Skiers employing the stem christie through slalom gates.

The stem christie or wedge christie,[1] is a type of skiing turn that originated in the mid-1800s in Norway and lasted until the late 1960s.[2] It comprises three steps: 1) forming a wedge by rotating the tail of one ski outwards at an angle to the direction of movement, initiating a change in direction opposite to the stemmed ski, 2) bringing the other ski parallel to the wedged ski, and 3) completing the turn with both skis parallel as they carve an arc, sliding sideways together.[3]


The stem Christiana was developed by Sondre Norheim in the mid-1800s. Norheim was a Norwegian skier and inventor whose innovations included early ski heel bindings that facilitated turning and jumping, and method for turning that included the basic stem, the Christiana, stem Christiana and parallel turns.[2] The term derives from turns employed by Norwegian jumpers in Oslo, Norway—then called "Christiana"—which was later shortened to "christie".[4]

This specific type of turn was promoted in the first decade of the 1900s by Austrian ski guide Hannes Schneider as the mainstay of the Arlberg technique, which he called the "Alpine System". Schneider's name is so attached to the turn that he is sometimes identified as its inventor, but he used it to replace the Telemark turn as the standard for descending on skis.[3]

The technique was widely used until the late 1960s, when its use diminished in favor of the parallel turn,[5][6] another form of turning on skis introduced by Norheim, alongside new ideas for sidecuts (to what had earlier been parallel inside and outside ski edges).[2] Skis with increasingly parabolic sidecuts accelerated the obsolescence of the stem christie, starting in the late 1990s, because of their improved turning characteristics over skis with minimal sidecut.[7]

Further reading

See also



  1. ^ Abraham, Horst; Campbell, Stu (September 1978). Developing Skills for Skiing: Part 1. Skiing. p. 149.
  2. ^ a b c Augustyn, Adam and the Editors of EB (December 29, 2021). "Sondre Norheim, Norwegian athlete and inventor". Encyclopedia Britannica [EB]. Retrieved December 29, 2021. ((cite encyclopedia)): |author= has generic name (help)
  3. ^ a b Pfeiffer, Doug (January 1969). "Instruction Corner—Back to Basics: Edge Control". Skiing. 20 (4). Chicago: Ziff-Davis: 94. ISSN 0037-6264. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  4. ^ Lund, Morten (September 2007). Norway: How it all started. International Skiing History Association. pp. 8–9.
  5. ^ Lundin, John W. (2020). Skiing Sun Valley : a history from Union Pacific to the Holdings. Charleston, SC: History Press. p. 361. ISBN 978-1-4396-7175-7. OCLC 1223026412.
  6. ^ Fry, John (2017). Story of Modern Skiing. University Press of New England. pp. 93–111. ISBN 978-1-5126-0156-5. OCLC 975025785.
  7. ^ Hall, Johanna (Winter 1997). "All Mixed Up? How to Make Sense of the Multi-Shaped Lesson". Archived from the original on April 11, 2003. Retrieved December 14, 2013.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)