Stem Christie

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The stem Christie is a technique in skiing for turning. It is a refinement of the basic stem technique where, prior to the turn, the uphill ski is stemmed (tail skidded outward) from being parallel with the downhill ski to form a V shape.

The turn was named after Kristiania (now Oslo), Norway, where the name Kristianiasving was used for the parallel turn, differentiating it from the Telemark turn.

The technique was introduced to central Europe in 1910 by the Austrian ski guide Hannes Schneider.[citation needed] Along with the other two stem techniques, it formed the basis of his Arlberg technique and instruction method.

The technique was popular and widely used up until the late 1960s, when its use diminished in favor of the parallel turn, inspired mostly by ski racers. Radical side-cut skis, developed in the late 1990s, have accelerated the obsolescence of the stem Christie.[1] It is still occasionally taught to intermediate and advanced skiers to demonstrate the difference in efficient movements with less efficient movements.

This skier is performing a right turn using the classic stem-Christie technique. The left (downhill) ski has been stemmed out from the body, and their weight shifted onto this ski. This drives the inside edge into the snow, generating forces to their right (uphill). Note that the weighted ski is on-edge and forming an arc; if both legs were parallel the skis would begin to smoothly carve.


  • Uphill Ski refers to the ski that is in a position higher up the hill.
  • Downhill ski refers to the ski that is in a position farther down the hill.
  • Outside ski is the ski farthest away from the center of the circle the skier is turning about.
  • Inside ski is the ski closest to the center of the circle the skier is turning about.


Having brought the skis into the V shape mentioned above, more pressure is applied to the downhill (or outside) ski which causes the skier to turn in the other direction.[2]

Once the turn has commenced, the uphill ski is stepped (lifted and rotated) to be parallel with the stemmed ski as the turn is made so that at the end of the turn both skis are parallel and pointing in the new desired direction of travel.[3]

When properly applied, the leading stem on the outside ski is blended seamlessly into the lifting of the inside ski. In this case the skis will remain parallel throughout the turn. A perfect stem christie is thus difficult to distinguish, visually, from a true parallel turn. The techniques are very different in action, however. The stem christie is applied largely by shifting weight onto the downhill ski to start the stem, while the parallel turn is started by moving the lower leg to roll the ski onto its edge. Parallel turns are often helped by lifting weight off both skis to help initiate the turn, further confusing the two techniques as seen by an outside observer.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Johanna Hall (Winter 1997). "All Mixed Up? - How To Make Sense Of The Multi-Shaped Lesson". Retrieved 2013-12-14. 
  2. ^ "Stem Christie". Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  3. ^ "Better Skiing - Chapter 2 - Snow Plow Turns, Stem Christies, Skiing Parallel". Retrieved 2008-08-18.