Basic Skiing Moves and Tips for Beginners

learning to ski

Attribution: Title: aaaaaahhh!!! | Author: Mikel Ortega | Licence: CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

Before going on a ski holiday it’s a good idea to have a checklist of what to take, here are the essentials:

Ski Essentials

  • Waterproof Ski Jacket, trousers and gloves
  • Thermal base layers (for dispersing moisture)
  • A mid layer
  • Ski socks
  • Goggles and sunglasses
  • Neck warmer
  • Helmet
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Lip balm

Skiing Gear

The first and foremost advice for beginners is never to invest in ski wear, always hire. Ski gear is not cheap so it’s worth trying out the sport before you buy anything.


Rent your skis and get advice from qualified ski technicians. The benefit of renting is that you can take them back if you don’t feel comfortable and get another set that may suit you better.

Ski Boots

They can also be rented however take your time to try out as many pairs as possible as skiing with the right size and type of boots is vital to avoid accidents on the slopes. You will know it’s the right type of boots if you can move your toes comfortably and the heel doesn’t come up when they are done up. They should fit and not be too big.

Standing Up

It can be really awkward once you fit the skis onto your boots but don’t be nervous, just relax. Since the ski is now attached to your boots it will follow your body movement. Turning and stopping whenever you want is in your control so try picking one foot up at a time to get used to the feeling.

Your standing position will have a massive impact on the likelihood of you falling over once you start to slide. Position yourself in such a way that your feet are shoulder width apart with toes pointing inwards and heels pointing outwards.


According to Sally Chapman, one of the UK’s leading skiers,

Feet first initiate your movements from the feet. Don’t turn the shoulders or hips first. For example, if you wanted to turn left, you’d press down on the right big toe. Keep legs apart and work both feet independently: focus on pushing against one ski while the other acts as your stabiliser.Look where you’re going Beginners have a strong tendency to look down at their feet or at the tips of their skis, but try to look where you’re going. Not only does this aid balance and control, it also improves body awareness.


The snow plough position is used to control the speed and come to a stop. In order to slow down, simply turn the toes towards each other whilst pushing the heels further apart in such a way that the snow ploughs wider at the back and a small gap is left between the tips of the skis. Sally Chapman explains that,

The snowplough is the first thing every skier learns, and consequently is seen as a beginner’s move. But a snowplough can be any skier’s friend in controlling speed and direction. Remember to snowplough by pushing the heels out, not rolling the knees in.


Simply turn your feet and the ski will follow. Begin by facing sideways across the hill and not downwards whilst in the snow plough position which will control the speed and help stabilise the movement.

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