Tips for beginners to improve your skiing technique

Learning to ski looks like a big challenge at first. However, with some tips and practice, it’s not as hard as it seems to make a few turns on the slopes. We’ve drawn together our tips for ski beginners below.

It doesn’t matter if you’re going on a skiing holiday for the first time, or if you’ve already had a few days of skiing lessons. We have put together a few tips and tricks to help you improve your skiing technique. With these, you’re sure to make your first small turns on the beginner’s slope.

If you have any doubts about learning to ski as a beginner, you will find lots of helpful information in our article “8 Tips for Learning to Ski as an Adult” (link to Blog 1). Ideally, we recommend that beginners take ski lessons at a ski school with a ski instructor. Don’t worry, you won’t be in a group of children who come up to your knees. A third of all newbies are adults!

First things first: The Snowplough

The thing you need to know from day one, the king of all beginner ski tips before you hit the slopes. The snowplough! The snowplough is the basis for all braking and turning at the beginning of your ski journey. With it, you control your speed and the direction you want to go. You can venture off of the baby slopes and onto the main piste, but only when you have mastered this!

Once you have checked this off your list, the three tips below will help you either make your first turns or improve the beginner skiing technique you have learned:

Posture

The most important thing when skiing is the correct posture. Because if you have the wrong posture, such as leaning too far back or forward, you will find it difficult to keep your balance, and you will fall.

First, try it out standing up with your ski boots strapped on. Place your skis on a straight surface like a V, bringing the tips together and the ends far apart. You want to get the hang of this before starting to have your skis parallel. 

Bend your knees slightly. Shift your weight slightly forward until you feel that you are losing your balance. Do the same by leaning backwards. This will give you a feeling of which position is best to keep your balance. 

Keep your upper body as straight as possible, bend your knees slightly and keep your arms in front of your body. Now try to slide down a gentle slope in the plough position. Always make sure you have the correct posture so that you do not fall over backwards. We recommend that you do not use poles yet for this exercise not to injure yourself and concentrate on your posture.

To hold the plough position and thus slow down, press your heels outwards. This will increase the size of the plough, and you will slow down or stop. If you press your heels inwards again a little, the V becomes smaller, and you pick up speed. Always make sure that the ski tips stay together, but don’t cross over!

Practice this until you get a feeling for increasing or decreasing the plough and you have found the balance.

Turning in the snowplough position

When you can safely ski a few metres downhill easily in the plough position, stopping and starting, you can now try turning corners. To do this, you will need to shift your weight on your skis. Stand on a very flat slope, positioned sideways to the slope’s bottom. 

Let’s assume that the mountain is on your right and the valley is on your left. Now shift your weight slightly onto the ski that is on the valley side. This is called the valley ski. Keep your upper body upright and do not lean towards the valley, otherwise you will lose your balance. 

Now, do the same with the ski that is on the uphill side, the mountain ski. You will quickly realise that you can keep your balance better if you shift your weight slightly to the downhill ski.  

To get back into the starting position of the ski plough, ski downhill a little. In doing so, shift your weight to your left ski. This will automatically turn you to the right. 

Make sure that the tips of your skis point towards each other and that you maintain the plough position. Your knees are kept slightly bent, and your arms are held at your sides in front of your upper body. Try not to lean too much on your left side; otherwise, you will lose your balance and fall onto the downhill side.

By practising this a few times, you will start to see that just by shifting your weight, the ski will turn automatically. Shift to the left, make a right turn. Shift your weight to the right ski, make a left turn. To be able to turn properly, however, you will need a little bit of speed. 

Do not brake too hard in order to let your momentum help you turn. If things get too fast for you, widen the plough position and slow down again or brake.

Do not give up

Keep at it, even if you end up on your bottom a few times. If you practise these basics intensively, you will have already learned the most important skiing tips for beginners. You’ll only get better from there and will soon be able to make your first turns on a blue slope.

You don’t have to take a lift up the mountain right away when you rehearse your first plough turns. Use the magic carpets in the beginners’ area; these are available free of charge at most ski resorts. You will see that you will have already made enormous progress on the first day, going at your own pace. 

Kids tend to learn quickly because they don’t give up immediately or overthink what they are doing. Keep that childlike mentality when learning to ski. Anyone can do it! 

If you are very good at your snowplough turns, our “6 tips to improve your skiing technique for advanced skiers” will help you learn more. (link to Blog 5) Who knows, maybe you’ll soon be mastering the black run.

Kene E.

Written by

Kene E.

Originally from Canada, Kene had never been snowboarding before a holiday to Val d'Isere 12 years ago. He's literally lived there ever since.