Learning the basics of skiing can be a little intimidating if you have never done it before. Before I had my first lesson, I thought everything would be easy, but I soon learned otherwise!
I’ve been skiing for nearly my entire life, and I have developed a passion for the sport that I love to share with others. I always try to offer tips and advice to help beginners improve, and one of the first skills you need to learn is the snowplow.
That’s what I’m going to cover in this article. We’ll look at the snowplow and how to master snowplough turns. It’s basic stuff but very important for anyone just starting to get comfortable on the mountain.
Let’s get skiing!
What does snowplow mean in skiing?
The snowplow is a basic skiing maneuver that helps you stay in control when sliding across the snow. It’s also known as the pizza wedge or simply the plow. It’s one of the first things new skiers learn when they head downhill for the first time.
A big part of skiing is learning how to stay in control at all times. The snowplow helps you achieve this before you develop more complicated skiing skills. It’s essential for just about everyone to learn, and every skier you talk to knows what it is.
How does snowplough work?
The snowplough works by slowing you down. When you point your skis’ tips towards one another, it forces the inside edge of them to dig into the snow. The friction that this creates helps slow you down and stay in control.
Think of it like a car. When the wheels are pointed straight, the vehicle will move forward with no issues or problems. Imagine if the tires pointed towards one another. The car wouldn’t make it very far, would it?
How to master a snowplough stance?
Mastering the snowplow stance is ‘first day of skiing’ stuff and is a pretty easy skill for most people to pick up, even if they have never tried it before. It’s always important to have a good attitude when learning any new skill or maneuver on the mountain.
The first tip I give people when learning how to master the stance is to try it on a flat surface before starting to head downhill. All you need to do is point the tips of your skis together. It really is as simple as that.
When your skis point together and form a wedge-like shape, that’s the snowplow stance. Once you figure out how to do that on a flat surface, it’s time to head downhill. For this, you’ll want to start slowly.
I recommend trying the snowplow for the first time on the bunny slope or other beginner area of the ski resort. This will help you avoid getting too much speed and getting out of control. It will also help you avoid other advanced skiers who might be going really fast.
Follow these steps once you are ready:
- Point your skis slightly downhill until you get a bit of speed going. You can also use your poles to push off and generate speed.
- Once you are moving, point the tips of your skis toward one another. You will feel your feet rotate slightly toward their inner edge. This can put some torque on your knees, but it’s natural.
- Practice going into a snowplow and out of it a few times as you work your way down the ski slope.
It’s important to note that you can adjust the size of your snowplow to give you better control or stopping ability. The wider you make the tails of your skis from one another, the more stopping and slowing power you will have.
How to master snowplough turns?
Once you have figured out how to snowplow at the most basic level, it’s time to move on to mastering snowplow turns. This is another basic technique that will help you move towards parallel turns, which is the more advanced and proper way to turn.
You’ll need to have a good grasp of the snowplow maneuver in general before trying to turn. But once you feel comfortable, follow these steps to begin learning how to turn.
- Point your skis downhill and gain some momentum to start moving.
- Begin the snowplow to get under control and begin the turning process.
- You now want to put more pressure on the outside leg, or the leg opposite of the way you want to turn.
- Stay in a snowplow, but increase the amount of pressure you put on the outside leg.
- You’ll start to turn, and now the goal is just to get a feel for it.
- Go straight for a while, and then repeat the steps with the opposite leg.
- Work your way down the slope using snowplow turns the entire time.
This might not make much sense when you read it. Learning these basic maneuvers is much easier when you are actually skiing than looking at a screen for advice. But if you keep these steps in mind, you’ll be able to pick up the skill quickly.
Every skier learns the snowplow when they first start the sport. It’s one of those skills that come in very useful to keep you under control and teach you how to start and stop. You need to master it to move on to more advanced skills and techniques.
The funny thing about the snowplow is that you may not ever use it that much again once you have the skill mastered. After you have learned how to parallel turn and stop, you don’t really need the snowplow anymore. But that’s a lesson for another day!