How far ahead do you look?

Discussion in 'General Skiing' started by Uncle-A, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. Uncle-A

    Uncle-A In the words of Paul Simon "You can call me Al" Skier

    Dec 22, 2015
    I am guessing that we all know that you should not look at the tips of our skis, so I was wondering how far ahead do you look as planning your next turn or the line you are skiing. Does it depend on the hill or if you are skiing on 15 or 20 M ski?
  2. Jim McDonald

    Jim McDonald Out on the slopes Skier

    Nov 15, 2015
    I'd say I generally look five to 15 seconds ahead, depending on conditions.
    Maybe as little as three seconds ahead in highly difficult circumstances.
    Bad Bob, Tom K., eok and 1 other person like this.
  3. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

    Nov 12, 2015
    Toronto, Canada
    Depends on the pucker factor!
    neonorchid and surfsnowgirl like this.
  4. Coach13

    Coach13 Out on the slopes Skier

    Nov 15, 2015
    No. VA
    It will be interesting to hear what others do but all things perfect I look as far down the slope as I can see before I drop in/head down, to pick my initial line. From there on I go back and forth between glancing far enough ahead to continue to direct my line and looking 3-4 turns ahead. Tough terrain, mixed snow conditions and poor visibility change things significantly for me though and require me to shorten my field of vision down to turn to turn in some cases.
  5. Goose

    Goose Out on the slopes Skier

    Sep 11, 2017
    I think its kind of a natural reaction that changes via a combination of things. We think with our eyes. I mean we need to be quickly calculating our next transitions and surface thinking ahead but while also absorbing general conditions, the speed, slope, difficulty, width of run, type of turns and skiing we are doing and amount of skiers nearby. They all need to be evaluated and ones eyes should be absorbing it all while also picking up a calculating view of our next move/s ahead. We in a large sense are thinking with our eyes. And never is one fixation. Things (and IDSK) may be a bit different in a racing scenario but if they are thats a special circumstance with a different goal.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019

  6. graham418

    graham418 Out on the slopes Skier

    Mar 25, 2016
    It depends on the situation. In the bumps ,it may be 2 - 3 bumps ahead, on some steeps in might be 3 turns ahead and on a flat groomer....... who's looking?
    Brad J likes this.
  7. slowrider

    slowrider Out on the slopes Skier

    Dec 17, 2015
    What about flat light?
    jack97 and Sibhusky like this.
  8. Jerez

    Jerez Out on the slopes Skier

    Nov 25, 2015
    New Mexico
    This is a very interesting question. Yes varies and generally shortend as conditions or visibility become more difficult. But I can say that I notice I ski better the further ahead I look and this includes groomers and especially bumps, which seem to go into slow motion when I do that.

    And I can also say that I usually don't look as far ahead as I should. I am still at the need to self talk stage. And when it is survival mode all bets are off.
    LiquidFeet, eok, Ogg and 2 others like this.
  9. Noodler

    Noodler Now trading turns for swings... Skier

    Oct 4, 2017
    Denver, CO
    Quoted for the truth. This is such an easy way to improve your balance and situational awareness, which in turn improves your skiing. But I'm one of the biggest offenders of looking down at my skis too much. :nono:
    LiquidFeet and Jerez like this.
  10. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

    Dec 21, 2015
    as far as I can.
    Chef23, Bad Bob, neonorchid and 2 others like this.
  11. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

    Dec 2, 2015
    Varies. Often not far enough and bringing that distance close, then further. Bumps on steep terrain is a hard vision one. Probably only practicing looking ahead in that terrain can help.

    Years ago I remember reading about a wcup mogul skier discussing coming back after injury. The hardest thing they said was getting the vision back of looking 15-20 bumps ahead.

    In terms of whiteout it's still important not to look down at the tips. It throws the balance off and confuses the body.

    One way to train yourself in looking agead is to not ski directly at where you're going to stop. If you're stopping say on the left side of the trail at a spot, then maybe head right and come up from below. How far away and below you can go depends on speed and technique. Lots of variations, but it requires not only vision but estimating an outcome. It also requires looking uphill and around to make sure it's clear. It's fun to come to a stop where you want with no to very little braking.

    This skill comes in handy when skiing around and managing or exploring the environment. It's also related to one my favorite things to do on skis - ski uphill.
    LiquidFeet likes this.
  12. Rod9301

    Rod9301 Getting off the lift Skier

    Jan 11, 2016
    It's also where you look, not just how far ahead.
    Skiing something steep and narrow, you want to look straight down, pretty far, not in the direction the skis are going.

    If it's really steep, the skis will be going perpendicular to the fall line, but you need to look down the fall line.

    Pretty hard to do, especially in a couloir, where the skis are going into a rock wall.

    But it allows you to shorten the turn radius dramatically.
    TPJ, LiquidFeet, Tom K. and 3 others like this.
  13. Tlri

    Tlri Putting on skis Skier

    Dec 14, 2017
    Rhode Island
    The faster I'm going the further ahead I look. As the speed increases the time it takes to get the the next obstacle decreases.
    On easy terrain I find myself looking closer to where I am as I'm usually trying some type of skill or working on a movement pattern.
    As the pitch increases and the turn radius gets longer I like to scan 50-75 yards ahead and when I open it up I like to look 100-150 yards away to see where people are and where they are moving so I can find the open space.
  14. geepers

    geepers Out on the slopes Skier

    May 12, 2018
    Depends on skiing speed.

    Doing high speed carving, constantly scanning down range for people and other large obstacles. At the same time looking to see what's in the path of the turn (ruts, holes, ice blocks, different snow texture, rollers/dips).

    And not far enough in the bumps.:(
  15. Ogg

    Ogg Getting off the lift Skier

    Jun 3, 2017
    Long Island, NY
    I definitely find the further I can look ahead the better I ski bumps but then if I somehow "lose a step" I'm screwed and have to bail from my line. I think I just need more days on snow to ski them how I'd like to.
  16. raisingarizona

    raisingarizona Getting off the lift Skier

    Sep 30, 2016
    3B9CED0E-BED6-40A3-9FD5-F9E76A267943.jpeg It depends on the speed you’re going and varying technical factors of what you are skiing. With high speed steep skiing you look at the whole line and have everything visually memorized before you even start. 1000+ vertical feet can go by in a few seconds with those sort of lines.

    I did a couple of straight lines last week that required me to look at the whole line before going. Once going it was a sort of auto pilot mode and I was looking hundreds of feet in front of me.
  17. martyg

    martyg Getting off the lift Industry Insider

    Nov 24, 2017
    It depends on intent. Everything is skiing depends on intent.

    If medium to long radius turns, when I am entering the apex of turn one I am looking at the apex of turn two. That keeps my COM moving and energy flowing in that direction. Efficiency.

    If I am doing sort radius turns it is usually three - four turns down the lane for me, It keeps my COM moving directly downhill, while my femurs rotate underneath me and direct me skis. Efficiency.
    Mike King likes this.
  18. Primoz

    Primoz Making fresh tracks Skier

    Nov 8, 2016
    Slovenia, Europe
    For me it mostly depends if I know terrain I'm skiing or if I don't. For groomers, and terrain that I know and freeskiing, some 60-70m ahead, and not really looking every little bump but more general to somehow see other skiers I need to avoid. For terrain that I don't know, especially on breaks and stuff like that, a bit less. For off piste, I just normally look down the line to see features that you memorized when skinning up so you see how it goes and which direction you should continue. I never really look for what's directly infront of ski, as you sort of see that in peripheral vision. For flat light... same, except you don't need to bother with bumps in peripheral vision as you won't see them anyway, and you deal with that once you hit them. For gates, normally 2nd gate infront. But all these are sort of hard to define for me, as it's subconscious and I never think on this when skiing, so it feels pretty strange now writing this, when I actually started to think where I look :)
  19. eok

    eok Slopefossil Skier

    Nov 18, 2015
    Central Oregon
    Pretty much the same for me. Basically, I retain some of the racing training I received (too) many years ago. An important part of the training was to maintain my focus multiple gates ahead. Otherwise, I'd just be in a reactive mode (turning late and being slower) rather than proactive (anticipating/planning the line for the coming gates). I apply this to my free skiing - along with keeping aware of my peripheral vision. On packed meat-missle weekends, I really wish I had a rear-view mirror and an electronic collision avoidance system with airbags too. ;)
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
    LiquidFeet, Jerez and Uncle-A like this.
  20. CalG

    CalG Out on the slopes Skier

    Feb 5, 2017
    My usual is to lightly focus on the end of the NEXT turn. A flick of the eyes covers the distance between. Then a soft look "as far as I can", as stated by Josh.

    With advanced "warning" it's amazing what your inner self will take care of.

    Keith Code's "A Twist of the Wrist" motorbike training books go into some detail on this aspect.

    Aren't we wonderful!
    LiquidFeet likes this.

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