ATS Technique and Tactics - Phase 2

Phase 2 is called the adventure stage for good reason! It is the time for ski racers to develop a broad base of skiing skills through lots of games, fun challenges, skiing exercises, and drill courses. A skier in phase 2 is developing a love for skiing!

Phase 2 skiers should spend time working on:

  • Skiing with balance and control in a variety of terrain and snow conditions
  • Learning how to move their lower body independently of their upper body
  • Learning edging and carving skills
  • Pressuring the skis independently
  • Learning pole plant mechanics and using pole plants consistently
  • Making a variety of turn shapes in freeskiing and drill courses

The SkillsQuest Skiing Assessment exercises for phase 2 skiers are:

Score sheets for the Phase 2 exercises (print double-sided).

Key Competencies


  • Has developed basic athletic stance with resulting natural mechanics.
  • Skis parallel turns with a parallel turn entry.
  • Is outside ski dominant.
  • Effectively uses flexion and extension movements.
  • Uses appropriate pole action.


  • Can ski short and long radius rhythmical turns.
  • Gaining appreciation of line in race course.

SkillsQuest Rewards

Here are some ideas for skiing goals phase 2 ski racers can set and earn rewards for achievement:

  • Ski the whole mountain - I can ski every trail on the mountain
  • Ski the bumps - I can ski in moguls making quick turns and long turns
  • Ski the terrain park - I can hit the jumps and stay in balance in the air, even when doing tricks
  • Know the code - I know the Skier Safety Code and terrain park etiquette
  • Carver - I can carve GS-sized turns on moderate terrain, even when picking up my inside ski
  • Quick turns - I can make very quick turns without losing balance or rhythm

There are many more, make your own!

Course Setting Recommendations

Skiers in this phase have relatively short attention spans and do not have a well-developed anaerobic entery system for sustained high-intensity skiing over a long course. Skiers in this phase should use one pair of skis for all events. Gate training should consist of GS, slalom, Kombi and obstacle courses. Primarily set on easy to moderate slopes, though a variety of terrain is encouraged.


Progress from brushes to stubbies. Use children's flex poles (54" or 60" shaft, 25 or 27mm diameter) once skiers are ready to practice clearing. Frequently set brush or stubby courses next to a course with flex poles to move skiers back and forth between the two as needed. Frequently set very quick, short drill courses to develop quickness - distances from 2-6m. Courses should have few combinations. Gates in combinations should generally be set 4-5m apart and open gates should be set generally 6-9m apart. Rather than setting one 30-40 gate course, split the hill into 2 or 3 shorter courses and emphasize a focus on a specific task for each section.

Giant Slalom

Use brushes, stubbies or paneled gates. Practice with distances between 15 and 22m and set the full spectrum within this range, occasionally going beyond in each direction. Changes in rhythm requiring different turn shapes are encouraged, but should be easy to see and not tactically challenging (ie., avoid sharp turns immediately following a high speed section). Rather than setting one 20-30 gate training course, split the hill into 2 or 3 shorter courses and emphasize focus in each section on a specific task.


Courses should use the entire slope, with smooth transitions between GS and SL sections. Each section is typically 3-6 gates. Setting a small jump or using pole jumpers on the course is highly recommended.

Download this document for more course setting recommendations.


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