Those are some good ideas. Like I said I was a little disappointed with my Wolf Creek footage and want to improve for our February trip to Breck. Sunny days definitely looked better as well the kid that was wearing the brighter colors. I like the tip about body facing downhill and then turning back up to the action for a smoother pan. Also liked the idea of more establishing shots (which I had to look up).
I need to work on the steadiness of shots, so the comments about the zoom make sense. I'd like to possibly get some kind small tripod but it would need to be easy to use and carry. Not sure how practical that is on cold days where you don't want to take off gloves.
Also, I have the VIO headcam which I think will be nice when I get the settings dialed in, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do for a handheld. My wife has a pretty nice Canon HD that I get nervous about taking out. I'm going to research cams that are good quality, small, and can take somewhat of a beating (possibly waterproof) that I won't be uneasy about using. Please share if you guys have one you like.
Partially cloudy/mostly sunny days are the best in my opinion. It's plenty bright, there is some blue sky, but not too bright/harsh (the cloud add a bit of diffuse lighting).
For steadiness, obviously practice helps (try to only move larger joints like you hips and shoulder and not your elbow or wrist). That should be enough for standing shots... you might need something more if you are snowboarding with the person. Using a monopod like this
might help as it is easier to grip and pan with gloves (try it now... try holding a credit card in both hand and moving it around... now grip a pen and sweep it left to right).
BTW, if you have iMovie 11, it can remove some jitter as well (there are Windows versions as well but I don't know them offhand anymore). When using software stabilization, always shoot a little "wide" (zoom out or move back) as the software will crop off the sides of the frame a bit.
Personally, for a general pocket camera, I recommend the Casio ZR10 (I own the FC100 which is an older version). However it is not waterproof or shockproof (seems to have survive moderate snow exposure and occasional bangs). Photo quality is mediocre, as is video quality... but I like the slow motion playback
For good quality, small, and can take a beating... there is the GoPro Hero2. It is pretty small, waterproof/shockprooof, had video quality is good (although I don't know if they have solved the dynamic range issue)... and the Hero2 fixes two issues I had with the previous version... first it goes multiple focal length options whereas Hero HD only has ultra wide 172* fisheye. The fisheye is great for helmet cam and videoing yourself, but it often too wide if you wanted to film someone else (the camera needed to be 8-12 ft away at most else the person is really small in the frame). The other thing I is that is has a 120fps mode which, also for slow-motion playback. Here is a video demonstrating both the field of view (focal length) and frame-rate modes