Visit The Lakes
Your First Turn

Chapter 2 – Your first turn

Now we have mastered controlled stopping lets take it a little further, our first turn. This is probably the hardest thing you will learn from this book, but that’s a good thing as it means it’s all down hill from this point (no pun intended).

In order to make this slightly easier we will start with the half turn and stop. Or should I say the quarter turn and stop. It is very important that you have mastered the hockey stop, if you haven’t yet you can use this next drill to help you feel the edge control. What we want to achieve is a relaxing of the edges to start a slide, then move your hands forward a little whilst unwinding your upper body towards the direction we want to go. Put in a different way we are starting in our stop position with the skis across the hill and our edges dug in and our upper body rotated and facing down the hill.


Starting position – skis across the slope

Then a subtle relaxing of the edges and a little unwinding of the upper body with a little pressure on the fronts of you boots caused by you hands being slightly further forward. This will cause the front of the skis to break away and start to turn down the hill a little. Once your turn has started hold this body position and slide at 20-30 degrees across the slope for a few seconds


Relax your edges and start to slide

Then slowly ease back  from your slightly forward position to a central position, slowly rotating your skis back to level and adding in your edges again. At the same time rotate your upper body to face back down the hill to achieve a perfect hockey stop, and stop.


Face back down the hill to stop

Work on this for about an hour slowly increasing the amount you let your skis turn before you stop. You can really start slowly and safely, let you ski tips point progressively further down the hill working at a pace you feel comfortable at. If you start to loose it just dig your edges in and you will stop. If you really loose control (which you shouldn't) remember to just curl up into a ball and sit down on you bum. It ain't pretty but it works!

The plan is to build up your technique by progressively letting you skis point down the hill by say 20 then 30, 40,50, 60 and so on each time finishing with a stop until you finally are able to hit the magic 90 ( straight down the hill) and then stop again.

Try to feel as if you are lifting your heals a little when you start your stop and then rotate your ankles quickly into your stop. This will help you come around more quickly and be able to deal with steeper terrain.

Once you are confident at calling the hockey stop on your demand and you can let your ski tips slide all the way into the vertical (the fall line). You've cracked it!

This is a huge step forward as most intermediate skiers can’t do this even after a few years, this is due to an unnatural fear of having the skis pointing down the hill. As soon as their skis are pointing down the hill warning bells sound and guess what, out comes the snow plough. If only they could stop like we can, on demand with the hockey stop. Congratulations you have know learned the hardest part about skiing.

Next we just need to put it all together and stop both ways. This is  a relatively easy step as it is just another hockey stop but in the other direction.

So far we were letting our tips slide down the hill until they were pointing straight down the hill and then calling on our stop but in the same direction as we started. Now in order to complete our turn and build some rhythm we need to stop with our skis facing the other way.


1) Start with a stop - edges 'On' facing down hill


2) Skis pointing straight down the hill


3) Finish with a stop but the other way

We call this linked stopping and is the most powerful method of skiing available. Want to ski a steep black run, then this is your method. It's so powerful that once you are a little more confident it's too powerful for most situations. This liked stopping is in fact to key to extreme skiing! Watch any ski movie and if it's crazily steep this is what they will be doing. Linked stopping

The great thing about this type of turn is that it's a real defensive way of skiing. Linked stopping an advanced turn that can help you out of all sorts of difficult situations, particularly, ice, steeps, narrow, or any combination. All of these conditions are dangerous with the snow plough as you have little control and it wont stop you!

To recap what we have learned, how to stop with our skis across the hill and our upper body relaxed and facing down the hill, how to ease our weight forwards by relaxing our upper body and moving our hands a little forwards. During all of these exercises our skis have remained parallel and our body in a relaxed neutral position with our weight generally in the centre of the ski. Compare this to traditional plough technique where our skis point in a triangle wedge shape, weight way too far forwards with shins pushing hard against the front of the boots, and leaning side to side to turn but in the opposite direction?


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