How to turn

Kit & Equipment
  • Ensure that you get skis the right length if you are hiring - so don't make out you are one of the Bell brothers if you have never been on skis before. The guys in the shop don't care whether you can ski or not.....it is just their job.
  • Good boots that fit - check they are neither too big nor too small and don't just "make do" as it will make your days skiing miserable
  • Good ski socks - a cheap pair will do but will not provide the same padding
  • Warm waterproof clothing - remember that you will probably be on your backside for a fair bit of the first few days, so ensure that you have waterproof trousers. If you don't - then borrow or hire them!
  • Warm thermals under your clothes - can get very cold in the Scottish Mountains and the weather can change in a split second
  • Hat- very important
  • Goggles - important is the weather is bad
  • Warm & waterproof gloves - very important
Getting Started

If you are a beginner is is always advisable to get professional lessons - they may seem expensive but you will learn alot quicker, learn more safely and not develop bad habits with a good ski instructor.

N.B. When you put your boots on don't forget to pull your ski trousers over the tops of your ski boots..
(a) it looks better! and
(b) it stops the snow getting into your boots.

Once on the slope, separate your skis and place them across the hill...the reason for this is that so often you see beginners put one ski on and because it is facing down the slope, they skite off down the hill and land in a heap. The simple laws of physics that are so obvious in normal life are for some reason ignored by new skiers... always put your skis across the hill when you are putting them on and you'll be half way there. Put the "downhill ski" on first - which, to state the obvious, is the ski that will be slightly down hill of the other. The reason for this is that it is easier to put the downhill ski on first then the uphill ski..doing it the other way around will prove to be more cumbersome.

Pick up your poles, place your hands through the straps from the underneath and then hold the straps below your hand when you grip the pole ..
(a) this stops you leaving your poles half way up the hill by mistake and
(b) by holding the strap it reduces the risk of staving or injuring your thumb round the strap if you fall over.

Starting to Ski

Right! You are ready to go, but before you set off:

  • Stand up in your skis
  • Put your weight forward slightly (keeps your balance right)
  • Tuck your behind in and
  • Bend your knees (very important)

Your weight should be forward so that your shins are leaning on the fronts of your boots - don't lean your whole body weight on the fronts of the boots, otherwise you will have a nightmare time skiing and will probably fall over. But do always remember to bend your knees and put your weight forward.

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"Snowplough"

Move your skis into what is known as "Snowplough" (due to the V-shape) by turning your skis slightly down the hill and putting the tips of your skis together as demonstrated to the right.

Now you are in snowplough, weight forward and knees bent and ready to go....in order to get a bit of speed turn slightly further down the hill. Do this gradually so you don't suddenly shoot off down the hill! Putting your weight forward will stop the fronts of your skis lifting up which reduces the area of the ski and the amount of control you have. It is a natural reaction to lean back from events that scare us but on skis this is guaranteed to ensure that you will end up in a heap as you lose control of your skis.

In order to control your speed:

  • Push out your skis in the snowplough position ..
  • Dig in the edges of your skis into the snow as you push out (don't push too far or you will end up doing the splits)
Learn to Snowplough

Your skis will act like brakes and slow you down.

If you fall over, then swing your skis round before you try to get up so they are facing across the hill and push yourself up from the snow keeping your weight on your skis. If you fell and your skis came off, then put them across the hill and follow the same procedure as you did to start with.

How to Turn (Snowplough)

When turning, continue in the snowplough position,

  • Keep your weight forward.
  • Keep your knees bent.
  • Transfer your weight onto the uphill ski...this will swing your skis around to face you in the opposite direction. It is quite a smooth process so don't struggle against it and it is actually easier to turn if you have a wee bit of speed.
  • Just commit yourself to the turn and believe you can do it.
  • To turn the other way, follow the same procedure and again place your weight onto your upper ski although this will obviously be the opposite ski from the last time.

Now, this transfer of weight is like simply standing on one foot or the other..don't throw your weight about because firstly there is no need for it and secondly it will just make your life difficult. And it is worth noting that you will probably find that you are more confident turning one way than the other - this is totally normal..it will just depend upon whether you are right or left handed as to which side this is.

When you turn "plant" one pole - this will always be the down hill hand as in effect you are turning round the pole. As they say, practice makes perfect and it is always advisable to take official ski lessons rather than to develop bad habits that are hard to kick.

Jonny getting "Wicked Air"

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