Ski improvement by Paul Smythe

ski improvement by paul smythe

August 29, 2016

Having spent my adult life in the ski industry, mostly in the area of ski improvement, I thought it would be a good idea to write about how we help skiers reach that next level in their own skiing.

But first, a bit of background on me – It all started in 2004. I was standing on an average blue run with a bit of fresh snow. I’m literally about to begin skiing the most important run of my life, surrounded by a group of people who all want the same thing… to become ski instructors.

The trainers wave their pole in the air like we’ve all seen them do – there’s 3 of them standing at the bottom ready to watch me ski. To assess my skills. To group me with skiers of a similar ability. The pressure is suffocating. Who doesn’t want to be in the top group?

I began to slide but my legs – they didn’t feel normal. They’re heavy. The snow is good but in my head it felt like concrete. One turn, two turns – then darkness. I caught an edge and face planted into the fresh snow. A ski had come off. Is this the most embarrassing moment of my life? I get up, put my ski back on, two more turns and I crash again. I think it’s all over…

Looking back on this moment now, I laugh. I’ve had 20 seasons or so of feeling and witnessing the same worries that people get every time the dreaded “ski off” begins. The difference from that first run years ago to now, is I became the one waving the pole at holiday makers and ski instructors alike. And let me tell you, no matter what level you’re at with your skiing, as everyone sets off, we all think the same thing… “ahhhhhhh!”


I’ve been lucky enough to be trained by literally the best coaches and instructor trainers in Canada and Australia – and the learning never ends. However, there’s something I believe everyone should feel at least once each winter season. Whether you’re skiing for a weekend, a week or longer, the feeling of successfully making a change in your skiing is amazing. It was like a drug to me. I craved that feeling for years and still do. How to guarantee you’ll feel this – ski improvement programs.

To me there’s nothing better than lighting up a ski run, getting to the bottom and thinking “that is the best I’ve ever skied in my life”. The apres beers always taste better after a run like that!

I’ve opened with this story because I’m now fortunate enough to manage Ski Aspen. A package holiday provider with a team who don’t just aim to book you a ski holiday. We’re fanatical skiers who know what it is to want more from your ski ability. Skiing is our core product – all the other stuff is secondary. Helping people explore the mountains, develop their skiing, and experience the ski life that we love is the reason I live and breathe Ski Aspen.

For over a decade I have been working in Ski Schools and developing ski improvement programs. Surrounded by my peers and some truly phenomenal instructors, we all focused on improving our own skiing and teaching to then help improve those taking lessons. It’s a sport that can be more frustrating than any other, but when you get the combination of technique and focus just right… in that moment… you are unstoppable, no matter what your ability level is.


Our on-snow program literally changes the way people ski. We work on your technique and the “in your head” stuff to develop your ski skills and overall ability. After all, it’s time you got past that plateau, or learnt something that makes skiing feel electrifying again!

So here is the long and short of it – I’ll share exactly how we’ll take your skiing to the next level with five of the top reasons you should join us in Aspen:

  1. Six hours per day of focused technical development on your skiing. Guaranteed groups of 6 people or less. Highly experienced and qualified instructors who know this sport better than they do their own reflection. You will not get this level of concentrated attention and expertise anywhere else.
  2. Working together in small groups helps everyone improve. While one-on-one instruction is great, in my experience, the benefits of being in a small group and working to improve your own technical ability with others is a fun and very successful way of reaching that next level. I definitely learnt more about my own skiing by watching others work on a specific skill and listening to how they can improve – It’s like getting a little bag of bonus tips that you can practise along the way.
  3. Mindset is everything. Our instructing team have been Aspen addicts for years. They know what it is to ski big mountains and develop skiers across all types a of terrain and conditions. Knowing how to technically improve someones skiing is only half the battle. It’s in the mind where much of the challenge to reaching that next level with your skiing is locked away. And we’re confident that our instructing team have the key to unlocking this… How can I say that? Because I’ve seen their successes time and time again.
  4. Aspen’s terrain encourages the best progression for intermediate to expert skiers when combined with the right technical advise. “It’s like Aspen’s four mountains were forged out of the ground and rose up to challenge skiers to be better” – a quote from our very own G&T master Rob Barron. You’ll truly feel challenged and get to ski terrain unlike anywhere else. Take it to the limit with our team of instructors who know when to push you and when to switch focus. They have built their careers developing skiers skills to take on the incredible terrain of Aspen.
  5. Humour makes the world go round, the skis glide easier and the apres sessions last all night. This is one massive component to all of our trips. If you’ve been on a Ski Aspen Tour before or you’ve crossed paths with us on your travels, you know that we believe laughter is the best medicine – and we prescribe it like its going out of fashion!

So there you have it, a little insight into a true ski addicts mind – and the way that we’re going to change your skiing on our ski improvement programs when you join us in Aspen.

So it’s over to you… follow this funky named link to develop your skiing on our ski improvement program across our 10, 15 and 20 night Aspen packages: