As ski instructors, we sometimes over-complicate what it takes to make a ski turn. I recently skied with an engineer. Since I also come from an engineering background, we both had fun dissecting a ski turn in great detail. We finally had to remind ourselves why we were on the mountain and went skiing.
I could probably talk for hours about how to initiate a ski turn. But let me make it very simple – an edged ski is difficult to turn. A flat ski is much easier to turn. Manipulating our body to move a ski from an edged position to a flat position is the key to an efficient ski turn.
Of course, now you ask “How do I manipulate my body to flatten my skis?” Try standing on a relatively flat hill (a hill where you are comfortable) with your skis pointed across the slope so you aren’t moving. If you aren’t moving or sliding down the hill, your skis are probably edged. Try moving your center of mass slightly down the slope. You skis should begin to flatten and you should begin to slide down the hill sideways. You can also flatten a ski by shifting your knees downhill.
Once you feel your skis sliding, practice edging your skis then “release” the edge (move to a flat ski). Try releasing the edge during a traverse. Once you have mastered the movement to “release” your edge and create a flat ski, try traversing, releasing your edge so you are sliding, then turn your skis.
Hopefully, if done correctly, the skis will make a nice round turn with minimal effort. Practice flattening your skis then turning until this movement is second nature. If you can make this work, you are well on your way to efficient skiing.