One of the popular winter sports out there is alpine skiing. Competitors participating in this game must navigate a series of alternative blue and red gates down the hill. The person who goes through the course fastest while properly navigating through those gates is the winner.

Skiing is a difficult sport. If you’re participating in a ski race, you’ll need a lot of preparation and concentration to beat your competitors. If you’re looking to bump up your chances of winning the upcoming race, keep these suggestions in mind:

It’s necessary to wear the right gear for the conditions you’ll encounter; women competing in resorts may look throughObermeyer women’s ski jacket on salewhereas men competing in backcountryraces may go through a hybrid of hard and softshell jackets. But whichever jacket you’ve got, wear a skin suit.

This form-fitting spandex will help you move more easily when you’re on the slopes. What’s more, this wind-resistant and lightweight ski clothing will help you ski downhill quicker.

After arriving at your ski destination and settling in, take the time to inspect the ski course a few times before the race. Ski racers usually have ample time to check out the course. So, take advantage of this opportunity by doing visual inspections of the ski site.

After you’re done checking out the course, visualize it in your mind. While you’re recalling the details, think about how you’re going to maneuver around the gates. Gather all the thoughts in your head and note them down, so you don’t forget.

You can’t be tentative when you’re skiing. If you back off or let up in the middle of a run, you’re going to put yourself in trouble. At best, you’ll be slow. At worst, you’ll fall or ski out of bounds. When you get into the starting gate, commit yourself to ski as fast and as aggressively as you can. After all, this is a competition, and you need to give everything you’ve got to win.

Look two (or more) gates ahead to give yourself an advantage. If possible, avoid the habit of looking from gate to gate. If you do that, you’ll feel rushed and likely fall behind the other competitors.

As you stand in the starting gate, check the second and third gates in advance. Then, keep checking the succeeding gates all the way to the finish line. By looking ahead, you’ll ski better and give yourself more time to react.

Many ski racers lose a second or two between the starting gate and the first turn. They make these two rookie mistakes: using the shoulders and arms to push through the timing wand, and putting the poles too far in front of the feet.

If you want to start faster, do the following:

On “go,” push forward using your upper body, core and legs as you open the wand. Continue doing this until you reach the first gate.

Another rookie mistake you should avoid is dropping both hands or dropping the hand nearest the gates as you pass by. Either error will lead to a slow-skidding ski.

You can beat the slow ski racers by keeping your hands forward. If you get them thrown off the line, do your best to drive your hands forward to regain your balance.

Also, avoid adopting the “zombie position” by keeping your arms forward – and stiff. Likewise, refrain from steering with your hands on every turn. Be agile and fluid as you keep your hands forward.

Many believe that you only need strong legs to ski effectively. This is a misconception. Skiing, in reality, works out your entire body.

As a ski racer, every part of your body needs to be strong. Although you can power through every turn with your legs and steer with your feet, you’ll need more than that to win. You also need a strong upper body to control your arms and torso as your feet move from side to side. Excessive upper body movement can throw you off balance and hinder your ability to carve turns.

Winning a ski race won’t be easy, especially when you’re competing against highly talented skiers. By following these seven suggestions, you could improve your performance and boost your chances of landing that coveted first place.