The snowplough turn
The snowplough turn

The snowplough turn, snowplow turn, or wedge turn[1] is a downhill skiing braking and turning technique. It is the first turn taught to beginners,[2] but still is useful to advanced skiers on steep slopes.


The front ski tips of the skis are together and the tails wide apart, with the knees rolled inwards slightly. By applying pressure against the snow with the inside edges of the skis speed is reduced, making turning in such a configuration and stopping completely possible. To turn, weight is shifted from the downhill, outside-of-the-turn ski to the uphill, inside-of-the-turn ski. As the turn is completed, the old uphill, inside ski then becomes the new downhill, outside ski.[3][4][5] Successful completion of the technique in both directions leads to linked turns.[6]


In ski instruction, the snowplough is a primary building block of skiing proficiency. Under the Arlberg technique for teaching skiing, beginners start with the snowplough then proceed to Stem Christie and then the parallel turn as their skills improve.[7] It may be thought of as the foundation for controlling individual skis.[8] A ski coach can analyze the underlying abilities of expert skiers by watching them do a snowplow.[9] Proficient skiers may apply the technique with a narrower angle between the skis as a "wedge turn".[10]

In ski mountaineering, the snowplough is recognized as an important way to come to a complete stop on steep slopes.[11] On steep slopes, a wedge turn can also provide a safe way to transition through the fall-line.[12]


  1. ^ PSIA Standards Committee (June 2014). "Cross Country Certification Standards 2014" (PDF). Professional Ski Instructors of America. Retrieved 2014-10-22.
  2. ^ Sailer, Toni (1987). Junior Ski School. J. Wotton. pp. 44–6. ISBN 978-0-9512768-0-8.
  3. ^ Mitchell, David P. (2018-07-19). Skiing Made Easy: Complete beginner to parallel turns. p. 30.
  4. ^ Boys' Life. Boy Scouts of America, Inc. February 1967. p. 50.
  5. ^ Heller, Mark F.; Godlington, Douglas (1979). The Complete Skiing Handbook. Mayflower Books. pp. 76–80. ISBN 978-0-8317-1670-7.
  6. ^ Iselin, Fred; Spectorsky, I. A. (1971-10-15). Invitation to Modern Skiing. Touchstone. pp. 61, 78, 81. ISBN 978-0-671-21046-5.
  7. ^ Wickham, Kenneth G. (1968). Basic Cold Weather Manual. United States Army. pp. 87–89.
  8. ^ Struthers, Cathy (2005-12-23). Skiing and Snowboarding: 52 brilliant ideas for fun on the slopes. Infinite Ideas. pp. 99–101. ISBN 978-1-908189-67-7.
  9. ^ Witherell, Warren (1988). How the Racers Ski. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 114–8. ISBN 978-0-393-30344-5.
  10. ^ Warren, Jerry (February 1979). Put the Pressure. Ski Magazine. p. 61.
  11. ^ Wright, Jerimiah Ernest Bamford (1958). The Technique of Mountaineering: A Handbook of Established Methods. Mountaineering Association. p. 142.
  12. ^ Lund, Morten (January 1975). Five Mistakes that Keep You from Enjoying Steep Slopes. Ski Magazine. pp. 58–62.