The Snoworks ‘Open’ philosophies make champions

The Snoworks ‘Open’ philosophies make champions, as well as being a game-changer for the intermediate skier.

Skiing is probably one of the most ‘open’ and dynamic sports there is, yet somewhat alarmingly, much of the ski teaching industry has built its understanding and foundations of teaching skiing on a ‘closed’ sports methodology.

Many skiers have become trapped in this ‘closed’ sports methodology and hence are limited to where the environment is more ‘closed’, such as well-groomed pistes on sunny days. For a huge amount of skiers, this limits them to groomed red and blue runs occasionally attempting the odd easy black. This is often referred to as the ‘Intermediate Plateau’.

Here at Snoworks, we’ve been shouting across the rooftops for years about All-Mountain skiing and the philosophies required to learn to ski the whole mountain competently. Helping thousands of skiers travel to places they never thought possible. More recently we’ve had the opportunity to use the same philosophies that we’ve used so successfully in All-Mountain skiing, across to ski racing, and the results are spectacular” Phil Smith.

Ski racing in our book has always had similarities to All-Mountain skiing. A constantly changing environment. That we at Snoworks have termed the ‘Open’ environment. Every day is different, every course is different, and every change of direction is different. This is what makes ski racing along with All-Mountain skiing so addictive. Nothing is ever the same. Every movement is unique, a one-off, never to be repeated. It’s been the most amazing opportunity to transfer the same Snoworks philosophies of ‘Going Open’ in All-Mountain skiing across to the race courses. Open skills for open environments. The results speak for themselves.” Phil Smith

In the past few months, Zak has won two gold medals and one silver medal at the Youth Olympics in South Korea, Freddy has become U18 World Slalom Champion, and Luca has made the GB Europa Cup squad ready to start the Europa Cup next season, WOW!

There’s a huge amount of skills to learn to ski the whole mountain. And at Snoworks this is our forte. Every skill can be infinitely varied to match the mountain environment. Result. Go where you want, in any snow condition, in any terrain, in complete control with absolute confidence. Now that’s a goal worth aiming for. A far cry from learning ‘fixed techniques’ that only seem to work on Blues and easy Reds. we will give you a toolbox of skiing skills to take you to the next level and move into and onto the exciting world of All-Mountain skiing.

Are you looking to develop your skiing, in a safe and fun-filled way? Then it’s time to go ‘Open’ with Snoworks Ski Courses.



These are 10 of our philosophies with a very brief synopsis of each. Of course, there are loads more and they are also not a replacement for all the hundreds of drills exercises, activities tips and training that form part of Snoworks courses but these 10 philosophies will improve your skiing faster than you ever thought possible.

Open and closed sports differ in how they are learnt and how they are performed. Closed sports are pre-planned, rehearsed and repetitive. Open sports are spontaneous and varied.  All-mountain skiing is an open sport. The mountains, the snow and the terrain are infinitely varied and your skiing must be too.

In every sport there are two surfaces that work together. In skiing, it’s the edges of your skis and the snow but our concentration gets pulled away from this contact point by stuff bombarding us from all around. Instruction, hazards, terrain, snow, weather and even perceptions of how we should ski. Learn to connect with the mountain and you’ll connect with the sport.

Either the snow moves you or you move the snow. The more snow you move with your skis the slower you go. The less snow you move with your skis the faster you go. Learn to control the amount of snow you move with your skis and you’ll learn to control your speed with the same skill as driving a car or riding a bike.

It’s not a dance, it’s the three things you can do with your skis. Twist them, edge them and push them. The more variation you have in these three skills the more variation you have in your skiing and the more varied the terrain you can ski.

Skiing’s got confusing and the message of why skiing started in the first place has become lost. Skis were originally for transportation, to travel, go places, explore but somewhere along the way skiing became something different. Skiers trying to ski ‘right’ or ski ‘a particular way’. Skiing has almost become a ‘demonstration’ rather than a mode of transport. For all-mountain skiing, you have to go back to the original roots. To travel, explore, move around, enjoy and have fun.

“The past is history, the future is a mystery, now is a gift that’s why it’s called the present”. It may be a quote from kung Fu Panda but it’s as real in the world of skiing as everywhere else. Focus on the now, be aware of the future, let go of the past.

Try explaining how to run through a crowded bar carrying a tray of drinks. Impossible.  The chances of repeating it exactly, 10 million trillion billion to one doesn’t even come close to the odds. But that’s what many skiers are trying to attempt. To ski a particular way in a repetitive, pre-determined manner. In all-mountain skiing the movements are far too complex to try to emulate or copy. True you can practice repetitive movements and groove them as we say, but when you are ‘free skiing’ focus on the output and let the inputs take care of themselves. Just like running through a crowded bar.

Citius, Altius, Fortius. As many will know is the original Olympic Motto, Faster, Higher, Stronger. Of course the Olympics have changed since those days and now many sports are judged. But what about skiing, judged or measured? If it’s judged you need to know the criteria for the judging and that’s the problem. All the judges are different, depending on the country, the ski school and the instructor. Adopt a measured approach to your skiing and you become your own judge.

Everyone knows who learns the fastest, children. But why? They don’t judge, they live in the now, they ski for themselves, they don’t analyze and they have so much fun. If you want to learn as quickly as a child, then you need to be one! Of course, there’s no turning back the clocks but you can adopt most of the attributes that contribute to children learning so fast and you’ll have as much fun as they do.

Be you, don’t be critical, don’t ski for others, ski for yourself, develop your own style of skiing and above all enjoy and have fun. Remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Phil Smith is founder of Snoworks All-Mountain Ski Courses. Snoworks runs Ski Courses and Race Camps throughout the year where you can embrace these tips along with much more to become a competent ‘open’ skier learning to cope with everything the mountain throws your way.
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