There are two different methods for learning how to ski. The wedge method, better known as pizza and French fries, involves showing beginners that they can slow down and turn by turning their skis inward in front of them. This wedge position is also known as the pizza slice for the shape the skis make. When using this technique to turn, it’s known as a wedge turn or snow-plough turn. This method is best known as an easy, unintimidating introduction to skiing. However, many people also believe that it creates bad habits that can complicate your learning curve over the long run.
Direct-to-Parallel Ski Instruction
Once you get a basic sense of balance, you’ll learn that skiers don’t actually use the wedge position to slow down and make turns very often if ever. Instead, you can use the edge of your skis to turn and stop. The alternative method for learning to ski involves any number of practice techniques and variations that show beginners how to use parallel skiing from the get-go. As a matter of fact, the Association of PMTS Direct Parallel Instructors is dedicated to improving ski lessons and evolving tutorials that emphasize the direct-to-parallel method.
Individual Ski Practice Techniques
- Stem christie: Popularized in Norway, this technique involves forming a half wedge by rotating one ski outward at the tail, initiating a change in direction, and then bringing the other ski parallel to the stemmed ski and thus finishing the turn. The advent of modern side-cut skis has made this technique somewhat antiquated though it’s still taught as part of the wedge ski technique.
- Step Turn: You can also learn how to turn by rotating the tail of one ski inward and making small progressive steps. The Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) have a great video that will show you the basics.
- U.S. Ski and Snowboard is a popular sports organization that provides a selection of great programs and tutorials for specific ski techniques and skill development. This includes side slip with edge set, pivot slips, sideslip to straight run to sideslip, hop turns, hockey stop, pole jumpers, pole jumpers in tuck, wave track, linked turns in wave track, camel jump in wave track, and other steps and jumps.