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"SKIING IS A SLIDING SPORT"--a skiing web manual: contents (topics at page bottoms of manual)
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   "SKIING IS A SLIDING SPORT":
 Conventional Skiing Wisdoms (CSW's) 

by Bill Jones, Ski Instructor
Certified Professional Ski Instructor (Registration #110478), Level III
private ski lessons at Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek, Arapahoe Basin, other areas

 CSW # 27: "I use the snowplow (=wedge) and/or a stem for control."

Snowplows and stems are great maneuvers and essential parts of virtually all skiers' skill pools. On steeper slopes, however, they are harder and sometimes nearly impossible to perform. Learn to make turns with skis parallel to manage more conditions, but never forget the snowplow and stem. (A stem is sort of a half snowplow in which only the tail of one ski--either the one that is upslope or the one that is downslope--is moved outward from the direction of travel.)

Why is parallel more effective on steeper slopes and higher speeds? A ski that is edged is where most of skiing control comes from, for the properly edged ski slices into the snow to turn us as it is designed to do or it creates friction to slow us or change our direction when we brush it across the snow. In a snowplow on gentler slopes both skis can be tilted up on their edges, but on steeper gradients the uphill ski, even though held by our bodies the same way as the lower ski, remains flat on the snow and we cannot engage its edge in the snow. This is just geometry. But on these steeper slopes if we hold our skis parallel to each other, our anatomy allows us to tilt skis so both their edges engage the snow. This fact doubles our control! It is also true that the snowplow or stemmed position is not a natural one for human anatomy and so our legs cannot be used to their full strength when so oriented. If you still want to use the snowplow, have legs of iron, for few people can snowplow for long; the position is not a natural one. With parallel legs, however, we maximize our strength. For success on the mountain, learn parallel skiing, even though you will keep the snowplow and stem for many occasions.

But to get the most control from a snowplow be symmetrical like the red skier in the picture. That is sort of the neutral position from which you can deviate to get the skis to take you where you want to go. If one ski is edged more than the other or weighted more than the other that will cause a direction change. But there is another way, and that is having narrower stance widths, which will cause the skis to be flatter on the snow and then allow you to more easily turn them to a new direction just by turning your legs under your pelvis.

 

 

 

Here's a snowboarder doing a snowplow or is it a U-shaped ski?

         

main CSW contents
prior CSW #26: "Carved turns are best"
next "CSW  #28: "Buckle your boots tightly to make your boots stiff"

"SKIING IS A SLIDING SPORT"--a skiing web manual:     Skiing Web Manual Contents   Why Read This Skiing Web Manual That First Skiing Lesson  A Little Skiing History  Motion in Skiing  CONVENTIONAL SKIING WISDOMS  Skier Excuses   Fear in Skiing  Conditioning for Skiing   Equipment and Technique  Skiing Equipment  How Skis Work   How to Develop Balance on Skis  A Skiing Turn Simplified  The Final Skiing Skill: pressure management  Tactics for Terrains and Snow Textures and Racing  Skiing Tips and Tales--a potpourri    Exercises for Developing Skiing Skills  Children and Skiing  Age and Skiing  Gender and Skiing   Culture & Skiing  Skiing Ethics and Survival  Slope Safety    Skiing Environment  Glossary Acknowledgements SkiMyBest Website Contents  
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