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CARV digital ski coach

 Poster: A snowHead
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OK, last day skiing until March, and my 7th day using CARV. Hope this is proving helpful to those considering it.

After using Freeski mode, which was helpful with basic tips, but not in any real way transformative instruction, I accessed the lesson packs yesterday, notably Richard Amacker's "getting your hip to the floor" drills.

Remember that I am using this system specifically for this purpose.

And here, it is excellent. I asked my wife to video me through the week. After using the video lesson pack and drills, and practicing, my hip is way, way down, and my speed management at the end of the turn is massively improved with the correct timing and form for this type of skiing. To the point that I am now carving much steeper pitches now, confident that I can finish the turn tightly and with far greater speed manager due to increased edge angles, greater control and tightened radius.

The app has confirmed what I knew. There is carving by just getting in your edges, which many people can do, and there is dynamic carving, which far fewer can. I was a bit of the way there before CARV, but in just a few days I am far closer to the latter. As someone who never really did race training, this is actually transformative.

Obviously this type of skiing is not always suitable for crowded slopes!

So if you want to do what I did, and work on slalom turns, from an already fairly able technical level, the system is both effective and cost effective vs private lessons. I suspect that once I am where I want to be, I will cancel the subscription and sell it on, rather than keep paying £100 a year.

The system has severe limitations. One is as I described - it is a bit one-dimensional, but then it is called CARV, and the makers acknowledge this. Its confusion when you steer, jump, ski switch, spin ( in the air or on the ground) or lock your skis together for bumps is actually quite endearing.

The second limitation is perhaps more real world relevant - it's no good for holiday skiiers, skiing with friends. Just like having private lessons, you need to find time, space and commitment to practice and do the lessons. Mind you, if you were committing to lessons anyway, that works well. Lady Flashman was a bit frustrated that I was being a bit antisocial - but I pointed out that I would have been in a private lesson at those points anyway, and she sort of relented a bit. Sort of. I owe her a nice lunch.

She is an expert skiier, doesn't use carving a lot in her toolbox (mogul fiend), and has no interest in the system - but then she hates being taught, or teaching, anyway. She does acknowledge that my carved turns have improved massively in a week, to the point of being a little bit intrigued.

And you want the audio. So a helmet with speakers is a must. I use my Bern helmet with the Aleck Bluetooth system. You get more out of CARV when using the audio function.

For those of you interested in such things, I am an advanced/early expert skiier. This week been skiing my own Atomic S9 Revo SL ski with my own Atomic Hawx Ultra 110 boots: so a system I am already very familiar with. My first day with CARV I scored a ski IQ of 140. Yesterday, that got to 148.

So an small, incremental score increase, but a huge improvement in one aspect of my skiing - short to medium carved turns. The score doesn't really convey how much I feel I have come on. However other data from the system helps to explain this better. Edge angles up from around 45 degrees to hovering around the 65 mark, I have consistently managed over 70 degrees, from never getting above 50 on day one. This obviously transforms your tight, fully carved turns.

Hope my diary has been helpful. Last day today for a month!
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@Harry Flashman, thanks for the review and progress report, really interesting.

I love the system in theory, but still have doubts in reality - and the main reason is this.

Quote:

Second is perhaps more real world relevant - it's no good for holiday skiiers, skiing with friends


As I ski with friends or family, I only ski in freeski mode which removes a chunk of the benefits. Plus I realise that to improve my carv score, I need to slow down my skiing and focus on my technique. Unfortunately that generally means my friends disappearing off into the distance.

I'm going to try again on my Easter family trip, as rest of the family are slower skiers, so hopefully it means I can focus on my technique a bit more. I do love looking at all the data afterwards.
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@Harry Flashman, a great review couldn't have written a better one myself Laughing Laughing

And thanks for the tip on Richard Amacker's "getting your hip to the floor" drills. as that's what I think I need to get on and improve.

Just out of interest where were you on holiday, as I would not like to be carving down the busy slopes here, though like I've mentioned we do have around 90mins if getting the early lifts at 08:30.

Did think about going up and using it this morning as slopes will be much quieter being a High Season Saturday, but we're doing slack-country instead.

And chapeau on 148 Grime Reaper beckons Very Happy
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Thanks folks, hope all was helpful. The marketing does not, to me, quite match the reality. It's marketed as "this makes everyone a better skier".

The reality is "this makes people who already know what they are doing better at certain things, incrementally, and takes patience and commitment, and using the tuition rather than just freeski mode"

But I'd love to hear from an early intermediate, to see if this worked for them too. That would be interesting.

We have been in Selva, on the Sella Ronda. Lots of space here, unlike our usual haunts in France. Also very good for practice as very easy, intermediate slopes with loads of space.

On the 148 score, that's as high as I managed, managed to repeat it but not surpass it today! What is interesting is the consistency - I am now skiing any run I put my mind to at over 135, easily, and nicely over 140 if I actually pay proper attention. that is about 10 points higher (as an average) than at the beginning of the week.

But no Grim Ripper status on this trip... Smile

Yet the Ski IQ is fun, but ultimately not of great relevance. It's whether you feel you are a better skier. And I do. My final run today has been a bumpy black run with soft, variable snow, and I carved the whole thing, at every pitch/width, in a nice conservative corridor, in complete control. That is progress as I did the same run in the same conditions on my first day, and had to steer my skis at many points to manage both my speed and my line.
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@Harry Flashman, interestingly in skiing off-piste corn yesterday, on one pitch where the snow pack was more constant I let rip more, and definitely found myself using some technique that Carv has instilled in me, and a video (see Serre Che thread) shows that I'm no longer doing that annoying pole flick, though when it became far more technical that's when you start using the poles a lot more!



Mind you later on coming back down the well-worn piste at 15:00 it was a challenge to get my light-weight touring skis to carve on that rolling eyes
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Quote:

But I'd love to hear from an early intermediate, to see if this worked for them too. That would be interesting.



I suspect I fall into this category. Mid-40s... first learned to ski seven years ago, have skied 7-14 days each year since. Had 2x6 days ski school (first two years) and intermittent private lessons since then. I can get down most slopes, but with no particular elegance. My turns are invariably skidded and probably Z-shaped. On a nice wide well-groomed blue (eg Gentianes in Courchevel 1650) I can get the skis onto their edges and experience the feeling of them driving me across the slope but I'm not remotely close to carving on the vast majority of slopes I experience when exploring the mountain with friends. And, indeed, it's only when I experience those fleeting moments, where I (think I am) balanced entirely on the outside ski and shooting across the piste, that I realise how my usual technique has may far too balanced on both skis at all times and lots of other bad habits.

I'm quite technically minded so I think I understand the theory and terminology but I suspect my age, limited number of days per year and fact that I'm not actively practising most of the time (just travelling/exploring) means that I'm probably as good as I'm ever going to get.

Anyway, I bought Carv last year and was initially quite excited. The tips they give on the lifts have been helpful and by the end of last year I was routinely getting high-nineties, low 100s. (Which I was pleased with!).

This year, I've gone backwards on that metric. I'm telling myself it's because of how hard-packed/icy the pistes were this month and so how I was focusing mostly on surviving rather than learning/practising. But I did find the Ski:IQ readouts quite demotivational this year. I think a change they made to the app didn't help: it now reads out your IQ whenever you stop on the piste. This should be great - you can experiment with different things on one run and see what effect it has. But, for me, it didn't seem to matter what I did: I could have what I thought was a greatly improved sequence of turns, and my score would go down! The contrast between feeling I just did something well and then being told it was terrible took away some of the enjoyment. So I stopped putting my airpods in for a few days.

That said, I did also try having it read out a specific metric on each turn and found it useful... and I plan to use it to practise some drills when I go again next month.

But is it a substitute for an instructor? For me, absolutely not. Indeed, the two hours we spent with an instructor on day 2 of our trip this month (where all she did was remind us of a drill to help force our weight onto the outside skis and hence stop them from slipping out from under us every time we tried to turn on the hard-packed pistes) was more impactful to our enjoyment of the week than all of the Carv feedback combined.

All this said, I *am* about to renew my subscription... it *is* useful and interesting and I find it helpful. But, for a recreational skier like me who *wants* to get better but perhaps isn't ever going to knuckle down and just do training drills all day for a week, it's unrealistic to think a piece of software/hardware could be transformational by itself.
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@gendal, You are very honest about your own performance - and I think have hit on one of the major downsides of Carv.

The fact that it is giving lower scores, without a sufficient ability to give feedback as to exactly why (as in "You are skidding and steering more, which is OK, as it is suitable for what you are facing) - just means it is demotivating. This is the opposite of what you need.

I think if one is already a very accomplished skier, one knows instinctively what is going wrong/going on....but for someone at Intermediate level, it very much needs combined with Instruction.

In difficult, possibly crowded conditions, what is very appropriate and sensible for you to be doing, is likely to be giving you lower scores - but that is because it measuring something that is totally inappropriate for what you are facing. So, I would not worry too much. Carv only measures one of the tools in your toolbox.
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That was very interesting, and confirms what I suspected - the system is useful for tweaking an already advanced technique, but not at all detailed enough (or conversely, holistic enough) to really teach someone how to ski.

For example, the very honest account by gendal illustrates this (and by the way, you need not settle for where you are. I picked up skis for the first time at 27, and have got a long way from where I started; but I have felt just like you in my adult memory).

One of your points about having pressure entirely on one ski shows that you need a teacher, not a machine that only really measures pressure smoothness, with no feedback on that distribution and the dynamics of pressure distribution change through a turn.

Frankly, as old fartbag says, a score is hopeless unless reasons for it are given. Now you can dive into the app and look at the data to do this, but in my opinion you need to be a pretty technical skier already to use these metrics to see what you were doing well or poorly.

Thanks for sharing. I hope potential CARV buyers find this thread, as I did, and can use it to see if an expensive system would actually suit them.
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I'll jump in (again) from a not so great intermediate perspective.
I'm a founder member so no subscription costs and that would make a difference if I were a new user.

It's helped - it honestly has, even on free ski which is pretty much all I use.
I'm not looking to improve that much - I'm nearly 60 years old, late to skiing (but for misguided youngsters I'm still playing hockey and riding horses to a level you'd assume I'd not be capable if you were age-ist!)
Anyway, the voice in my ear has encouraged me to overcome boundaries...edge angle, how to get early edging etc that I'd not have known existed just skidding around by my self.
Not a substitute for one on one lessons from a very good ski instructor but, for me, better than a ski school snake (apart from the craic...ski school snake has infinitely better craic!)
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Just gone back in to look at my Carv app. Haven't used it this season at all, but might do if my sensors fit my new boots.

My Ski:IQ seems to have risen from 147 to 153 classing me now as a Grim Ripper. Not sure what's caused this, perhaps Carv's software altering the way it calculates things?
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swskier wrote:

My Ski:IQ seems to have risen from 147 to 153 classing me now as a Grim Ripper.


what are your watts/kg or VAM?
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@swskier, I remember seeing an email recently saying that they'd recalculated the ski IQ's, and as a consequence most have changed slightly. Mine went up, and it sounds like you were one of the lucky ones too!
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@swskier, @Handy Turnip, I thought in that email it said all had gone down, mine and the OH's certainly did.

@swskier, so now they'll be loads of pressure on you to get up to that score Laughing

Only did a short sharp session today, and I was convinced something was up with the sensors as I just couldn't get above 130 as I felt as if I was carving really well.

The OH who was behind me, described me as something out of a video game as I was carving across the empty pistes from side to side, and she was waiting for someone to shoot me down or something Laughing

After the big wide turns I then did much shorter radius turns really unweighting, almost jumping into the turn and it seemed to really like that and scores were back to constant 140's.

But the pistes now are not really conducive to playing around at the moment and we've both said that we're going to concentrate on the drills to get the high edge angles from getting down low when the conditions are right.

I still think that there's an element of bottle factor involved in trying to get down low and on the edges vs the fear of spinning out.
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@Weathercam, pressure's on now, perhaps them not fitting in the new boots is my perfect excuse Laughing Laughing
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Weathercam wrote:
@swskier, @Handy Turnip, I thought in that email it said all had gone down, mine and the OH's certainly did.



Hmmm.. not sure - maybe they sneakily phrased the email in a certain way to it seem that everyone's had gone down (and avoid people complaining). Not sure, this was the email I got.

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Thanks all for the comments (and encouragement!)

I thought this point was well-made:

Quote:

Now you can dive into the app and look at the data to do this, but in my opinion you need to be a pretty technical skier already to use these metrics to see what you were doing well or poorly.


To give an example, I had a play with the 'edge similarity' monitor one afternoon. I could get it into the 40s sometimes but what stood out was the sheer number of turns that scored precisely ZERO! And this was on a smooth, soft, quiet, wide piste so I wasn't distracted by traffic or worried about the condition of the snow, etc. That suggests to me there was something pretty wrong with my technique at a fundamental level. I recall reading somewhere that they deliberately measure edge similarity very early in the turn so it could be an artefact of what they're choosing to reward/punish. But I can't see a way to use the system to help me diagnose what I'm doing wrong there or, perhaps more importantly, assess the extent to which this metric holds the key to moving me forward in any case.

But I do want to give the Carv team credit. Yes - I wish it could somehow magically(!) integrate with how recreational skiiers actually spend their one week per year on the slopes - but it doesn't pretend to be something it isn't... and, like I say, I've found it to be useful. But it's definitely not a substitute for an instructor.
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Handy Turnip wrote:
Weathercam wrote:
@swskier, @Handy Turnip, I thought in that email it said all had gone down, mine and the OH's certainly did.



Hmmm.. not sure - maybe they sneakily phrased the email in a certain way to it seem that everyone's had gone down (and avoid people complaining). Not sure, this was the email I got.



My Carv account is still linked to an email address I no longer have access to, hence why I missed this email then!

Changing email address on your account is only possible via contacting them, so i'm waiting for that to mover over.
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Just chipping in as I used the Carv for the first time in half-term. I'm going to report in full on it in conversation with Al Morgan in Episode 171 of The Ski Podcast, due out on 10 March.
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@iainm, so what did you manage as an IQ then Laughing

Mate who has got well into it the last couple of weeks, so much so that he bought a new pair of skis, and is an out ad out piste skier and as he admits to a data-junkie, staying here for three months whilst his son does his speed test, managed 140 yesterday where initially he was in the 120's.

On Saturday I opted not to use FreeSki mode but the Carving training mode and which gives you a continued appraisal of each turn and you need to pass a series of turns before you can move on to the next stage, there is really a whole load of stuff under the hood.

With the flat light and not brilliant piste I couldn't get anywhere near my PB. Even though the piste was fine Mancheter Corduroy it was very hard/icy and had no give to get an edge, well that's my excuse Laughing
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Back out on the hill with it this morning as pistes are now not so busy, but I opted to use my Scott Slights which are an All Mountain Ski at 93 wide, so not exactly a carving ski, and was pleasantly surprised to score 139 and have to say the snow was not brilliant, so presumably, that score is as a result of all the carving that I've been doing?

And a bit like the recent ski-test of All Mountain Skis at the SIGB test, as the corduroy disappeared so holding an edge on the wider ski became harder and harder as the morning went on.
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@Harry Flashman, just reading up and Carv, are you up for sharing the before/after videos when you working on carving steeper slopes using the Carv lessons?
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The ones my wife took are deleted, now. I should have done that, with hindsight, as it would have given some context.

In fact, the only ski vid I have of me is me bouncing around in off-piste, legs locked together in boot deep powder, on a pair of GS skis, several years ago. I look stylish, but ineffective Smile

But happy to ask her to take some in April when back out, and post?

What I could do is try to do some turns with a low CARV score (staying static forwards/backwards and not getting low achieves this), and then some with a higher score, for comparison by you lot? We will be in the PDS and the top of the Coupe du Monde seems pretty good for this exercise, presuming I don't stuff it up and fall off the side at the narrower top. Arbis over on the Les Gets/Chamossiere side would be better, but I suspect it will be closed.

I see a lot of falling over in April, to satisfy the entertainment requirements of SH!

I'd offer to do it next week but skiing with mates, on fat skis in slush, and due to the awful, wet weather forecast more likely to be drowning my sorrows in a bar than doing any skiing. That said, I will be interested to see how CARV scores/my technique is affected by being on my 114mm waist skis. I wasn't going to take the setup, but now I shall.

I do know from a vid taken in the 2019 season of me skiing my Preachers that whilst I thought I was carving them well, I was actually in no way as far over as I thought I was, and barely flexing the skis at all. This is really what has since led me to working on shorter, carved turns. I was rolling my feet and inclining and putting in some mild, "c-shape" angulation rather than angulating properly and getting my legs cycling properly in deep flexion/extension.

The latter is how my "before" vid looked. Wish I had kept it.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Mon 6-03-23 8:05; edited 6 times in total
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Also, I have no idea how to post videos or pics from a phone into this site...

...you'd be welcome to the bouncy off-piste vid as everyone needs a laugh, I feel, and I'm not proud!
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@Harry Flashman, easiest way for vids is to upload to youtube then just post the link in here.

I'd seriously be interested in seeing what carv says on wider skis with some video snaps if you can be arsed, might keep you out of the bar for an extra hour Wink

I think what I'd be interested in is edge angles for wider skis and seeing if you can tip them over more and carve and get the resulting matching feedback.

Perhapsa @Weathercam, can post some as well, he's loves a bit of videoing Smile Can you overlay the score onto video?

I think the other thing I'd be interested in is doing something "wrong" and getting a good score if that makes sense? One concern I have over Carv is it could encourage bad habits that give a good score, ie bending at the waist and getting a good fore/aft balance score.


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Mon 6-03-23 9:53; edited 1 time in total
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I don't use Carv but am curious what parameters it asks you about your skis, length, turn radius , waist width etc?
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It tells you to input your skis (model) when skiing, but I have only ever skiied it with my slalom skis, so have no idea how this affects metrics.

Given how much harder my wide skis will be to crank over, I am curious as to what this does to the edge angle readouts and advice it then gives me.

It measures stuff like rotation (how parallel are your skis), pressure between skis/side-to-side balance, fore-aft balance and edge angle. The latter will, I suspect, vary quite a lot depending on the waist width you are on, unless you are some sort of skiing god. Which I am not.
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Yeah same, I have a set of Salomon S/Max skis which are incredibly flattering to ski with as very easy to carve on and make you look good.

As you say with wider off-piste skis it is much harder, at least for me, to achieve the same edge angles. But they are longer, much much wider and have have a corresponding longer turn radius.

But then again I think Carv is, funnily enough, mainly focussed at on piste skiers who want to perfect carving.
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@Harry Flashman, so presumably you'll edit the stats for your wider skis?
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NoMapNoCompass wrote:


As you say with wider off-piste skis it is much harder, at least for me, to achieve the same edge angles. But they are longer, much much wider and have have a corresponding longer turn radius.

....and also Off Piste skis generally do not have a riser plate, which also makes getting high edge angles more difficult.
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@Harry Flashman,
Quote:

rotation (how parallel are your skis),


Hmmm, I like to think I'm a fairly strong skier, I've certainly put in the hours, but my skis are rarely perfectly parallel Shocked (and it doesn't bother me)
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kitenski wrote:
@Harry Flashman, so presumably you'll edit the stats for your wider skis?


Yup.
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@Harry Flashman, do they have profiles you can reload for skis or just edit before a day depending on what skis you take?
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Mmmm didn't change my ski data, in fact I only entered the make and model, not length, radius or width?

Major school boy error !!

So will be interesting to see the changes between skis!
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Old Fartbag wrote:

....and also Off Piste skis generally do not have a riser plate, which also makes getting high edge angles more difficult.

Riser plates for racing skis are indeed designed to lift the boot clearer of the snow to allow greater edge angles, but with fat skis this is pretty much a non-issue, given that the ski is actually wider than the boot, so even if you could get as low as 90 degrees the boots still would not be touching the snow.

For reference, I just measured my boots, about 105mm at their widest, my fat skis have a waist of 122mm.
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under a new name wrote:
@Harry Flashman,
Quote:

rotation (how parallel are your skis),

Hmmm, I like to think I'm a fairly strong skier, I've certainly put in the hours, but my skis are rarely perfectly parallel Shocked (and it doesn't bother me)

Are you just being pedantic about being _exactly_ parallel, or do you mean your skis are often diverging through a turn? If the latter then while it might not bother you, equally it might allow you to ski more efficiently if you were to address this.
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Weathercam wrote:
Mmmm didn't change my ski data, in fact I only entered the make and model, not length, radius or width?

Major school boy error !!

So will be interesting to see the changes between skis!
.



Do I slightly get the impression you are chasing Ski IQ scores, over anything else?! Just a feeling!


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Mon 6-03-23 12:42; edited 1 time in total
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kitenski wrote:
@Harry Flashman, do they have profiles you can reload for skis or just edit before a day depending on what skis you take?


Yes - you can put in radius, waist width and length.
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kitenski wrote:
@Harry Flashman, easiest way for vids is to upload to youtube then just post the link in here.

I'd seriously be interested in seeing what carv says on wider skis with some video snaps if you can be arsed, might keep you out of the bar for an extra hour Wink

I think what I'd be interested in is edge angles for wider skis and seeing if you can tip them over more and carve and get the resulting matching feedback.

Perhapsa @Weathercam, can post some as well, he's loves a bit of videoing Smile Can you overlay the score onto video?

I think the other thing I'd be interested in is doing something "wrong" and getting a good score if that makes sense? One concern I have over Carv is it could encourage bad habits that give a good score, ie bending at the waist and getting a good fore/aft balance score.


Challenge (and consequent wipeouts) accepted! I'll see what I can do...which I suspect if I try to ski my Preachers like my S9s, will be falling over a lot.
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Weathercam wrote:
Mmmm didn't change my ski data, in fact I only entered the make and model, not length, radius or width?

Major school boy error !!

So will be interesting to see the changes between skis!


Thats your recent ski test validity out of the window then!!
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kitenski wrote:
Weathercam wrote:
Mmmm didn't change my ski data, in fact I only entered the make and model, not length, radius or width?

Major school boy error !!

So will be interesting to see the changes between skis!


Thats your recent ski test validity out of the window then!!


I might be wrong but I think the ski data is for reference only, I don't think it affects the actual scores given.
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