The One-Ski-Method: A Revolutionary Approach to Learning Skiing

Traditional skiing instruction often emphasizes balancing on two skis from the very beginning, which can be overwhelming for beginners. The One-Ski-Method, on the other hand, takes a different approach, focusing on mastering one ski at a time before transitioning to two. This innovative method is based on the principle that skiing is not just about the skier, but about the interaction between the skier, the skis, and the slope.
Dr. Kassat's groundbreaking research in 1985 revealed that it's not just the skier's movements that cause the skis to turn; it's the interplay between the skier, the skis, and the slope that creates the turning motion. This understanding revolutionized skiing technique and paved the way for more effective learning methods.
The One-Ski-Method simplifies the learning process by breaking down complex skills into manageable steps. Beginners learn the fundamentals of balance, weight distribution, and turn initiation on one ski, eliminating the distractions and complexities of two-ski coordination. This focused approach allows for faster skill acquisition and increased confidence.


About the One-Ski-Method

The idea of teaching and learning skiing on one ski comes from the observation that controlling both skis simultaneously seems to be too challenging for beginners. Yet the One-Ski-Method should not be misunderstood: training is not only on one ski, skills are taught on both skis. The advantages of the One-Ski-Method can be summarized as follows:

  • Safety: Learning on one ski and one supporting leg prevents falling and reduce the risk of injury
  • Economy: Practicing on one ski minimizes stepping up
  • Training-effectiveness: The aid of a long-pole makes learning effortless and quick
  • Transfer of learning: Learning on one ski, transferring the skills to two skis
  • Inside and outside ski: Both sides are equally trained from the outset
  • No Snowplough or stem: No troublesome learning detour needed
  • Soft methods: Learning through sensory and motor skills

An important methodical aid: the long-pole
Using a long-pole for training seems to be simple, but it is very effective – as long as the pole is used in a specific way. One holds the long-pole in both hands, drawing a thin line with its tip into the snow. This will ‘magically’ cause a turn. With practice, the turning of the ski starts even before the pole touches the slope. The long-pole makes learning parallel skiing easy, and so beginners as well as advanced skiers will quickly progress. Regardless, basic training should never be neglected, and thus it is recommended to switch between the long-pole and the ski sticks during class.



Methodical approach
The One-Ski-Method has developed a range of practical training exercises that can be easily adapted to various slope conditions and school training courses. The selection of exercises should be tailored to the individual needs and learning progress of each student. The method does not follow a rigid sequence from easy to difficult exercises but rather adapts to the complex interplay of skiing technique, learning process, and individual situations. Slope conditions, student preferences, and specific learning objectives also influence the choice of exercises. Short modules and frequent alternation between one-ski and two-ski training are recommended.


One ski method for all cases.
To effectively address the learning needs of each student, the One-Ski-Method provides a comprehensive collection of exercises that can be customized to suit different ages and learning objectives. However, the selection and the pace of progression will vary based on individual circumstances. The pedagogical and didactic approach employed will also determine how the exercises are introduced and executed.
For children, the exercises are designed to be engaging and fun-filled, leveraging the natural tendency of young learners to enjoy movement and exploration. Even seemingly simple exercises can be enhanced with a playful element, making the learning process more engaging and stimulating.
Before embarking on teaching the exercises, it is essential for the instructor to gain hands-on experience with them. This practical understanding will ensure that the exercises are implemented effectively and adapted to the specific learning needs of each student.


The One-Ski-Method: A Path to Healing for Children with Cancer
In the serene setting of the Kleinen Walsertal, Austria, a unique rehabilitation program has been offering hope and rejuvenation to children with cancer since 1994. Founded by Dr. Walter Kurpiers of the University of Münster, the One-Ski-Method has proven remarkably successful in helping these young patients regain their strength, confidence, and zest for life.

The harsh realities of cancer treatment often leave children physically and emotionally drained, and their parents are understandably protective and wary of subjecting them to further stress or exertion. However, the One-Ski-Method gently guides these children back to normalcy, encouraging them to rediscover their own abilities and trust their physical capabilities.

Unlike traditional skiing lessons, which involve balancing on two skis, the One-Ski-Method employs a single ski, reducing the initial demands on the child's weakened body. The free standing leg provides stability and security, while gliding on one ski enhances balance and coordination. The use of a pole as a "mental support" further assists in maintaining dynamic balance.
The focus of this rehabilitation program is not on athletic performance or physical demands, but rather on fostering a sense of joy and accomplishment through movement. By avoiding setbacks and excessive expectations, the One-Ski-Method cultivates motivation and enthusiasm for continued learning and progress.
Under the continued leadership of Prof. Dr. Nico Kurpiers of the University of Hildesheim, the One-Ski-Method continues to empower children with cancer to overcome the challenges of their illness and rediscover the simple pleasures of life.


Latest Publication:

Kurpiers, N. & Kersting, U. G. (2017). The one-ski-method—effects of an alternative teaching approach on selected movement patterns in alpine skiing. Cogent Social Sciences


Teaching methods in skiing have marginally developed within the last decades. An intervention comparing the conventional approach (SP) and the One-Ski-Method (OSM) is proposed in which the main body actions are first trained on one ski and successively transferred to two skis. The OSM teaches the main body actions towards a proper position on parallel skis. The snowplow gets avoided as it implies obstructive body actions. Two groups were trained using each method. Video footage from the first and the fifth day were evaluated by experts following selected criteria. OSM learners showed significantly larger improvements compared to SP. Results indicate a faster acquisition of key elements of alpine skiing and provide a foundation for further investigations of the OSM method.