Why Skis Turn

Reading Time: < 1 minutes

You may find that I constantly harp on the idea of edging the ski to turn when it seems more intuitive to “turn” the skis to turn, but there is good reason for this.

Modern skis for groomed slopes have a pronounced hourglass shape compared to skis of a few decades ago. Even backcountry skis are more shapely than their predecessors. It’s this shape that enables skis to turn so easily, but it’s only effective if the ski is on edge. The photos here convey that a shaped ski on edge, when pressured, will touch the snow in a curved shape. And the more it’s on edge, the more curved is the snow contact and hence the sharper the turn.

Pivoting was the preferred technique of the ’80s with the straight skis of the day, but now the key to all turns, skidded or carved, depends on edge angle.

Turn 600
skier: Wendy Lumby

by Martin Olson in December 2015 issue

Martin Olson
To top