So you’ve mastered forwards and now you’re looking to ski backwards.
There is no doubt it looks very cool and when you see those instructors effortlessly skiing backwards faster than most of us can go forwards you decide that its time to learn.
Since learning myself I’ve picked up a few tips that will no doubt help. My own feeling is that the easiest terrain to practice on is a big wide open blue in bright sunshine and no lumps and bumps, anything less steep and you’ll not have the speed you need to keep going when things get a little wobbly and anything steeper and you might scare yourself.
Its probably worth saying at this point that you really do need freestyle (twin-tipped) skis for this. These ski’s have essentially the same upward curve on the back as they do on the front allowing you to travel backwards as easily as you can forwards.
When you’re ready to begin, start pointing downhill until you’re moving at a pace. I find it far easier to ski backwards while moving rather than from a standing start – for some reason the momentum seems to help. So when you’re travelling forwards (not more than a few mph) begin to move into a parallel stop but keep the back of the skis kicked out until you’re facing the other way.
Just as you do when skiing forwards you’ll need to have your weight on one foot and the other foot will move naturally to a position further backward and down the slope. You’ll want to be looking backwards over the shoulder of the ski furthest down the mountain. What you do with your poles are down to you but I tend to have them pointed out to the side about 45 degrees for a little stability – it seems to help my balance.
When you want to change direction (and I’d suggest you’re not doing large traverses across a slope here), you’ll need to unweight your foot and slide (or scissor) the ski downhill until you have the reverse position to that you had before. Make sure you look back over the other shoulder now.
Boom – you’re skiing backwards.
When I learnt this technique, I did it from this video which is excellent – Id highly recommend watching it.
*photo credit – My favourite rider Bobby Brown from one of his videos