Skiing on Ice: The Definitive Guide

Skiing on Ice

Skiing on ice is not like skiing on powder and it can be daunting and sometimes even dangerous especially for beginners.

That’s why we’ve decided to put together this definitive guide to skiing on ice.

In this info packed guide, we are going to cover everything you need to know about ice skiing, from how to ice ski and the differences between skiing on ice and powder, to avoiding these icy patches and the challenges skiers often face.

So whether you’re a beginner who’s never set foot on a pair of skis before, or an experienced skier who’s looking to sharpen your skills, this ultimate guide is for you.

Can You Ski On Ice?

The short answer to this question is yes, You can ski on ice! Skiing on ice is sort of adventurous and scary because icy conditions don’t make a very inviting setting for most skiers, yet everyone will eventually have to ski on ice. Therefore, learning to ski on ice is essential for preventing injuries and accidents. 

When skiing, you may encounter shimmering parts on the skiing area. They are the parts that are ice. These icy patches are made when fresh snow has yet to fall. And the ice you see is the old snow that has frozen and become rigid.

Can You Ski On Ice

Skiing on ice is going to be different. Ice is slippery and you have less friction. Plus, it’s difficult for you to turn or even stand straight.

So if you think you can avoid ice and ski, we doubt it. During the season, ice is inevitable. It’s really rare that someone is lucky enough to avoid ice.

On the other hand, if you follow the correct tips, skiing on ice is a great experience and once you get used to it, it’s fun!

Skiing on Ice vs. Powder

Ice and powder are a lot different. And how it affects skiers is also different. Let’s take a look at the main differences.

In the meantime, also check out our great guide on skiing on sand vs snow.


You must keep a broad base when skiing on ice. That means you have to maintain a big gap between your legs to avoid possible falls.

However, when you ski on powder, you have to keep the legs closer to each other. 


Taking turns on ice is a challenging task unless you are an expert on ice skiing because if you hesitate even for a second, you are going to fall.

But turning on powder is easy, even for beginners. And you can even take sharp turns without losing your balance.


There is little to no friction on ice. Therefore, skiers must put a significant effort into maintaining balance on the ice. But, on powder, you are at more ease.

Even if you fall on powder, you won’t get injured because of the powdery nature of snow; however, if you fall on ice while skiing, there is a high possibility that you will hurt yourself.


It is way risker to go at high speed on the ice. The reason is because of the less friction it is hard to control your pace.

On the other hand, you can go at high speeds on powder. There is enough friction for you to stop whenever you want, which isn’t possible when skiing on ice.


Keep in mind that even though you can go high speed on powdery snow, don’t go at rates you cannot control. 

Most Fun And Adventurous  

Skiing on ice and Powder is equally fun. But the most adventurous is skiing on ice as it is full of challenges.

Challenges Of Skiing On Ice 

Ice is more slippery than snow and as a result, skiers need help to maintain friction. Therefore, it isn’t easy to take turns and stay straight.

Moreover, it handicaps other confident skiing movements. It would help if you had friction when you ski. The reason is that friction helps to maintain control speed, take turns and stop.

In addition to reducing your balance, ice causes you to go faster. Sometimes, you won’t be able to control that speed.

So maintaining balance, controlling speed, and taking light and sharp turns are the most common challenges of skiing on ice. 

How to Ski on Ice 

Tips for Skiing on Ice 

It doesn’t matter where you go skiing, ice skiing is equally tricky in any region. But you can avoid these hardships by following some of these tips. 

Stop Making Sudden Movements 

Once you go and stand on the ice, every movement you make has consequences.

Therefore, you need a firm grip on the ground with ice. For example, don’t make reactions like jerking your knee.

Maintaining Balance 

Maintaining your balance is crucial if you want to stay on your feet on slippery ice.

Did you know that standing on the outside of your ski is important? And it becomes vital when the trail you are skiing on becomes icy. Your skis may want to go away from your body. That can happen at any moment. So when you have one foot outside, you don’t miss sliding with your skis.

Moreover, if you want extra grip, stand on the ice. That results in your weight pushing sharply through the ice.

Stable Stance 

If you find it challenging to make your grip firm, there are four things to do.

One thing is setting a broader base on the ice. You aren’t supposed to ski on ice when your feet have glued together. You have to keep a big gap between your legs. And when you stand like this on ice, it is almost similar to you standing on an uneven floor.

Stable Stance

The next thing that you can do is lowering the mass center. And remember to maintain a mobile body position. Moreover, it would help if you could be more athletic at the same time. Besides, you must maintain a bending position at your knees and ankles.This stance will make you more confident.

The third thing to do is to focus on the fore-aft balance. Once the skis reach a particular speed, it becomes easy for you to do this.

The fourth thing to do is to keep your hands up. This step helps you to bring your shoulders forward. As a result, it allows you to bend your body at your hips.

Try Skid To Slide Slowly 

The skis will get ready to slide when you come to an icy part. Therefore, you must learn how to control it. And slide sideways directly down the slopes and wheel your skis facing the opposite side.

Edge Control

This is something that you must be extra watchful of. And also, you must be strategic in controlling the edge.

Read our guide on how to not catch an edge skiing for more information.

If you want to take a turn faster, put some extra pressure on the border inside the downhill ski. 

But if you are new to this, there is a problem. Placing too much pressure will cause such a skier to fall. Therefore, the best thing to do is to refrain from taking sharp turns. Instead, try staying stable.

Ski With Patience

Patience is one of the most important things you must have to ski on ice. If you suddenly enter an ice patch while skiing, don’t panic. But let the skis enter there as calmly as possible. 

Moreover, try to maintain a more significant turn radius in such an instance.

In addition, keep the skis parallel to each other when you are on a small ice patch. On the other hand, when on more extensive patches, complete the turns you take. But remember to do that at a slower pace. 

And don’t try to take instant turns. What you need to do is maintain balance throughout the movement.

Can You Avoid Ice While Skiing? 

It is not easy to avoid icy patches when skiing but you might be helpful to detect them from a distance. Yet they sometimes appear from nowhere, surprising you.

Here are some tips to ski on less ice.


Under mogul conditions, the snow gets into clumps due to skiers’ pushing. Thus, you can go on these clumps of snow by avoiding the icy patches.

However, this method is only for experienced skiers. The reason is that you should be able to handle sudden changes in height. Accordingly, you must be able to flex your knees whenever it is needed.

Inexperienced skiers also can practice this. But start from smaller areas. And continue up to large mounds. In that way, you can skip ice patches. But remember, you have to struggle with the constantly changing terrain.

Look Ahead To See Ice 

Ice has a shimmering appearance. And it is smoother than other types of snow. Therefore, ice glitters because of the sunlight. So, if you are watchful enough to detect such a patch of snow, avoid it.

Look Ahead To See Ice 

Be Watchful of Snow Channels 

Looking at the margins of icy patches, you can see snow. Skiers push these, not intentionally but while they are skiing. So you can take short turns on these margins. That way, you will be able to avoid ice.

Avoid the Last Skiing Run of the Day 

When you join the last crowd of the day, you are skiing on the ground many people have already played. So there is a big possibility that the land is sharp.

Finally, If you aren’t an ice lover don’t go when it’s warm and instead, why don’t you ski when it is snowing? That would be a good choice.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, skiing on ice isn’t as easy as you may think. You need to be focused and have a good stance, because on ice it is not easy to control your movements.

But it can be a great way to improve your skiing skills. It can help you learn how to control your speed and turn better at literally 0 friction. Additionally, skiing on ice can help you develop better balance and coordination. If you are feeling adventurous, skiing on ice is definitely something you should try.


How To Carve On Ice Skiing?

Carving on ice can be difficult even for expert skiers. When you carve on ice, you must stay calm and not panic. Carving on ice means you form a new arc after unleashing the movements from the precedent arc.

To carve to ice you must know how to move your boots and skis accordingly and you must be conscious about the transitions that you take and you must avoid any hesitation or interruptions when skiing.

The good news is there are ski exercises for learning the transition movements. 

Is Skiing On Ice Hard?

It’s hard to ski on ice because you must have good concentration. Ice patches are slippery. So to keep the balance, you have to keep your body focused. And any hesitation or interruption can make you lose balance and fall which can be difficult for beginners.

However, there are instances where even the best skiers cannot control their movements when they ski on ice. Ice skiing is exclusively for adventure seekers. 

Is Skiing On Ice Dangerous?  

Skiing on ice can be dangerous because ice is slippery which means there is no friction. As a result, there is a high possibility that skiers might fall and injure themselves. 

And if you are skiing on a steeper slope, the danger is greater. On rare occasions, skiing on ice can be fatal. But all that depends on the land and the experience level of the skier. If you are a beginner, start slowly and go step by step or otherwise, it’s going to be difficult to endure.

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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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