Skip to main content

Wedge Turn

Novice Zone/Level 1 Demonstration Skiing

Activity Description

This activity involves skiing a series of linked wedge turns on gentle green terrain. Turn shape controls the skier’s speed.

Why This Activity Will Be Useful

The wedge continues to be used by many ski schools across the country as a platform for introducing sliding and first turning movements. Familiarity with both the mechanics and sensations of wedge turning help the instructor to understand what the student who uses a wedge turn experiences. An additional benefit to using a wedge is that the outside ski is already at a steering angle that makes it easier for the skier to turn the skis in the intended direction.

What The Skis Do (EFFECT)

• Ski tips are turned towards each other and skis are displaced slightly to create wedge relationship. Skis are on opposing edges.
• Skis are weighted/bent underfoot
• Outside ski edge angle decreases from finish through initiation
• Skis turn at similar rate throughout the turn
• Turn shape controls speed

How The Body Moves (CAUSE):

• Joints of the body are flexed to maintain center of mass over middle of skis (fore/aft).
• Legs are moved apart/displaced slightly to widen stance, but width is managed to promote low edge angles and small gliding wedge
• Rotary movements of the skis come from the legs turning separate from the upper body.
• Tipping comes from ankle and legs plus slight displacement of skis.
• Subtle turning of both legs promotes turning of the skis through all phases of the turn


Green terrain

Teaching/Learning Cues

• Basic gliding wedge. Practice a straight run in hip width stance. Slowly rotate both legs in the hip sockets, while widening the stance slightly to create a wedge relationship of skis. Keep the skis on as low of edge angle as possible. Glide to stop.
• Wedge change up: develop ability to use leg rotation to adjust the overall size of the wedge. Once in a gliding wedge (see above) slowly rotate the femurs while narrowing stance slightly to bring skis back to parallel relationship. Then slowly rotate femurs while slightly increasing stance width to develop a wedge. Repeat a series of these movements to develop awareness of sensations of both internal and external rotation of femurs.
• On most gentle green terrain, from gliding wedge, slowly begin to rotate both femurs to turn the skis either right or left. When skis begin to turn out of the fall line, slowly begin to turn legs in opposite direction. Focus on legs turning independently of the pelvis.
• Note: depending on speed, terrain, and amount of leg rotation, the inside ski may begin to move into a parallel relationship. This is an appropriate outcome.
• Gradually increase the pitch of the terrain to green and adjust rate, intensity, duration and timing of turning movements to create a variety of turn shapes and sizes.