You can tell a seasoned skier by how they make turns when skiing. One of the turns that looks cool is parallel skiing. This is where you make a turn with both skis parallel to each other.
To perform parallel skiing, you need to have a bit of experience. Enough experience to consider yourself an intermediate skier or advanced skier. Make sure you know what to wear skiing.
For beginner skiers, you will start by learning the snowplow skiing technique which is where the skis have a wedge-like shape. And before you can get to parallel skiing, there is an intermediate between the two known as plow parallel. Once you have mastered these, you are ready to learn how to parallel ski.
Understanding the terminology
Before you can effectively learn how to parallel ski, it is important to learn the terminology. When dealing with your instructor, though they will teach you the terms, it will make it that much easier to understand the lessons.
The working ski
This refers to the ski that is always in charge. Instructors may refer to it as the outside ski or the downhill ski. It all depends on the direction of the turn.
The resting ski
This is the opposite ski to the working ski. It is the assistant ski and instructors will usually refer to it as the inside ski or the uphill ski. Again, it depends on where you are turning.
Note that you can practice parallel skiing with your cross country skis as well.
The big toe edges
Note that you will always focus and apply pressure on the working ski on the big toe edge of this ski.
The little toe edges
The resting ski, on the other hand, will use the little toe edge.
When turning you will make the ski swap where the old working ski now becomes the new resting ski.
Mastering the snowplow turn
This is the first step to learning how to parallel ski. Your instructor will teach you to maintain a good stance and to steer the skis with the snowplow technique. Also, it is advisable to ski for much longer distances as you perfect this skill and to vary the turn shapes of your skis with the snowplow.
Ensure that you are wearing the best ski pants. These will help keep your lower body safe from the cold.
Learning the snow parallel ski
Now after you have perfected the snowplow technique, you will move on to the snow parallel. This is where you will begin your turn with a wedge shape and then gradually make this parallel as the turn comes to a complete.
Over time you will practice reducing the snowplow shape and start your turn with the parallel switch. Your confidence will develop and you will start to ski and turn a lot faster. As you build up your confidence even further, you will not rely on the wedge anymore.
Learning the parallel turn
If you want to progress to parallel skiing, then the first and most important thing is to develop a good balance on each of the skis. You will learn to apply pressure on the ski you are turning with and then gradually release and apply pressure to the other ski.
With practice, you will be able to do this seamlessly. It is called pedaling as it is similar to pedaling a bicycle.
The technique will come in handy when learning how to ski steeps.
When performing the parallel ski, you will mainly apply pressure during turning on the outside of the ski. If you have ever wondered why you often see ski instructors asking their students to balance on one leg or ski, this is why.
Once you get it right, you will learn how to do it with fluidity such that the pressure is released from one leg to another with ease.
Balance is crucial as you will need to bend to change direction. You will begin by applying pressure in the direction you are turning while simultaneously releasing pressure from the other leg. Next, as you make the turn you are going to ease on your leaning while also releasing pressure on the ski and simultaneously adding more to the other ski.
Skiing down the wedge
When learning how to parallel ski, your focus should be to shrink down the wedge as much as possible. As you are tuning, make your wedge smaller and smaller until you perfect the parallel tun.
This may at first scare you since the skis will pick up speed. More practice will ease you into building more confidence.
Ensure that you have the best ski goggles to protect your eyes from debris, snow, and glare.
The fall line
The fall line is the source of all fear when doing parallel skiing. This is because the skis will pick up speed as soon as they are facing downhill. To prevent heading downhill fast, keep your mind focused on the turn shape.
Instead of making sharp “Z” turns, focus on making rounded “S” shape tuns. Once you are confident with making the turns you can even play with the speed. By shortening how wide you make an S you can ski down faster. Adding more pressure when turning will slow you down.
Using the edges
The edges can be used to increase the grip during the turn which is one benefit of leaning into the turn. You apply pressure on the outside edge of the ski by your inside leg and the inside edge of the ski by your outside leg.
This feels natural to the legs compared to turning while using the flat part of the ski. As you progress into the parallel ski you will know how to use the edges of the ski for grip. The best ski poles will offer great support when parallel skiing.
The last instructions that you are likely going to get before your instructive asks you to practice are to achieve fluid motion. It is all about the perfect timing of the bending, the stretching of the legs, the edge grips, and the application of pressure on these grips.
Staying focused on the boots
When you think about all the movements to successfully execute a parallel turn you can easily get confused. To make the whole process much easier to learn and perfect, keep your focus on the part of your leg that is inside the boot which includes the skin, the ankles the little toes, and the big toes.
After all, you will be starring your skis using your boots. You should become adept at controlling your movement by flexing your ankles. Note that you should avoid bending the knees as this causes your bum to stick out. This, in turn, causes you to apply their weight on the heels. Weight should be applied to the balls of the feet.
By flexing your ankles, your knees are much more relaxed and you can maintain a slight bend. Your bum will therefore not move as much. Always ensure that your focus is on your boots. You will learn how to parallel ski much quicker.
Ensure that you are wearing the best ski helmet for safety.
The shin should be comfortable inside the boot
The shin should work with your boot if you are to perform the parallel ski most efficiently. When it comes to the working ski, the bone of the shin should be touching your boot tongue. Even more accurate is that the side of the shin should be applying pressure into the boot. Of course, how much pressure will depend on the type of turn with much sharper turns requiring more pressure.
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There is a lot to think about when learning to parallel ski. However, with a few tips and tricks, you will be executing the move sooner rather than later.
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- Learning the parallel ski turn, mechanicsofsport.com