Written by 4:29 PM article

Making Turns While Skiing

While Skiing

Now that you have learned some of the very basics of Skiing, it is time to move on and learn how to turn. Turning is pretty much the essence of Skiing and it is where you will practice the most on. Skiing is not about keeping your Skis parallel and riding straight down the fall-line. It’s about finding your way down the mountain, choosing your path and using your skills to turn the ways needed to maintain your course. In this section, we will look at some of the basic Turns and how to execute them:

Stem Technique

As the name suggests, the Stem Technique “stems” out the uphill Ski and pushes it out from being parallel with the downhill Ski in order to establish a V shape. This system was invented during the 1890s by Mathias Zdarsky of Austria.

There are three variations of Stem Turn which formed the foundation of the Arlberg Technique and Ski instruction: Wedge, Wedge Turn, and Stem Christie.


This is the simplest way to slow down or stop. Coming from a straight run, keep the Tips of Skis pointed towards each other and push the tails away from each other, thus, forming a V shape. You can control speed or make a stop by applying pressure with the inside Edges against the Snow. With a light Snowplow, you will slow down. On the other hand, you will be brought to a stop with a stronger Snowplow.

Wedge Turn

Is derived from Wedge and actually the most fundamental Turn. From a straight run, maneuver into a Wedge and when gliding, put more pressure to one Ski. This will cause you to automatically turn in the opposite direction. If you want to turn to the left, shift your weight to the right Ski, and shift your weight to the left Ski if you want to turn right.

Stem Christie

Is a Turn that is completed by skidding on both uphill edges. As the Turn is made, the downhill Ski is positioned parallel to the other Ski. Doing so will make both of your Skis parallel and point in the same direction after making the Turn.

Parallel Turns

ry to quicken the tempo and increase the speed with which you make consequetive linked turns. As you do so you will notice how your stance gets narrower and narrower. As you rebound from turn into turn, you wil see how your Skis almost become parallel and that you are actually almost making Parallel Turns.

Now try to focus on what you are doing with your inside Ski. Try to relax it more and change the angle that the A is. Do it gradually trying to get the inside Ski as parallel as possible to your outside Ski. Keep the inside Ski on the Snow Ski Surface however and do not let it drag or float. Try to have your Skis parallel but do not try to get them as close together as possible. The distance between your Skis should be about the width of your waist when you are a beginner. Only when you turn really fast and are more advanced will your Skis truly stay together. For now, do not try this and keep them at a distance from each other.

In the beginning, you will notcie how there will roughly be two steps in your Turns: your outer Ski starting to turn and your inner Ski coming parallel. Real Parallel turning would be where both things merge in one movement: both Skis turn at the same time. Try keeping rythm while learning Parallel Turns using the motions of the last Turn to start your new one. Sink in and out of each Turn as it will maximize the pressure you are able to build up on your outer leg. As you progress, you will want to try going down steeper slopes. With steeper slopes, you will have to move your Skis more across the fall-line in order to brake of your speed.

Telemark Turn

Involves preceding the Turn with the outside Ski and simultaneously, the inside Ski follows. When you are starting a run, edge the outside Ski with a flat heel and at the same time, raise the heel on the inside Ski to move it to the back of the Telemark position.

Bear in mind that in a Telemark Turn, your Skis must be spread out and your weight should be distributed evenly. There is no known requirement on how far the Skis should be spread out. Just remember that when you increase the distance between your Skis, both of your knees will be bent more and your upper body will be moved closer to the Snow.

Plough Turning

In the previous lesson you learned how to use the plough to make your way safely down the slope. You already developed the feeling for gripping the slope and catching an edge. Making turns with the plough is not that difficult and simply uses the feeling you already developed. The only thing you have to do is make sure that one of your sks is catching less grip than the other.

Practice increasing the pressure on either Ski. Simply press down on one of your feet and you will notice how your Skis start tuning. Shift your weight from one side to the other turning and adjusting your Skis as you shift your weight. Try making S-patterns in your descend. Once you have gotten the feeling a bit try making larger turns by pressing down harder through the ball of your foot. You should notice that when you press down on your left leg your will turn into the right direction and visa versa.

Once you have these basic plough turns under control you can start moving your thighs from side to side. This will cause your knees and feet to move under you causing one of your Skis to tilt more towards it side causing the edge to dig deeper into the Snow. You will need your Ski Edges once you get more speed or steeper slopes. Developing a good feeling of edges is very important: too little edge will cause you to slide sideways independant of the pressure you put on your Skis. Too much edge will prevent your Skis from skipping at all.

The final step in mastering plough turning is turning your feet. By turning your foot you are able to adjust the angle and position of your Skis. In this way you can adjust without relying totally on shifting your weight or body position. It is actually the working of placing pressure, using your edges and turning your feet that make up plough turning. Use all three in harmony.


Often you will want to move accross the fall-line, this is called traversing. Unlike ploughing, which only uses the inside edges of your Skis, traversing will be using both the inner and outer edge. Practice traversing by coming out of a plough turn and simply keeping your Skis parallel while moving across the fall-line. In this way the Ski that is higher than your other Ski will be using its outer edge and the lower Ski will be using its inner edge. When traversing you will find it is easier to keep balance if you keep your Skis wider apart.

Linking Turns

The art of Skiing is to link your turns smoothly and make it seem that you are playfully flying down the slope. Build up experience and confidence in your ploughing turns. Try to link them together. Make sure to keep your body facing the general direction you are going along the fall-line. As you move your pressure from one Ski to another Ski you will notice how you sink down into a turn and rise up after each one ready to sink down again for the next turn. Try to make these movements as smooth as possible.

Edge Control – Side Slipping & Skidding

Up to now your only way to slow down is to use the plough brake. This is difficult to do however when your speed and slope degree increases. Using the edges of your Skis more effectively will make it easier to brake and control your speed. Instead of having your Skis in the A shape in the direction of the fall-line, move both Skis parallel from each other and across the fall-line. Practice this from a standing still position. Stand across the fall-line and let your Skis skid down the fall-line keeping them parallel. Tilt your feet to grab and release your edges. Try slipping straight down the fall-line and diagonally down the fall-line. Edge control is an essential skill that you should practice a lot.

If you know how to make parallel turns then coming to a skidding brake will be easier for you. Simply make the turn but sink deeper into your Skis as they come across the fall-line. Do not put too much pressure on at once, it is better to build up the pressure. Keep your upper body in the direction of the fall-line.

Mixing it Up

When you come to this point then you have obtained the basic techniques of Skiing. As in all sports it is now all about mixing up your techniques and resources, practice, practice, practice. As you gain more control your movements will get smoother, relaxter and your general confidence will grow. Many skiers never go beyond the basic techniques and see no real need for it. If you are able to master the turning and skidding techniques described above you will be able to enjoy most of what Skiing can offer.

These are just the basic Turns. As you progress in Skiing, you will learn other tactics which are very important in Skiing and you can later refine them to further help you when you are hitting the slopes.

Last modified: April 26, 2020