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Capture the Moment

Video Training on the Slopes
By Kaj Bune - October 8th, 2001

Home videos can be horribly boring with all the bad acting, poor lighting, long drawn-out shots of tourists buying trinkets in Mexico, but pointed in the right direction, and done for the right reasons, such home spun productions can improve your snow riding immensely.

World-class athletes from every sport imaginable have long understood the value of watching themselves on video, and in these days of inexpensive video technology there is no excuse for the rest of us to miss out on this great tool. If you have never had the opportunity to see yourself ski or snowboard, you will be amazed. In most cases, people are surprised by what they see and the first time you watch yourself in motion on the snow, you may not know who it is. And this is the important part. Each of us has a one- sided view of our technique -- from the inside out. Sometimes this perspective is too critical and at other times much too forgiving. Spending a couple of days a season shooting on-snow video will make a big difference in ironing out the wrinkles in technique.

Here are a few tips for using video for training purposes:

  • Carry the video camera in a padded case, preferably on your chest for easy access and comfort while skiing or snowboarding.
  • Take turns shooting with several friends.
  • Shoot video from different perspectives -- from the front, side, and behind -- technique is a three-dimensional topic.
  • Shoot video in a variety of snow conditions, not just groomers and powder. Crud, ice, and glop are where most of us need assistance with technique.
  • View the video soon after shooting. Cameras have the option of instant replay so you can do some viewing right on the snow or on the lift. Take time to view the shoot each evening. With the turns fresh in your mind, the video will make more sense.
  • During subsequent viewings, compare what you see on the screen with a good instructional book and use your improved perspective to make better use of instructional books.
  • Pick out specific things to work on and then practice them on snow.
  • After you have spent time practicing for several months, make another video and see if you have improved -- I bet you have.
  • Watch your training video with your snow-riding buddies. This is the right time to help each other with technique.

With even a half-day of shooting a couple times year you will see big changes in your technique. This is how the pros do it and hey, we should all get our 15 minutes of fame on snow.


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