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WINTER-SPORTS's online LESSONS
ALPINE SKI LESSONS: SKIDDING
Skidding
Skidding is an important basic skiing technique. It's easy to learn and comes in handy in many different situations. Skidding is initiated by combining two elements: a force exerted on the ski's edge (inertia, centrifugal force or gravity) and minimal edging. The skidding technique is essential for beginners as it will allow them to control fairly quickly and easily their speed. This technique is also often used by experienced skiers when they need to brake or ski on very uneven grounds.
The importance of well positioning your knees
As often in alpine skiing, the knees play an important part as the way they are positioned will determine the edges' grip on the snow. The closer one knee is to the other, the bigger the angle between the ski and the slope is, thus increasing the edging. To skid, the grip of the skis on the snow should be minimal.

Comment: to be able to side-slip, your knees have to be bent and leaning forwards.
Skidding on a slope
This technique, which consists of letting yourself skid across the slope, allows you to safely go through the most difficult areas. It is used by skiers of all levels.The knees play an essential role in initiating and controlling skidding. When they are facing uphill, the skis are locked because the edging is important. When the knees are facing downhill, the edging is minimal and the skis skid (see the sketches).
Exercise 1
On a gentle to medium slope, place yourself perpendicular to the slope. As always when you're across the fall line, your weight should be over the downhill ski (the one that's furthest down). To do so, slightly turn your upper body towards the slope, facing the valley.

Bend your knees and turn them towards the slope (downhill) to start skidding. You will most likely feel that one of the sides (the front or the tail) of the ski is skidding faster than the other one and you're not perpendicular to the slope any more. If it's the spatula that's skidding faster than the tail, lean on your heel to adjust. If it's the tail that's skidding too fast, lean on your toes. This adjusting mechanism is fairly easy to grasp.
Exercise 2
Once you're mastered this technique, use it to perform Z-shaped skids. Start with a backward skid (lean on the back of the foot, then on the front to correct the movement, then lock to stop) then link it to a forward skid (lean on the toes, then on the heel to correct the movement, then lock to stop) and so on.
What you should be feeling
Your weight evenly distributed on the surface of the ski boot's sole, a sure sign of a good balance and regular skidding.

A slight pressure on the ski boot's tongue, due to the fact your knees are bent.
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