Beginner Skiing Progression – Braking Plow

The ‘Braking Plow’ (AKA. a Snowplow / Wedge / Stem / Pizza / Pie... or any other triangle analogy) can help beginner skiers to manage speed and stop in gentle terrain. 

Although some more athletic skiers may be able to skip a wedge and go straight to parallel, most students will find the added stability useful for those first turns. 

It also comes in really handy in the lift line!

Objectives: 

Travel in a straight line down a down a gentle slope then control speed and come to a complete stop using a wedge (or whatever you want to call it).

Technical Considerations: 

In an athletic stance, the skier pushes the feet apart while rotating both legs inward to create a wedge. The si tips shod remain close together while the tails of the skis are further apart. In most cases the skis will automatically tip on edge and create some friction to slow the skier. 

Many new skiers find it easiest to just focus on pushing the heels out.

Caution:

A skier at this stage may NOT be able to STOP! Terrain and snow considerations are important to either set the learner up for success.

  • Select a short gentle slope with a safe run out. Ideally flat or slightly uphill to stop the skier should they not be able to do so on their own.
  • Pick a quiet area (typically off to the side of the bunny hill:) and always look uphill before you go.
  • NOTE: Although the wedge is a useful tool for beginners, it's important not to become overly reliant on it for speed control. As terrain steepens the wedge will no longer be effective and the skier must learn to manage speed through turn shape.

Trouble Shooting Symptoms:

If the skier cannot turn the legs and the skis take off (Jet Skis) ensure balance is centered through the middle of the skis.

Some grip is required to slow and stop. If the skis remain flat roll the feet and knees inward to tip the skis on edge and control speed or stop (See O-Frame)

If the skis are over edged and the skier does not glide, roll the feet/knees slighly out to lessen the edge angle. (See A-frame)

Too advanced? Head back to...

Too Easy? Move ahead to...

Join the Science Friction Club.

You'll get to outsmart your ski instructor & troubleshoot your own ski technique.

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