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How to ski like a pro!

By Zany Anton-Smith

1. Use your ANKLES : this is a bit of a well kept secret amongst the pros. While the ankles are locked firmly in your boots a lot of people forget about having to use them and ski from their knees. In fact EVERYTHING should come from there. If you bend your ankles, you'll be forward (and you MUST be forward when you ski – NEVER BACK). If you bend your ankles your knees will automatically bend as well. Then slightly bend at the hips to tilt your body forward a few degrees. Hey presto you look like a pro!

2. Push FORWARDS in your boots: The correct position is when you feel your shins are pushing forwards against your boot and you could almost crack a nut if it was placed between your shin and the front of the boot. If you calf is pushing the back of the boot you are in the wrong position and this will make you lean backwards.

3. Keep your arms (and poles) forward bent at the elbow with hands clasped at tummy-button level and about a fists-width apart. With your arms in this position you are ready to react to anything and exotic ‘flouncy’ pole movements are kept to a minimum!

4. Never look down at your skis when skiing but LOOK AHEAD: This will improve your ski position no end (the head should be UP) and enables better anticipation of what lies ahead. You're in the mountains so enjoy the view!

5. ‘LOCK’ the top half of your body from your waist upwards: Use your core strength to do this. It is the bottom half of your body that should be doing all the moving.

6. Be SMOOTH with your movements: Try not to have awkward disjointed movements but aim to ‘lead’ your skis down the slope as smoothly and gently as you can. Constantly remind yourself: You are water in the river, or waves in the sea.

7. Remember that there are THREE STEPS IN EVERY TURN: The moment you decide to turn / the moment you have your skis facing down the slope / the moment you control your speed by finishing your turn. So to turn you HAVE to have a moment when your skis (and body) will face DOWN the slope. Get your head around this before tackling slopes that you think are too steep for you. If in doubt stick to an easier slope.

8. SIDE SLIP: If you are afraid on a particular slope then side slip! Side slipping is a technique used by even the best skiers and is a great way to control speed when it is crowded or icy. It is a slow and controlled way of going down and much easier (and more elegant) than taking your skis off and sliding on your bottom!

9. TAKE A LESSON from the pros: Far too often I have seen husbands and wives falling out on the ski slopes barking instructions to each other while hurtling down the slopes. What’s more those instructions are so often totally wrong. ‘Lean back!’ I heard one exasperated husband shout the other day! How wrong he was! So join a group or splash out on a private lesson with one of the pros – they are worth their weight in gold and you can rest assured you will be getting the right advice! After all who wants to have a family row when on holiday?

Zany Anton-Smith trained with the Swiss Ski School in Villars. For private or group lessons contact www.ess-villars.ch. She now runs Chalet Balthazar in Villars, luxurious self-catering apartments in the heart of one of the most beautiful family ski resorts in the Alps. For more information contact www.villarsapartments.com