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Build confidence skiing

10 Top Tips to Build Your Confidence as a Skier

October 15th, 2023 Holiday Tips

Many of us recognise the situation of being on the mountain and just not feeling it. Something doesn’t click, and that little voice starts to creep in, warning us of injury, failure or maybe even looking silly. And for some, that voice can become so loud that it puts us off all together. However, this feeling is totally normal, and absolutely does not need to hold you back.

We caught up with Billy from Billski ski school to chat about his experiences, and get his top tips on how to build confidence on the slopes. His fourteen years as a ski instructor here in Morzine makes him a bit of an expert, and he’s worked with skiers of all ages and abilities.

Lost your confidence skiing? You’re not alone

Why the dreaded skiing nerves set in

Billy explains that there are many reasons skiers may feel nervous to start skiing, or lose confidence after a while. ‘I have taught so many people who have lost confidence, or never really had it in the first place’ he says, ‘and I think injuries and life changes can affect people a lot more than they think.’

He explains that he himself felt a shift in the way he felt about skiing when he became a parent – events like this or injury can have a profound effect on our sense of danger, and the potential consequences of enjoying sports which come with a certain level of risk. As Billy says ‘your brain needs to be in the right frame to learn and to relax’ – a lot of factors that reach beyond the slopes can affect how we feel and react.

The good news is, although you might feel like you’re the only person on the slopes who’s not effortlessly gliding down on one leg – you’re not. Most of us don’t just hop into a pair of skis and hit the blacks; it’s natural and normal for you to learn slowly, and feel more comfortable as your technique develops. As Billy says: ‘The best way is to build your confidence slowly and don’t be afraid to repeat the same runs over and over again.’

We asked Billy to share with us his top 10 tips on how to begin the process of building your confidence, and it’s just as much about treating yourself kindly as it is about training your body.

Tips to Build Your Confidence Skiing

  • 1 – Remember, everyone falls. It’s good to fall. Yet, as adults we are not used to falling, so it can shock us and knock our confidence.
  • 2 – Book lessons on the first three days at least, with an instructor you like, trust and feel comfortable with. If you don’t know any ski instructors, don’t be afraid to ask around for recommendations or ring up companies for a chat, so you can find someone that you gel with.
  • 3 – Go easy. Start on a nice, gentle warm up run. Don’t be afraid to repeat runs as much as you need.
  • 4 – Don’t ski anywhere you don’t want to. If in doubt, don’t do it. The slopes will be there another day so only go where you want and feel comfortable going.
  • 5 – Be well-fuelled and hydrated. Don’t ski hungover or tipsy; you’re far more likely to fall or injure yourself, which can negatively affect your progress and confidence.
  • 6 – Get yourself into the best frame of mind that you can. It’s easy to overeat, undersleep and burn the candle at both ends whilst on a ski holiday, but being rested and relaxed is the best thing you can do for your body and mind when learning to ski. Try finishing your day with yoga, or head to your lesson a bit early and relax into the day with a coffee. Stressed-out skiing is difficult, so do everything you can to set yourself up for a positive and enjoyable experience.
  • 7 – Allow yourself time to build your confidence. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to keep up with other people or compare yourself. Allow yourself as much time as you need to learn. It’ll come, just go at your own pace.
  • 8 – For people with previous experience, practising at indoor slopes and dry slopes can help you to remind your body of movements and technique before you hit the real deal.
  • 9 – Have fun and try not to overthink. Over-thinking is a huge factor which hinders so many people. Sometimes all you need to do is just relax, smile and ski.
  • 10 – If you need a day off, take it. You’re on holiday; skiing for six hours, six days a week is intense. Even if you regularly work out at home, skiing uses a whole different set of muscles, and requires a lot of concentration. It can be exhausting, so listen to your body and rest when you need to rest.

And finally, if you take nothing else from Billy’s list, keep his final piece of advice in your mind: ´You do you! This is my favourite motto’ he explains, ‘You know yourself and your abilities more than anyone else, so trust your instincts. Whatever your ability. Your limit on one day may be completely different the next, so be kind to yourself and learn at your own pace, in your own way.’

We hope Billy’s list of golden rules will help you find or rekindle some confidence to get back onto the mountain, learn some new skills and, most importantly, have fun! For more information about BillSki and the services he offers, check out his website here.

With lots of cruisey blues, progressive reds and a huge variety of terrain to practise on, the Portes du Soleil is a great place to enjoy skiing and build up those skills.  If you’re looking for a beautiful chalet to retreat to after your days on the slopes, AliKats have a range of Morzine catered chalets.

About the author: Al
After an interesting but ultimately unrewarding 10 years working in banking in London and Geneva, I made the move into full time mountain life and have never looked back. When I am not looking after our 3 energetic and hilarious children, I oversee the commercial and business change side of AliKats. I also helped set up a local environmental charity called Montagne Verte, along with Kat. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn

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