Wedge Christie

Activity Description

In this activity, the skier makes linked turns on the green terrain. Wedge Christie turns are characterized by the presence of a wedge in the initiation phase of the turn, and by the gradual steering of the skis (inside more than outside) to achieve a parallel skidded turn sometime during the shaping or early finish phase of the turn. The skis match (become parallel) as a result of increased steering and edging movements of the inside foot/leg, and is assisted by the forces of the turn.

Why This Activity Will Be Useful:

Not only is the Wedge Christie a traditional skiing task for ski instructors, develops the awareness and ability to tip and turn the feet/legs independent of each other and separate from the upper body. Most skiers will pass through a phase in their skiing development where their movements create a spontaneous Wedge Christie-like turn. This activity can help instructors become more skillful coaches to skiers in this zone.

What The Skis Do (EFFECT):

• Skis bend from center, reflecting fore/aft relationship of body to skis
• Both edges are released at initiation: the old inside ski changes edges from finish to initiation; the old outside edge angle decreases/flattens from finish to initiation.
• Skis are on opposing edges in a small wedge in the initiation phase
• Both ski tips move downhill at initiation
• Outside ski turns faster than inside ski to the fall line to create wedge.
• As forces of the turn build, the inside ski begins to turn faster to create parallel relationship. During same time, inside ski is tipped from big toe edge to the little toe edge and the skis are on corresponding edges through remainder of turn
• Turn shape and skidding controls speed

How The Body Moves (CAUSE):

• Rotary movements come from legs under stable pelvis and upper body
• Tipping comes from ankles and legs plus slight displacement of skis when in wedge
• Tipping and turning movements come from legs and are blended to guide skis onto edge and turn skis through all phases
• Subtle flexing/extending movements of joints keep Center of mass centered fore/aft over over base of support
• Flexion/extension movements of the legs direct pressure to the outside ski.


Green terrain

Teaching/Learning Cues

Practice Wedge Turns, Spontaneous Christie, and Guided Uphill Arc as development steps.
Practice Wedge Christie turns on gentle terrain at speeds appropriate to the novice zone.

Initiation phase cues:

• Center of Mass stays over Base of Support laterally and fore aft.
• Subtle extension of the knees can be used through the initiation and early shaping phase of turn to assist edge release and change as well as move COM forward to maintain relationship with base of support.
• As edges begin to release, use subtle turning of both legs to direct ski tips down the hill

Shaping phase:

• As forces of turn move pressure to outside ski, begin to increase rate of tipping and turning of inside ski to turn in to parallel relationship with outside ski. Hint: think of pivoting the inside ski under the boot, trying to turn the whole ski, as opposed to just pulling the ski and leg toward the outside ski (bringing the tail in).

Late shaping to finish phase:

• Continue to turn both skis on as flat of edge as possible. Use skidding and turn shape to keep speed slow and controlled.

© Professional Ski instructors of America - American Association of Snowboard Instructors - Central Division