If you’re a seasoned skier, you know that gliding down the slopes at high speeds can be an exhilarating experience. However, there may come a time when you need to slow things down and take it easy.
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert skier, slowing down is an essential technique to master for safety reasons and overall enjoyment of the sport. In this post, we’ll be sharing some pro tips on how to slow down skiing so you can confidently tackle any slope.
We understand that everyone has their own learning curve when it comes to mastering new techniques. That’s why our tips range from basic to advanced levels. So regardless of your skiing skill level, there will be something here for you.
“Learning how to control your speed and adjust quickly can make all the difference in keeping yourself safe while skiing.”
We’ve gathered insights from experts and seasoned skiing enthusiasts who have years of experience under their belts. From body positioning to using equipment, these tips cover all aspects of slowing down skiing, making sure you are well-equipped for whatever ski conditions come your way.
So whether you want to reduce your speed as you approach steep terrain or slow down enough to enjoy the view, keep reading to learn pro tips on how to slow down skiing like a pro!
Master the Wedge Turn Technique
If you’re looking for a way to slow down your skiing and maintain control on the slopes, mastering the wedge turn technique is essential. This fundamental skill involves turning your skis in a V-shape, allowing you to carve through snow at lower speeds and navigate any terrain with confidence.
Understanding the Wedge Turn
The wedge turn gets its name from the shape of the skis during the maneuver. With this technique, the inside edges of your skis are brought together while the tips splay outward, forming a wedge shape that slows your speed and increases stability as you turn.
To execute a successful wedge turn, begin by pointing your skis straight downhill and gradually apply pressure to the outsides of your feet, tilting your skis onto their inside edges. From there, use your heels to push the tails of your skis apart, creating the wedge formation. The pressure applied to your edges will dictate how sharp your turns will be, so it’s important to experiment with different levels of force to find the right balance for your skill level and desired speed.
“Beginners who learn to ski using the wedge turn technique gain more precision over their movements.” -Gabe Farell, Ski Instructor
Proper Body Positioning for Wedge Turns
While understanding the mechanics behind the wedge turn is important, proper body positioning plays a crucial role in executing the technique correctly. To ensure maximum control and stability during the maneuver, keep your arms forward and your weight centered over the balls of your feet. Avoid leaning too far back or hunching forward, as either position can throw off your balance and reduce your ability to make precise turns.
- Keep your knees slightly bent and your core engaged throughout the turn to maintain stability.
- Focus on maintaining a strong, centered posture rather than relying on your skis to do all of the work.
When you first begin practicing wedge turns, it’s natural to feel a little apprehensive about decreasing your speed. However, with patience and practice, this fundamental technique will become second nature and provide you with the control and precision necessary to tackle any trail with confidence. By mastering the wedge turn technique, you’ll gain valuable skills that can help elevate your skiing abilities for years to come.
Use Ski Edges to Control Speed
If you’re a skier, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll find yourself skiing too fast and feeling out of control. Fortunately, there are several techniques you can use to help slow down when needed. One of the most effective methods is to utilize your ski edges.
Edging Techniques for Speed Control
The first step in using your ski edges to control speed is to become familiar with different edging techniques. Essentially, this involves tilting your skis in specific directions to change the amount of edge surface area that comes into contact with the snow. Here are a few common edging techniques:
- Straight Run: Keeping both skis flat on the snow allows for maximum speed but also makes it difficult to turn or stop as needed.
- Snowplow: Also known as the wedge, this technique involves creating a “V” shape with your skis by angling them towards each other. The more acute the angle between your skis, the slower you will go.
- Parallel Turn: By turning one ski slightly ahead of the other and transferring weight from one foot to another, you can create smooth turns without losing much speed.
- Carving Turn: This advanced technique involves aggressively angling your downhill leg while keeping your uphill ski straight, which creates a deep carve in the snow. Carving can be used to maintain moderate speeds through turns.
How to Carve Turns to Control Speed
As mentioned above, carving is an effective way to control speed while still maintaining enough momentum to continue moving smoothly down the hill. Here’s how to execute a carving turn:
- Start by skiing straight downhill, with your weight evenly distributed between both skis.
- Approaching the turn, shift most of your weight to your downhill ski and lightly lift your uphill ski off the snow. Your downhill ski should be pointing in the direction of the turn.
- As you begin the turn, aggressively edge your downhill ski towards the inside of the turn. This will create a deeper carve in the snow and slow you down slightly.
- Keep your upper body facing downhill as you complete the turn, then switch edges and repeat for the opposite side.
Using Skidding to Control Speed
Another way to use your ski edges to control speed is through skidding. Whereas carving involves maintaining constant edge contact with the snow, skidding allows your skis to slide slightly as they turn. This creates more resistance against forward momentum and can help slow down if needed.
You can execute a skid turn using almost the same steps as a carving turn. However, instead of keeping an aggressive angle on your downhill ski, you’ll want to feather it out slightly so that only the tail end is edging into the snow. This will cause your skis to slide towards the outside of the turn, creating the desired skid effect.
“When learning how to ski, mastering different edging techniques like carving and skidding can take time but can ultimately lead to greater control over your skis and movements. With enough practice, these techniques become more natural and allow you to tackle more challenging terrain with ease.” -SkiMag.com
Knowing how to slow down while skiing can prevent potentially dangerous situations and make the sport safer and more enjoyable. Utilizing different edging techniques like carving and skidding can help you maintain control over your speed and movements on the slopes. Practice these techniques in appropriate settings and conditions, and always wear proper safety gear.
Learn to Hockey Stop
Basic Hockey Stop Techniques
Hockey stopping is a crucial skill that every ice hockey player needs to master. When executed correctly, it allows players to make quick stops and changes of direction during gameplay.
The first step to learning how to hockey stop is to get comfortable skating at a moderate speed with your feet shoulder-width apart. To initiate the hockey stop, shift most of your weight onto one foot while bringing the other skate perpendicular to the direction you’re traveling in. The inside edge of the perpendicular skate should dig into the ice to create friction and slow down your momentum. Keep practicing this technique until you feel confident executing it on both sides.
A common mistake beginners make when learning how to stop on skates is using their toes instead of their edges. Another error is leaning too far forward or backward, which can cause you to lose balance.
How to Practice Your Hockey Stop
To improve your hockey stopping skills, practice transitioning from forwards to backwards skating. Slowly glide forward, shifting your weight to one side to turn backwards, then transition into a hockey stop. Repeat this motion several times on each side until you master it, gradually increasing your speed.
- Use cones to mark a path, turning around them as you progress through them before coming to a full stop on the next set.
- Add some resistance by carrying an off-ice training aid such as a slideboard or a resistance band. This exercise is highly recommended for hockey goalies as they require more strength to execute quick stops and movements.
Lastly, take advantage of public skating sessions at local rinks to practice and refine your hockey-stopping techniques under different conditions, such as crowds, lighting, and noisy environments.
Advanced Hockey Stop Techniques
Once you have mastered the basic hockey stop, you can start practicing more advanced techniques to improve your stopping speed and maneuverability during gameplay:
- Pivot Stops: An essential skill in hockey is pivoting quickly without stopping. For this technique, begin by taking quick strides forward in one direction before transitioning into a wide arc around an opponent or obstacle at high speed. Once you hit the apex of the turn, initiate a quick pivot with your dominant foot and then execute a hockey stop with your other skate.
- C-Slide: Also known as a “power slide,” the C-slide allows players to brake while remaining mobile. Begin by approaching the boards at full speed and turning parallel to them until you face towards the ice. Shift most of your weight onto your outside foot and push off hard with your inside edge to create an arc shaped like a backward letter “C.” At the end of the arc, keep skating and repeat the motion on the opposite side. This keeps you moving rapidly while still executing a powerful stop.
- Glove Down: A useful technique for goalies when playing the puck behind their own net. The goalie first comes to halt using the basic stopping technique before sliding down one knee with a hand reaching out up front. One leg extended behind him/her and the back of the skates digs deep into the ice surface producing a snow spray slowing down the momentum further.
- One Footed Hockey Stops: A complex variation of the basic hockey stop where players come to a complete stop while keeping only one foot on the ground creating a T-Shape.
“Hockey stopping is not just about stopping your momentum, but about being able to maneuver and change direction rapidly. It takes practice, patience, and dedication.” -Scott Van Horne
Practice the Stem Christie Turn
The stem christie turn is one of the most important techniques in skiing as it allows you to slow down and control your speed on steep slopes. If you are struggling to maintain control during high-speed descents, learning how to perform the stem christie turn could be the solution to your problem.
Understanding the Stem Christie Turn
The stem christie turn is a technique that involves turning the skis in opposite directions while maintaining a wedge position or V-shape with your skis. This motion creates friction between the ski edges and snow. Following this method slows your pace, enabling you to navigate sharp turns smoothly and avoid collisions. The perfect moment to use this technique is when approaching blind corners.
“The stem christie technique is an essential skill that every intermediate skier should practice.” -Ski Mag
Stem Christie Turn Body Positioning
To execute the stem christie turn correctly, body positioning plays a vital role. Your shoulders should align parallel with the tips of your skis. Additionally, ensure that your knees remain bent and move towards each other using your thigh muscles to prevent a wide stance that hampers balance. Keep your weight on both skis evenly.
Your upper body’s alignment needs special emphasis so that shifting weight from one foot to another happens smoothly without throwing off the center of mass, leading to discomfort or strained muscles. Begin by mastering a stable athletic stance with slightly bended hips and knees and keeping your arms in front of you for natural balance.
How to Perfect Your Stem Christie Turn
As soon as you’ve obtained the right body positioning, start practicing the stem christie turn on easier terrain. Some exercises to help learn the technique include:
- Practice skiing in a straight line while making slight turns to the left and right. Gradually increase your angle until you’re turning sharply with control.
- Ski down mild slopes while maintaining the wedge position, increasing speed gradually. While traveling downhill, practice lifting one ski off the ground at a time as if you’re marching to get comfortable shifting weight from side to side.
- As soon as you start to feel confident with the stem christie turn, challenge yourself by moving onto steeper terrain. Mastering this skill on challenging terrain will pay off when navigating crowded runs.
“Spend time mastering beginner and intermediate pistes before committing to more advanced ones; try practicing new techniques such as the stem christie turn in a relaxed environment without being afraid of falling.” -Snow Magazine
Advanced Stem Christie Techniques
Once you’ve mastered the basics of the stem christie technique, there are several ways to build upon it:
- The Dynamic Wedge Christy: This advanced move is an updated version of the traditional stem christie turn. It involves performing the initial wedge motion, then progressively rolling the ankle over and pushing outwards during each turn for better transitions between turns.
- Smearing: Smearing happens when you pressure the outer edges of both skis against the snow, causing a drift or slide that slows you down with minimal steering. Practice smearing initially on gentle slopes to master scratch turns, where instead of completing full rotations, you simply use your ski edges to scrape away enough snow to slow down.
- Pivoting: Perfecting pivoting allows you to make tight turns on black diamond slopes with ease. This method involves quick direction changes where you keep your skis mostly in a straight line, relying on sharp angled side-slips that allow for rapid turning.
If you are planning to execute these advanced techniques, it is essential to first consult with an experienced instructor or coach who can assess your skills and progress according to your ability. Resist the temptation to speed up the mastery of the stem christie turn by moving onto more complex methods without first perfecting earlier ones.
Use Pole Plants to Control Speed
How to Use Pole Plants for Speed Control
Pole plants are the easiest way to control your speed while skiing. This technique is simple and can be practiced by anyone, from beginner to expert skiers. The basic idea behind this technique is that using pole plants will help you maintain balance and rhythm, which in turn will give you better control over your speed.
To use pole plants for speed control, simply plant your poles in the snow as you make turns. As you do so, lean forward slightly, towards the direction of the next turn. This helps you keep your weight balanced and distributed properly, helping you avoid getting too much momentum that can cause you to go faster than intended.
“Pole planting allows you to manage terrain changes, adjust timing, or negotiate steep sections.” -Ski Magazine
Proper Pole Planting Techniques
The key to proper pole planting technique lies in your timing and direction. You need to place your poles into the ground precisely at the right moment, and in the right direction to get the desired results. Here’s how to do it:
- Plant poles early: Do not wait until you have already started turning to plant your poles. Instead, start moving your hands down towards your hips a split second before starting your turn, and drop the pole tip right as you begin to round the corner.
- Keep pole tips on the snow: Always keep the pole tips touching the snow as you plant them. This ensures that they provide the necessary support to aid in maintaining balance and distributing weight throughout the turn.
- Make sure your arm positioning is correct: Your arms should be positioned directly in front of you with little to no variation on the horizontal plane. This helps ensure that your movements are efficient and effective in maintaining balance.
Advanced Pole Planting Techniques for Speed Control
If you want an even more advanced technique, try offset pole planting. Offset poles allow you to get more control than normal pole plants while also looking cool as it has a distinctive rhythm to its pattern.
“Offset pole planting is used by ski racers, who may need to reduce speed quickly or navigate difficult terrain with short-radius turns.” -Ski Magazine
To perform this technique properly, you will hold your uphill hand further forward and down from the downhill handpole just after passing each gate. It means the motion looks like a corkscrew-ing motion whilst continually pulling yourself back into a solid foundation for the next turn you make.
This practice produces a longer radius of checking arc which we can adapt depending on how much help we need to stay consistent and accomplished.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I control my speed while skiing?
To control your speed while skiing, you can use a variety of techniques such as carving, edging, and turning. Carving involves using your edges to cut into the snow and control your speed. Edging involves using your skis to grip the snow and slow down. Turning involves changing the direction of your skis to control your speed. It’s important to practice these techniques and find what works best for you, depending on your skiing level and the terrain.
What techniques can I use to reduce my skiing speed?
Some techniques to reduce your skiing speed include using a wedge turn, a hockey stop, or a snowplow. You can also try skiing on a flatter terrain or taking shorter turns to slow down. It’s important to remember to keep your weight forward and use your edges to control your speed. Don’t forget to practice these techniques regularly to improve your skiing skills and stay safe on the slopes.
Is it important to slow down when skiing?
Yes, it’s important to slow down when skiing to maintain control, avoid accidents, and stay safe on the slopes. Skiing too fast can lead to loss of control, collisions with other skiers, or injuries. Slowing down also allows you to enjoy the scenery, appreciate the sport, and improve your technique. Remember to always ski at a speed that is comfortable for you, and adjust your speed according to the terrain, weather, and other skiers around you.
What are the dangers of skiing too fast?
Skiing too fast can lead to a variety of dangers, including loss of control, collisions with other skiers, and injuries. It can also cause you to miss important signs or obstacles on the slopes and increase the risk of getting lost. Additionally, skiing too fast can lead to fatigue and decreased reaction time, making it harder to make split-second decisions and avoid accidents. Remember to always ski at a safe and comfortable speed, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.