Learning to turn when skiing is one of the most important techniques for improving your skills on the slopes. Being able to control your speed and turn direction quickly and efficiently is essential to having an enjoyable ski experience.
There are two main turning techniques used when skiing: parallel turns and wedge turns. Parallel turns are accomplished by bending the skis into an edge and leading one ski slightly ahead of the other. Wedge turns involve the skier turning across the slope using their weight and skis to shape the turn. Mastering both methods of turning is the key to becoming a better skier.
To execute a parallel turn, begin by facing the direction you want to turn in, and getting into a crouched position. Check your speed and adjust it by using your poles or body position. Then, press into your edges by turning your ankles, and maintain your balance with proper core body positioning. As you get comfortable with the technique, work on adjusting your speed by adding more pressure into the edges as you need.
To make efficient parallel turns, it is important to keep your upper body in a relatively neutral position. Your upper body should remain vertical, especially as you turn into the new direction. Your knees should remain bent and your upper body should remain slightly in front of your feet. Let your lower body take control, and keep your eyes focused on the destination.
Practice changing and controlling your speed on flat terrain before you tackle a slope with other skiers. Keep your body relaxed and quiet and practice your core movements until you feel comfortable.
Wedge turns are the most common type of turn used in recreational skiing. To execute a wedge turn, stand comfortably with your feet together, arms slightly bent with hands in front pointing in the direction of the turn. As you begin to turn, adopt a slightly widened stance that is still comfortable. Your feet should point slightly outward and your weight should be kept evenly distributed. During the turn, slightly open the stance as you need, allowing your body to adjust and control the speed.
As the turn nears completion, close the stance, weight the skis and slide into a new turn. Keep alternating the stance openness as you need throughout the turn, and use your arms to provide balance. When getting ready for the next turn, slightly open the stance again and repeat.
Wedge turns can be tricky so start out on an easy-slope with plenty of space and good visibility. As you get comfortable with the technique, you can work on pointing the tips of your skis down the hill as you begin the turn to increase the speed.
Mastering the art of turning when skiing takes time and practice. Watching experienced skiers can be a great way to learn, but the most effective way to learn is to keep practicing until you get comfortable with the movements and feel in control of your skis. With the knowledge on how to perform wedge turns and parallel turns, you will improve your skiing experience and become a more confident and efficient skier.
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