How To Parallel Ski

Learn how to parallel ski and leave your bunny slope days behind. Old school teachers started everyone out making wedge turns, with knees knocked together and the skis wedged out in a V, but these days many people start out parallel skiing. Parallel skiing will give you the basic technique to tackle any ski slope.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. This is the basic stance you'll maintain most of the time while parallel skiing. The skis are side by side-parallel. Bend your knees slightly, face forward and balance your weight evenly over both skis.
  2. Aim your skis downhill slightly and allow gravity to start your slide downhill. Keep your upper body facing downhill. This can seem counter-intuitive at first. You may want to turn your upper body in the direction you want your skis to go. But this actually gives you less control over the skis as you parallel ski.
  3. To initiate a turn, apply pressure to the big toe side of the foot opposite the direction you want to turn. If you want to go left, pressure your right foot, just as if you were stepping on the gas pedal. Keep your skis parallel, though as you start the turn, the outside ski may glide a little ahead of the inside ski.
  4. To complete the turn, apply pressure to the big toe side of the other foot. Maintain this even rhythm, shifting your weight slightly each time, to carve perfect turns. Don't completely transfer your weight from one ski to the other, as this could throw you off balance. Shift slightly.
  5. Keep your weight centered over the skis. Avoid the temptation to lean too far back. One way to keep from leaning back is to make sure the front of your shins are leaning into the front of your ski boots.
  6. Control your speed as you parallel ski by making wider curves and more frequent turns. Think of yourself as floating on your skis. Try to avoid edging too hard, as this can actually send you into a skid.
  7. To stop, apply more pressure to the inside ski and allow both skis to skid to a halt.

Once you learn to parallel ski, you can take this basic technique to any slope and almost any conditions.

References: On the Snow: How to Parallel Ski

Mechanics of Skiing: Parallel Turns

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