Skiing Basics

A basic lesson on how to ski is given here. While no one can master skiing by just reading some chapters and techniques, reading and understand the basics of skiing is a good start for a novice.

learn to ski


A proper stance is important when beginning to ski. Proper positioning will ensure stability and prevent falling down when one moves down the slope. For a beginner, starting with a standard stance will make learning other exercises easier. The basic standard stance for a beginner in skiing is called the snowplough position. The snowplough position offers stability for the beginner by placing the weight in the centre.

Snowplough Position

The snowplough stance is achieved by having the skis pointing inward making a “V” with the tips closer and the tails wide apart. The hands are placed above the thigh level and the knees are kept slightly bent maintaining balance and are completely relaxed. This is the starting snowplough position. Once this snowplough position on the slope is mastered it is time to move to learning other maneuvers.


Skating is an important maneuver and a basic one at that. It helps us learn how to shift weights on the skis and feel more comfortable with the skis. It also helps us learn how to change direction when the skis. The starting position is opposite of snowplough position. Here the tails are closer together and the tips are wider apart.

Drill: The start is by pushing off with one ski and gliding on the other ski shifting weight to the skating ski at the same time to maintain balance. Now the first foot that pushed forward is brought closer to the first and thus coming to the original position. The exercise is repeated on the other side and back to initial position. Once the technique is mastered on flat surfaces, it is time to try the same on slopes.


Sideslipping is sliding along the slope in a controlled way or in other words it is a controlled way of losing height. It’s most beneficial in steep, narrow or icy slopes. The skill will teach the edge awareness which will help control the skis better. The starting position is by putting weight on the uphill ski and letting the edge dig into the snow.

The start is by sliding by transferring the weight on to the downhill ski and rolling off the edges. The knees roll out towards the direction of skiing and the slide downhill is begun. To slow or stop, we just need to increase the angle of the ski digging the edge into the snow and allowing the knee to roll backwards towards the mountain.

Drill: Try to accelerate by decreasing the angle of skis or laying them more flat and leaning the knee towards the direction of sideslipping and then slow down by leaning the knee back towards the slope and shifting the weight on the uphill ski and increasing the angle of the ski. This should be done alternatively to master the sideslipping and this is a very important step that every ski enthusiast should master.


Once sideslipping is mastered, we can try to traverse across the slopes. Traversing is traveling ACROSS the slope. The uphill ski uses the outer edge and the downhill ski uses the inner edge and better balance is maintained by keeping the feet slightly apart when traversing. A destination and maintained speed are necessary to do this maneuver.

Traversing is a useful skill especially when the skier is still learning to master linking of turns (which comes later in the article). Until we can do the linking of turns smoothly, we can usually use traversing to turn. Moreover, traversing is useful when we want to travel across a slope to a café and such.

Drill: The maintained speed is required to reach the destination since the acceleration is minimum when traveling across the slope. The weight should be over the downhill ski and we can slow by shifting the weight to the uphill ski. If the momentum is lost, we can skate to increase the speed and then traverse to the destination. The maneuver should be practiced again and again.


Turning or linking turns is the final step for a beginner in skiing. Ask yourself? Am I familiar with traversing, rising up and bending down while traversing in order to try linking turns? If the answer is yes, then it is time to move to “turning”. But again, it is prudent to brush up the traversing skills just before trying the first turn. The important step of maintaining speed while traversing should always be first in our mind.

Drill: The first turn is started by shifting the tips of the skis more towards the slope or the fall line and then one will start gaining speed. The turn is completed by moving the ski uphill across the slope. At the same time by turning the head and the body in the direction of turn will result in a successful turn. Now, we must repeat the same maneuver on the other direction and slowly learn to smoothly link the turns.


It is as much important to know how to control the speed, slow down and ultimately stop when skiing. Unless we are proficient in stopping, we would end up hurting oneself as well as others. Obviously we neither want to land up in hospital bed nor do we like to send someone there… do we?

The snowplough position described in the beginning is ideal way to stow down or stop. Slowing down is by just moving the tips of the skis towards each other up to when they are just about 5 cm to 10 cm apart and making the snowplough wider at the tail. Turning can also be used to stop on steeper slopes.

Drill: A useful exercise when practicing slowing down and stopping is to move the tail wider slowly until one slows down and then again moving them closer so that one again accelerates. Skier should practice this exercise repeatedly on gentle slopes to get good control.

Using chair lifts

Learning to get on and get off the chair lifts is a crucial skill. It is important to do so safely and properly. The chair lift usually slows down at the loading area which is usually marked well. Standing at the marked area, waiting and looking for the chair lift over the shoulder as it approaches is the start.
Getting on: We should just sit as the chair lift just touches the calf of the leg. The older type chair lifts may not slow down and we need to be careful with them or we shall end with a “whack” on the calf and it isn’t pleasant! After sitting, the ski tip should be pointed up.

Riding the chair lift: It is very important to keep the safety bar down. Safety bar, as the name suggest is for “safety”. Again, the ski tip should be checked to be up, the poles held tight in one hand preferably on the inner hand (if sitting on the left side of chair, then the right hand is the inner hand). And enjoy the scenery!

Getting off: Getting down is much easier than getting up. 1-2-3….

  • Raising the safety bar COMPLETELY.
  • Slowly shuffling to the edge
  • Getting off in a direction AWAY from the line of chair lift at the point marked or when the signal is shown.

When no signals are shown or when there is no marking, we stand up as soon as the ski is felt flat on the snow. We should remember to steer clear of the way of upcoming chair lifts to avoid being hit.


Snowplough position

  • The snowplough position is a balanced and key position that we should always try to get into while starting.


  • Sideslipping is a traveling along the slope or fall line.
  • This is a key maneuver that one must master especially when dealing with steep slopes that are narrow with little space for turning.
  • One can lose height with more control with sideslipping.


  • Traversing is traveling across the slope and maintaining the speed is of utmost importance.
  • A destination to reach is equally important.
  • Traversing is also an essential skill that is useful in turning until one is proficient with the process of linking the turns. Until then, one uses traversing to link the turns.


  • Skating is a basic skill and it is just pushing ahead with one ski and then the other alternatively in different direction.
  • The ski position is opposite to that of snowplough position.


  • Turning is the epitome of the beginner’s skills.
  • Turning is accomplished by turning the ski, the head and the torso to the direction that one wants to turn to.
  • Linking turns is to be practiced again and again until one is proficient with it so as to be able to do it smoothly.

Slowing and stopping

  • Snowploughing is an ideal way to slow down and stop on gentle slopes.
  • On steeper slopes, turning to a stop is more ideal.

Chair lifts

  • We should learn to use the chair lift safely.
  • Getting on, at the marked point when it slows, and keeping the ski tip pointed up is important.
  • The safety bar should be down, ski tip pointed up, poles held tight on inner hand and one can safely enjoy the scenery until one is ready to get down.
  • Getting off is accomplished in the same manner with the ski tip pointed up and standing up when the ski is flat on the snow or at the marked place.
  • It is important to steer away from the line of chair lift to avoid being hit by the upcoming chair lift.

One Reply to “Skiing Basics”

  1. Like everything skiing too requires to learn its basics to do it perfectly..The post here explains everything regarding the skiing,tarting from the stance to the turning,sliding etc…

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