Skiing Through the Elements: Mastering 5 Turn Types

Skiing Through the Elements: Mastering 5 Turn Types
Photo by Bradley King / Unsplash

Skiing is a fun winter sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. However, there are various types of skiing techniques that skiers need to learn to enjoy the sport safely and efficiently. One of the most crucial skills that a skier should learn is how to make different types of turns. In this article, we will discuss five types of turns that skiers need to master: carved medium to long radius turns, short turns, mogul turns, pivot turns, and powder turns. Understanding the techniques required for each turn is essential for skiers to navigate different terrains successfully

Carved medium to long radius turns:

These turns are used on the groomed trails in the morning when the snow is nicely groomed. To execute these turns, the skier needs to keep a stable upper body and make sure that the center of gravity (belly button) is over the base of support (skis) when changing edges from one set to the next set of edges. The skier needs to avoid moving the upper body down the hill or inside the turn too quickly, which can cause the skier to lose pressure on the outside ski.

Short turns

These turns are used on steeper or narrow terrain when the skier needs to control their speed. To execute these turns successfully, the skier needs to make a nice steering angle at the start of the turn and grip the outside ski before twisting the skis too quickly. The skier needs to avoid turning the skis too quickly and making the turn too short.

Mogul turns

These turns are used on bumpy or tracked-out terrain. The skier needs to be dynamic and athletic to execute these rhythmical short turns over the bumps. To execute these turns successfully, the skier needs to make active use of the hip joint, especially when tipping the skis down the hill. The skier needs to absorb the impact when hitting the bump and close the hip joint, but as they go over the bump, they need to open the hip joint to keep the tip of the skis in contact with the snow.

Stivot turns

This is a combination of a steering and a pivot turn. These turns are useful when the skier is on a groomed, steep terrain and wants to shape the turn to the size they want. To execute these turns successfully, the skier needs to make a little bit of steering at the start of the turn and carve the second half of the turn. The skier needs to avoid turning the skis too much or having the skis too flat, which can cause them to slide across the hill too much.

Powder turns

These turns are used when skiing in powder snow. To execute these turns successfully, the skier needs to have a good understanding of the ski design and use the momentum through the powder. The skier needs to use the wide tip and wide tail of the skis to hold the snow and the narrow waist to sink. The skier needs to avoid turning the skis too much, which can make them unsuccessful in powder turns.


Learning to ski in all conditions is an essential skill for any skier who wants to enjoy the slopes safely and confidently. By mastering the five types of turns discussed in this article, skiers can navigate different terrains, from the groomed trails to the bumpy, tracked-out terrain and powder snow. From carving medium to long radius turns to execute powder turns, each type of turn requires a unique set of techniques that skiers can learn and improve upon over time. With practice and perseverance, skiers can master these turns and enjoy skiing in all conditions. So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced skier, keep practicing and learning, and you will soon be skiing like a pro in any condition!

This table provides a quick overview of the differences between each type of turn in terms of the terrain they are suited for, the speed at which they are typically executed, the shape of the turn, and the techniques required to execute them successfully.
Turn Type Terrain Speed Turn Shape Techniques
Carved Medium to Long Radius Turns Groomed trails Moderate to fast Curved, arcing turns Stable upper body, proper weight distribution, edge control
Short Turns Steep or narrow terrain Slow to moderate Tight, quick turns Steering angle, grip on outside ski, controlled pressure
Mogul Turns Bumpy or tracked-out terrain Slow to moderate Short, rhythmic turns Dynamic and athletic movements, use of hip joint, absorption of impact
Stivot Turns Groomed, steep terrain Moderate to fast Variable, customizable turns Combination of steering and pivot turns, carving, weight shift
Powder Turns Powder snow Moderate to fast Wide, floating turns Use of ski design, momentum, weight distribution, avoiding excessive turning