Between my ski trip to Whistler and my recent spring skiing adventures up in Tahoe, I logged some training time on my SkiA Sweetspot Ski Trainer. A dry land training tool, the SkiA is meant to teach you how to properly balance over your skis, finding that sweetspot, and making you a better skier in the process.
The SkiA Sweetspot Ski Trainer comes as a pair of plastic platforms that quickly strap onto your ski boots, lining up with the index mark found on every pair of boots. The trainers are a little fiddly to use at first, but you quickly get the hang of strapping them to your ski boots. Four different sets of balance blocks are included with the ski trainers, color coded to match your level of ability. I started my training on the biggest (green) balance blocks, and even that took me awhile to confidently find the sweetspot.
The SkiA Ski Trainer comes with a detailed training manual, but the basic idea is that you balance on your chosen size block for around three minutes, then take the ski trainers off to stand in your boots for one minute. Repeat this process a few times. You will quickly feel how your body uses muscle memory to balance you in the sweetspot even without the balance blocks underfoot.
Once you get the hang of balancing, you can start introducing turning and edging movements into your training exercises. The axis of rotation of the trainers precisely matches that of your skis, enabling you to feel the accurate pivot points. For edging, the blocks feature a gentle rocker so you can practice tilting your feet from side to side without losing balance.
So did the SkiA Sweetspot Ski Trainer make me a miraculously better skier for spring skiing in Tahoe? That I cannot prove, but I did feel way more comfortable and confident on my skis and could actually feel myself actively looking for that sweetspot balance that had been burned into my muscle memory. I look forward to seeing what even more training will do for me next winter.
So, don't put your ski boots away for the summer. The SkiA Sweetspot Ski Trainer is a great tool to help keep you in ski shape during the off season. Much like I spend months training for ice climbing season, I will plan to add the SkiA Ski Trainer to my pre-season ski workouts so that I hit the slopes shred ready next winter.
The SkiA Sweetspot Ski Trainer retails for $72.50 a pair and is available from the company website.