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Types of turns and tactics Subscribe Pub

Sure, there's carving your skis and then if you can't, there's steering the skis around the turn, but is that all there is? As we think about this and break it down in more detail, there's a lot more to it... let's see if we can get anywhere by simply cataloguing them all.

Types of turns

Let's catalog types of turns that we can do on skis and speed control options and overall control as well as the skill required for a good execution of each - this is all in terms of skiing a blue/black run. Greens and double-blacks are extremes:

  • carving

    • edge locked, arc to arc
      • turn control: good, edging and pressure (many options with extending, timing, edging, floating)
      • speed control: low above fall line, great after fall line
      • skill: high
    • brushed (not quite edge locked but almost, uses the same movements as arc-to-arc - the skis do not displace much sideways):
      • turn control: great, edging and pressure (many options with extending, timing, edging, floating)
      • speed control: medium above fall line, good after fall line
      • skill: high
  • skidding

    • between brushed and stivot, maybe a hint of pivoting to start it
      • turn control: medium - greater loss of control than brushing, need hookup to control
      • speed control: good before fall line, medium after fall line
      • skill: medium
  • pivoting

    • twist skis (against or together with the upper body)
      • turn control: low
      • speed control: poor above fall line, medium after fall line
      • skill: low
  • stivoting - usually some pivoting to start it, but mainly forceful skidding

    • stivoting
      • turn control: poor, need hookup to control
      • speed control: good before fall line apex, great (hookup) after fall line apex
      • skill: medium
    • hockey stop
      • turn control: none
      • speed control: none before fall line and great after fall line
      • skill: low

Grades mean

  • turn control: how easy it is to alter turn shape and hookup point, etc
    • poor: limited to few turn shapes, hard to change mid-turn
    • good: many useful turn shapes, can change mid-turn
  • speed control:
    • poor: can't control high speed (i.e. black)
    • good: can control high speed (i.e. black)
    • Note on stivoting: speed control graded before and after apex and stivoting implies that the skis are never in the fall line. There can be an argument on this, but it's what it is.


This is intended to give anyone enough criteria to choose one type of turning for whatever context/conditions/strenght/skill/speed... For racing there are more tactical considerations when choosing in any given turn, i.e. where is my balance at the end of the movement, how fast can I transfer balance etc.

Here's some tactical situations AS I SEE THEM, assuming I can do either, skill-wise:

  • having fun all mountain
    • changing turn shape and speed
    • I aim to control speed in every turn, don't let it build up past what I want
      • carved: both arc to arc and brushed
  • ​doing bumps, glades, lower skill level
    • trying to survive
      • attempt to carve, mostly skidding, sometimes pivot the heck out of it, 'cause I'm a wuss
  • have to make the next gate or go around the snowboarder that just stopped in my line
    • I'm on the line
      • carve, either
    • I'm late
      • skid
    • I'm really late
      • stivot
    • I'm about to run off the hill or into the snowboarder
      • hockey stop


Next you get outside and go skiing, try some of these. See for yourself how easy it is to change the turn shape, how easy it is to control the skis, how much speed can you dump while in relative control...

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By: Razie | 2015-03-04 .. 2016-04-29 | Tags: post , coaching , technique , tactics

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