The purpose of parallel skiing -- keeping your skis together -- is control. Your speed, carving and turning, and stopping are all determined by your level of ski control. The key to keeping your skis together is keeping your body balanced: too far forward, back, right or left, your knees too bent or your legs too straight and you will naturally spread your legs in an attempt to regain your balance. Your ability to keep your weight centered over the appropriate edges determines your level of control -- specifically, weighting the inside edge of your downhill ski and the outside edge of your uphill ski.
Maintain the proper relationship between your shoulders, hips, knees and feet. Keep your shoulders directly above your knees, your knees above your feet, in a straight line, the line perpendicular to your skis. Irrespective of the degree to which you bend or straighten your legs, always keep your shoulders over your knees and your knees over your feet. Keep your hands in front of you, elbows bent between 40 and 90 degrees, to prevent your shoulders from drifting back behind your knees. Keep your hips centered -- in regard to right and left -- on the same line that runs from your spine to your downhill foot.
Keep your knees bent between 40 degrees and 90 degrees to prevent the natural spreading of your legs that occurs physiologically if you squat below 90 degrees and the natural instinct to spread your feet because you legs are too straight and off balance. As the degrees of bend increase, lean your shoulders forward to keep them centered over your knees. As you straighten your legs, shift your shoulders back -- again -- to keep them centered over your knees.
Concentrate on keeping your knees together, if your knees are together, your feet remain together, hence, your skis remain together. Look at the tips of your skis every 10 or 20 seconds -- with the periphery of your vision -- as you look down the fall line you're skiing so you have visual affirmation that your skis are together. Get comfortable with the insides of your skis rubbing together as scuffing up the insides of your boots is an indication that you're parallel skiing correctly.
Stay on your edges. Always keep your weight on the uphill edge of both skis -- with the exception of the split second it takes you to initiate a turn. Keep your shoulders facing down the fall line -- even when your skis are going across the face of the slope -- in order to prevent the natural inclination of spreading your legs as you lose your balance because you are following your skis and not leading them.
- The first, last and most important thing to remember is the relationship between your shoulders and your knees: in a straight line, perpendicular to the ski slope.
- Don't look down at your skis. Doing so causes your shoulders to drift forward of your knees.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images