How to conquer those nerves and love your skiing

We’ve all had ski lessons and know how to ski, that’s not the problem here.

Our challenge is to overcome that fear factor which holds us back from relaxing into it and having a great day.

Louise Pode, the UK’s leading Ski with Confidence Coach,  shares her tips to change your mindset and have a great day.



The skiing holiday is booked, the family can’t wait, but as it gets nearer that inner dread starts to build.

How can they be so excited, yet you feel so anxious?

You are not alone – anxiety on the slopes is more common than you may think. It can create emotions of isolation, humiliation and fear to name but a few, for literally thousands of skiers.

It’s December 2016, we are on a Christmas skiing holiday in Val D’Isere – the children have been excited for months and I am putting on a brave face.

Day 4 I find myself at the top of Le Face – committed. Here I am looking at a steep, icy expanse; heart racing, pitted feeling of deep dread, rigid.

Voices of encouragement – “you can do this” “you’ll be fine” “follow me down”.   I urge everyone to go on ahead to take away that feeling of pressure and focus of attention.

Finally, I set off gingerly, too slow and lurch into a turn, leaning back, out of control, …. down I go.  Tears of frustration start to flow – “I can’t do this” “I knew this would happen”.

Fast forward to 2023– we are staying in Val Claret for Christmas.

We’re skiing all four corners of Tignes and Val D’Isere and once again I find myself committed to Le Face.

It’s as steep, icy and intimidating as before. I arrive at the far side perched on an icy mogul, crusty off piste in front of me, cursing myself for not pausing and creating a plan – the feeling of déjà vu sets in. This is really going to test my skiing strategies.

I take a moment, look up at the stunning view “wow”….deep breathe …I can feel the cool mountain air.  “I’ve got this” I tell myself, “I love my skiing”.  My mind is clearing and I’m making a plan. I slide down into the middle of the run where there is a smattering of snow. I look around at how other skiers are managing – there’s someone coming down with caution, she’s got a good line. I step in several turns behind and follow, focusing on her turns and before I know it, I’m out of the worst of it and on my way. As I reach the bottom I feel elated “I’ve conquered the world”; finally that run is no longer my skiing nemesis. The difference in those two experiences is testament to the power of our mindset – I now love my skiing with a passion. Let me share what I wish I had known in 2016 to create that shift from anxiety to liberation.


Control the Controllable

Create an environment which will enable you to nurture your skiing and build those positive experiences by planning ahead.

Aim for a suitable resort so you can build your confidence, ensure you have a ski buddy to enjoy the slopes with. Be open with your group about your skiing level so you don’t find yourself out of your depth.

Own your anxiety

Anxiety is an important emotion but not when it’s overwhelming and stops you from thinking clearly.

Understanding your anxiety is key. Those symptoms of heart racing, deep dread, feeling rigid were my physiological stress responses. Take a moment to think about when you were at your most anxious when skiing? What were the 3 key signs for you and which came first? Recognising the first symptom and understanding how it manifests itself, puts you back in control. It enables you to use the following strategies to calm yourself before anxiety overwhelms you.

Calm your mind

When your mind runs away with anxiety it’s like white noise which stops you from thinking logically. It is well recognised that slow deep breathing techniques, such as box breathing, promotes a state of calmness reducing that strong physiological response, so you can think more clearly.

Switch your Focus

When we are stressed, we focus on everything that reinforces it, creating our own reality of fear.

Manage that inner voice which creates havoc when we’re anxious, doubting us and castrophizing. Be kind to yourself. Tell yourself “it’s ok”, “you’re fine”, “you’ve got this covered”.

Pull your focus away from those thoughts that build anxiety and focus on the things that calm you; stunning views, coolness of the air, freedom from daily routine, special experiences you are creating.

Make a plan

Rather than skiing with high stress levels take control and make a plan.

Use your deep breathing at the top of the run, look up and focus on the beauty and clarity of the mountains. Avoid stopping on the brow so you’re looking down, instead turn on the brow to wipe off steepness and give yourself continuity. Observe other skiers, what can you learn from how they are skiing? Look at the line they are taking on the slope and make your plan.

If you feel yourself being overwhelmed stop and reset – just because it starts off a bad run it doesn’t need to end that way. Change your mindset.

These are just some of the strategies which will enable you to regain control. With a strong inner motivation and the right coaching, you can overcome those barriers which are holding you back. If you recognise yourself in this article and would love to feel liberated from your skiing anxiety, find out more at  Let’s create that skiing magic together.

Imagine how proud and liberated you would feel to be able to look forward to all those future experiences with friends and family!