Over the years I have found one of the most confusing techniques for Cross Country skiers to learn (and for Cross Country Instructors to teach!) is the wedge turn. Here are some tricks to make the wedge easier, more efficient, and less mysterious on XC gear.
To establish an effective wedge:
- Center your body over the middle of your feet (front to back) by flexing your ankles—a lot! You will know you are in a good place when you feel as much pressure on the ball of your foot as on your heel.
- Keep your skis slightly edged using your feet, with your knees aligned side to side over them (as if you were riding a horse). Do not allow your knees to collapse to the inside creating too much edge!
- Keep both feet equally weighted. Make the wedge shape with your skis by simultaneously sliding your feet apart and turning your legs in. This makes your skis look like the head of an arrow.
To turn in your wedge:
- Progressively point BOTH sides of the arrow in the direction you want to go by turning your legs and feet
- As you turn, let the pressure build on the outside leg while the inside leg actively determines the shape of the turn. Think of your outside leg as the “Brawn” (it gets heavy and strong) and your inside leg as the “Brain” (it shows the “brawn” where to go)
- Keep your skis as flat as possible, though still edged
- To turn in the opposite direction, switch the roles of the legs and repeat.
Staying centered, keeping your skis flatter, turning with both legs, and letting the outside leg become the supporting foot after the turn’s start should make your wedge turns smooth and efficient. By the way, these tricks will make your wedge turns easier on Alpine and Telemark gear as well!