Get a grip on the basics of edging.

Edging is the skill of tilting the ski onto an angle against the snow. This skill when combined with the other skills (balance, twisting, etc) results in multiple effects. On its own, I like to simplify edging as giving skiers a grip on the snow. When we have a firm grip on the ground, other things can happen.

Compare two race cars taking a corner. One has good tyres and the other has bald tyres. The car with good tires makes the corner sharply and accurately as it turns. The car with bald tyres tries to turn but skids, slows down inadvertently and struggles to make a neat turn.

The car on the right has no grip. It skids, slows down, struggles to make the turn.
Very much like  many z shape skiers.

The faster we go, the more edge we need.  You’ll need to ski with a generally higher edge angle at 60km/h than you did at 20km/h. You’ll soon know if you aren’t skiing with a high enough edge angle when skiing fast. Your skis will be breaking away from the snow substantially and you’ll suddenly have this strange sensation in the pit of your stomach and heart. It’s called panic. It often develops into fear if left untreated.

Also, as you go through a turn, you’ll feel a force on you gradually exert a greater influence. Likewise your grip on the snow must increase accordingly. Therefore, within a single turn,  your edge angle must continuously increase.  Too little grip and our skis slide away from us. Too much and our skis gets locked in the snow, making it hard for us to do anything else with our skis. The good news is that in between those two states is a surprisingly large margin!

Your edge must continuously increase as you go through a turn.
The faster your speed is, the more edge angle you’ll need.

The skill of edging is us tilting our skis onto an angle. We tilt our skis by making different movements with our bodies. We make different movements to put our skis onto an ever higher edge angle as we go through a turn. I’ll explore each individual movement over the next few posts and examine common errors and misconceptions.

Edging is a term in skiing that is commonly overused.  It’s usually the first ski jargon that skiers learn. Some just like to say it just because it sounds kinda cool or sexy. It sometime becomes a blanket excuse for anything they don’t really understand; “I think I need more edge“. I’ve even noticed some trainers guilty of doing it. When faced with a trainee that they can’t really pinpoint exactly what is going wrong, they will just say, “You need to get a higher edge earlier”. Suddenly the trainee is awe inspired by the technical jargon used, nods in half-understanding, believing that what the trainer is suggesting is a state perhaps beyond them. It’s like dazzling them with flowery words and telling them to find inner peace or enlightenment. “Ahhh a higher early edge….how I wish I could have that”.

Edging is important in skiing but it’s not the holy grail some make it out to be. Partly because it’s treated with such reverence by so many, it’s usually overcomplicated and subsequently misunderstood. Most students then give up trying to understand its purpose. Yes, it has multiple purposes especially with side-cut being thrown in. But at its core, the skill of edging lets us control our grip on the snow.

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2 thoughts on “Get a grip on the basics of edging.

  1. Hi Jason

    Good stuff. What do you tell people about angulation vs inclination as the steepness and thus required edge angle increases. Do you have any tips on technique to improve skills in this area?


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