Being a ski instructor, writing a ski instructing blog, it seems about time I wrote a ski instructional post. I have been planning to write an occasional series of instructional posts for different levels of skier for some time. This post is mainly aimed at intermediate skiers - from those trying to make their turns parallel up to parallel skiers trying to break into carving.
I have taught several people recently with the same issue holding back their skiing - namely a rush to get the skis around the turn too quickly, so that their tracks look like the diagram below on the left. Zig zags. The problem with this is that there is only control of speed at the apex of the turn. It is a bit like driving by alternately flooring the accelerator and brake pedals. The reason I think a lot of people do this is that they do not like the idea of their skis pointing straight down the slope.
The diagram on the right shows a curved path where speed is controlled all the way through the turn apart from the short transition which is circled. Although the curve is 'officially' called the control phase, we often call it the 'Oh ****' phase as this is what the skier is thinking as they begin to point down the hill and gain speed. The key is not to panic at this point; let the skis point down the hill for a split second and then finish the turn smoothly. I am not going to go into how to finish the turn - that is another lesson altogether, and at this level you should already have a pretty good idea.
So, just to recap - zig-zags are bad, curves are good, take your time with the turn, let the skis point downhill and don't panic.