How To Parallel Ski – Beginners Guide

Published by Harry Sowers on

Going from a beginning skier to an intermediate or advanced skier definitely takes some time. But like all good things, it comes to those who have patience and who improve their techniques and skill, so they have a great skiing foundation. The last thing you want is to learn skiing skills as fast as possible to get the intermediate level, but never truly master them. If you do this, you don’t know how to do them properly. And as a beginner, you may feel like you’re flopping all over the mountainside while other people zoom past you looking cooler than a super spy who just blew up his enemy’s secret winter hideaway. But that is just the appeal of parallel skiing. To perform the effortless movements and turns that make parallel skiing look so cool, you should already have a strong foundation of beginning techniques under your belt. So if you do, let’s find out how to parallel ski!

What Is Parallel Skiing?

Eventually, almost every skier will learn how to parallel ski. It is a natural technique that intermediate and advanced skiers learn once they are ready and leave the beginner skiing level. You cannot be a beginning skier and learn how to parallel ski because it takes a strong amount of muscle control along with familiarity of how your body and your skis move on hard and soft snow. 

Unlike other skiing types, by which I mean snowplough skiing, parallel skiing requires you to move and turn while both of your skis are perfectly parallel to each other. They do not move at all, or they do not switch positions. To move your skis this way, you need to learn to ski in a snowplow position first. For those who do not know, snowplough skiing is when the skis of skier are positioned perpendicular to each other so that the front of the skis are very close to each other, but the back of the skis are far apart. All beginners absolutely must learn how to snowplough ski before they even think of learning to parallel ski. 

So now that we know what parallel skiing is, let’s learn how to do it. Even though you are reading this online and you’re most likely at home researching skiing techniques, feel free to grab your skis and ski boots and put them on. You can practice a little bit while you are on solid dry ground. Then when you are on the slopes, it’ll be easier for you to recall what you read about parallel skiing because you’ve already tried to practice it.

How To Parallel Ski?

woman parallel skiing

One of the good things about learning to parallel ski is that you don’t need any extra or different equipment. All you need is the stuff you’ve been practicing with already, like your skiing clothes and your skis and ski poles. You don’t even need equipment to help your skis stay parallel. But expect your muscles to be tired after the first few times you throw husky as you are now using different muscles to move your skis together.

When you learn to parallel ski, you must get used to exerting the same amount of pressure from each foot onto each ski. Your skis must always remain parallel to each other, and they must not move or turn in a different angle. Because your skis do not interfere with each other, you’ll find that you gain speed faster then when you snowplough ski. If you are not used to faster speeds, I suggest you master how to slow down and come to a stop before learning to parallel ski. 

Parallel skiing and turning are not difficult; it just takes time to practice and master, just like any other technique. In fact, when you get used to parallel skiing, you will start to feel like a real skier who knows their way around the mountains and slopes. 

Can You Practice At Home Ski Parallel Turn?

Unless you have a snowy mountain top in your backyard, you cannot truly practice a ski parallel turn at home. But you can practice the proper positioning and review videos and tutorials that explain how to perform a ski parallel turn. 

However, if you live in an area blanketed in snow during the wintertime, it may be easier for you to practice parallel skiing than those who live in areas where it doesn’t drop below 50 degrees. (I’m looking at you over on the West Coast of the United States.)

But no matter where you are reading this, I will explain how to perform a parallel turn, so you understand what to do next time you’re out on the slopes.

In order to perform a parallel ski turn, you must learn to roll your energy and your motion from one ski to the other. When you turn, you will favor one ski, and it’s an edge. If you’re making a right turn, you will favor the right skew, and if you’re making a left turn, you will rely on the left ski. As you complete the turn, you need to slowly roll your skis back into the standard position. Also, when you turn, your skis cannot move differently. They need to stay together, and you need to roll your skis in time with each other, so when you do finish turning, you’ll be right back in the upright position you started in.


If you need more help learning to parallel ski, go to and check out the many many videos that skiers have made about parallel skiing. Be sure to watch other skiers who are on a higher level than you to see what they are doing when they parallel ski. If you are not shy, go up to someone who is parallel skiing and ask for some advice before they take off down the slope. Most people are happy to help someone who is genuinely trying to learn a new technique or skill. And when you finally master parallel skiing, be sure to pass on the knowledge you learned to a skier who is trying to learn as well.

Categories: How toSki


Harry Sowers

Harry grew up outside of Denver Colorado and has been skiing and snowboarding since he was 3. He is most passionate about skiing and when he was in college at UC Boulder he even participated in the olympic trials for the USA Olympic Downhill Ski team.