If Parallel Skiing is Your Goal, Why Waste Time on Skiing Snowplough?

by Simon Naylor | Published: May 18th, 2023 |  Skiing Articles

Ready to take your skiing to the next level? If your goal is to become a parallel skier, you may be wondering why you should even bother with learning the snowplough technique. After all, isn't it just a beginner's move that will hold you back from carving down the mountain like a pro?

Not exactly. While it might seem counterintuitive, mastering the snowplough can actually help you fine-tune your technique and progress more quickly towards parallel skiing. By building a strong foundation in the basics of skiing, you'll develop the skills and confidence needed to tackle more advanced slopes and maneuvers. So why spend time on snowplough? Read on to find out.

kids learning to ski

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The Importance of Snowplough for Beginner Skiers

When it comes to skiing, mastering the snowplough technique may not be as exciting as carving down the slopes in a parallel stance, but it is a crucial step for beginner skiers. Snowplough, also known as wedge, involves turning the ski tips inward while keeping the tails apart. This technique is primarily used for slowing down, stopping and controlling speed, making it an essential skill for beginners.

Learning snowplough allows you to build a solid foundation for skiing by developing your balance, edge control, and body position. The technique helps to create muscle memory, which is key in ensuring stability when navigating more challenging terrain. In addition, snowplough technique provides a low-risk way to introduce the physical demands of skiing without placing too much stress on the body. It allows beginners to get a sense of the movements and control required for skiing before attempting more advanced techniques, ultimately leading to a safer and more enjoyable experience on the mountain.

Understanding Skiing Techniques: Parallel vs. Snowplough

While snowplough skiing is crucial for building a solid foundation, parallel skiing is the ultimate goal for many skiers. The parallel technique involves keeping both skis parallel to each other, with slight inward pressure placed on the ski edges to control speed and turning. This technique is faster and more efficient, allowing skiers to tackle steeper slopes with less effort.

However, mastering parallel skiing requires a high level of balance, edge control, and body positioning, which can take time and practice to develop. Without a solid foundation in snowplough technique, attempting parallel skiing can be frustrating and even dangerous, potentially leading to falls and injuries.

That being said, both snowplough and parallel skiing have their benefits. Snowplough is essential for beginner skiers to develop their skills and build a solid foundation. Parallel skiing is more advanced, allowing experienced skiers to tackle steeper terrain with greater speed and control. Ultimately, both techniques play an important role in skiing and depending on your skill level and goals, you may find yourself using both on the mountain.

parallel skiing

Perfecting Techniques with Snowplough Drills

If you're a beginner skier and are looking to perfect your technique and get ready for parallel skiing, practicing snowplough is essential. There are several basic drills that can help you develop your skills and refine your technique to make sure you're ready for the next stage of skiing.

Snowplough to Parallel Drill

The Snowplough to Parallel drill is an excellent exercise to help you transition from snowplough to parallel skiing. Begin in a snowplough position and gradually bring your skis closer together until they are parallel. Hold this position for a few seconds and then return to snowplough. Repeat this exercise several times until you feel comfortable making the transition.

Side-to-Side Snowplough Drill

This drill is designed to help you develop better control of your skis and improve your coordination. Begin in a snowplough position and gradually shift your weight from one ski to the other, moving side-to-side. This drill will help you develop better balance and control of your skis, making it easier to progress to parallel skiing.

Overcoming Fear and Building Confidence with Snowplough

While it may be tempting to skip snowplough and move straight to parallel skiing, there are several benefits to practicing snowplough, even for more experienced skiers. One significant advantage of snowplough is that it can help you overcome fear and build confidence in your skiing ability.

Steeper Slopes

One of the biggest fears beginner skiers face is skiing on steeper slopes. By practicing snowplough on increasingly steep terrain, you can gradually build your confidence and prepare yourself for more challenging skiing later on.

Increased Control

Snowplough is an excellent way to improve your control on the slopes. As you practice, you'll learn how to manage your speed and make turns more effectively, allowing you to handle more difficult terrain with greater ease.

Overall, while it may be tempting to skip snowplough and move straight to parallel skiing, the truth is that practicing this essential technique can help you improve your skills and become a more confident, competent skier. So take the time to learn snowplough and develop your skills - and get ready to take your skiing to the next level!

person performing ski

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Skiing Snowplough

As with any new skill, it's important to avoid some of the most common mistakes people make when learning snowplough.

1. Keeping the Skis Too Wide

A common mistake for beginners is to keep their skis too wide when learning the snowplough technique. This can make it difficult to turn and control the skis. To avoid this mistake, keep your skis shoulder-width apart and focus on controlling the angle with your knees.

2. Lifting the Inside Ski Too High

Another common mistake is to lift the inside ski too high, which can result in losing control and falling over. To keep your balance and control, keep your inside ski down and in contact with the snow while maintaining the angle with your knees and ankles.

Expert Tips for Mastering Snowplough

If you want to master the snowplough, follow these expert tips to take your training to the next level and ensure you're maximizing your potential:

1. Focus on Your Body Position

When learning the snowplough, it's important to maintain a strong body position with your weight centered over your skis. Keep your knees bent and your hips facing down the hill, with your shoulders parallel to your skis. This will help you maintain control and balance as you turn.

2. Control Your Weight Distribution

Another key element to mastering the snowplough is controlling your weight distribution. As you turn, make sure to evenly distribute your weight between both skis to maintain control and stability. This will also allow you to smoothly transition from snowplough to parallel skiing.

By avoiding common mistakes and following expert tips, you'll be on your way to mastering snowplough skiing in no time. Remember, everyone learns at their own pace, so don't get discouraged if you're not perfect right away. Practice and patience are key to success on the slopes.

parallel skiing

Avoid wasting time on the snowplough if you want to parallel ski

Congratulations on taking the first step towards parallel skiing! It's understandable to feel hesitant about starting with the snowplough, but it's an essential part of the learning process. Don't be discouraged by the time it takes to master the snowplough, as it lays the foundation for the techniques needed for parallel skiing.

By letting go of your fear of the snowplough and embracing the time it takes to learn it, you'll acquire the fundamental skills that will make parallel skiing easier to understand and execute. Keep practicing and trust in the process, and you'll soon be ready to move on to parallel skiing and enjoy the thrill of skiing down the mountain with newfound confidence and ease.