Very much like dogs that keep their tails high to show social strata! The skier who is known world wide as the model of this "parallel" technique is called Stein Erickson. Watch him just 10 seconds skiing and you will understand what parallel skiing is all about. Elegant, flowing with legs at all times "glued" together.
Many tears ago for skiers wishing to be level 3 ski instructors they had to ski down terrain with varied inclinations with a red handkerchief stuck between their knees. Open just once, you failed the LP) since the red handkerchief would fall to snow!. That is parallel skiing at its best. Few skiers, except some "old instructors" ski this way now! Equipment has evolved resulting in a more dynamic skiing style. Boots have a softer flex, skis are more "shaped" for effective ski performance. Due to the major changes in equipment skiing has really become easier.
But changesany changes for some is difficult ,,,initially! Carving means that you use the ski effectively. The skier carves the ski run very much like you using a knife, from one edge of one ski to the other edge of the other ski.
In short, in a carving ski technique you transfer all pressure from one edge, right away to the other edge. There is no flat stage where you stay flat on the ski bases. It is a "on the edge" skiing style which is very effectivevery flowing, very sharp with no lateral tail movement! You will also note that skis are apart and NOT parallel while skiing. Allow me an analogy.
Next time you watch, "Scent of a women" look carefully at the Tango scene. There is a ritualized movement which is sensuous, with Parallel Turn - Réal Charette - Learn To Ski (Vinyl movements. The posturing is most important not more effective movement! That is parallel skiing. The look is most important! Take another dancing scene but very modern. The "look" becomes secondary to the "difficulty" of the movement. In short "parallel skiing" is gone!
Carving skiing is IN!!! This is not just a "vogue" or passing fad! New skis require LP) to ski this way. It is easier. It is more fun, once you accept the change and take the time to learn it. Look at it this way, some years ago the skiing world was "rejecting" steel edges as "cheaters"! Poles were rejected since one pole was enough. Plastic boots were "cheap' and of course wool was much better than polar flleece! Time to change. The term and concept parallel skiing should be allowed to rest.
I must confess however that when I do ski with Stein Erickson at Deer Valley I digress to my old sinful ways and ski like him! Elegance still has its value, not efficient this glued legs technique called "parallele" but elegant!
I hope this has help you Jake! Brilliant, thanks for taking the time to post. I don't think elegance need be completely lost. The problem is that at the moment, the charge into the new rechnique has been led by the racers.
Whenever I see instructors taking a carving clinic, it is normally a racer type doing the teaching. The current racing model of the skis wide apart is not neccersary for free skiing.
In a good carved turn, the legs are parallel and may be touching, though the skis are further apart. I don't like the extreme carving style that brings the inside ski up under the body. To me this looks no better than an A frame turn, in that it's almost impossible to fall. It is possible to carve quite extremely without doing that. More reaction forces to keep your balance with, and stronger reactions when you lean forward to make the ski tips drop more rapidly.
So most of the time speed is your friend. The only times we generally start a turn with very little speed is on a steep slope where we know the reactions from weight changes will be stronger anyway, and you will pick up speed through the turn to keep your balance with. It is also important to have some initial speed so that the skis are sliding freely, and will not get stuck in the snow, or be too affected by small bumps.
The angles shown are the minimum amount the skis will need to turn before the edge change. The more you slide sideways, the further the skis will need to turn before the edges can be changed, although this is not always a bad thing. The amount you are sliding sideways as you start your turn determines how far the skis need to drop and turn before you are ready for the edge change. The more you are sliding sideways, the more your skis will be pointing across the slope relative to your actual direction of movement.
This means that during the initiation phase you have to make the front of the skis drop further before they are travelling straight. Which in the wrong circumstances will make your turn initiation take longer. If the skis are travelling almost straight along their length already, you will not need to turn much before the edge change, which usually makes the initiation phase nice and short. However this doesn't mean that you should avoid sliding sideways as you start a turn, your ski orientation has to be matched to the steepness of the slope and your speed.
The angles show are the minimum amount the skis will need to turn before the edge change. On a flatter slope you need to start turns with some initial speed, and only let the skis slide sideways a little bit. On flatter slopes the ski tips will not drop very quickly down the slope, and you will not pick up much speed in the turn to help keep your balance with. Because of this, parallel turning is actually more difficult at slower speeds on a flatter slope, which are exactly the conditions that beginners tend to prefer.
On flatter slopes it is best to start off by travelling a bit faster across the slope, with the skis not sliding sideways so much. This gives you enough speed to help keep your balance and means that the skis don't need to turn so much before the edges can be changed, making the initiation phase quicker.
The worst thing you can do as you initiate a parallel turn on a flatter slope is ski slowly with plenty of sliding sideways. Not only would you have to turn the skis so far that they point almost straight down the slope before the edges can be changed, but the combination of flat slope Parallel Turn - Réal Charette - Learn To Ski (Vinyl slow skiing will make the skis very slow to turn. The result is a very slow turn, feeling very unbalanced, yet requiring more precise edge pressure changes to accomplish it.
Because speed is your friend, starting a turn by sliding sideways but faster can also work well on flatter slopes, but you will struggle to slide sideways fast enough on a flatter slope, unless you have taken speed onto the slope from somewhere steeper. On a gentle slope you may well also find that you cannot turn too far across the slope before or after your turn, as that would decrease your speed to much.
When making turns like this you have to keep leaning a little extra forwards at the end of the turn to stop the skis from turning too far across the slope. When starting to ski on steeper slopes, letting the skis slide sideways more can help you keep control of your speed, and reduces the amount your direction changes, which can make turns quicker and easier.
On steeper slopes you have the advantage that there is plenty of ski reaction force available, but you have to be more careful about your speed. When we start to ski on steeper slopes it is good to start turns with a medium pace, and quite a lot of sideways sliding. Having a medium pace means the skis are sliding freely over the snow, making them easier to turn, and giving them enough power that they shouldn't be too affected by small bumps in the snow.
Sliding sideways increases the proportion of your speed down the slope and so decreases your speed and momentum across the slope. However fast you are travelling across the slope, you are going to have to stop going in that direction, and start going across the slope in the other direction.
The faster you are travelling across the slope, the longer it will take to slow down and start travelling across in the other direction, and the longer it takes, the more speed you will pick up while doing it.
So, sliding sideways can decrease the change of direction needed in a turn. It therefore make the turn quicker, picking up less speed. We don't need to worry about the skis having to turn more before the edges can be changed because, with the initial speed and the steep slope, the skis will drop and turn very quickly as long as the initiation is done properly.
Making turns like this also gives you lots of practice at sliding the skis sideways, which is a key skill to have for controlling speed and recovering from mistakes. As you get better at skiing steeper slopes, and incorporate more advanced techniques into your skiing, the goal will be to minimise the amount the skis slide sideways, as you will be able to control your turn shape and speed without the need for so much sliding.
Although it may not seem this way for a lot of people, gravity and LP) are your friends in a parallel turn, provided you are not going to extremes that is. To make a parallel turn with balance you need a bit of speed, just like when riding a bike.
And just like riding a bike, the more you practise, the better your balance will become at both faster and slower speeds. Please note as soon as we get to this stage in skiing, the learning process slows down and we need a lot more practice to improve and move on to trying other skiing techniques.
Also from here on all skiing techniques use parallel turns, although they are tailored to different conditions, or goals. The information here is for basic parallel turns, there are many more advanced techniques that can be added to the basics described here. More information on these can be found in the next sections.
More general common mistakes can be found in the Common Mistakes page of the Learning to Ski section. On to the Hockey Stop section. Please quickly fill in what you thought of the page here, commenting on anything you liked or think could be improved on the page, LP). Please note this form is to submit feedback for this page only, if you would like to comment on the site in general please go to the Site Feedback Form here. Mechanics of Sport takes feedback very seriously to try and improve the website.
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