Meet a new friend - the snowplow.

It’s the first “moving technique” every skier must learn.

It’s basic to your first turn going downhill and to stopping before crashing a) into the padded pylons holding aloft the cables that carry skiers on swaying chairs, or b) into unsuspecting friends.

To practice (while on flat ground): With your skis parallel push their tails well apart, with their tips almost together, to form a letter V with the point of the V to the front. As you push the tails apart bend your knees toward each other. You’ll instantly feel the inner edges of the skis sloping inward.

When properly positioned the tips are not quite touching. But they are close together. To visualize the position, imagine that your ski tips are on the center of the dial of a clock. The tail of your right ski is at 20 minutes past the hour, and the tail of your left ski at 20 minutes to the hour.

Still on flat ground, practice several times going into a snowplow stance then returning your skis to the parallel position. They should be 4\ to 6 inches apart, each ski under a shoulder, and pointed straight ahead.

Sidestepping, or using the herringbone, or - if there’s a beginner area with a rope tow, using that - head up a low hill. It will be easier, for now, if you can find one that will allow you to stop on a flat surface rather than a slope. Using the star turn, face the fall line.

Hold the grips of the poles in front of you as if grasping the handlebars of a bicycle, elbows tucked in, and start gliding down. Keep your weight balanced evenly over both skis. Don’t worry about what the ski poles are doing.

While moving gently, force your skis into the snowplow position. Tips close together. Knees bent in toward each other so that the inner edges of the skis are digging into the snow and the tails are spread apart. If you’re properly positioned, with your weight equally over each ski, you’ll come to an instant stop.

Bring the skis parallel to start gliding. Again go into the snowplow. Practice this glide-snowplow-glide-snowplow maneuver until you reach the bottom. Then head for the top of the hill again and ski-snowplow-ski - snowplow to the flat runoff.

If the snowplow doesn’t function properly check to make certain your tips are close together, your knees pressed toward each other, and the tails spread apart.

If your tips are too far apart or you’re not edging inward, the result is predictable: “Damn it, why don’t I stop?”

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