How To Turn On Skis: Tips For Beginners

How To Turn While Skiing: Tips For Beginners

Anyone getting into the amazing sport that is skiing might be wondering about how to do things slightly more complicated than just going downhill. If that’s you, perhaps you’re thinking about how to redirect yourself without accidentally going flying. We’re going to look at how to turn while skiing: tips for beginners.

Turning is a bit of a tricky motion and may require some practice. There are two ways to make your skis change direction. You will need to both twist your body, making the skis skid, and tip your weight to the edge of the ski. The first method will reduce your speed quickly, while the second is much slower.

How To Turn On Skis

How Do You Start A Turn In Skiing?

We’re going to start by understanding a snowplow turn, as this is a basic starting point.Many people think this is the easiest because it keeps you stable.

You start simply by putting more weight on one foot than the other foot. The foot you put weight on will be facing in the direction you want to go in. Your left ski points to the right, and your right ski points to the left. When you want to move to the right, put more weight on your left ski.

It will take control, and because it points to the right, it will guide you in that direction. Essentially, you will lean onto the opposite foot of the way you want to go. It can take some practice, but you can do it.

How Do You Change The Direction Of Skiing?

Turning is the only way to change direction when you are skiing. There are many kinds of turns that you can learn how to execute. If you want to change direction quickly, you can lean more heavily on the opposite foot. This will increase its power over your direction.

Changing direction is important for slowing down. This is particularly true on steep slopes. You need to be able to move from side to side to stop gravity from pulling you down the slope. Gently turning your skis will help gradually shift you so that you are facing across the slope instead of down it.

Good advice is to look in the direction that you want to end up traveling in. This will usually help you to re-angle your feet. As long as you can keep your balance, once your feet are at the right angle, you will end up wherever you want to go!

How To Parallel Turn Ski?

Next on our list of how to turn while skiing: tips for beginners is how to execute a parallel turn. The snowplow is useful, but this is the next level. You should practice as soon as you have got the hang of the snowplow. It tends to be more graceful and may feel better.

Ideally, a parallel turn should involve keeping your skis the same width apart as your hips. They should not end up closer to each other or further away throughout the whole movement – hence the name.

This position will ensure that the skis end up at the same angle as you lean to the side. This will help you to move comfortably. You will also be well-balanced because your body will be in a natural position. You will not have one leg bent more than the other, etc.

Having the skis too far apart is common during the learning phase. This offers more balance but a more difficult movement. It often decreases the speed at which you can arc around.

Having the skis too close together can make it harder to balance. Because your knees will be closer together, you will have less control and less movement. It will be hard to get your skis onto their edge, which will decrease your ability to re-angle your movement.

Ski Short Turn Techniques

Short turns are a very useful way to stay in control of your speed and very helpful if you can master them. You should look to get the hang of these if you want to try out steep slopes, or you will struggle with speed. They will give you much more control over where and how you move.

There are some techniques that will make them more effective, which include:

  • Keep the poles moving. You should have a pole in the snow at every moment as this will give you good rhythm and movement.
  • Start on shallow slopes so that you don’t challenge yourself too quickly. You don’t want to pick up too much speed until you have mastered the technique.
  • Use your legs to shape the movement, rather than your hips or your shoulders. Your upper body does not need to move when you have mastered this movement.
  • Focus on rhythm. Make your transitions of weight from ski to ski smooth.
  • Do not lean forward or backward on the skis. You need to keep your balance in the center.
  • Stay facing downhill. If you do not twist your head, but only your lower body, you will stay on course.

Skiing Turns Types

There are quite a few turns you can master on the slopes. These include the snowplow and parallel, as already mentioned. Other turns are:

  • Stem, which combines the snowplow and the parallel.
  • Carved, which are tricky and cut into the snow.
  • Short, which are good for staying in control on a steep slope.
  • Jump, which are appropriate in very tight areas. These break contact between skis and snow. You will rarely use them, but they can be fun to learn.
  • Pivot, which rotate the ski 180 degrees across the slope.

As you gain confidence in skiing, you will be able to practice and combine turns for very creative movements. Remember that they are all a blend of the two movements mentioned at the start: the twist of the body and the tipping of your weight.

How To Slow Down Skiing?

Turning is the best way to slow down when skiing. The snowplow technique (not the turn) will help you slow you down on shallow slopes, but is not enough on steep slopes. You need to alter the angle of your skis on the slope to reduce gravity’s effect on your movement.

Turning regularly as you ski will prevent you from picking up too much speed and losing control, so it is really crucial to master the basics before you test more challenging slopes.

How Can I Improve My Ski Turns?

You can improve your ski turns primarily through practice. It is best to practice on easy slopes, rather than on challenging slopes. Master your techniques before you try them out on a difficult course.

Good balance and a strong core will help make your turns better. When you have just executed one turn, make any corrections to your stance and position before moving into the next one. This will make it easier to “feel” the correct version and get your body used to the positions.


Hopefully, how to turn while skiing: tips for beginners has helped you gain an understanding of some of the basic moves you can make. On the slopes, being able to redirect your movement and slow down or maintain your momentum can be crucial.

Work on the easy turns such as the snowplow and perhaps the parallel first, and move onto more difficult ones later.

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