Few sights are more pleasing than that of an expert skier arcing through one parallel turn after another, feet almost - but not quite - together. Often, moving from stem christie to parallel turning comes automatically with continued skiing.

As you become an advanced novice you quickly discover that, after two or three days on the slopes, the snowplow you use to initiate turns is becoming less and less pronounced. Both skis are now staying almost parallel, with your weight shifting chiefly to the outside ski as you push the tail slightly out, keeping only a light weight on the inside ski so that it’s increasingly parallel to the outside ski. Behold. The parallel turn, with both skis parallel throughout the entire maneuver.

For generations skiers learning the parallel were taught to “keep the weight off the inside ski.” No way. With all your weight on the outside ski the turn changes from a stem christie to a skid turn, not a smooth parallel. How do you tell them apart? In the stem christie, the outside ski usually sends up a light spray of snow while you turn. In the parallel, the skis actually glide throughout the entire turn. Always keep some of your weight on the inside ski to help convert the snow-spraying stem christie into a parallel.

Suddenly, here it is, only the end of your first couple days skiing and already you have the skills necessary to handle easy groomed runs. Now is the time to consider how much more you’ll learn by taking advanced lessons in a ski school with a group of your peers, or privately. Either way, every skier, from novice to expert, always has something more to learn.

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