Parallel Skiing vs Carving

Parallel Skiing vs Carving

Parallel skiing and carving are two of the most common turns in skiing. Parallel skiing is also known as skidded turns while carving is also known as carved turn.

In parallel skiing one has to rotate their feet to turn the skiing around parallel to each other while in carving is achieved by going sideways from edge to edge so that the ski is cutting through the snow leaving a nice track behind.

Parallel skiing is great for bumps powder short turns while carving is good for clean side cuts.

Carving leaves a clean, arcing lines in your path – a dream for many skiers. But before you chase that carve, it’s crucial to understand where you are coming from: parallel skiing.

Parallel Skiing vs Carving

Both styles have their place, offering distinct experiences and serving as stepping stones on your skiing journey. Stay still, snow bunny, as we look into parallel skiing vs carving, exploring their differences, benefits, and how to master each.

Parallel Skiing: The Foundation of Control

Think of parallel skiing as the bedrock of good turn technique. Imagine your skis like two train tracks, running side-by-side.

Parallel skiing

This classic style emphasizes balance, edge control, and weight distribution, providing a stable platform for learning and exploring the mountain.

Benefits of Parallel Skiing

  • Solid foundation: Parallel skiing lays the groundwork for all other styles, including carving. It teaches you to control your edge angles, maintain proper body position, and react effectively to different terrain.
  • Versatility: Whether cruising groomers, navigating bumps, or tackling powder, parallel skiing offers adaptability and control in varied conditions.
  • Lower speed: For beginners and cautious skiers, parallel skiing allows for comfortable, controlled descents at manageable speeds.

Mastering Parallel Skiing

  • Maintain a neutral stance: Imagine your body as a pizza slice, with your feet shoulder-width apart and weight evenly distributed.
  • Engage your core: A strong core provides stability and helps initiate feet turns smoothly which turn the skis.
  • Rotate your hips: Initiate turns by rotating your hips first, followed by your upper body and shoulders.
  • Pressure your edges: As you turn, apply pressure to the outside edge of your downhill ski for controlled carving.
  • Practice, practice, practice: Repetition is key to building muscle memory and refining your technique.

Carving: The Art of Flowing Lines

Carving isn’t just a turn; it’s a dance on the edge of your skis. This is why carving requires special skis that are narrower at the middle as compared to the edges. This means that when one tilts them the side and apply body pressure at the middle they curve resulting to a clean turn.


Imagine slicing through the snow, leaving behind graceful, curved lines like a brushstroke on canvas. This advanced technique requires precision, commitment, and a deeper understanding of ski dynamics.

Benefits of Carving

  • Good speed: Carving allows you to generate more power and achieve higher speeds with control and stability.
  • Accurate control: The carved turn offers unparalleled edge control, allowing you to navigate complex terrain with confidence.
  • Effortless flow: Once mastered, carving becomes an almost effortless, rhythmic movement, connecting you to the mountain like never before.

How to Master the Carve

  • Strong leg muscles: Carving demands strong quads and calves for initiating and holding the edge.
  • Good balance: Maintaining balance on one ski edge requires excellent core engagement and body awareness.
  • Commitment to the turn: Do not fight the turn; trust your edges and commit your weight to the outside ski.
  • Find your rhythm: Carving is about finding the perfect rhythm between speed, edge angle, and body movement.
  • Seek professional instruction: Learning from a certified instructor can fast-track your progress and ensure proper technique.

Which One’s Right for You between Parallel Skiing Vs Carving

The answer is not a simple one. It depends on your experience, skill level, and skiing goals.

  • Beginners: Start with parallel skiing to build a strong foundation and develop essential skills.
  • Intermediate skiers: As your confidence and skills grow, gradually transition to carving, starting with gentle slopes and slow speeds.
  • Advanced skiers: Embrace the challenge and refine your carving technique to explore steeper terrain and higher speeds.

Remember: Both parallel skiing and carving offer unique experiences and contribute to your overall skiing development. Do not rush the process; enjoy the journey of mastering each technique, and ultimately, find your own perfect flow on the slopes!

Carving technique
Carving technique

Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to mix and match! Depending on the terrain and your mood, you can seamlessly switch between parallel and carving throughout your run, adding variety and maximizing your enjoyment.

So, grab your skis, hit the slopes, and explore the world of parallel and carving. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination, and every turn is an opportunity to learn, grow, and experience the magic of skiing!