- Parallel skiing involves three steps: the initiation, the edge change and the finish
- The initiation means turning the skis so they are travelling straight.
- The edge change means swapping the edges which are pushed into the snow.
- To finish, turn through and out of the fall line to complete the turn and control your speed
We’ve put together a helpful guide for beginner skiers looking to become more advanced. Here, you’ll learn not only how to parallel ski, but also key skills like speed control and balance on the skis. Although it may take time to perfect, knowing how to parallel ski will leave you with a more efficient and enjoyable skiing technique overall.
Here at chill factore, we recommend that our skiers only start learning parallel skiing once they are confident enough to ski at a medium pace. Also known as carving, parallel skiing is an intermediate technique that involves keeping your skis parallel to each other at all times. Basic skiing techniques like snow plows are rarely used on the slopes once our skiers can confidently parallel turn. as such, this is the point where the real skiing begins.
Reading: How to parallel ski
the basics of learning to parallel ski
Parallel skiing consists of three steps: the initiation, the change of edge, and the finish, which is achieved by turning through and off the fall line. the initiation consists of turning the skis so that they travel straight. this decreases the pressure on the edges, so they can be changed. edge swapping is the actual swapping of which edges are pushed into the snow. finally, the finish involves spinning through and off the fall line, which simultaneously completes the turn and controls your speed.
Before you’re ready to learn parallel skiing, it’s important that you master the snowplow technique. This is because parallel skiing is the natural evolution of the snow plow. as such, you can use your snowplow knowledge to inform progression in parallel turns. if you have a plow turn and your body position works for you, the ski will come parallel. once you’ve turned, commit to downhill skiing and you’ll feel the ski come drifting.
once you’ve reached parallel, commit and maintain your balance in downhill skiing. If your turn doesn’t feel ready to go in, don’t force it. instead, wait until you feel ready. if you try to twist your body position and force the turn, it will go wrong and the uphill ski will stick to the snow. instead, keep your balance and look for your next turn. this will help open up the knee and allow the ski to glide nice and smooth. feel the weight come off your ski and then open your knee. A good parallel turn shouldn’t be something you have to force, it should come naturally. at this point you will probably start the turn with a snowplow to get around the corner and once your body position feels correct you will notice the skis slide quite easily. to keep your skis parallel throughout the turn from start to finish, you’ll need to make this happen first.
In order for the ski to turn parallel to the entire corner, you must be able to engage with the outer ski first. As you get more confident and speed up, open your knee and let the skis roll to get there. A helpful tip for learning to parallel ski is to try to stand on the top ski, roll it up and let the skis take the first part of the turn by themselves. this motion will help create a nice, natural, parallel finish. As a combo move, let the weight drop off the downhill ski and onto the top ski as you roll to the new edge. you should be able to feel the weight off the alpine ski as you stand on the top ski to help inform your movement.
if you find this difficult, it may be because you are not changing the border while changing the applied weight. while standing on the top ski, roll the ski flat and gently inward. this will help the skis start to get much softer. As soon as you start to transfer weight, roll the ski and it will start turning easily. remember, this is a combination of standing on the ski uphill and rolling the ski over the new edge. by doing this you will notice that the plow has disappeared and your skis will remain parallel throughout the turn.
control speed with skis when learning to parallel ski
When learning to parallel ski, it can be difficult to control speed without correctly completing turns. by pointing your skis downhill at the beginning of turns, you will inevitably pick up speed. what can be changed is to turn gradually before starting, so that you feel happy with your speed before starting the next one. When you first learn to parallel ski, you may feel like you’ve made a bad turn, but that’s usually because you haven’t controlled your speed enough.
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To avoid this, make sure you have completed your turn before starting your next one so you feel safe and in control of your movement. your parallel turns should have a nice rounded shape with no sudden movements, with nice smooth blending between turns. stand on the top ski as you turn the edge and let the skis round naturally. use s-curved turns to control speed. remember, the key to speed control in parallel skiing is not to force or rush turns, they should be linked as smoothly as possible.
control your balance on your skis when learning to parallel ski
A noticeable effect of parallel skiing is how much your balance changes with speed. with the skis parallel and hip-width apart, you have less balance at lower speeds because you keep your weight within a smaller area. To control your balance on the skis when learning to parallel ski, use the reactions of the skis to help you. if you find that you are going too slowly, it is difficult to control your balance. however, as you apply more speed, any small movement can have a greater effect and make it easier to control your balance when parallel skiing.
learn to ski like a pro with chill factore
Although reading articles certainly helps, the best way to learn parallel skiing is to get out on the slopes and practice. Fortunately, chill factore has the UK’s largest indoor snow rink, which means you don’t have to fly to the alps. instead, why not book a ski lesson and perfect your parallel skiing technique in a fun and relaxed environment? our friendly instructors are eager to help you improve your skills and help you master parallel turns. book one of our top piste lessons and learn to ski like a pro with chill factore!
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