Tag Archives: NASTC

Three easy tips to improve your pow skiing

Nothing is better than waking up and seeing 2 feet of fresh at lake level or the valley floor; especially this season! We’re all pretty comfortable with the light and fluffy stuff but sometimes when the “Pineapple Express” hits, the fresh snow can be dense and heavy. How do you approach these types of conditions? Here are three tips to help make your day more enjoyable if its not as light as you hoped:

1. Allow your skis to plane out of the snow, you may need to aim straight down the hill or at a diagonal to get some speed built up. It will help keep your skis on the surface.

2. Steer your feet and legs progressively, spend just a little more time in the fall line than what your instinct directs you to do. Big, aggressive twisting moves will bog you down and throw you off balance.

3. Shrink your turns to go slower and stretch out your turns to go faster, read the terrain and scope out your line, so you know where you will need to make adjustments to maintain fluidity and control.

And don’t forget to check out our selection of powder skis, all designed to make powder skiing easier and more fun with wide widths, rockered shapes and easier flex patterns: Shop Powder Skis


Looking for hard snow edge grip???

Dynastar has been a major player in the race world with many Olympic and World Championship medals as well as World Cup titles in their long history. This racing pedigree really shows in the Dynastar Speed Course TI. The Course TI wears race graphics, carries a racing binding plate, and shares the wood/metal construction characteristics of the World Cup skis. Despite this, it is in fact a pretty different animal than a pure race ski.  A wider waist width and rounded tail are the first visual clues that this is not just another race ski. The Course TI has a tight 15m turn radius in the 171 size and it is available in sizes as short as a 159 and as long as 183. This is a very good dual event race ski for non-FIS level competitors and also makes a great “cheater” GS ski for Masters racers. The Speed Course TI is even more than this though. This is a very good ski for someone that doesn’t race at all and is looking for a hard snow biased ski for everyday use.

The first runs I took on the Dynastar Course TI was at Winter Park during the annual SIA intro. The main test run there is an FIS homologated GS trail and has very hard snow most of the time. The upper part of the run is relatively narrow and has a moderate pitch. I used this part of the trail to vary turn shapes between short medium and long radius and then back again. The tapered tail released much more easily than the grippy, squared off tails that you find on real race skis these days. Through this exercise the Course felt amazingly comfortable and compliant through changing turn shapes and the turn release was energetic but manageable. As the trail got steeper it also gets wider and in this section of the trail, I opened up the turn radius and picked up the speeds. While the Course TI is easy enough at slower speeds, it really stands out when skied aggressively. The grip was like a razor even on the spots that were scraped off and shiny and the dampening was on par with a World Cup GS ski. The tighter turn radius kept the ski from running out at the turn finish the way a GS race ski would and when I took it out to the edges of the trail it managed the soft crud very well. For the skier or instructor/coach looking for a hard snow specialty ski, it doesn’t get much better or more versatile than the Speed Course Ti.

Using the Ankle as a Hinge

It is important to maintain a centered stance over your skis to work the skis effectively.  While standing on your skis on flat terrain, try moving your body forward and backward over the skis by using the ankle joint as hinge.  This is how we want to re-center our center of mass over the skis.  The goal is to maintain a perpendicular relationship of body to the skis.  When approaching steep pitches it is natural to move your weight back because you are hesitant and maybe a little nervous.  Unfortunately when this happens, you lose the ability to direct and work the ski effectively.  You may find that you are suddenly going faster than you want and may be heading out of control.  When skiing steeper pitches, concentrate on keeping your body perpendicular to the hill by hinging the body forward through the ankle joint, especially at the start of the turn.  This will help to apply pressure on the front of your boots with your shins.  The pressure on the front of your boots is conveyed to the tips or your skis and will allow you to control your skis with more precision.  Skis are designed to perform best when strong forward pressure is applied to start the turn.  It is amazingly easy to adjust the radius of your turns if your weight is centered over the skis.  Don’t hesitate when you hit the steeps – be assertive, move your body down the hill and have fun.

An easy tip to improve your skiing

Staying centered over your skis at all times should be a key focus for
all skiers.  This starts by having an open stance over your skis while
balancing your weight between your feet.  Make sure that you keep some
contact with your shins against the tongue of both boots.  This pressure will
increase while flexing your ankles and bending your knees into a turn and
somewhat decrease while extending and preparing to start your next turn.
This contact focus will help you keep centered over your feet through out
the turn shape giving you more precise edging movements and pressure
control.  Keeping a centered, open stance allows for smoother shifting of
pressure between the feet and cleaner use of the four edges of your skis.
Staying balanced in the center of your skis and over your feet also allows
you to respond to changing snow and terrain conditions more effectively.
A centered stance allows for better independent leg and foot action,
which is key to sound skiing. The outside ski in the turn needs to be the dominant ski while the inside ski is actively guided through the turn with
less pressure while complementing the desired turn shape.  Skiing powder
and difficult snow conditions require a solid, centered stance over the
middle of the skis to evenly distribute your weight on both skis allowing
them to bend evenly and float through the snow as a unit. Skiing bumps
requires constant centering over the skis so that the skier can remain in
balance and not get pitched all over the mountain.

World Cup racers use both skis at the same time by changing their
edges and turning both feet equally while balancing over both feet. They
keep moving their hands, upper body and hips forward and downhill to
help them stay centered over their skis at all times. A centered and balanced
stance is of primary importance for all skiers. It allows you to steer and
edge your skis more effectively while controlling the pressure on your
skis as they are guided across the snow no matter what type of turn we are
making on any slope or snow condition.

Join us for a clinic at NASTC or Sugar Bowl and get some great exercises to help you become completely centered on your skis!

By Mike Iman, NASTC Trainer and Sugar Bowl Mountain Sports Learning Center Director

NASTC now an AIARE Avalanche Course Provider

Isn’t safety the #1 concern for all of us when it comes to skiing and riding in the slackcountry, sidecountry, or backcountry?  True to NASTC standards, our avalanche instructors are of the highest quality, professionalism, and experience level. This is a 3-day education and certification class in which you earn your AIARE Level I (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education). It’s the minimum amount of know-how if you want to travel, ski, or ride out of bounds safely. There is time spent in the classroom and on the snow daily. Each year more resorts are lifting their boundary lines, allowing us to get to fresh snow and exciting terrain even after the resort itself is “skied out.”

However, the risk has never been greater. You need to know what you’re doing if you are heading out there. A friend may say, “oh I know some avalanche safety stuff…” but really? Do you want to rely on them, or have the knowledge yourself? In this course, among other skills you learn how to plan a trip, what are the “red flags,” how to recognize different types of avalanche terrain and avalanches, how to perform certain observations and snow safety tests, route finding and terrain management, and how to use your beacon.

So often accidents occur not as the result of one bad decision, but several. These human decision-making errors can be avoided. The snow science around avalanche education is truly fascinating, and the Level I curriculum has come a long way. The risk has never been greater, everyone is pushing the envelope. Get certified. You’ll enjoy it and be safer.

Dates for the NASTC AIARE Level I courses:
January 21-23 or February 11-13 $425  (includes instruction, AIARE fees, course manual and field notebook)

You can be an even better athlete this winter!

By: Chris Fellows

As director of the North American Ski Training Center and father of three active kids, I don’t have large chunks of time to spend in the gym.  However my skiing performance and fitness is important to me. I’m guessing that’s the way you feel as a passionate skier too?

By staying healthy and fit throughout the season, I can provide my clients with solid skiing instruction and demonstrations and I can keep the wheels from coming off the cart mid-season due to overuse injuries, bad alignment, or illness due to lack of recovery time. Don’t forget well-fit boots and the right skis in your quiver complete the perfect relationship: good fitness, good equipment, and good technique = lots of fun, excellent skiing and reduced risk of injury.  Thanks in advance for reading.

The following tips keep me moving athletically throughout the ski season and help prevent injury.

  1. Exercise fads come and go. Make a commitment to keep fit and make exercise a part of your daily routine.
  2. Posture, good or bad, can effect your athleticism. Pay attention to your sitting, standing, walking and exercising posture.  Poor posture will result in poor performance; good posture will help you perform like a top athlete.
  3. Focus on a strong core for stability and flexible hips for skiing mobility.  Limited range of movement and weak core muscles can over-stress connective tissue.  This will limit your performance and body durability.
  4. In the winter, cold weather tells your body to pack on fat for survival.  Don’t let it go too far. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits and don’t overdo the high carb foods. Diabetes runs in my family and I’ve seen the damaging effects of the disease.  From a young age I have tried to eat healthy and exercise regularly.
  5. The biggest technological breakthroughs in sports in the next decade will include advancements in human performance through food.  This will come in the form of body enhancement foods or super foods.  Like the tobacco industry 15 years ago, the food industry will be under the microscope over the next 20 years and will be expected to clean up its act. Athletes are ahead of the game and are adjusting their diets to exclude starches, sugars, industrial additives, pesticides and dyes.  Athletes’ diets are rich in nutrients and proteins, like raw locally grown fruits and vegetables, nut, whole grains, yogurt and smaller portions of meat.
  6. Change up your work out intensity.  Mix up your high intensity days with low intensity days and don’t skimp on sleep for total body recovery.
  7. Ski athletes focus on total body work outs. The best weight training program for ski athletes is NOT the muscle specific routines of bodybuilders, but instead sessions that work out the whole body.
  8. Keep your aerobic engine active throughout the winter.  You aerobic levels will slowly dwindle if you forget to get a run in, go for a cross-country ski or backcountry climb regularly.  Your aerobic fitness is the furnace that fires your athletic abilities, without it you are running on fumes.
  9. When crunched for time, up the intensity of your work out. Skip rope fast for ten minutes or do 100 split squats for a personal best time. High intensity workouts will force the issue and teach your body to adjust to high power output.  Skiing is high power output.
  10. Energize yourself with the youth!  Work out with people younger than you.  My kids force me out of my comfort zone.  “Daddy try this trick on the tramp”, or “Dad, race me to that pole and shimmy to the top, let’s see who wins”.  Younger partners will make you rise to a higher level of performance.

Most importantly, remember to have fun with your workouts. This is the single largest indicator that you will continue them regularly throughout the ski season and off-season.

Portillo Chile is calling your name!!!

As the temperatures warm up the countdown to flying south to Chile’s premier ski resort, Portillo, begins.  Some people ask, why the heck would you fly all the way to South America to ski during the summer?  Simply put, because it’s awesome.  If you like to ski and you like to have fun, Portillo is where you need to go this summer.  It is an experience that has the potential to change you.  Not only does it offer an escape from the heat and mundane but you enter a world that is so different than anything you would find in North America.  Here the sky is a cobalt blue hue, the sun shimmers powerfully down on you as condors glide gracefully through the sky.  The Andes rise up all around you, like the towering walls of a fortress.  As the Inca Lake and its surrounding peaks lure you into an almost hypnotic state of tranquility you begin to believe in its mythical legend.  Your spirit soars to new heights when in Portillo, you just can’t help it, as you get this incredible sense of freedom and adventure while you are there.

Portillo breaks down all barriers.  There is no surrounding village just the solitary blue and yellow hotel with a few miscellaneous buildings around it.  The heart of the resort is therefore quite naturally the hotel, as there is no other place to go.  Intentionally or unintentionally, you come away from your Andean sojourn with at least half a dozen more friends than what you arrived with.  The hotel is constructed in such a manner that forces you to meet and mingle with the other guests.  It is equipped with a heated swimming pool, two hot tubs, a gymnasium, spa, sauna, climbing wall, workout room, nightclub and cinema.  Included with your room, lift ticket and meals is all the terrain that your legs can handle.  Skiing in Portillo is downright fun and exhilarating.  Even riding the lifts is an adventure.  The terrain is truly incredible, you can go as big and technical as you want or keep it mellow and cruise, whatever you pleasure as it has something for every type of skier.

There is no shortage of entertainment at Portillo, especially when there’s a good band playing in the bar, you will get people dancing on tables, the windows will heat up, and the floor will begin to vibrate.  Whether you are jumping in on the action or just hanging out and watching the scene – it’s always a good time.  Don’t miss a visit to the Posada – a true Latin American cultural experience or lunch at Tio Bob’s, the mid-mountain restaurant, the view is stunning.  Without a doubt you will come away from Portillo with memories to last a lifetime and stories that will hold a dinner table captivated for hours.

The best way to experience Portillo is with the North American Ski Training Center (NASTC); they have been running a weeklong ski camp at Portillo annually for 17 years.  NASTC brings with them the best instructors in the country, members of the PSIA National Alpine Team.  The week is a perfect balance of coaching, skiing and playtime.  Over 80% of the NASTC clients have either previously attended the Portillo camp or another NASTC course.  Each aspect of the course has been carefully planned out so you can get the most out of your experience.  Included in the cost of the camp is lodging in either the Octagon or Hotel, lift tickets, 4 meals/day, 6 days of instruction with personalized video reviews & afternoon presentations by the coaches, a morning warm-up session, afternoon recovery sessions, a Functional Movement Screen, a traditional Chilean dinner and other events & activities.

By: Kimberly Mann

For more information regarding the trip please visit www.skinastc.com