Last updated: 8:00AM 03/19/2019

Alta Blog

8 Ski School Tips From a Pro

8 Ski School Tips From a Pro

| 1 Comment | February 27th, 2019 | By Guest Blogger

Whether you’re a beginner or veteran skier, investing in a ski lesson can drastically improve your skills on the slopes. Take ski instructor Robbe Mayall’s word for it.

"Everyone can benefit from lessons," explains Mayall, 58, who has been skiing for 48 years and now instructs at the Alf Engen Ski School in Alta, Utah. “For beginners, lessons can really shortcut the process of learning to ski and help create good fundamental skills. Intermediates can find the flow and control that allows them to experience more of the mountain. And experts can learn the tactics and techniques to enjoy steep terrain and soft deep snow.”

The spectacular scenery around Alta draws skiers of all abilities. Photos: Boydechar

At Alta, skiing is taken seriously. Located in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, the Alta Ski Area is not only one of the oldest ski resorts in the U.S., but also one out of three ski-only areas left in the nation. It’s world-renown for its quality deep powder due to uncanny heavy snowfall season after season, and it has some of the most diverse and challenging terrain there is. And it’s home to the Alf Engen Ski School.

Alf Engen (right) and his son Alan. Photo: Alta Historical Society

Alf Engen was a world-class Norwegian-American skier, who won several ski jumping world records and is best known for his technique in powder skiing, which he discovered and honed at Alta. The ski school carries on the spirit of its famous namesake. Skiers of all abilities, levels, and ages have access to private and group lessons, specialized workshops and clinics, multi-day ski camps, and individualized coaching led by certified instructors. But more importantly, it maintains an authentic "skier’s mountain" vibe that’s far from elitist and focuses on the pure enjoyment of skiing.

"The Alf Engen School is unique in that we only hire experienced instructors who have attained certification through PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) to provide high quality lessons for all of our students. It is a small group of dedicated ski pros who love helping people attain their skiing dreams.” - Robbe Mayall

From both a personal and professional perspective, Mayall believes that taking a lesson can truly transform anyone’s skiing experience. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to meet other ski enthusiast and use the full resources of the resort. Below he gives eight useful tips for skiing he’d share with his students out on the slopes:

1. Practice on terrain you are comfortable with: Only when you are skiing skillfully on comfortable terrain should you attempt more challenging conditions.

2. Look toward your next turn: Many people ski looking at their feet or skis. You wouldn’t ride looking at the front wheel of your bike, would you?

3. Play with the shape of your turns: Try to make turns that have different shapes. Make turns that look like a big S instead of a Z. How about a C or a J or even a comma.

4. Remember to breathe: Many people hold their breath while skiing, which restricts them from following through movements.

5. In skiing "balance" is a verb: You are never in balance but rather always balancing.

6. Always direct your weight to the inside edge of the outside ski: That’s the left (big toe) edge of the right ski in a left turn. Skis are made to turn the direction they are tipped (edged). Learn to tip both skis symmetrically in the direction you want to turn.

7. It’s all in the legs: Make movements to redirect your skis with your legs rather than your upper body.

8. Relax and appreciate the experience: Take in the view, breathe in the fresh air!

Find out for yourself why the Alf Engen Ski School has developed such a strong reputation across the country—and why skiers of all abilities return to Alta year after year to enjoy its spectacular powder.

Written by Emily Polachek for RootsRated in partnership with Alta.

Posted in: #SkiSchool

Mary Pat Cieri March 14, 2019 Reply to Post

ah haven't taken a lesson lately cuz they always make you go down a trail that is too steep for the fear factor--used to ski the blues--sticking with the greens these days--namely the sunnyside lift. Haven't ventured further lately--might have to slide down sideways for the turning downhill into the steep! VERY comfortable on the greens. Nice wide S turns and some thinner S turns--don't want to go too fast after 2 hip replacements.


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