Rising Dragon Tai Chi

Tai Chi Skiing

by Rhona Campbell


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I have been on various skiing holidays over the past 20 years and have attended many ski classes and lessons. I considered myself as a fairly timid skier, not liking to be out of control, but having a reasonable grasp of the basics. Usually the rest of the family ski off to higher slopes and come down to join me from time to time. As they ski faster than I do, this means they wait around for me to catch up or else deliberately go much slower than usual.

This year we were booked for ten days skiing at Winter Park, Colorado, two sets of five days separated by a long weekend at a conference. Colorado has BIG mountains but the broad lower slopes made it great for moderate skiers like me. For the first five days I was doing my usual thing, just as well/badly as usual but by the end of it I was celebrating a new ‘first’ - So far I hadn’t fallen over!

However when I came back for the next half of my holiday I started off with a really BAD ski day, I just couldn’t coordinate at all and started to loose my confidence. At this point my husband reminded me of how he had found his first glimpse of Taichi’s dynamic root while he was skiing on our previous holiday, so why didn’t I try doing what I do in Taichi. He also suggested I might find the new shorter skis would help.

I decided to forget all the skiing lessons I had had over the years with its litany of instructions for turning and instead just try doing Taichi on skis. WOW! What a transformation! My husband turned round to see how far back I was and a flying body ( me!) shot past him. I was just moving the weight from foot to foot without doing anything else and the skis braked and angled all the way down, faster than I had ever skied before but in control and relaxed. What a lot of fun I had from then on, flying straight down all sorts of slopes I couldn’t have tackled before and feeling so relaxed as I did it.

So my advice to Taichi skiers is - forget all you have been taught on the ski slopes and just do the basic Taichi weight-move from foot to foot. Keep your body as relaxed as it is during Taichi and the spine as straight. You will find that you are then, in effect doing effortless parallel turns and you will be amazed at the improvement in your skiing ability.

Rhona Campbell


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