One of the most important skills to learn as a skier is how to slow down skiing and how to turn on skis. When you are on steep slopes that are littered with obstacles, slowing down can keep you safe from injuries.
By slowing down you can also avoid skiing into other people and injuring both them and you.
You slow down skiing by making a turn as opposed to heading straight downhill. You can make a pizza turn, a wedge-shaped turn, or a parallel turn. You can even use the parallel turn to come to a complete stop called a hockey stop.
Let’s find out more about how to slow down skiing.
Learning the pizza turn
The parallel turn is among the most effective ways to slow down and come to a stop. However, learning how to parallel ski and turn is for experienced skier and as a beginner, you will need to first start by learning the pizza turn.
The pizza turn is also known as the snowplow technique. Here you will push out the rear parts of the skis and dig the inside edges into the snow. This will create a pizza shape thus its name, and result in more friction between the skis and the snow causing you to slow down.
If you are skiing on a hill that is not too steep, then you will eventually come to a complete stop. When you want to build up skiing speed again you will bring the skis back to the parallel position pointing downhill.
That said, note that the snowplow will not help you control your direction. For that, you will need to learn the wedge turn. The pizza turn is to be performed on less steep slopes as going on steep slopes can be more challenging and dangerous without the right skills.
The wedge turn
The wedge turn is the next progression from the pizza turn. You will make the same shape where you move the rear part of your skis outside. This creates a larger surface area for friction with the snow slowing you down.
As we saw earlier, however, the pizza turn doesn’t make you change direction. This is where the wedge turn comes in. By applying more pressure on the inside edge of one ski relative to another, you can change direction.
If you want to move to the right, apply more weight on the inside of the left ski. On the other hand, if you want to move to the left, apply more pressure on the inside edge of the right ski.
With this technique, you can move diagonally down the slope. This is a good way on how to slow down skiing and will help you progress too much steeper slopes as you make almost zigzag moves.
Sometimes you may need to slow down further and even come to a complete stop. It’s a good idea to learn how to stop on skis. Turning 90 degrees or even facing the skis uphill will get the job done and completely halt your momentum.
When you can perform the wedge turn effectively, it is now time to progress to the parallel turn.
The parallel turn
You may want to learn how to set up a GoPro ski mount for this one. The main advantage of the parallel turn is that it can slow you down when moving at high skiing speed and even bring you to a complete stop. It is ideal when skiing on steep slopes.
Every new skier aims at learning the parallel turn. As its name suggests you will be rotating your skis at a 90-degree angle while they are parallel to each other.
Once you are conversant with the turn, you can link the turns and create a rhythm as you move down the steep slopes. When you can do the link turns with ease, you can confidently call yourself a parallel skier.
Make sure that you are completely comfortable doing the wedge turn before you start learning how to do the parallel turn. You will need to lean forward slightly and ensure that your torso is rotated downhill just slightly.
Next, make sure that your weight is focused on the inside edge and then lean the heaps over into the turn and then counterbalance yourself by leaning with the upper torso.
You must remain patient into the turn.
When you have practiced a few times and now you can easily parallel ski, then you will progress to learning how to do the hockey stop.
Always ensure that you are wearing the best ski helmet. Beginners are prone to falls and you will need it to keep your head protected.
This method is the quickest way to slow down when moving downhill at fast skiing speeds. You will make the same turn as the parallel turn only this time you will dig the edges of the skis into the snow resulting in as much friction as you can create and bringing you to a complete stop.
What to avoid when slowing down
There is a right and wrong way on how to slow down skiing. Do it the wrong way and you can easily cause injuries both to you and other people using the same slopes.
The first thing to ensure is that you don’t reach out and grab someone. When you are first learning to ski, this is often the first reaction that you will get. However, it can end up causing harm to both you and the person you are holding onto.
Second never stick the ski pole down into the snow ahead of you. It can easily pingback and hurt you. It can even act as a spear and cause some serious damage to you.
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There are multiple ways of slowing down. Make sure that you get an instructor to teach you proper form and movement.
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- How to slow down when skiing, scoutingmagazine.org