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Chill Factore How to: Parallel skiing

Chill Factor<sup>e</sup> customer in black winter clothing parallel skiing down indoor ski slope

If you’re on your way to becoming an experienced skier and are comfortable on the slopes, you’ll probably want to progress your skills. If you think you’re ready, read this guide on how to ski parallel and leave the ‘snowplough’ formation behind. Find out how long it takes to parallel ski and more by reading this handy guide.

Am I ready to parallel ski?

When skiing, it is particularly important to learn to walk before you can run. That means feeling confident out on the slopes and being in control. Skiing is a thrilling, high-speed sport, but safety is always first and foremost.

However, if you feel that you’ve achieved a solid level of confidence, learning how to ski parallel is a significant point in learning to ski and will have you skiing more efficiently and enjoyably.

The ‘snowplough’, sometimes referred to as the ‘pizza’ formation, is the standard position used to ease people into learning to ski and give them control over their speed. Though, this position is not often used once someone learns how to ski parallel.

If you feel you are ready to progress to the next stage of learning to ski, keep reading to find out our tips on how to ski parallel.

How long does it take to parallel ski?

When people learn to ski, people usually tend to follow a certain progression and gradually move to techniques and slopes that require more skill.

In a person’s first few hours, they will typically gain enough confidence to stand and then learn to start and stop over a few metres. In a few hours or days, someone may learn to try going down a gentle gradient and learn to turn slowly after mastering the ‘snowplough’ technique. On average, it can then take around a week or two to learn to parallel ski and be able to turn confidently while doing so. 

If you need help getting to this point, we have plenty of tips and tricks you can read up on in the meantime to ensure you’re well on your way to learning how to ski parallel.

How to ski parallel

If you’re ready to know how to ski parallel, check out these top tips featured in the list below.

  • Keep your skis at the correct distance
  • Gain confidence in your balance
  • Avoid common problems

Keep your skis at the correct distance apart

When getting into parallel skiing, it’s important to keep your skis at the correct distance apart. When using the ‘snowplough’, keeping your legs wide apart is fine as your position remains stable since you only travel forward in this position. When parallel skiing, you will be turning at sharper angles so if the leading edge of the inside ski (the one closest to the slope) is digging into the snow, it will catch it and cause you to lose balance or trip over.

For this reason, you must keep your skis hip-width apart so both skis are at the same edge angle and slide in the same direction. Keeping your legs at hip-width additionally ensures you are comfortable while skiing.

If your skis are too close together, your knees will not have the freedom to control your movement as much. For this reason, it is important to be conscious of this as leaning onto the edges of your skis with more leg room will help you parallel ski with more control.

Gain confidence in your balance

When using the snowplough, it initially feels more comfortable retaining your balance in this position as opposed to parallel skiing. However, confidence all comes with practice.

At slower speeds, having your legs closer together when parallel skiing can be tougher as you have to balance your weight in a smaller area. It’s a similar concept to riding a bike in which it is tougher to balance when going slower but easier when you pick up speed.

Smaller movements will feel more significant when picking up speed while parallel skiing. So it’s essential that you feel confident skiing at a fairly quick pace to make the most of this position.

Avoid common problems

There are several problems that people can run into when learning how to parallel ski for the first time. By being conscious of these problems and addressing them early on, you’ll be on your way to parallel skiing assuredly in no time.

If it is taking you a long time to turn while parallel skiing, it’s possible that you’re not putting enough pressure on the inside edge of the outside ski. Lean your weight and your hip into the turn confidently and dig into the ski using the inside of your foot. This will help you to make your turns a lot sharper.

If you find that you aren’t controlling your skis as well as you’d like, make sure that your ski boots fit snugly. This will ensure that your body moves more effectively and less energy is spent moving the ski itself.

Getting nervous before going down a steep hill is of course natural, but you will only improve by going at a consistent pace. Try perfecting your parallel turns on an easier gradient with lots of space to turn if you feel you need a little more practice.

Learning how to ski parallel at Chill Factore

Now that you know the theory behind learning how to ski parallel, come and put your know-how into practice by trying out your skills on the UK’s longest real snow indoor slope, here at Chill Factore.

Chill Factore offer specially tailored Plough to Parallel lessons to progress your skiing from snow plough to parallel in one 5 hour day lesson.

What are you waiting for? Visit us at Manchester’s Trafford Park. Get a Lift Pass and come and meet us out on the slope to perfect your parallel skiing technique. Take your skills to the next level and you may become confident enough to take on the real thing on some of Europe’s top ski slopes.

If you’re completely new to the slopes, don’t fret. Everybody starts somewhere! We offer a wide range of ski lessons and snowboarding lessons for people of all ages and abilities. We also offer private lessons if one-on-one learning is more your thing.

If you’d like to take advantage of all the learning services we provide, book now!

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us on 0161 749 2222 or email us at

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