Life after Building Blocks


A Building Blocks User Guide Article

Congratulations!!  You've worked your way through the Building Blocks Instructional Series, and I imagine you're feeling pretty good about your skiing.  So is the work done now?  Well, that's up to you.  You could go on from here never practising another structured drill/skill, and just enjoy the rest of your days in skiing as one of the sports upper tier level participants.  There's nothing wrong with making that choice.  The sport really is about fun and smiles, and you now have a skill package that will provide those by the bushel full everyday you hit the slopes. 


But that won't be the choice made by all.  Some may want to continue the process of growing as a skier.  The learning process is a great source of fun for many people, and in working through the Building Blocks program I'm sure you've experienced the overwhelming sense of satisfaction that comes with repeated incremental success.  It's normal to want to continue the with the journey, and continue reaping those personal rewards.   This article will explain how to do that. 



First, design a daily warm-up routine for yourself.  This routine should be done during the first couple runs each day you go skiing.  It should include an assortment of balance and edging drills.  These drills will dial in your balance and edging awareness for the day of skiing ahead, while continuing the process of locking the skills into your muscle memory.  Look in the Your Ski Coach article section for a few model warm-up routines you can use as a guide for creating your own. 


Next, when you're freeskiing, try to vary the way you're skiing run to run, and even turn to turn.  Ski in different states of balance, lateral and fore/aft.  Make different shaped turns.  Use various skid angles.  Make different degrees of turn.  Vary the radius of your turns.  Mix them up within a single turn.  Utilize numerous types of transitions.  All these things will continue the process of refining your skill base and expanding your versatility on your skis, while avoiding the development stagnation that comes from getting stuck in a technical rut of always skiing and turning in the same manner. 


Pick a "drill of the day" each time you go skiing.  Make it something you've had trouble with in the past, or perhaps a new combination of skills born of your imagination and formulated into a drill.  As time goes on I will be offering suggestions for new drills you can use for "drills of the day" and will post them here on the website.  Take this "drill of the day" all over the mountain.  Do it on steeps, in rough snow, and through mogul fields.  You can do this as you ski with your friends on a leisurely day on the mountain, and they probably won't even know you're doing it.  Doing this will add a new element of interest to slopes and resorts you may ski all the time and have begun to become ho-hum for you, and new challenge to difficult terrain you may have become comfortable with.  On top of the element of fun this "drill of the day" idea will provide, the big payoff will be in how it will continue to expand the prowess of your skill base. 


Now this next idea you may have never considered before, but take a minute to do so.  Try racing.  Racing puts a demand on your skill base that just can't be matched anyplace else.  Gates define where you have to turn, make it quickly evident if your turn shape and edge control skills are not honed to their fullest, and provide a perfect environment for doing that honing.  There is an excellent racing opportunity in the United States called NASTAR.  The courses are generally on easy terrain, and not set difficultly.  They provide an excellent introduction to racing for the skier who's never tried it, yet the challenge is enough to benefit from the skill development opportunity that racing provides.   Once you've gone through the entire Building Blocks program, participating in racing can be a training vehicle that can provide rapid continued improvement.  For those who try NASTAR and really get the racing bug, there are opportunities for recreational racing on a higher level in the USSA masters programs.  Down the road I will be producing an INTRODUCTION TO RACING DVD for those who might want to give it a try. 


So there you go, a few methods of continuing your training after Building Blocks.  As time goes on I will be posting further tips, ideas and articles for raising your skill level bar.  I look forward to our sharing this journey to great skiing.