and similar treatment and microfiber technology makes it possible to stay dry in "wet" conditions (yes - you can get soaked in a snow storm). CoolMax technology allows undergarmets to wick moisture away from the body. Some of the ski specific socks are VERY comfortable. This can help take the edge off a painful boot fit (especially helpful for rental boots!). Goggles and sunglasses are important invesments. The sun is more intense at higher altitudes and the snow reflection almost doubles the intensity of sunlight. Sunglasses not only reduce glare, they also significantly reduce UV damage to your eyes. Higher quality sunglasses also reduce eye strain by presenting a more coordinated image between the two lenses. Many skiers use goggle in sunny weather to help better see the snow terrain features. But quality goggles really show their stuff when bad weather strikes. Although better quality goggles do not fog as easy as cheaper goggles, overdressing is the most common cause because of heat  rising from the chest. Clogged vents is the second most common cause. If it's snowing and your goggles start to fog, try brushing the top vents to clear them. Take care of your goggles with a cloth cover that comes with them and a hard case. Carry a soft glasses cleaning cloth with you to clear snow from your goggles (napkins and kleenex can scratch the anti fog coating or the lenses). ... Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#28 - There are 3 basic ways to stop when you are skiing. You can wedge (points your ski tips together and spread your ski tails wide apart), turn across the slope, or fall over (to the slide please, falling backward can cause injury). Falling is the easiest to learn, but use the most effort (when getting back up). Wedging is the next easiest to learn, but relies on all muscle power. Turning is the hardest to learn, but uses the least muscle effort. ... Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#27 - There are no "right" or "wrong" ways to ski? There are easier and harder ways to ski. There are efficient and not as efficient ways to ski. There are fun and not so fun ways to ski. There are safer and not as safe ways to ski. Sometimes doing something the hard way is more fun. Sometimes making a more efficient turn is harder than making a less efficient one (it depends on your skill and your perspective). A "Worm" turn (while you are moving, lay down with your feet downhill, roll like a worm and get up going in the other direction) is not as safe, efficient or easy as a regular turn, but it sure is fun. When you are on the slopes, don't worry about whether you are skiing the "right way" or not. Ski to have fun! When you want to expand your skiing repertoire, make your goal to learn a "different way" to ski. This approach will take the pressure off of trying to improve your technique. ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#26 - Winter driving. It's no fun skiing if you don't get there and back safely.  FEMA has good winter driving tips.  Cogan has got some good driving tips. Click and clack have great tips with a sense of humor too. Accuweather has winter driving tips too. Add Caltrans to the list.  Rusty's big tip is to just slow down. Remember that 4 wheel drive helps you go faster but does not stop you any quicker. Resort access roads are typically littered with rental 4WD SUVs. Park your car with the drive wheels in the back of the parking spot. ... Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#25 - How to get the most (private) ski lesson for your dollar. If you don't have an instructor in mind, request a certified level 2 or 3 (better) instructor, but also ask for a recommendation from the desk personnel (e.g. male or female, young or old, aggressive or relaxed, area of expertise). If you like an instructor from a group lesson, request him/her for a private. If your private instructor has done a good job the first time, stick with him/her. Build a relationship with your instructor and they can teach even better.  Be on time and be ready to go. Have a specific goal for the lesson and tell your instructor up front. Try to focus on a few tips and practice a lot versus trying to gather a lot of knowledge and not have time to apply it. Tell your instructor what is working and what is not. Relax. Don't expect miracles to happen. Let them happen. If there is something that you are just not getting, ask the instructor to try a different approach. ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#24 - How to get the most (group) ski lesson for your dollar. When you take a group lesson you will be assigned to a group based on your ability - so be honest. The smaller the group you are in the better. You can't control the size of the group you are part of, but you can improve your odds by observing patterns at the mountain you go to. Factors that make for smaller groups = weekdays, bad weather, early start times (especially on New Year's day), early season (but watch out for "rusty" instructors). While in a lesson, talk to your instructor. Tell them what you want to accomplish, what you are having trouble with, what you're thinking about when trying to do a move, what you see, what you feel happening when doing something right or wrong. At the end of a lesson, make sure you understand what the goal was, what you accomplished, what you are doing well, get at least one thing to practice and understand what you should do next.  ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#23 - Ski vacation planning is a tough job. There are four things that make a great trip: the weather, the terrain, the amenities and the people. When you plan a trip more than a month ahead of time, weather is mostly luck. During a one week vacation, you may only get one day of fresh snow. Learn the trends for the area your interested in and bet on them (e.g. Tahoe gets snow in big dumps and then dry spells, Colorado tends to get smaller dumps, April is a powder month - but resorts are starting to close). Or watch the weather and do a last minute trip. All big resorts have lots of terrain alternatives, but what provides a sense of adventure to some can be daunting to others (e.g. lost kids). Smaller resorts may feel more comfortable (slow paced) and be less crowded. Every resort has a unique terrain feel with regards to difficulty, view, traffic flows, lifts, snow conditions, etc. If you are a hard core skier, a dorm at $20/night may suffice. Most people are looking for a combination of price, location to the slopes (walk or public transport), comfort (space, cleanliness, cable-TV, hot tubs, etc.). Central reservations numbers do a good job of helping you select a good place to stay. Price conscious vacationers can often do better on their own or even do well just showing up in town (during non-busy periods) and securing a good deal (look for lodging in the morning - the early bird gets the worm). Most resorts have outstanding options for food - skip the McDonald's and look for places unique to the resort. Traveling companions can make or break a trip. Choose them well (number, sex, temperament compatibility, ability) or leave them behind. If you travel in a group, you tend miss out on meeting other people. Traveling alone forces you to run into many nice people and expanding your cultural awareness. Ski club trips often are a good way to meet new people and eliminate some of the uncertainties. Unless you are adventurous, (before you book the trip) talk to someone who's already been there. ... Rusty     ...Pro

Tip#22 - Be a good Samaritan. One of the nicest things about being a member of the snow sports community is that most everyone is so friendly. It's easy when you're having such a good time. Here are some things you can do to fit in. If someone takes a bad fall on the hill, stop and help gather up the loose equipment or ask if they are ok. If you do come across someone who is hurt, stay with them until professional help arrives. Flag someone else down to get the ski patrol. Asking someone on the lift to notify the lift attendant at the top is often the fastest way to get help. If you see someone drop something, make an effort to get it back to them. If you find a lost item, either turn it in to the lost and found or hand it to an employee (but remember some are so busy that they sometimes can not get items to the lost and found quickly). If you see someone struggling on a difficult trail, stop and give them words of encouragement (e.g. hang in there!). Share your secrets (e.g. uncrowded runs, good snow, open seats in the lodge, great menu items). ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#21 - Constant movement = rhythm. One mark of a good skier is rhythm. It's not just making turns of the same size all the time. Rhythm comes from a harmony of movement. One key to this harmony is constant movement. This is also a key to a good turn. The body should be constantly and smoothly moving to a different position throughout the turn. Add this to constant turning (i.e. as one turn ends, the next one immediately begins) and you will have rhythm. So if you sense "park and ride" (i.e. no movement in a portion of a turn) sneaking into your skiing, try making your movements more gradual and being more patient for turns to happen. Start with larger turns first, then incorporate the feeling into smaller and smaller turns until all of your turns have rhythm. ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#20 - Match your technique to your equipment. With all of the "hype" about shape skis, it's easy to forget that there are a lot of occasional skiers with equipment from before the "shape ski" revolution. With shape ski techniques more in the mainstream of instruction on the hill and in the magazines, it's easy to end up using the wrong technique for your equipment. "New" technique (for traditional skis) focuses on turning by using more edge angle to let the skis turn themselves (i.e. moving your body across the skis to change edge angle). "Old" technique focuses more on steering the skis through turning the feet to force the skis to turn. Although you use both sets of skills with old or new technique, it's the blend of skills that must change to match the equipment. ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#19 - Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), otherwise known as altitude sickness can strike anyone. Here's what you should know. AMS is generally not a problem at altitudes below 8000 feet, but can occur as low as 6500 feet. Rusty has found info that ranges from "20% of the population is at risk when going over 9000 feet in < 24 hours" to "70% will  experience at least a mild headache". Children under 6 and premenstrual women are at greater risk. Symptoms of AMS include headaches and nausea. Many skiers just get a little uncomfortable, but do not recognize the life threatening danger of AMS. Fortunately for most, the symptoms pass after a day and everything is fine. Here's what you can do minimize AMS: get in shape before you go into the mountains, take it easy on your first day, avoid tobacco and alcohol on your first day, drink lots of water, eat light. If you have a mild headache or feel slightly nauseous when you are at altitude, descend, rest and take an over the counter pain killer (aspirin is best). If the symptoms are strong or if the symptoms persist, you should immediately check with the first aid office or see a doctor. AMS can progress to High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) which can become fatal within hours. Diamox (Acetazolamide) can help prevent the onset of AMS for those who know they are at risk and going high anyway, but Rusty says try the other remedies first. See Rusty's page on AMS... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#18 - Tips for skiing with a significant other who is, shall we say, less experienced. Treat the other to a professional ski lesson (while you get your real snow time in). Afterward, stay on easier runs. Let your other take their frustrations out on a ski instructor. You want to be associated with their success. You can be really sneaky and try a new discipline (e.g. telemark, ski boards, snowboarding, or skiing). Your other will be real comfortable about their own abilities if you flail enough. If the other asks you for skiing advice, tell them they are doing great (and be sincere about it by telling them why). When they really want to know how to do something, let them ski behind you - but go very slow and make sure to stop often (like 5 - 10 turns). If they really insist that you tell them how to do something, tell them how you do it instead. If that does not work for them, then ask "well, what did your instructor say?" (and then shut up). Focus on enjoying the mountain environment, skiing safely and saving some energy for aprés ski and you'll have a great time and a more permanent relationship. ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#17 - Here are some tips for teaching children to ski. If you have any doubts about what you are doing and if you have the money - use a pro - it's worth it. If you're gonna try on your own anyway, here's some help. Make the first experience a good experience (e.g. good weather) make it fun, take it easy (the younger the child, the shorter the first exposure).  Kids under 4 years old are not ready for group lessons, but children as young as 2 can be taught to sort of ski. They need one on one attention and are mostly just along for the ride. 4-6 year old children have more control over large muscles (i.e. legs), then small muscles (e.g. arms). Their center of mass (chest/throat) should be over the bindings for balance. These children are focused on themselves versus group activities or benefits to others. Bribes work well with this age group, but you must be in command. Focus on building the "power wedge" skills. It's important to start children on flat ground to get familiar with the boots, then one ski, then both skis. You can start beginners on snow by having them ski inside your wedge.

Teaching aids for kids - Check out kid-ski from Apple Rise! Rusty has seen the ski bar  used very successfully by a 7 month old skier! The Apple Rise folks have got their act together. As for other devices:  tip locks - a device to lock the ski tips together - Rusty does not think they help much in most cases, but they can be a big help for some kids.  Ski harnesses are good if you don't trust your skiing ability enough to ski with children either in front of or behind you. A bamboo pole works ok for kids to hang on to, but tends to get them leaning back too much.

Children under 6 should start learning to ski without poles because poles distract from learning to ski and can be dangerous. 6-12 year olds are becoming stronger and better coordinated. They are starting to become more group oriented. Although they learn through imitation, tasks must be concrete, observable and geared to what child wants to do. Praise and encouragement are important. Introduce "rhythm" as a skill. The center of balance is moving down, but growth spurts may make balance a difficult skill to master.

Remember that mileage is the greatest teacher. Just make sure they are having fun and getting lots of runs in and success will be easy.

There are lots of training tools for kids. Tip separators are mostly a waste. Harnesses are a good way to keep your child under control if they can not wedge too well (this where you let your child ski in front of you while you hold straps connected to a harness around the child. Shape skis work for kids as well as adults. These work. Helmets are a good idea too! Many resorts now rent helmets. ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#16 - When you ski in deep powder think slow motion. Be patient when turning. Apply consistent and continuous turning force, but expect the turns to happen slower. Adjust your turn radius to the depth of the snow, the "heaviness" (i.e. moisture content) of the snow and steepness of the terrain. The lighter and shallower and steeper, the more you will need to complete your turns across the fall line. The heavier, deeper and, flatter, the more you will need to make shallow turns that face down the hill. Use speed to make up for the increased resistance of the snow instead of more muscle power. Do NOT sit back - raise your toes instead. In deeper snow, you need to ski in a third dimension: up and down within the snow. Do this by pushing down with the ski tips until they rebound off the bottom. Aid the rebounding motion by raising your hands a little higher than normal (chest high instead of belly button high) before the next pole plant. Start your turn as you rebound from the bottom by rolling your edges SLOWLY so that your skis are fully flat after the tips break the surface, then fully edged again as they reach bottom again. ... Rusty       ...Pro

Tip#15 - Fear is the #1 learning disability in skiing. But fear is a healthy thing. It is your unconscious mind telling your conscious mind "Oh no you don't!" (i.e. you do not know how to safely do what you are attempting to do). The trick is to learn how to minimize risk in different situations. For example to minimize fear of a steep slope, go across the hill instead of straight down. If you go straight across a trail, you will need to stop and turn around. Practice that on a flatter slope first. Slowly conquering small challenges makes it easier to work your way up to the big ones. Conquering challenges is one of the things that makes skiing so much fun. Here are some other fear minimizing tips:

Flatten bumps by traversing across the slope, using your knees as shock absorbers

On a slope you are comfortable with, find little steep sections and practice there. When you move to a steeper slope, take the flattest path down the trail (go around bumps and knolls).

If you're afraid of bumps and powder, use slopes that have small sections off to the side. Get in, make a few turns, then get out. With practice, you will get better. ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#14 - Time to get in shape in for ski season! The four most important things to work on are:
1) Aerobic fitness - 20 minutes minimum, 3 times a week (e.g. blade, run or bike)
2) The legs - build strength in the quads and hamstrings (hit the weights!)
3) The trunk - do lots of crunches
4) Flexibility - stretches, stretches, stretches! before (warm up first though) and after your work out
... Rusty     

Tip#13 - Want to buy snow sports (i.e. ski or snowboard) equipment on the web? As of the start of the 98-99 ski season, it is not yet practical to use the web to get great buys on equipment. Although there are many store sites on the web,most only show what equipment they carry and do not have prices posted. Rusty is keeping an eye out for online purchasing sites - so check the links section of this site.  One of the "best" sites I've found is ... Rusty       ...Pro

Tip#12 - Why buy equipment from a reputable (i.e. not the cheapest place in town) ski shop? The knowledge and service you get from buying from your local ski shop is well worth the extra money. A local store can take the time to recommend what equipment is right for you and handle things like exchanges on defective equipment (it does happen) and junior trade in programs. A good boot fitter is essential when buying boots, but you'll often need several visits to get a perfect fit. This is another good reason for buying locally. ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#11 - Buy new ski equipment when it's on sale. August and September are the prime months for ski shop sales to clear out last years equipment. If you can't make the annual Ski Chalet warehouse sale (e.g. 8/20/99-8/22/99), they have pretty much the same prices a week later in the regular stores. There's just less to choose from. If you can make it, get there early because the really good bargains go fast. Oh - and they have goodies too (e.g. WHFS giveaways). ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#10 - Online links for lessons:
The Complete Skier -   (LOTS OF TIPS!!)
Ted's a ski instructor who has some tips on the net
The experts go ski
This place calls itself the online ski school  (temp unavailable 8/29/02)
Tips on Rusty's main site
... Rusty      

Tip#9 - Drink water while you ski. The cold air is very dry and the exercise from skiing very quickly uses up the water in your body. Drink plain water or non-caffeinated  fluids. Alcohol and coffee are diuretics. They use up more water in your body than they contain. If you do drink coffee or alcohol, drink some extra plain water. Don't forget to plan the timing of your water intake so that you can take a break later on to return the water to a proper receptacle. Try the Camelbak water pouch backpack system (they have an insulated model for skiing), or keep bottled water in a fanny pack. Staying properly hydrated will improve your skiing performance and help prevent injuries. Have you seen the Camelbak line of water backpacks? They have insulated models for winter sports that work well. ... Rusty       ...Pro

Tip#8 - Helmets are great for reducing the seriousness of head injuries. Helmets work best  at speeds below 15-20MPH. Any faster and you are likely to get hurt anyway, but a helmet can help reduce the damage. Don't use helmet as a license to speed! Why are helmets becoming more popular (if 5% of the public can be considered popular)? Because technology has gotten to a point where they are comfortable for skiing and affordable. European helmets are built to withstand more punishment, but they are heavier. Who's really at risk? Each year 6,000 - 8,000 people experience head injuries where a helmet would have helped. Males between 15-30 experience 70% of those injuries. Kids can get hurt too - check this link out! ... Rusty       ...Pro

Tip#7 - Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater and reapply (at least twice) throughout the day. The suns burning rays are more powerful the higher you go in altitude. Carry the sunscreen with you so you can share with less experienced skiers in need. Don't forget to protect your lips too! Look for the SPF rating on lip balms. ... Rusty       ...Pro

Tip#6 - Learn better from a book? Anyone can order instruction guides from the PSIA catalog. Look at the education page of the PSIA web site ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#5 - Buckle your boots top buckle to front buckle to make sure that your heel is locked as far back as possible. If your top buckles are as tight as the settings allow, your boots are too big.  ... Rusty       ...Pro

Tip#4 - Try using Zardoz NotWax. This is a space age wax substitute. It goes on quick (both skis done in a minute) and is a great "filler" between regular wax jobs. (call 1-888-466-8929 [1-888-4NOTWAX]). It works incredibly good in slushy conditions. Also note that airlines frown on petroleum products (like regular wax) in your luggage.  ... Rusty       ...Pro

Tip#3 - Get your equipment tuned at the beginning of the season. Ski Chalet usually has an early season special. Out of tune skis is the most common problem with skiing performance. Skiing on out of tune skis will damage the base. You spent hundreds of dollars on your skis, spend the $30 to take proper care of them. Recreational skiers should get skis waxed at least every 5 full days of skiing. Serious skiers know that their wax job won't last more than 2 days of hard skiing. ... Rusty       ...Pro

Tip#2 - You can buy good equipment cheap at a "swap meet". Watch for the ads in the Washington Post Friday Weekend section in the September/October time frame. Get to the swap meet when they first open and hang for a couple of hours watching the new stuff come in. The good stuff goes quick.  ... Rusty      ...Pro

Tip#1 - Try the new shape skis, but get a package that includes a lesson! Even if your current skis are only a couple of years old, a lesson on the new skis can help you have more fun turning on any kind of skis. ... Rusty       ...Pro

Copyright 2000-2006 Rusty Carr All Rights Reserved
These tips are not intended to replace professional instruction or medical advice
follow this advice at your own risk
The author implies no warranty of safety for these tips and assumes no liability for any actions taken as a result of these recommendations