How To Parallel Ski – A Beginners Guide

how to parallel ski

One of the best ways to improve your skiing is learning how to parallel ski. This technique is used by most intermediate skiers and it is the key to making efficient turns. While parallel skiing may seem daunting at first, it is actually quite simple once you get the hang of it.

In this beginners guide, I’ll walk you through how to make parallel turns and the common mistakes most beginners make so that you can hit the slopes with confidence.

How To Parallel Ski – Step By Step

Learning how to parallel ski can be intimidating for those who have never tried it before, but with this step-by-step guide, you’ll be parallel skiing like a pro in no time. Plus, you won’t need to take any ski classes! 

If you ever want to know the differences between parallel skiing vs carving turns, check out our awesome comparison here.

Step 1- Getting Ready

If you are a beginner it’s best you take the required safety precautions, and make sure you have everything you need.

Choose an easy slope like a Blue because it is very challenging to parallel ski on reds and blacks as a beginner. Balance yourself on your skis and the skis should be hip width apart and have them in the same angle.

Step 2 – Starting The Turn

As you start skiing down, you will need to change the angle of the ski, one should be angled forward and the other should be angled backward. And next you should lean forward. It is super important that you stay balanced.

To start the turn gently turn your body to the direction you want to turn. Crouch and rotate the knees to turn your skis, and then use your ski poles to push you down so that you start moving forward. 

Step 3 – Changing Edges

Next you need to change the angle of the ski edges to take the turn. To do this, put your weight onto the inside edge (if you are turning to the right) or onto the outside (if you are turning left) and roll your knees and start leaning onto the turn.

You should now be moving in a turn radius.

Step 4 – Following Through

Once you are in a turn radius you should push yourself with your ski poles to start moving. Balancing your weight is crucial at this point. Make sure not to lean forward too much in the direction you are moving. 

Make use of your hips and legs to steer yourself forward. Use your ski poles to push yourself forward after taking the turn, to keep moving. Make sure to remain in a balanced stance as you follow through. 

That’s all there is to it! You have just made your very first parallel turn!

How To Use Your Ski Poles During The Parallel Turn

How To Use Your Ski Poles During The Parallel Turn

The ski poles will help you take the turn when parallel skiing. You have to plant the pole at the tip of your inner ski and turn around the pole then push yourself down with the aid of the pole to move you forward. 

It is also important to remember that you don’t need to  exert pressure on the snow while parallel skiing. 

How To Slow Down When Parallel Skiing

The best way to slow down when parallel skiing is either a wedged turn stop or a hockey stop stop. A wedged turn is when you take a turn in the shape of a V, it creates friction and slows you down. 

The hockey stop is a quicker way of slowing down when you are parallel skiing. They are like taking parallel turns, rather than continuing to ski you make a sharp stop by digging into your heels to create friction.

Read more about stopping on skis here.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Parallel Skiing  

People often make mistakes when learning to parallel ski. Here are some of the most common mistakes beginners do and how to avoid them:

Leaning Back

One of the most common mistakes people make is leaning back. They are afraid of slopes and speed, and their natural reaction is to back away from them further. 

If this happens and you don’t push the front of the ski boot as soon as possible, the pressure on the front of the ski will be released which makes it difficult to control.

The Crouch

Crouching is another mistake that roots from fear. 

Your weight really needs to be in the right position for parallel skiing to work properly. And if it isn’t, the maneuver won’t be as effective as it should be. If you want fast and defined action off the ski, your weight has to be equally distributed.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Parallel Skiing  

Hip Movements

Moving your hips is frequently an unconscious mistake that people are unaware of. This falls under the same section as not learning enough. 

In this case, the skier continues to lean but is too afraid to put enough weight on the ski. In contrast, the overall effect is that the center of gravity has not moved significantly. Your hips must be a part of the lean in order for your body to get as far over the outside ski as possible.


See that wasn’t so hard was it? Make sure to practice it enough times but on easy slopes until you get the hang of it, and then move on to steeper slopes.

The key to parallel skiing is to keep your skis parallel to each other. You should also keep your weight evenly distributed between the two skis. As you turn, your skis should turn together.

Parallel skiing can be difficult at first, but it is well worth the effort. Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to enjoy skiing more than ever before.


How Do You Parallel Ski On Steep Slopes?

On steeper slopes, parallel skiing becomes more advanced, requiring skiers to fine-tune their body movements and use edge work to control the skis at high speeds. To turn fast, you need to control the mix of ski turns and edging. In short turns, it’s important to keep your upper body facing downhill. Your legs and skis work under your body, keeping your upper body still.

How To Go From Snow Plough To Parallel Skiing?

As the snow plough slows you down, bring the skis together parallelly, this will help in reducing friction and you can begin to parallel ski again! Read more about this here.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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