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The thing I don't get about carving is...

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
First a bit of background.

Before Feb 2016 I hadn't set foot on a ski since the early eighties. Then an unexpected set of circumstances saw me wobbling nervously about on the beginners' slope with the rest of the family who had never skied before. After a couple of days, once I'd stopped skiing into my own poles and started to initiate turns before I ran out of piste, it all started to come back to me.

'You are a good skier' said my instructor, (who was younger than my ski gloves) and it seemed he was right even though I have no recollection of being able to ski well. I can remember being rubbish and falling over a lot, having nightmares with drag lifts etc but at some stage I must have got the hang of it because in the videos of my kids falling over I can sometimes be seen in the background looking like someone who can ski.

'You are a good skier, but...' he said, 'skis are different now, they are shaped so you can do carving turns.' and I listened attentively as he described how. Then waving his pole vaguely he said 'Now you try it, here and here and here, but not there because you'll hit mach II and fly off the side of the mountain.' he laughed and jabbed his pole towards what I imagine is a fatality hot spot for unwary carvers. Anyway, three or four scruffy turns later and it's harder than the instructor made it look, and then I hook one and it's amazing, I'm slung across the piste like a - like a big lump being slung somewhere.

Fast forward through a second half term of skiing and this is where I am: I can ski icy steeps no problem, no carving either but it feels fluid and controlled. I can carve on gentle slopes, not particularly tight turns if I'm honest. But where I'm really struggling is on the reds where I'm accelerating too much through fall line and letting the skis slide after the turn in order to scrub speed.

So I've been watching all these videos of great carving technique, Reilly McGlashan etc, but the thing I don't get about carving is how come he doesn't appear be travelling any faster as he descends despite gravity and and a fairly friction free technique? How do you control your speed? or don't you and it's simply a question of getting used to going quicker?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
When carving, you control your speed by holding onto your turn longer ie. driving the tips of your skis more up hill....imagine the shape of a fish hook.

How tight you can carve a turn will depend on the Radius of your skis.

On steep slopes, most people resort to a degree of skidding.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Sat 18-03-17 23:36; edited 2 times in total
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His turns are probaby rounder and more complete, he most likely gets on his edges earlier in the turn and is more centered on his skis. He takes more speed out at the ends of the turn without scraping the snow.

Getting on your edges late in the turn, being a bit in the back seat = less rounder turns that fire you out of every turn.


http://youtube.com/v/M4_HZfGTunw
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It is a confidence thing. Carving a blue feels like it puts energy back into your legs. Carving a red feels like you have pulled a horny blonde Russian hooker on her day off. Go faster and enjoy it, but stay in control.
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@DB, I really like that man's videos. So clear and simple.
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Not many people carve clean, linked turns on a red piste. You need to generate large edge angles early in the turn to achieve a turn size which controls your speed, and there are relatively few recreational skiers who manage that. Even with big angles and "finishing your turns" the speeds are still high and the forces that are generated very large. Most people will skid at least some of the turn to control their speed, typically at transition to create a steering angle at the start of the turn.
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Thanks for the responses, lots of things to work on except maybe the horny blonde Russian hooker.

Just writing it down helped clarify things enormously. I looked at another of that man's videos, the seven deadly sins one below and recognised all and none of them in myself.

The thing that resonated most was @DB talking about being centred. As the terrain gets steeper I'm moving my weight further forward towards the tips and my latest theory is I'm unable to complete the turn as my centre of gravity is well beyond the downhill ski . Then I can either drive my downhill foot down to bring the skis back under me or turn again and accelerate to the point where executing a clean carving turn is the least of my worries.

I also had a lot of problems with rented boot fit and comfort which I've droned on about elsewhere and I'm hoping that a proper fit will give me more self-confidence to hold a more balanced posture. So I'm having boots fitted shortly followed by a quick test on an indoor slope, hardly the conditions that I want to test technique-wise but sadly it's all I've got until next year.


http://youtube.com/v/n19QmFC2qVc
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Here is a good video demonstrating what I'm talking about:


http://youtube.com/v/RVk80rwXB6E&feature=youtu.be
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@Old Fartbag, That's really helpful many thanks. As indeed was your first comment, I was just struggling to work out why I couldn't achieve the shape you described.

But that video's awesome, maybe not the bit about the specially created music, but the exit lines and release points bit speaks to me. And also, sadly, I like having the diagrams; watching people swish down a hill in a variety of effortless ways gets the attention but isn't as instructive without some dotted lines on a piece of paper.
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Another way of looking at it....make the J-Turn your friend: https://turnshape.com/2011/09/20/high-speed-control-it-all-starts-with-j-turns-speed-control-part-2/

and https://turnshape.com/2011/09/30/a-round-turn-shape-the-blueprints-of-skiing-speed-control-part-3/
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Hurtle wrote:
@DB, I really like that man's videos. So clear and simple.


You can also get the app for your phone and have a refresher on the slopes and try it out. Really handy.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:

Not many people carve clean, linked turns on a red piste. You need to generate large edge angles early in the turn to achieve a turn size which controls your speed, and there are relatively few recreational skiers who manage that. Even with big angles and "finishing your turns" the speeds are still high and the forces that are generated very large. Most people will skid at least some of the turn to control their speed, typically at transition to create a steering angle at the start of the turn.


This. Unless you can get high edge angles you can't carve pure turns at a safe speed on a red run. I don't see many people doing it and the majority of people who do are wearing local ski club jackets.
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@Old Fartbag, I found that blog a few years back too - bit of a lightbulb moment! We all know we're supposed to make s shaped turns, not zigzags, but these just explained why, in such a logical way.
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You know it makes sense.
I get the impression alot of people see carving as high level skiing. However the carving done by most of these people who put so much emphasis on it, is normally low level hip dumping, static riding the radius of the ski.
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Mother hucker wrote:
I get the impression alot of people see carving as high level skiing. However the carving done by most of these people who put so much emphasis on it, is normally low level hip dumping, static riding the radius of the ski.


Laughing So is it a high level skill or not then? If most people can't do it?
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 Poster: A snowHead
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jimmer wrote:
Laughing So is it a high level skill or not then? If most people can't do it?
This. I don't think it is a more important skill than other ways of steering your skis, but it is certainly an aspect of skiing that most people struggle with.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hmm good question. But most people are poor skiers regardless of how they see themselves on skis and will never progress from heel pushing. Hip dumping on the radius of the ski (which is carving but elementary low skill) and high angle bending the ski carving are worlds apart.
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@Penry,
Quote:

I'm accelerating too much through fall line


Carving or not, sounds like you are not staying on the middle of the ski. Think about keeping your hips over your feet.

I think carving is a bit like "skiing a black run" -- a bit over-hyped and really just an outcome of a set of skillfully performed actions. Having said that, looking back at train tracks in the snow is very satisfying.
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rob@rar wrote:
jimmer wrote:
Laughing So is it a high level skill or not then? If most people can't do it?
This. I don't think it is a more important skill than other ways of steering your skis, but it is certainly an aspect of skiing that most people struggle with.


Important is obviously relative to your goals, if you want to go fast in a GS course, carving is very important, if you want to ski moguls, less so. It's still a high level skill that I have struggled a long time with though.
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ski wrote:
@Penry,
Quote:

I'm accelerating too much through fall line


Carving or not, sounds like you are not staying on the middle of the ski. Think about keeping your hips over your feet.

I think carving is a bit like "skiing a black run" -- a bit over-hyped and really just an outcome of a set of skillfully performed actions. Having said that, looking back at train tracks in the snow is very satisfying.


Keeping your hips over your feet is a great way to never control your speed carving. In order to incline enough to bend the ski you have to flex your inside leg, your inside hip will thus end up somewhere over your binding heelpiece, or on the snow, if you get it right.
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@jimmer, I stand corrected ! ---- but you'll still need to get your hips back over your feet to start the next turn ..
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ski wrote:
@jimmer, I stand corrected ! ---- but you'll still need to get your hips back over your feet to start the next turn ..

IMV You should have the feeling that your hips are pushing forward of your feet at the start of the turn (as you go forward and across), before your feet then catch up again. This pressurizes the tips and puts the skis into reverse camber, which adds power to the turning process.
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jimmer wrote:

Important is obviously relative to your goals, if you want to go fast in a GS course, carving is very important, if you want to ski moguls, less so.


Carving isn't too useful if you're skiing powder either........
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JoyZipper wrote:
jimmer wrote:

Important is obviously relative to your goals, if you want to go fast in a GS course, carving is very important, if you want to ski moguls, less so.


Carving isn't too useful if you're skiing powder either........


Oh really? I find the edge control learnt through carving very beneficial to skiing powder.
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ski wrote:
@jimmer, I stand corrected ! ---- but you'll still need to get your hips back over your feet to start the next turn ..


Depends on the transition type you use, if you flex in transition like most slalom racers in most turns, your hips will stay back as you change edges as well.
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jimmer wrote:
JoyZipper wrote:
jimmer wrote:

Important is obviously relative to your goals, if you want to go fast in a GS course, carving is very important, if you want to ski moguls, less so.


Carving isn't too useful if you're skiing powder either........


Oh really? I find the edge control learnt through carving very beneficial to skiing powder.
Plus the ability to have a clean transition, controlling how much rotation you blend in the start of the turn, from none to lots depending on what you want to do. This is what I see as the main reason why people struggle with linking carved turns, as it can be when skiers make the first turns in deep snow.
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@karin, @Old Fartbag, it took me a bit longer to appreciate the J turns idea but I think it's been really useful. I got new boots fitted yesterday and gave them a little run out at xscape. While I can't claim to have executed any of the turns without some sliding, changing from thinking about the turn in terms of aiming downhill to aiming to end up somewhere adjacent to my inside shoulder, made a big difference. It got me using my inside ski a lot more, and when I reverted to my usual technique in order to steer round people, it was striking how much of a passenger my inside ski was.

i suppose the goal isn't to execute the perfect set of linked turns but to be able to enjoy skiing on all sorts of slope and snow. I didn't feel at all comfortable on a couple of reds last time out which bugged me, hence the thread.
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I'm glad you got some good out of it.....sometimes a new concept, or even a different way of thinking and having a clear/simple image in your mind, can make a noticeable difference.
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You know it makes sense.
Quote:

i suppose the goal isn't to execute the perfect set of linked turns but to be able to enjoy skiing on all sorts of slope and snow.


The important thing is being able to successfully ski to every restaurant/bar you fancy sampling. Anything beyond that is icing on the cake.
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@swiftoid,
You need to be able to keep up with your kids as well, either that or give them money for lunch Shocked
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Penry wrote:
It got me using my inside ski a lot more, and when I reverted to my usual technique in order to steer round people, it was striking how much of a passenger my inside ski was.

Just out of interest what do you mean regarding the inside ski?
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@Mother hucker, taking little or no weight, heel lifting, tip brushing, doing nothing to counteract the lateral force. Obviously, I have no idea what I was actually doing because I couldn't see myself do it, but that's what it felt like compared to when I was thinking J turns.
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