How To Do One-Handed Slalom Turns (8 Easy Steps)

One-handed slalom turns are an advanced skiing or snowboarding technique that requires skill, precision, and control.

Unlike traditional slalom turns, where both hands are used for stability and balance, one-handed slalom turns add an extra level of difficulty by removing one hand from the equation.

Mastering this skill not only showcases expertise on the slopes but also enhances overall agility and coordination. We will explore the steps and strategies to learn how to do one-handed slalom turns effectively.

Table of Contents

Preparing For One-Handed Slalom Turns

Choosing The Right Equipment

  • Skiing or snowboarding gear

Make sure you have the appropriate equipment for your chosen sport, including well-fitting boots, skis or snowboard, bindings, and suitable clothing for weather conditions.

  • Properly sized poles

Use poles that are the correct length for your height and skiing or snowboarding style. Poles that are too long or too short can affect your balance and control.

Ensuring Proper Physical Fitness

  • Strength and conditioning exercises

Engage in regular exercises to strengthen your core, legs, and upper body. This will help improve your stability, power, and endurance on the slopes.

  • Flexibility and balance training

Incorporate exercises that enhance your flexibility, such as stretching and yoga, as well as balance exercises like standing on one leg or using a balance board. These will improve your body’s responsiveness and control while executing one-handed slalom turns.

Familiarize Yourself With Basic Skiing Or Snowboarding Techniques

Before attempting one-handed slalom turns, ensure you have a solid foundation in fundamental skiing or snowboarding skills.

This includes being comfortable with parallel turns, edge control, and maintaining balance on varying terrains.

Choose Suitable Terrain

Start practicing one-handed slalom turns on gentle slopes or wide-open areas with plenty of space. This will allow you to focus on the technique without feeling overwhelmed or restricted by obstacles or challenging terrain.

Warm-Up And Stretch

Prior to hitting the slopes, warm up your body with dynamic exercises and stretches specific to skiing or snowboarding.

This will help prevent injuries and prepare your muscles for the physical demands of one-handed slalom turns.

Mental Preparation

Visualize yourself performing successful one-handed slalom turns. Mentally prepare yourself by setting goals and maintaining a positive mindset. Confidence and focus are key elements for mastering this skill.

Seek Guidance From An Instructor

Consider taking lessons from a qualified instructor who can provide personalized guidance and feedback.

They can help identify areas for improvement, offer valuable tips, and ensure you develop proper technique and form.

Practice And Repetition

Dedicate regular practice sessions to one-handed slalom turns. The more you practice, the more comfortable and proficient you will become. Remember to start slowly and gradually increase the difficulty as you gain confidence and skill.

By adequately preparing yourself physically and mentally, and with the right equipment and guidance, you will set a solid foundation for learning and mastering one-handed slalom turns.

Mastering The Basic Technique

Understanding Weight Distribution

  • Proper body position

Maintain a balanced and centered position with your knees slightly bent, hips facing downhill, and weight evenly distributed between both feet.

  • Balancing on the outside ski or snowboard edge

Shift your weight onto the outside edge of your ski or snowboard during turns. This helps initiate and maintain control throughout the maneuver.

Initiating The Turn

  • Carving vs. skidding turns

Aim for smooth, carved turns rather than skidding. Carving involves engaging the edges of your ski or snowboard to create clean arcs and maintain control.

  • Engaging the edges

Tilt your ski or snowboard onto its edge by applying pressure through your foot and ankle. This allows the edge to grip the snow, providing stability and control.

Using Upper Body Movements

  • Arm and hand position

Keep your arms slightly forward and relaxed, with elbows bent. Your free hand should be positioned slightly in front of your body for balance and stability.

  • Timing of the pole plant

Use a pole plant as a reference point and timing mechanism for your turns. As you initiate the turn, plant your pole firmly in the snow on the outside of the turn, slightly ahead of your downhill ski or snowboard.

Practicing Linked Turns

  • Start with wide turns

Begin by making wide turns, gradually decreasing the radius as you become more comfortable and confident.

  • Focus on rhythm and flow

Maintain a consistent rhythm and flow between turns, smoothly transitioning from one turn to the next. This helps maintain balance and control.

Building Edge Control

  • Edge pressure control

Develop the ability to adjust the amount of pressure on your edges. This allows for variations in turn shape, speed, and intensity.

  • Edging drills

Practice exercises that emphasize edging, such as traversing the slope on your edges, making short radius turns, or practicing side-slipping. This will enhance your edge control and precision.

Core Stability And Body Awareness

  • Develop core strength

Strengthen your core muscles through exercises like planks, Russian twists, and stability ball exercises. A strong core provides stability and control while executing one-handed slalom turns.

  • Body awareness exercises

Improve your proprioception and body awareness by performing balance exercises like single-leg squats, yoga poses, or bosu ball exercises. This helps you maintain stability and fine-tune your movements on the slopes.

Video Analysis And Feedback

Record yourself performing one-handed slalom turns and review the footage. Look for areas of improvement in your technique, body position, and turn execution.

Seek feedback from experienced skiers or snowboarders or consider taking additional lessons to receive professional guidance and tips for refining your technique.

By mastering the basic technique of weight distribution, turn initiation, upper body movements, and building edge control, you will lay a solid foundation for executing one-handed slalom turns with confidence and precision.

Remember to practice consistently and seek feedback to continuously improve your skills.

How To Do One-Handed Slalom Turns

Starting With Two-Handed Turns

  • Begin by practicing standard slalom turns with both hands on the poles for stability and control.
  • Focus on refining your technique, maintaining proper body position, and developing a smooth transition between turns.

Gradually Releasing One Hand

  • Once you feel comfortable with two-handed turns, start by releasing your non-dominant hand from the pole.
  • Maintain a relaxed and balanced posture while relying on your dominant hand for pole control and stability.

Developing Comfort And Stability

  • Gradually increase the duration of one-handed turns as you gain confidence and control.
  • Practice on varying terrain and snow conditions to adapt and improve your balance and stability.

Core Strength And Stability Exercises

  • Strengthen your core muscles with exercises like planks, Russian twists, and stability ball exercises. A strong core enhances your stability and control during one-handed turns.
  • Incorporate balance exercises such as single-leg squats, yoga poses, or balance board exercises to improve your overall stability and body awareness.

Progression Drills

  • Practice drills that specifically target one-handed turns. For example, make a series of linked turns using only one hand on the pole, alternating between hands for each turn.
  • Experiment with different turn sizes, speeds, and terrain to further challenge yourself and improve your adaptability.

Focus On Body Positioning And Weight Distribution

  • Pay attention to your body position and ensure that you maintain a balanced stance, with your weight evenly distributed between your feet.
  • Concentrate on shifting your weight onto the outside ski or snowboard edge during turns to maintain control and stability.

Seek Feedback And Guidance

  • Record your one-handed turns and review the footage to assess your technique and areas for improvement.
  • Consider seeking feedback from experienced skiers or snowboarders or taking lessons to receive expert guidance and personalized tips.

Gradual Progression And Patience

  • Progress at a pace that feels comfortable for you, gradually increasing the difficulty and duration of one-handed turns.
  • Patience and persistence are key; mastering one-handed turns takes time and practice, so continue to challenge yourself while maintaining a focus on proper technique.

By progressing gradually, focusing on core strength and stability, incorporating specific drills, and seeking feedback, you will steadily improve your ability to perform one-handed turns with control and confidence.

Remember to maintain a positive mindset and enjoy the process of developing this advanced skill.

Tips For Successful One-Handed Slalom Turns

Maintain A Strong Core

Strengthen your core muscles through exercises like planks, Russian twists, and leg raises. A strong core provides stability and helps you maintain balance during one-handed turns.

Incorporate core-focused activities such as yoga or Pilates to enhance core strength and body control.

Practice On Various Terrains And Conditions

Experiment with different snow conditions, such as powder, packed snow, or icy patches. This will help you adapt to varying surface textures and improve your overall control and stability.

Challenge yourself on different slope angles and terrains to enhance your adaptability and confidence in performing one-handed turns.

Analyze And Adjust Your Technique

Record your one-handed slalom turns and review the footage to analyze your technique and body position.

Seek feedback from experienced skiers or snowboarders to identify areas for improvement and receive valuable tips for refining your technique.

Focus On Timing And Coordination

Pay attention to the timing of your pole plant and synchronization with your turns. Smooth and well-timed movements enhance your flow and control.

Coordinate your upper body movements with your lower body, ensuring a seamless and connected transition between turns.

Develop A Relaxed Grip

Avoid gripping the pole tightly. Instead, maintain a relaxed grip to allow for fluid movements and minimize unnecessary tension in your upper body.

Practice releasing tension in your hand and fingers while maintaining control of the pole.

Visualize And Mentally Prepare

Visualize yourself performing successful one-handed slalom turns, imagining the movements, balance, and control.

Mentally prepare yourself before each run, focusing on positive thoughts and reinforcing your confidence in executing one-handed turns.

Seek Guidance And Instruction

Consider taking lessons from a qualified instructor who can provide personalized guidance and feedback tailored to your skill level.

A professional instructor can help identify specific areas for improvement and provide drills and exercises to enhance your technique.

Be Patient And Persistent

Mastery of one-handed slalom turns takes time and practice, so be patient with yourself during the learning process.

Stay persistent and dedicated to regular practice sessions, gradually increasing the difficulty and duration of one-handed turns.

Remember, successful one-handed slalom turns require a combination of physical strength, technique, and mental focus.

By incorporating these tips into your practice routine, you’ll be on your way to executing smooth and stylish one-handed turns with confidence and finesse.

Common Challenges And Troubleshooting

Maintaining Balance And Control

  • Challenge

Difficulty maintaining balance on one leg while executing one-handed turns.

  • Solution

Focus on core strength and stability exercises to improve balance. Practice exercises that target single-leg stability, such as single-leg squats or balancing on a balance board.

Overcoming Fear And Hesitation

  • Challenge

Fear of losing control or falling when releasing one hand for the first time.

  • Solution

Gradually progress by releasing one hand for short durations initially and gradually increase the duration as you gain confidence.

Visualize success, maintain a positive mindset, and focus on proper techniques to alleviate fear and build confidence.

Dealing With Limited Hand Dexterity Or Mobility

  • Challenge

Limited mobility or dexterity in one hand, makes it challenging to hold the pole or execute pole plants.

  • Solution

Consider using adaptive equipment or modifications to accommodate your specific needs. Adaptive poles or grip aids can provide additional support. Consult with adaptive skiing or snowboarding programs or instructors for guidance.

Improving Pole Plant Accuracy

  • Challenge

Inconsistent or mistimed pole plants, affect your rhythm and balance.

  • Solution

Practice pole plant drills on flat terrain or during traversing to improve accuracy and timing. Focus on keeping your pole plant ahead of your downhill ski or snowboard, maintaining a consistent rhythm between turns.

Addressing Equipment-Related Issues

  • Challenge

An uncomfortable pole grip or incorrect pole length affects your control and technique.

  • Solution

Ensure your pole grip is comfortable and secure. Consider trying different pole grip styles or sizes to find the one that suits you best.

Adjust the pole length according to your height and preferences, ensuring it provides proper support and control.

Adjusting Technique For Varying Snow Conditions

  • Challenge

Difficulty adapting your technique to different snow conditions, such as powder, packed snow, or icy patches.

  • Solution

Practice on various snow conditions to develop adaptability. Adjust your edge pressure, turn shape, and speed according to the specific snow conditions. Seek guidance from experienced skiers or snowboarders to learn effective techniques for different conditions.

Seeking Professional Guidance

  • Challenge

Difficulty identifying and resolving specific challenges or technical issues.

  • Solution

Consult with a qualified instructor or coach who can analyze your technique, provide personalized feedback, and offer drills and exercises to address your specific challenges. Professional guidance can accelerate your progress and help overcome obstacles.

Remember, challenges are a normal part of the learning process. Stay persistent, maintain a positive mindset, and seek guidance when needed.

With practice, patience, and troubleshooting, you can overcome these challenges and continue to improve your one-handed slalom turns.

Safety Considerations

Wear Appropriate Safety Gear

  • Always wear a properly fitted helmet to protect your head from potential injuries.
  • Wear other protective gear such as goggles, wrist guards, and knee pads to minimize the risk of injuries.

Follow Resort Rules And Regulations

Practice Avalanche Safety

  • If you plan to ski or snowboard off-piste or in backcountry areas, ensure you have proper knowledge and equipment for avalanche safety.
  • Familiarize yourself with avalanche forecasts, carry necessary safety gear such as a beacon, shovel, and probe, and consider taking an avalanche safety course.

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

  • Maintain situational awareness while skiing or snowboarding, keeping an eye out for other riders, obstacles, and changing conditions.
  • Avoid congested areas and give other skiers or snowboarders plenty of space.

Know Your limits

  • Ski or snowboard within your skill level and comfort zone.
  • Avoid attempting maneuvers or terrain that exceeds your abilities and puts you or others at risk.

Stay Hydrated And Fuelled

  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious meals to maintain energy and prevent fatigue while on the slopes.
  • Take breaks when needed to rest and refuel.

Be Mindful Of Weather Conditions

  • Stay informed about weather conditions and forecasts before heading out.
  • Adjust your plans accordingly to avoid adverse weather situations such as heavy storms or extreme cold.

Ski Or Snowboard With A Buddy

  • Whenever possible, ski or snowboard with a partner to ensure mutual support and assistance in case of emergencies.
  • Communicate your plans, routes, and meeting points to stay connected and safe.

Remember, safety should always be a top priority when participating in winter sports. By following safety guidelines, being aware of your surroundings, and respecting your own limits, you can enjoy the thrill of one-handed slalom turns while minimizing the risks involved.

Advanced Techniques And Variations

Increasing Speed And Agility

  • Work on improving your carving technique to maintain speed and control during one-handed slalom turns.
  • Develop quick edge transitions and efficient weight shifts to enhance agility and responsiveness on the slopes.

Incorporating Jumps And Tricks

  • Once you have mastered one-handed slalom turns, you can progress to incorporating jumps and tricks into your runs.
  • Practice proper take-off and landing techniques, and gradually introduce small jumps or tricks such as grabs or spins while maintaining control and balance.

Exploring Different Slalom Course Layouts

  • Seek out slalom courses or set up your own course with gates to challenge yourself in a structured environment.
  • Practice navigating through the gates with one hand while maintaining speed and precision.

Advanced Edge Control Techniques

  • Work on advanced edge control skills such as pressuring the edges dynamically to execute tighter turns and maintain control at higher speeds.
  • Experiment with different edge angles and pressure distribution to further refine your one-handed slalom turns.

Off-Piste And Ungroomed Terrain

  • Venture off the groomed slopes and explore ungroomed or backcountry terrain, applying your one-handed slalom turn skills in variable snow conditions and challenging environments.
  • Be sure to have the necessary knowledge, equipment, and safety precautions when skiing or snowboarding in off-piste areas.

Competition And Racing

  • Consider participating in slalom racing events or competitions to challenge yourself and further refine your one-handed slalom turn technique.
  • Engaging in friendly competitions can provide additional motivation for improvement and help you gauge your progress.

Freestyle Elements

  • Combine your one-handed slalom turns with freestyle elements such as rail slides, boxes, or half-pipe maneuvers, showcasing your versatility and creativity on the slopes.
  • Learn and practice proper freestyle techniques and progress gradually to ensure safety and control.
    Remember to progress gradually and prioritize safety when attempting advanced techniques and variations.

Always assess your skill level, be aware of the terrain and conditions, and seek professional guidance if necessary.

Enjoy the challenge and excitement that comes with pushing your limits and exploring new possibilities in your one-handed slalom turns.


Mastering one-handed slalom turns is a testament to your skill and control on the slopes.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, including preparing for the technique, mastering the basic skills, progressing gradually, and considering safety, you can develop the proficiency to execute one-handed slalom turns with confidence and finesse.

Remember to stay persistent, practice regularly, and seek guidance when needed.

With dedication and perseverance, you can take your skiing or snowboarding abilities to new heights and experience the exhilaration of one-handed slalom turns. Enjoy the journey and have a thrilling time in the snow.