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What are Snowplough Turns?

1 November 2018
Instructor teaching junior to ski in an indoor slope near London

Snowplough skiing is the first technique skiers learn for controlling speed, stopping and changing direction. The snowplough stance involves skiing with the feet and skis in a V-shaped, displaced wedge. Commonly practiced by beginner skiers, the snowplough is an important part of early skiing progression.

How to master a snowplough stance

Step 1: Start in a snowplough position with your body facing directly down the slope (fall line). 

To move into this position, you’ll normally need to move your skis from their parallel stance where the skis are crossing the slope  and your body is facing across the slope, to a position where your skis and body are facing down the slope. 

Start by taking a large step outwards with the uphill leg, and in doing so widen the gap between the back of your skis, while bringing the front ski tips closer together. Then follow the uphill ski with the downhill ski, by moving half as much. Repeat until your body is facing down the slope (fall line). Try to keep your body centred over the skis and maintain enough resistance in the snowplough wedge shape to avoid allowing the skis to slip down the slope.

Step 2: Begin sliding down the slope by gradually reducing the distance between the back tips of the skis, and in doing so releasing the breaks. Ensure your shins are pushing into the front of your boots and your weight is forwards to maintain control.

Step 3: Control your speed by widening the distance between the back tips of the skis, taking care not to allow the front of your skis to cross. Keeping your weight slightly forward will allow you to maintain control of the length of the ski. Continue to widen the gap between the back of your skis until you come to a complete stop. 

How to change direction when snowplough skiing

Step 4: Progress to changing direction by applying more pressure through the inside edge of one ski. You’ll notice how the increasing pressure over one ski rather than the other will allow you to change direction.

How to master snowplough turns 

Step 5: Advance changing direction to snowplough turns by pressing further on the ski and pointing the ski in the desired direction of travel.

Starting in the snowplough position with your body facing down the slope and your shins pushing into the front of your boots, begin sliding down the fall line. Gradually apply pressure into the inside edge of the left ski to start to turn the skis to the right. Continue applying this pressure until you’re travelling across the fall line—maintain the pressure on the now downhill ski.

Prepare for a complete turn by transferring the pressure in the downhill ski into the inside edge of the uphill (right) ski, whilst turning to face the body directly down the slope. Continue to apply pressure through the right ski until the skis are travelling across the fall line.

For more information on snowplough skiing learn from the experts on The Snow Centre’s UK Ski Lessons.

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