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  • Ian Mckellar

How to Master your parallel skiing

If you want to crack your parallel turns, there are four main insights to understand in order to have the best chance. This blog post, for beginner and lower level intermediate skiers, explains the steps you can expect on your path to parallel turns as well as the four main technique insights which will help you achieve your goal.

To be fair, parallel skiing does take some controlled coordination, and when done correctly, it is an impressive movement – a sort of dance that we humans have managed to invent on order to be lucky enough to slide around on snow in the mountains.

· Parallel skiing will give you control of your speed and line choice in an efficient manner.

· It will allow you to ski harder blues and red runs with control.

· And it will free you of the aches and discomfort of over-using the snow plough.

Teaching people of all ages, sizes and backgrounds how to parallel ski is the bread an butter for us ski instructors. Whilst of course we love teaching more advanced and faster stuff, helping clients crack their parallel skiing can often be the most rewarding phase of the process.

Achieving the parallel turn is like finding the clutch biting point when learning to drive. Learners have just acquired a new super power. The penny drops and the freedom begins. After thousands or hours spent teaching people to parallel ski, we have summarised some of the be the most effective concepts for learners to grasp.

So here are the 4 steps to parallel turns and 4 important things to bear in mind.

Many ski instructors use a step by step framework to teach people how to parallel ski. This is not the only way to teach, but in the majority of scenarios, it is the most appropriate.

1) First we teach people how to snow plough and control their speed.

2) Then we introduce turning in snow plough, by steering the skis and balancing on the outside ski.

3) 'Plough parallel' turns use a snowplough when turning down hill then bring the ski parallel later on in the turn

4) Parallel turns are achieved when the student learns to steer the awkward inside ski, avoiding it falling into snowplough and steering it simultaneously with the outer ski


- Balance over the outer ski. This will free up the inner ski so you can also rotate it more easily

- Steer the skis together. Your are pointing your skis like arrows around the arc by rotating your lower legs. You may find that you turn the outer ski first and the inside ski catches up after, but try to steer both skis in unison.

- Edge the skis simultaneously. When snowploughing, the skis are both tipped onto the inside edge. But when parallel skiing, the lower ski is on the big toe edge and the inside ski is tipped onto the little toe edge.

- Don’t lean back! Leaning back puts your weight over the tails and makes it harder to steer the skis together. You’ll often find the tail of the inside ski can get stuck, digging into the slope and preventing you from bringing it into parallel.

Make sense? Not 100%? Well here's a tutorial video explaining the above concepts so you can see demonstrations or what we've been talking about. We hope it helps!

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