To progress effectively on the majority of skiing tricks, you will need to learn how to ski backward first. To beginners, skiing backward may appear to be too complicated. This is only true if you do not know where to begin. To help open more doors for you on the slopes, we will show you the steps you need to follow to get started with skiing backward.
After going through the tips in this article, be sure to grab all-mountain skis and practice skiing backward. Keep in mind that theoretical knowledge is only important if you put it to practice.
How to Ski Backwards – Step by Step Guide
Skiing backward is quite similar to skiing forward – the only difference is that you will need to reverse the weight transfers, put one of the skis more forward than the other, and ensure that you can look behind. Be sure to wear your ski helmet and other safety ski gear before following the steps below:
1. Locate an Open Shallow Space
After donning your ski gloves, locate a shallow green slope featuring a wide-open space. Ensure the chosen space features fewer people. By ensuring that you have more space, you will be reducing the chances of skiing out of control and colliding with another skier.
2. Get into Position
Get the boots out of the ski boot bag and put them on. Mount and adjust the ski bindings. Next, start by stopping with the skis parallel to the mountain – this will help you stay still.
To initiate your skiing momentum, you will need to swivel the weight and point the ski backs to face downward. While doing this, be sure to put the feet staggered and shoulder-width apart so that one of the skis is more forward. Ensure that the heel of one of the downhill ski boots is in front of the other boot’s toe.
This position will allow your hips to open up, making it possible for you to look behind and see where you are going. This is essential for staying safe when learning how to ski backward.
Turn the upper torso and your head to look over the shoulder on the downhill ski side. You will need to switch the direction you look over the shoulder when changing the ski direction. Ensure that you always have the widest field of view.
Keep the knees slightly bent and lightly flexed forward over the front of your boots. You should keep a forward torso bend with the hands by the side and the ski poles pointed backward. Ensure that you are not leaning forward.
3. Learn How to Control Your Speed
When most skiers are learning how to ski backward, they will want to control their speed via doing the backward pizza maneuver. This technique is quite similar to the one used to slow down when skiing forward. While this maneuver may work for you, it is not the best way for controlling the speed.
The ideal way for controlling the speed when you are skiing backward is to carve deeply in a single direction. For example, it would be a good idea to allow the right ski to fall back when you are looking over the right shoulder. The skis will eventually carve around that you will end up skiing uphill, hence, slowing you down.
4. Moving from Backward Snowplow to the Wedged Turns
On your first couple of practice runs, you will end up falling into the backward snowplow – this happens naturally. It is possible to develop the backward snowplow into the wedged turns and then into skiing backward parallel fully.
For you to have the ability to ski in the backward snowplow shape, you should look for shallow slopes after donning your ski goggles. Keep in mind that it may become impossible to stop in this stance if you happen to pick speed on steep terrain. For this reason, you must progress into the backward parallel turn as quickly as you can.
Learning how to parallel ski backward is quite similar to the skiing forward learning process. The skis are supposed to start in a wide wedge stance. You will need to bring the skis closer and more aligned as you practice and improve your skills.
As you already know, you will only have the ability to become better at skiing backward if you focus on practice. Practice should help you develop muscle memory for skiing backward naturally.
You have to keep in mind that falling backward is always a possibility – especially when you are getting started. For this reason, try to stick to the well-groomed pistes featuring soft powder. Avoid learning on icy or hard-packed terrain. There will be zero fun in cutting your ski trip short because you need to deal with an injury.
Things to Keep in Mind When Skiing Backwards
Stay in Balance
A large number of skiers will carve left or right the moment they think that they know how to ski backward. This is generally because rotating the body to one side usually feels more natural than rotating to the other side.
You must resist the urge to look over only the left or right shoulder. Over time, this could end up limiting the muscles. You may end up finding it extremely difficult to break an already established habit.
Turning Too Far
You must rotate both the shoulders and hips so that you can see what’s on your way. However, if you turn too far, you could end up with issues.
Minimize the Arm Movement
If your goal is to do tricks on the jumps after learning how to ski backward, you must always keep the hands in front – avoid tucking them behind. When the arms are in front, using them for momentum when you are about to hit the jump should be possible. If you keep the arms too far behind, you will always have to deal with too much arm movement just before you perform your trick.
Avoid Steep Slopes
When you are still trying to get better and skiing backward, you must avoid the steep slopes. You should stick to the gentle slopes, where controlling the speed should be much easier. As you progress to slopes featuring more steepness, you can consider adding more terrain park features to your backward skiing.
Distribute Your Weight When Falling
When falling, the best thing you can do to avoid hurting yourself is to not catch yourself with all your weight on the hand or elbow wrist. If you do this, you may end up breaking your arms.
While you will probably have a very limited amount of time to react, the best thing you should do is try to distribute your weight evenly. This should be achievable if you simply straighten the arms by your side. The hands should take the brunt of the impact and hence protect the head.
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From a beginners’ point of view, skiing backward could appear too tough. However, the moment you start developing your skills, you will realize that the activity is very enjoyable. The tips and steps in this article should help you get started. Keep in mind that for skiing backward to become natural, it may take some time.
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