October 4th – Snow centre Hemel 10am-4pm
- 1 Day Indoor
- Snowcentre, Hemel Hempstead UK
About the CourseThe full day courses take place throughout the year (concentrated in the months of May, June, Sept, October and November) at the Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead, Indoor Real Snow Slope. The group courses are designed to build and develop skill and confidence, to enable people to ski all terrains including Moguls, Steeps, Variables, Powder and how to Carve effectively on piste. Skills are developed during the coaching sessions by practicing specific exercises that benefit the main topics.
Progressively, the new levels of skill are tested to build confidence. During the group courses each skier is also looked at from an individual point of view due to the fact that we are all individuals and have different strengths and weaknesses that need identifying and developing. The courses are ideal for skiers who are looking to develop their skiing on a regular basis and not have to wait for the Winter season.
The full day sessions vary in terms of what hours the courses take place. The majority of the courses are 6hrs and either day courses or evening courses but we do also run shorter 3hr sessions. If at all possible please try and book at least 48hrs before the date of the course – this allows Hemel to manage the total numbers on the slope. For exact timings of each individual course please refer to their title in the course finder page as this will have it written clearly. Generally speaking we ski on each of the full day sessions for about 3hrs and then take a 45 break half way through to eat some food and watch some video footage. It’s a good idea to arrive at the centres approximately 30-45 minutes before the start time of the lesson. This way you can have ample time to pick up your lift pass from the Snow Centre and also get changed into your ski kit.
To pick up your lift pass simply go to the Snow Centre reception and give them your name explaining that you have booked through the Warren Smith Ski Academy. Once your pass is issued go through to the Changing Area where you will see the Warren Smith Ski Academy team.
To read reviews and press articles on the courses, click here.
Benefits of Taking the Course
In Warren Smith’s opinion there are 5 main reasons to ski at Indoor Snow slopes:
- The indoors slope is generally quieter during the spring and summer months and gives an even more enhanced skiing experience during these times
- You can work on the areas of your ski technique in preperation for next season, Moguls, Steeps, Freeride, with specific Academy exercises
- Like with Golf and Tennis the longer you leave your skiing the more your technique can digress
- It keeps the ‘ski specific’ muscles working that don’t normally get used during other sports
- It will give you the chance to fine tune your ski equipment, getting the skis serviced just right and making sure the boots fit perfectly.
One of the biggest areas of development on the courses is Ankle Flex development. Most skiers join us with a lack of ankle flex. Most skier flex at the knee more than the ankle and this puts the skiers weight back. Once it’s back it makes it hard to steer and almost impossible to ski steeps, moguls and freeride terrain. Your thighs end up being used to help you stand up rather than being used to help you steer the skis.
The reason that most skiers have a lack of ankle flex is that a lot of skiers learn to ski in boots that are too stiff for them to flex so the joint that compensates and does the majority of the flexing is the knee. A lot of skiers also suffer from having calf muscles that are too tight to be able to move and flex the ski boot.
With specific ankle flex development exercises you will learn to dominate your ski boots and flex them so as to allow you to be in balance and maintain leverage in the legs to have powder to steer. Once you have this flex you automatically have power and in turn confidence. The learning process increases dramatically with this and your skiing takes a major step change in its level.
All skiers that come on the Academy courses, whether in Group 1 or Group 6, have a problem maintaining symmetry whilst turning. Perfect symmetry is skiing from turn to turn with your hips, knees and feet the same distance apart allowing both ski edges to be at identical angles. It’s common for most skiers to ski with either their knees dropping closer together or their feet splitting wider apart. Both of these create the classic A-Frame stance.
The A-Frame stance makes it difficult to carve, ski powder, moguls, steeps and generally build on your ski technique as your ski edge angles will always be different. On the courses we address this issue and leave you with a strong, symmetrical stance that allows you to build good ski technique on.
Whilst developing your ski symmetry we will work on biomechanical aspects such as switching on certain muscle groups that help maintain the ideal stance, checking your ski boots to make sure they are set up correctly and integrating the 0-Frame stance into your skiing. Having skier symmetry is crucial in preventing knee injury, fatigue, accidents whilst skiing and allowing you to reach your true skiing potential.
Most skiers who attend the courses, even at Instructor level, steer their skis by foot steering. Steering the skis by foot steering is usually what you get taught in your first week of ski school tuition. Unfortunately it usually stays with you through your skiing life. Foot steering is weak and although it might get you through your first week of skiing it isn’t efficient for more advanced skiing. Foot steering can also put stress on the knee joint.
Thigh steering is a much more powerful way of steering your skis and allows you to steer with more confidence on steeper slopes, in moguls and in freeride terrain. It also allows you to carve more effectively and move onto skiing higher speeds without loosing control.
For thigh steering to switch on we develop specific exercises that provoke you to use the muscles in the legs that control this movement. Once you find the muscles (usually takes about 15 minutes to switch them on) you will immediately feel stronger in your skiing and more secure. Once we have you doing this, other aspects of skiing we show you during the week are easily absorbed and changes take place in your technique with ease.
Left + Right differences and physiology:
All skiers suffer from having a weaker turn direction. At the Academy we are fully aware of the importance for the skier to first feel the difference between left and right turns and then understand why there is a weakness with one side. With the sport of skiing you are only as good as your weakest turn. This is especially obvious in powder, slush, steeps and in moguls.
Skiers generally have a weaker turn due to left and right side differences with the brain, injuries to certain sides of the body, imbalances on the left and right side of the body and equipment that might not be set up correctly.
With the use of video analysis, exercises and biomechanical awareness we make you aware of your weaker direction, show you it on video and then build it up with specific exercises that benefit the weaker side of the body. Once you are balanced the sport of skiing will feel different to you and the foundation of you skiing will be strong and secure.
Nearly all skiers that join the Academy courses are never using their middle body strength to its full potential. Many skiers break at the waist when skiing moguls, powder or just carving at higher speeds. The more dynamic skiing becomes the more you need to activate your core whilst skiing to keep the middle body strong and avoid it collapsing. On the course you’ll learn how to activate your core whilst skiing with simple exercises that are easy to integrate into your normal skiing technique.
To assist your Moguls, Steeps, Variables and Freeride terrain skiing you’ll learn how to develop your pole plant timing and arm positioning. This gives your pole plant more overall strength and it will support your body effectively when initiating your turns in these terrains.
Every skier that joins a course has their own individual skiing style. An important part of the Academy course is to offer each skier feedback on their own technique specific to them. This takes places at various times during the week.
As well as the above topics various other aspects are also covered such as Short Radius Turns, Developing Leg Lean, Progressive Steering, Loading the Skis, Skidding and lots more. Many skiers attend several course during the year whether Winter in Verbier, Spring or Autumn in UK or summer in Cervinia.
Available Group Levels
Levels 1-6 (Basic Intermediate-Athlete)
Skiers ability levels range from basic intermediate skiers wishing to get off the typical intermediate plateau (Level 1) to skiers taking their instructors exams and performance training for competition (alpine racing, freeride or freestyle)(L6).
On the first day of the course we have a ski-off where we split the whole group into smaller individual groups based on their ski ability and confidence. To easily identify the levels of skiers, and roughly assess which level you currently are, please click here.
The Snow Centre just five minutes from the M1 (SatNav reference HP3 9NH). Exit the M1 at Junction 8 and follow the A414 towards Hemel Hempstead. At the third roundabout take the first exit signposted ‘Bennett’s End’. Turn first right into ‘St Albans Hill’. Straight on at the first mini-roundabout, then right at the next mini-roundabout into the entrance. There is free parking on site.
By Rail or Bus
Hemel Hempstead is on the London Euston to Milton Keynes line. Once at the station, simply take the 500 bus to the town centre and then pick up the 300 bus which passes The Snow Centre. The Snow Centre is only 10 minutes by taxi from the station.