This basic turn can be done with or without poles at the start. By leaning over on to one ski while moving in the snowplough position, the weighted ski will turn. The weight is then transferred to the other ski to turn in the opposite direction. It should be emphasised that the weight remains on the outside ski until the next turn, ie the skier gets a feel of continually weighting the downhill ski.Different ski instructors use different verbs to describe the snowplough steering action, but the instruction and demonstration must be as simple as possible! I demonstrate with an exaggerated upper body lean over on to the outside ski, sometimes bringing my hand down on to my thigh to point it out, and say 'Steer the ski round'.
Others may say, 'Drive the ski round', or 'Push on the outside ski'. One of these will usually work, but there are two problems to look out for.The first is that the skier tends to transfer his weight back on to the uphill ski as soon as the outside downhill one has made the turn.
He then either sits down or else the newly weighted uphill ski slides over the middle of his downhill ski, and he falls flat on his face.We have all done it and it may indeed happen to you at a later stage when, for example, you are skiing the bumps. It is usually sceptical apprehension rather than fear at this stage, as the brain refuses to believe that the correct inclination is for the upper body to lean out and down the hill. It usually irons itself out after a bit of mileage, and quite often only happens when turning one way.
This is due to one hemisphere of the brain being more dominant than the other - apparently.The second problem is not as serious but can lead to worse faults later. The body is temporarily frozen into a catatonic state with arms akimbo, and poles pointing rigidly skywards or in some other direction. The skier must be encouraged to hold his hands loosely by his side. The rest of his body should then follow suit and relax.
As he skis faster there will be less weight needed on the steering ski. It is most important to chose the slope carefully. It should be wide and gentle with as few people on it as possible.Just in case you can't wait till you have read my later advice on how to instruct a beginner and want to experiment with these turns on a victim now then please remember this: Instructions should be minimal, and it should be remembered that demonstration will usually have more effect on a beginner's progress than the spoken word.It is especially important not to increase the confusion in a beginner's brain, as that will be happening quite naturally already as he tries to come to terms with his strange predicament!..Simon Dewhurst has taught downhill skiing in North America, Scandinavia and the European Alps for 35 years. He currently runs a ski chalet agency in the French Alps. His book "Secrets of Better Skiing" can be found at http://www.
ski-jungle.com. If you have any comments about the above article, he will be happy to answer them.
By: Simon Dewhurst