You and your friends have been planning a ski trip for months, but decided to wait and book a last minute ski holiday to get the best possible bargain. You’ve examined the ski sites, looked for budget flights and the companies offering chalet accommodation for a large group. Now the holiday’s booked and it’s time to brush up on your techniques. |
That’s the purpose of this post – to remind you of some of the basic ski turns so that, when you finally hit the slopes, you’ll be able to make the most of every second on the snow. Obviously, nothing is better than actual practice but, since we can’t provide you with online snow, this is the next best thing so that you’re prepared for your last minute ski holiday.
In this technique, the front of the skis form a V shape. To move in a straight line, keep your body balanced in the centre of the skis and change your centre of balance to initiate a turn.
To turn right, you place your weight over the left ski and to turn left, you place your weight over the right ski. This can sometimes confuse the beginning skier or somebody who hasn’t skied for a long time.
TIP: If you’re a beginner of relatively inexperienced, practice a few turns on a gentle slope with a large flat area or gentle incline at the end – this will make for a safe landing if something goes wrong.
The skis remain parallel when crossing the slope but move to the snowplough position during the downward phase (fall line).
Making the turn is relatively simple (but still needs practice). Cut across the slope with the skis parallel. Bring your body weight forward to turn into the fall line and place the skies in a “snowplough” to make the turn right or left. Remember – lean left to turn right and lean right to turn left! Once you’ve completed the turn and are traversing the slope, bring the skis into a parallel position.
TIP: Stem turns let you go faster and down steeper slopes. But you need to get used to that extra speed so practice until you’ve got your technique perfect.
This turn technique is similar to the previously described stem turn, which is a step up from the snowplough turn used mainly by beginners. As the name suggests, in this turn the skies stay parallel to each other the entire time. Because the skis remain parallel, there is less snow resistance and so some really fast skiing can be achieved. You also need to ski faster to make a parallel turn.
TIP: keep your skis a hip-width apart throughout the turn. This ensures that the skis are at the same angle to the snow (important!) and is more comfortable for you.
To initiate the turn bring your weight forwards so that it’s distributed evenly over both skies. You should be skiing in a straight line at this point and your speed could be quite high. Now, in one smooth motion, to turn right, transfer your weight to the left ski and to turn left, to the right ski.
Short turns are parallel turns performed one after the other in quick succession. Because of the speeds involved, the technique is different and the pole plant technique where the pole is placed on the inside of a turn is used.
In a short turn, the upper body is twisted rapidly to determine the turn direction. As we come out of the turn and begin to traverse the slope, our body acts as a spring that absorbs and releases energy. As it rises there is less pressure on the skies so speed is maintained or increased. When our body weight comes down, pressure on the skis increases and we initiate the turn into the fall line.
TIP: Short turns make for exiting skiing, but it’s important that your speed remains constant all the time. Speeding up means that you could lose control, slow down and you may not have enough momentum to complete the turn. Whether you’re going on a last minute ski holiday or one planned moths in advance – we hope these reminders help you make the most of your trip.
Belinda Smythson works for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service which has been helping avid skiers craft their perfect winter holiday for over a quarter of a century. With a team that has years of experience on the slopes, Ski Amis is the go-to company for winter sport fans looking for a great last minute ski holiday in the Three Valleys, Paradiski, Espace Killy or Chamonix Valley.
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