How To Turn On Skis


Skiing wouldn’t be what it is without the element of gravity. This is what helps you pick up speed giving you thrills as you head down those snowy slopes. For thrill-seekers, learning how to ski steeps is crucial.

One of the most important skills to learn as a skier is to turn on skis. This will help you avoid obstacles in your way as well as slow down your speed.

When learning how to turn on skis, you will begin with practicing on relatively flat ground, then move to a gently sloping area, and then as your skillset and confidence improve, you will head over to the steeper slopes.

This is how to turn on skis.

Start with the proper equipment

This is the first thing that you will need to do. The gear should fit you perfectly. Poor-fitting gear will get in the way of you turning the right way. It is advisable that instead of borrowing gear, that you rent out gear that fits you just right. Take a look at the basic ski boot and fit guide.

Learning is easier with the right fitting gear

Let’s start with the ski boots. These are what you will be using to steer yourself. If they are too loose then you will not be able to steer yourself the best way. If they are too big, then you will not have as much control over your skis. Too small and they will likely hurt your feet.

The all-mountain skis should be the right length for you. This will be based on your height, your ability, and well your weight.  Skis that are too long will make turning difficult. On the other hand, if they are too short then the arc will be less effective.

Also, consider the ski poles. When kids are learning to turn on skis, they will often not need poles. Poles, however, will help adults push across flat snow.

Get an instructor

You must learn to turn from a professional. This will ensure that you learn fast with minimal frustrations.

The best learning packages are those that include group learning. These will be offered all winter. Many people will learn how to turn on skis within a few hours while others will take a bit longer. It all depends on the individual.

However, if you are consistent, then chances are that you will learn quickly.

The instructors know all the right moves and will point out when you are making a mistake that you cannot see. Learning proper form is crucial if you are going to learn how to turn effectively and this is why it is important to find a qualified instructor.

Check out how to ski powder.

What to do when you are in the snow

When you are on the hill with the instructor, the first thing to learn is the proper stance. This will make turning on the ski much easier and more effective.

You will begin by maintaining a proper stance from the snow level up. To get into the right skier stance, you want to focus on bending three main areas of your body. These are the ankles, the knees as wells as the hips,

If these three body parts were straight, then you would fail to make the proper tun and you would fall.

The next step is to make sure that your weight is evenly distributed from the balls of your feet and to the heels. You can experiment with the best and most comfortable leaning position by moving your body forward or backward.

By leaning forward you will exert your weight on the balls of your feet. This will be too far forward. By leaning back, you will feel your weight on your heels. This will be too far back.

Now that you know the front and back leaning limits try and find the center where your weight is distributed evenly in the middle of the feet.

The perfect stance

Also, you want to focus on what is happening in your upper body. Your shoulders need to be relaxed. Your elbows, on the other hand, should be held from your body just a few inches then bend them to a position where you feel comfortable.

Ensure that your hands are forward. Then take your ski poles and stick them into the snow next to the boot hoes. Take a look at the cross-country skiing glossary for some useful insights on cross country skiing.

It is easy to forget the head in all this. However, you will also need to ensure that it is in the right position. You should not tilt the head such that it looks so far down. This makes you lean forward too much into the balls of your feet which will put you out of alignment.

Instead, you should focus on holding up your head in the direction that you are moving. Your eyes should be looking immediately ahead of you at a distance of around 10 feet. This will help keep your body in the best position.

It is important to learn how to ski steeps if you plan on doing this after your skiing lessons.

Often you will come across food lingo when learning to turn on skis from your instructor. Two of the most common are the pizza and French fries position. You will begin with the feet apart in shoulder width position and on flat ground.

Take one ski and slide it between two positions. When the skis are parallel like two fries on a plate then this is the French fry position.

The French fries position allows the skier to pick up speed. Creating a pizza shape with your skis will slow you down.

Making a gliding wedge


Note that everyone has a dominant side and a weaker side. Making a turn with the dominant side will feel more natural and comfortable compared to returning with the slow side.

This is something that you may be aware of from your experience hopping on one foot. This is the same as skiing.

Note that the best ski pants ensure adequate insulation and protection from the cold snow leaving you warm to make the most of your skiing experience.

When transitioning the wedge or pizza shape into the skiing turns, you will start by pushing outwards evenly with both heels. Then apply pressure on one foot more than the other to turn your body.

The skis are going to turn right if you apply more pressure on the left foot. They will also turn on the left side if you applied more pressure on the right foot.

An easier way to make the turn is to focus your mind on the working foot. When the wedge faces the fall line, the working foot will push much harder on the skis. The other foot will push less as there is less weight on it.

Now, as the resting foots facing the fall line, slide it forward slightly. Keep applying pressure on the working foot until you turn.

The arc on the edges of the ski will naturally cause skiing turns by applying pressure on one foot and releasing on the other.

Using hands, arms, and poles

It is easy to lose focus on your hands, arms, and ski poles since you are more concentrated on making the skis turn. If it is possible to view your hands through the periphery vision, then that is the best position for them.

When the hands are brought forward, then the body will remain centered which makes turning easy. When the hands are pulled back, they push the body out of alignment which makes turning harder and could cause you to fall.

The ski poles, on the other hand, will support you and will act as the extensions of your arms. A useful skill is learning how to properly kick turn on skis.

Learn to go parallel

After you have mastered the first part now you will advance to learn how to parallel ski. This is the French fry position that we looked at earlier. You will focus on narrowing down the size of the wedge until you can completely turn with the skis parallel.

It is the same to turn parallel as it is to turn on the wedge only that the movement is more subtle. With practice, it gets easier.

The best cross-country skis will help you reach the far places when going cross-country in the snow.

Globo Surf Overview

Learning to turn on skis means thinking about many different factors at the same time. While it might seem difficult, it is quite simple and once the mind gets used to the movements, you will be able to tune easily with fluidity. All it takes is a little practice.

More Snow Reviews:


  1. Learning to go parallel,
Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!