Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Traversing In Skiing: Techniques And Tips


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Daphne Winger



Skiing is an exhilarating sport that combines speed, precision, and the sheer beauty of navigating through snowy slopes. While downhill skiing is often the highlight of the experience, mastering the art of traversing is equally important. Traversing in skiing refers to skiing horizontally across the slope, allowing skiers to change direction, avoid obstacles, and maintain control while descending.


Traversing requires a solid foundation of skiing techniques and specific skills to navigate different terrains and conditions. This article will explore the basic and advanced techniques for traversing, as well as provide valuable tips to improve your overall skiing experience.


Whether you are a beginner or an advanced skier, mastering traversing techniques will greatly enhance your skiing abilities. It will not only increase your confidence on the slopes but also enable you to explore new trails, conquer challenging terrains, and unlock a whole new realm of skiing adventures.


So, let’s dive in and discover the techniques and tips that will take your traversing skills to the next level!


Basic Techniques

When it comes to traversing in skiing, there are several fundamental techniques that every skier should be familiar with. These techniques form the foundation for navigating across the slopes with control and efficiency. Let’s explore some of the basic techniques:

  1. Parallel Turns

    Parallel turns are the most common technique used for traversing and changing direction on the slopes. To execute parallel turns, skiers shift their weight from one ski to the other while maintaining a parallel alignment. This technique provides stability and control, allowing skiers to smoothly transition from one direction to another.

  2. Stem Turns

    Stem turns are another technique commonly used for traversing and are particularly helpful in steep or challenging terrain. In a stem turn, skiers start with one ski forming a diagonal stem while the other ski is kept parallel. By pushing out the stem ski, skiers initiate the turn and then bring the skis parallel to complete the turn. This technique provides additional control and stability on difficult slopes.

  3. Carving

    Carving is a more advanced technique that involves utilizing the edges of the skis to create precise turns. Skiers who have mastered carving can smoothly glide across the slope by leaving thin tracks in the snow. While carving requires a higher skill level, it offers enhanced control and speed, making it an efficient technique for traversing on groomed slopes.

  4. Powder Turns

    When skiing through deep powder snow, different techniques are required to maintain control and traverse effectively. Powder turns involve making wider and more rounded turns, allowing the skis to float on top of the snow. The key is to distribute weight evenly, keep a slightly leaning-back position, and use gentle, rhythmic movements to stay on course.

  5. Mogul Skiing

    Traversing through mogul fields requires a specific technique known as mogul skiing. Moguls are large bumps formed on the slopes due to repeated turns by skiers. To traverse through moguls, skiers employ a combination of quick turns and absorption techniques. The idea is to maintain a rhythmic flow and adjust the timing and size of turns based on the shape and size of the moguls.

By mastering these basic techniques, skiers can confidently navigate the slopes, adapt to different snow conditions, and ensure a safe and enjoyable traversing experience. As you progress and gain more experience, you can move on to more advanced techniques that will further enhance your traversing skills.


Parallel Turns

Parallel turns are a fundamental technique in skiing and an essential skill for traversing. This technique allows skiers to smoothly change direction while maintaining control and balance. Here’s a breakdown of the key steps:

  1. Body Position: Start with a balanced body position, with your weight evenly distributed between both skis. Keep your knees slightly bent and your upper body facing downhill.
  2. Initiate the Turn: To initiate the turn, shift your weight and pressure to the uphill ski. This will naturally guide the skis into the desired direction.
  3. Edge Control: As you initiate the turn, apply gentle pressure to the inside edge of the uphill ski. This will help you maintain control and ensure a smooth transition.
  4. Weight Transfer: As you progress through the turn, transfer your weight gradually from the uphill ski to the downhill ski. This will help maintain balance and stability throughout the entire turn.
  5. Alignment: Throughout the turn, focus on keeping your skis parallel to each other. Avoid crossing or diverging your skis, as this may cause loss of control or instability.
  6. Finishing the Turn: To finish the turn, gradually release the edge pressure and allow the skis to flatten on the snow, preparing for the next turn.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Start with gentle slopes and gradually increase the difficulty as you become more comfortable with parallel turns. With practice, you’ll develop the muscle memory and coordination necessary to execute parallel turns smoothly and confidently while traversing the slopes.


Parallel turns are a versatile technique that can be adapted to different terrains and conditions. Once you have mastered this technique, you’ll have a solid foundation to explore the world of skiing and tackle more advanced traversing techniques.


Stem Turns

Stem turns are a useful technique for traversing in more challenging terrain or when greater control is needed. This technique involves using one ski as a stabilizer while the other ski is used to initiate the turn. Here’s how to execute stem turns effectively:

  1. Body Position: Begin with a balanced and athletic stance, with your weight evenly distributed between your skis and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Stem the Upstream Ski: Lift the downhill (inside) ski slightly off the snow and place it slightly in front of the uphill ski, forming a diagonal stem. This position will act as a stabilizer throughout the turn.
  3. Weight Transfer and Edging: Shift your weight to the downhill ski and gradually engage its edges. This will start the turn and will allow you to maintain control on steeper slopes.
  4. Rotation and Direction: Use gentle rotation in your hips and upper body to guide the turn. While the uphill ski remains in a stem position, allow the downhill ski to follow the desired direction.
  5. Alignment Adjustment: As you progress through the turn, gradually align your skis parallel to each other. Focus on smoothening the transition from the stem position to parallel alignment.
  6. Finishing the Turn: Release the edge pressure and flatten both skis as you complete the turn. Prepare for the next turn by adjusting your body position and weight distribution.

Stem turns are particularly useful when skiing on steep or icy slopes, providing additional control and stability during traversing. It’s important to note that as you enhance your skiing skills, you should aim to minimize your reliance on stem turns and transition towards executing parallel turns smoothly on all types of terrain.


Practice stem turns on different slopes and gradually increase the difficulty level as you gain confidence. By mastering this technique, you’ll have an additional tool in your skiing arsenal to tackle any terrain with control and precision.



Carving is a technique that allows skiers to make precise and controlled turns by engaging the edges of their skis. It’s a more advanced technique that requires good balance, edge control, and body position. When executed correctly, carving enables skiers to traverse the slopes with speed and efficiency. Here’s how to carve effectively:

  1. Body Position: Begin with a forward-leaning position, with your weight centered and slightly on the balls of your feet. Keep your upper body and arms relaxed, allowing for dynamic movements.
  2. Edge Engagement: As you initiate the turn, focus on engaging the edges of your skis. Apply pressure to the inside edges of both skis, while keeping them parallel to each other.
  3. Angles and Inclination: Tilt your skis onto their edges, creating a high-angle carve. This inclination helps you maintain your balance and provides greater control during the turn.
  4. Rubber Band Effect: Visualize a rubber band connecting your upper and lower body. As you carve, generate energy and tension between your legs and core, allowing for dynamic and powerful turns.
  5. Smooth Transitions: Focus on creating smooth and seamless transitions between turns. Allow your skis to flow naturally from one edge to the other, maintaining control and speed throughout.
  6. Reading the Terrain: Adapt your carving technique to the specific contours and conditions of the slope. Be aware of the snow quality, terrain features, and any potential obstacles to adjust your carving technique accordingly.

Mastering carving requires practice, as it demands a higher level of skill and finesse. Start by carving on groomed slopes with wide turns, gradually progressing to tighter turns as you become comfortable. With time and experience, you will develop the ability to carve confidently on various terrains and conditions.


Carving is an exhilarating and efficient way to traverse the slopes, allowing you to experience the full potential of your skis. It’s a technique that adds a level of artistry and precision to your skiing, taking your traversing abilities to a new level of mastery.


Powder Turns

When skiing in deep powder snow, the technique for traversing changes to accommodate the unique properties of the snow. Powder turns are designed to help skiers stay on top of the snow and maintain control and stability. Here are some key points to consider when executing powder turns:

  1. Weight Distribution: Position your body slightly farther back than with traditional turns. This helps to keep your tips afloat and prevents them from diving into the snow.
  2. Manage Speed: Keep your speed in check by making wider and more rounded turns. This allows for a smoother and more controlled descent through the deep snow.
  3. Rise and Fall: Utilize gentle up and down movements to maintain buoyancy and prevent your skis from sinking too deep into the powder. This technique is often referred to as “surfing” the snow.
  4. Use Body Movements: Engage your core and hips to initiate and control the turns. Allow your legs to flex and extend as needed to absorb bumps and navigate the changing terrain.
  5. Stay Loose and Relaxed: Powder turns are all about flow and letting the skis move naturally. Avoid any unnecessary tension in your body and allow the snow to guide your movements.
  6. Read the Snow: Adapt your technique to the specific qualities of the powder snow. Be aware of changes in density, wind patterns, and potential hazards to adjust your turns accordingly.

Making precise and controlled powder turns takes practice and experience. Start by skiing in light powder and gradually move to deeper snow as you become more comfortable. As you gain confidence, embrace the freedom and joy that powder turns offer, allowing you to carve your path through the untouched snow.


Remember, powder skiing is not only about technique but also about the pure enjoyment of the experience. So, take your time, embrace the softness beneath your skis, and savor every moment as you traverse through the winter wonderland of powder snow.


Mogul Skiing

Mogul skiing involves navigating through a series of large bumps on the slope known as moguls. This challenging terrain requires a specific technique to maintain control and efficiency while traversing. Here are some key elements to consider when tackling moguls:

  1. Line Selection: Choose the optimal line through the moguls, typically following the troughs between the bumps. Look ahead and plan your route to maintain a smooth and continuous flow.
  2. Timing: Adapt your timing based on the size and shape of the moguls. Adjust your turns to coincide with the crest of the bump, allowing for smoother transitions and maintaining momentum.
  3. Flexion and Extension: Use your legs to absorb and extend in response to the changing terrain. Flex your legs to absorb the impact as you pass over a mogul, and then extend your legs to prepare for the next turn.
  4. Upper Body Stability: Keep your upper body stable and facing downhill. Minimize unnecessary movement and rotation to maintain balance and control through the uneven terrain.
  5. Pole Usage: Utilize your poles to help maintain rhythm and timing in your turns. Plant your pole in the trough before each turn and use it as a guide for initiating the next turn.
  6. Continuous Flow: Aim for a smooth and continuous flow throughout the mogul field. Maintain a consistent pace and avoid stops or sudden changes in direction, as this can disrupt your rhythm and balance.

Mogul skiing is an art that requires practice and finesse. Start by skiing smaller moguls and gradually work your way up to larger and more challenging ones. As you improve your technique, you’ll find a rhythm that allows you to dance through the moguls with grace and precision.


Keep in mind that moguls are variable and no two are exactly alike. Adapt your technique to the specific characteristics of the mogul field you’re skiing on. With determination and practice, you’ll be able to conquer mogul runs and find a sense of accomplishment in mastering this exhilarating aspect of traversing.


Advanced Techniques

Once you have mastered the basic techniques of traversing, you can take your skiing skills to the next level by exploring advanced techniques. These techniques require a higher level of skill, coordination, and experience, allowing you to tackle more challenging terrain and push your limits as a skier. Here are some advanced traversing techniques to consider:

  1. 1. Short Turns

    Short turns, also known as slalom turns, involve making quick and tight turns down the slope. This technique requires precise edge control, agility, and quick reflexes. Short turns are excellent for navigating steep and narrow terrain, allowing you to maintain control and maneuverability in tight spaces.

  2. 2. Slalom Turns

    Slalom turns are similar to short turns but are executed with a more rhythmic and flowing motion. This technique is often used in slalom ski racing but can also be applied to traversing on groomed slopes. Slalom turns require a combination of carving and quick edge-to-edge transitions, providing a dynamic and exhilarating skiing experience.

  3. 3. Off-Piste Skiing

    Off-piste skiing refers to skiing outside of marked trails and venturing into untracked snow. This technique allows skiers to explore untouched powder, challenging terrain, and backcountry areas. Off-piste skiing requires advanced knowledge of snow conditions, avalanche safety, and navigation skills. It’s a thrilling and adventurous way to connect with nature and experience skiing in its purest form.

As you progress in your skiing journey, remember to continue refining and honing your basic techniques while incorporating these advanced techniques. Each technique builds upon the foundation of traversing, enhancing your overall skiing abilities and broadening your opportunities for new and exciting adventures on the slopes.


Always prioritize safety and consider your skill level and the conditions of the terrain before attempting these advanced techniques. Practice in controlled environments and seek guidance from experienced skiers or instructors to ensure a rewarding and safe experience.


Short Turns

Short turns, also known as slalom turns, are a dynamic and agile technique used for traversing steep and narrow terrain. This advanced skiing technique involves making quick, tightly curved turns down the slope, allowing skiers to maintain control and maneuverability in tight spaces. Here are the key elements to successfully execute short turns:

  1. Body Position: Start with a balanced and athletic stance, with your hips and shoulders facing downhill. Keep your knees flexed and your weight centered over the balls of your feet.
  2. Skis Edging: As you initiate the turn, focus on engaging the edges of your skis. Apply pressure to the inside edges to create strong and precise turns. This will help you maintain control and carve through the snow.
  3. Quick Edge Transfer: Short turns require rapid edge-to-edge transitions. Aim to smoothly transfer your weight from one ski to the other, allowing for continuous and seamless turns.
  4. Flexion and Extension: Utilize your legs to absorb and extend throughout each turn. Flex your legs as you approach the fall line to absorb the terrain, then extend your legs to initiate the next turn.
  5. Upper Body Stability: Keep your upper body stable and facing downhill throughout the turns. Minimize rotation and unnecessary movements to maintain balance and control.
  6. Quick Rhythm: Establish a fast and rhythmic tempo with your turns. The speed and tight radius of short turns require quick and precise movements to maintain control and fluidity.

Short turns are especially effective on steep and narrow slopes, where larger turns may not be practical. They allow skiers to navigate through moguls, trees, or any confined spaces with ease and confidence. Mastery of short turns requires practice, as it demands quick reflexes and precise control. Start on moderate slopes and gradually progress to steeper terrain as your skills develop.


Short turns provide a thrilling and exhilarating skiing experience by allowing skiers to traverse challenging terrain with agility and finesse. With dedication and practice, you’ll find yourself confidently maneuvering through tight spaces and conquering the slopes with speed and control.


Slalom Turns

Slalom turns are a technique characterized by their rhythmic and flowing motion, often used in slalom ski racing. This advanced skiing technique involves executing quick and precise turns while maintaining a continuous and efficient path down the slope. Slalom turns require a combination of edge control, balance, and agility. Here are the key elements to successfully execute slalom turns:

  1. Body Position: Begin with an athletic and balanced stance, with your weight centered and slightly forward. Keep your hips and shoulders facing downhill, allowing for optimal control and balance.
  2. Carving: Slalom turns are best executed with carved turns. Focus on engaging the edges of your skis and allow them to cut smoothly through the snow. This provides maximum control and stability throughout the turns.
  3. Quick Edging and Transitions: The key to slalom turns is rapid edge engagement and smooth transitions between turns. Aim to quickly transfer your weight from one ski to the other, allowing for continuous and effortless flow down the slope.
  4. Pole Usage: Proper pole usage is crucial in slalom turns. Plant your pole firmly in the snow just before each turn to help initiate and guide your movements. Coordinate your pole plant with your edge engagement for precise timing and rhythm.
  5. Lower Body Flexibility: Utilize your legs to absorb and extend throughout each turn. Flex your legs as you approach the fall line to absorb any bumps or changes in terrain, and then extend your legs to initiate the next turn.
  6. Consistent Tempo: Maintain a consistent and rhythmic tempo throughout the slalom turns. This allows for optimal speed and control, as well as a smooth and efficient line down the slope.

Slalom turns require practice and precision, as they demand quick decision-making and calculated movements. Start with gentle slopes and gradually increase the difficulty as you become more comfortable with the technique. Utilize gates or imaginary markers to simulate a slalom course and challenge yourself to improve your speed and precision.


Slalom turns not only offer an exhilarating skiing experience but also enhance your overall skiing abilities. The combination of fluidity, control, and agility achieved through slalom turns will improve your traversing skills on both groomed and ungroomed slopes.


Remember to always ski within your limits and adapt your technique to the current conditions and terrain. With dedication and practice, you’ll develop the skills necessary to perform slalom turns with confidence and finesse.


Off-Piste Skiing

Off-piste skiing takes you beyond the marked trails and into the realm of untouched snow and uncharted terrain. It’s an exhilarating and adventurous form of skiing that allows you to explore nature’s raw beauty. Off-piste skiing requires a unique set of skills and considerations to ensure safety and enjoyment. Here’s what you need to know about off-piste skiing:

  1. Snowpack Evaluation: Understanding the snowpack is crucial for off-piste skiing. Assess the prevailing conditions, including snow stability, avalanche risks, and weather patterns. It’s wise to consult local experts or hire an experienced guide to ensure prudent decision-making.
  2. Equipment: Equip yourself with the appropriate gear for off-piste skiing. This includes an avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe, and backpack. Invest in wider skis designed for powder snow to facilitate your movements and buoyancy in deep snow conditions.
  3. Navigation Skills: Develop your navigation skills to ski safely off-piste. Familiarize yourself with topographic maps, compass usage, and GPS systems. Research and plan your route ahead of time, considering both ascent and descent routes.
  4. Avalanche Awareness: It is essential to be knowledgeable about avalanche safety and rescue techniques. Take avalanche awareness courses, learn how to use rescue equipment, and practice companion rescue scenarios. Respect avalanche warnings, slope angles, and visible signs of instability in the snowpack.
  5. Backcountry Etiquette: Understand and adhere to backcountry etiquette. This includes leaving no trace, respecting wildlife and natural habitats, and maintaining respect for other skiers seeking solitude in the backcountry environment. Leave gates and property as you found them and follow any local regulations.
  6. Group Dynamics: Consider skiing with a partner or as part of a group when venturing off-piste. This enhances safety and provides support in case of emergencies or mishaps. Communicate effectively, share information, and make decisions as a team.

Off-piste skiing offers a unique and awe-inspiring experience amidst pristine natural surroundings. Always prioritize safety and the well-being of yourself and others. Careful planning, proper equipment, and knowledge of the terrain will ensure a memorable and gratifying off-piste skiing adventure.


Remember, off-piste skiing can be physically demanding and mentally challenging. Continuously refine your skiing skills, expand your knowledge, and seek guidance from experienced skiers and professionals. Embrace the freedom, excitement, and serenity that off-piste skiing provides as you explore the untracked and breathtaking landscapes of the backcountry.


Tips for Traversing

Traversing in skiing requires both technique and strategy to navigate the slopes effectively. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, here are some valuable tips to enhance your traversing skills:

  1. Body Position: Maintain a balanced and centered body position while traversing. Keep your weight evenly distributed between both skis and your knees slightly bent. This will help you stay in control and adjust to changing terrain.
  2. Weight Distribution: Shift your weight as needed to maintain balance and control. For uphill traverses, lean into the slope and put more weight on your uphill ski. For downhill traverses, shift your weight downhill to maintain stability.
  3. Pole Usage: Utilize your poles to assist with timing and rhythm. Plant the pole on the downhill side to help initiate turns and maintain a consistent flow. This can also help you maintain balance and stability during traverses.
  4. Reading the Terrain: Pay attention to the contours of the slope and anticipate changes in the terrain. Look for variations in snow conditions, moguls, or obstacles that may affect your traversing. Adjust your technique as necessary to navigate through these challenges.
  5. Equipment Considerations: Ensure your equipment is suitable for traversing. Skis with appropriate width and flex will enhance your ability to traverse different snow conditions. Additionally, tuning your edges and waxing your skis regularly will optimize their performance.

Practice these tips in a controlled environment before attempting more challenging traverses. Start on gentle slopes and gradually progress to steeper terrain as your confidence and skills grow. Remember, traversing is not only about technique but also about adapting to the unique conditions and features of each slope.


Lastly, skiing is a social activity, so always be respectful of others on the slopes. Yield to skiers uphill from you and communicate with those around you to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.


By implementing these tips, you’ll improve your traversing abilities, maintain control on various terrains, and maximize your skiing experience. Embrace the adventure and the thrill of traversing as you explore the slopes with confidence and grace.


Body Position

When it comes to traversing in skiing, a proper body position is key to maintaining balance, control, and overall stability while navigating the slopes. Your body position plays a crucial role in distributing your weight effectively and adapting to the changing terrain. Here are some important points to consider regarding body position when traversing:


1. Balance and Alignment: Start with a balanced and centered stance. Keep your weight evenly distributed between both skis with a slight bend in your knees. This allows you to react and adjust to the terrain underfoot, maintaining stability and control.


2. Upper Body: Your upper body should face downhill, aligned with your hips and feet. Avoid leaning back or hunching forward excessively, as this can disrupt your balance. Maintain a relaxed and upright posture to facilitate fluid movements and efficient weight transfer.


3. Lower Body: Keep your knees soft and slightly flexed to absorb terrain irregularities and maintain a strong connection with your skis. This provides stability and allows for quick and precise movements during traverses.


4. Arm Placement: Proper arm placement helps with balance and coordination. Keep your arms slightly bent, relaxed, and in front of your body. Avoid excessively swinging your arms, as it can throw off your balance and rhythm. Utilize your poles for stability and rhythm enhancement.


5. Head and Gaze: Look ahead and keep your head up, with your gaze focused downhill. Your eyes act as a guide, allowing you to anticipate the terrain and adjust your movements accordingly. Avoid fixating on your ski tips or staring directly at the ground.


By maintaining a proper body position while traversing, you optimize your performance and maximize your control over the skis. It allows for smooth weight transfer, quick reactions to changing conditions, and better overall stability. Practice balancing and aligning your body in a controlled environment to develop muscle memory and enhance your skiing abilities.


Remember, everyone’s body position may vary slightly depending on personal style, skiing level, and terrain. Adapt your body position to suit the specific conditions and challenges you encounter while traversing. With practice and experience, you will find your own optimal body position that provides the confidence, control, and enjoyment you seek on the slopes.


Weight Distribution

Weight distribution plays a crucial role in traversing and is key to maintaining balance and control while skiing. Proper weight distribution allows you to adapt to different terrains, enhance ski performance, and navigate across slopes with confidence. Here are some important considerations for weight distribution when traversing:


1. Uphill vs. Downhill: The distribution of weight between your skis depends on whether you are traversing uphill or downhill. When traversing uphill, shift your weight slightly onto your uphill ski. This helps to maintain traction and stability on the slope. On the other hand, when traversing downhill, shift your weight slightly onto your downhill ski to maintain control and prevent the uphill ski from catching an edge.


2. Balancing Fore and Aft: Balance your weight evenly between the fore (front) and aft (back) portions of your skis. This equal distribution helps maintain stability and control. Avoid leaning too far forward or back, as it can compromise your balance and impact your ability to traverse smoothly. A balanced distribution ensures that your skis are engaged with the snow evenly, enabling effective steering and control.


3. Dynamic Weight Shifting: Traversing involves dynamic and fluid movements. Use weight shifting to initiate turns and adapt to the contours of the slope. During turns, transfer your weight from one ski to the other in a controlled and deliberate manner. This allows for efficient edge engagement and smooth transitions between turns.


4. Flexing and Extending: Flex your legs as you encounter bumps or uneven terrain, allowing your skis to absorb the impact. This flexion helps maintain stability and control while traversing. Similarly, extend your legs as you initiate turns to maximize edge grip and power through the arc of the turn.


5. Fine-tuning Adjustments: Continuously make slight adjustments to weight distribution based on the terrain and skiing conditions. Adapt to variations in slope steepness, snow conditions, and obstacles. By fine-tuning your weight distribution, you maintain the necessary responsiveness and adaptability to traverse effectively.


Developing a sense of weight distribution takes practice and experience. Start by focusing on gentle traverses before gradually progressing to more challenging slopes. As you become more comfortable, experiment with weight distribution to find what works best for you in various terrain and snow conditions.


Remember, weight distribution is not a static concept. It requires constant adjustment and adaptation to ensure optimal performance. By mastering weight distribution, you’ll improve your traversing skills, enhance your control on the slopes, and ultimately have a more rewarding skiing experience.


Pole Usage

Effective pole usage is an essential component of traversing in skiing. The proper use of poles provides stability, rhythm, and coordination, assisting skiers in maintaining balance and control while navigating the slopes. Here are some key considerations for pole usage when traversing:


1. Pole Plant: A well-executed pole plant is critical for timing and rhythm in traversing. As you approach a turn, plant your pole firmly in the snow on the downhill side. The pole plant helps initiate the turn and provides a reference point for the timing of your movements.


2. Timing and Coordination: Coordinate your pole plant with your edge engagement and weight transfer. As you transfer your weight onto one ski to initiate a turn, simultaneously make the pole plant on the same side. This synchronized movement helps establish rhythm, maintaining a smooth and flowing traverse.


3. Length and Grip: Ensure that your poles are the correct length for your height and skiing style. Gripping the poles correctly is essential for effective pole usage. Grip the poles near the top, allowing enough room for your hands to be comfortably positioned while still maintaining control.


4. Push and Pull: Utilize the push and pull motion with your poles to assist with your turns and weight distribution. When initiating a turn, use a pushing motion to engage your edges and transfer your weight onto the downhill ski. In the later stages of the turn, use a pulling motion to assist in transitioning your weight to the uphill ski for the next turn.


5. Maintain Rhythm: Keep the movement of your poles consistent and fluid throughout the traverse. Establishing a steady rhythm with your pole plants helps maintain momentum and energy. Avoid excessive swinging or erratic movements, as this can disrupt your balance and timing.


6. Adapt to Terrain: Adjust your pole usage to accommodate changes in terrain and conditions. On steep traverses, plant your poles slightly higher to help maintain balance and provide additional support. In deep powder or moguls, use your poles to help stabilize your upper body and guide your movements.


To improve your pole usage, practice in a controlled environment, starting with simple traverses and gradually progressing to more challenging terrain. Focus on coordinating your pole plants with your turns and maintaining a smooth rhythm. As you develop your skills, pole usage will become second nature, enhancing your traversing technique and overall skiing experience.


Remember, pole usage is not just for traversing; it also serves other purposes such as pushing off in difficult terrain, assisting with balance, and providing support during pole plants. By mastering pole usage, you’ll further enhance your control, stability, and efficiency while skiing.


Reading the Terrain

When traversing in skiing, being able to read and interpret the terrain is crucial for maintaining control, selecting the optimal line, and adapting your technique accordingly. By analyzing the contours, snow conditions, and potential obstacles, you can make informed decisions and ski more confidently. Here are some key points to consider when reading the terrain:


1. Snow Conditions: Assess the quality and consistency of the snow. Determine if it is groomed or ungroomed, packed or loose, icy or soft. Understanding the snow conditions allows you to adjust your technique and weight distribution accordingly, ensuring better grip and balance.


2. Moguls and Bumps: Identify the presence of moguls, bumps, or uneven terrain. Moguls are formed from repeated turns by skiers and can present challenges in traversing. Adjust your technique, timing, and line selection to navigate through moguls smoothly, utilizing absorption and flexion-extension movements.


3. Obstacles and Hazards: Watch out for potential obstacles, such as rocks, trees, or other skiers. Be aware of marked and unmarked hazards, including cliffs, tree wells, or areas prone to avalanches. Avoid these areas or adjust your traversing strategy to navigate around them safely.


4. Terrain Contours: Pay attention to the natural contours of the slope. Observe the changes in pitch, slope aspect, and variations in terrain features. Adjust your technique and speed as you traverse through steeper or flatter sections to maintain control and balance.


5. Fall Lines and Troughs: Identify the fall line, which is the natural path that gravity pulls skiers down the slope. Stay within or traverse across the fall line to maintain an efficient and controlled traverse. Follow the troughs created by previous skiers for smoother traversing, as they often present packed and easier-to-ski snow.


6. Visibility: Ensure proper visibility of the terrain, especially in adverse weather conditions. Poor visibility may impact your ability to accurately read the terrain. Adjust your speed and technique accordingly, taking extra caution when navigating through flat light or low visibility situations.


Reading the terrain requires practice and experience. Develop your skills by progressively skiing various slopes, observing the nuances in terrain features and snow conditions. As you become more adept, you’ll gain a better understanding of how these factors affect your traversing and skiing technique.


Remember, always prioritize safety and ski within your ability level. If you are unsure about the terrain or conditions, seek guidance from ski patrollers, instructors, or local experts. By actively reading and adapting to the terrain, you’ll ski more confidently and enjoy the thrill of traversing with greater control and awareness.


Equipment Considerations

When it comes to traversing in skiing, having the right equipment can significantly enhance your performance, comfort, and overall enjoyment on the slopes. Here are some essential equipment considerations to keep in mind:


1. Skis: Choose skis that are suitable for traversing and the specific terrain you’ll be skiing on. For general traversing, all-mountain skis with a moderate waist width and versatile performance are a reliable choice. If you plan to traverse in soft or deep snow, consider wider skis designed for powder skiing to provide better flotation and stability.


2. Bindings: Ensure your ski bindings are properly adjusted and compatible with your boots. Check that they have appropriate release settings for your skiing ability and weight. Properly adjusted bindings optimize safety and reduce the risk of injury during traversing and skiing in general.


3. Boots: Invest in well-fitting boots that provide the necessary support and control. Boots that are too loose or too tight can compromise your ability to maintain balance and control during traversing. Consider seeking professional boot fitting to ensure maximum comfort and performance.


4. Poles: Choose poles with the correct length for your height and skiing style. Poles should be long enough to effectively assist with pole planting during turns and traverses. Grip and strap comfort are also important, as they impact your ability to hold and utilize the poles effectively.


5. Ski Tuning: Regularly maintain your skis by tuning the edges and applying appropriate wax. This ensures optimal edge grip and glide, essential for maintaining control during traversing. Well-tuned skis make turning and maneuvering more responsive and efficient.


6. Safety Equipment: Consider additional safety equipment, especially when off-piste skiing or traversing in backcountry areas. This may include an avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe, and backpack. Familiarize yourself with their usage and carry them when necessary for your safety and the safety of others.


It’s important to consult with ski professionals or experienced skiers to help choose the right equipment for your skill level, skiing style, and terrain. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations based on their expertise and experience.


Remember, well-maintained and properly fitting equipment contributes to your overall comfort, control, and safety while traversing. Regularly inspect and maintain your equipment, seeking professional assistance when needed. With the right equipment, you’ll be better equipped to maximize your performance and fully enjoy the exhilaration of traversing the slopes.



Traversing in skiing is a fundamental skill that allows you to efficiently navigate slopes, change direction, and explore a wide range of terrain. Through the use of various techniques such as parallel turns, stem turns, carving, powder turns, and mogul skiing, skiers can adapt to different snow conditions and slopes with confidence and control.


As you progress in your skiing journey, incorporating advanced techniques like short turns, slalom turns, and off-piste skiing expands your capabilities and opens up new opportunities for thrilling adventures on the slopes.


To excel in traversing, it’s essential to pay attention to body position, weight distribution, pole usage, terrain reading, and equipment considerations. By maintaining a balanced and centered body position, distributing your weight effectively, utilizing poles for stability and rhythm, reading the terrain for optimal line selection, and ensuring proper equipment selection and maintenance, you can enhance your traversing skills and maximize your enjoyment on the slopes.


Remember, traversing is a skill that requires practice, patience, and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Continually challenge yourself to improve, seek guidance from experienced skiers and professionals, and respect the mountain environment and safety precautions.


Whether you’re exploring groomed runs, tackling moguls, carving through fresh powder, or venturing into the backcountry, traversing skills enhance your skiing experience and provide the freedom to explore the mountains with confidence and finesse. Embrace the joy of traversing as you carve your path down the slopes, immersing yourself in the beauty of nature and the exhilaration of the sport.