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Ski carving issues

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello guys and girls.

I have stumbled upon snowheads forum a while ago when I was searching for something ski related (cant remember what Very Happy ) and after that I kept coming back. Well it seems that it is time for my first post Cool .

I (27 years old) went on my first ski trip this year, on January 8th. Before that I've seen skiers only on the screen Very Happy . I really liked it and started skiing on my own more and more. Until now I've skied about 20 days in total I would say.

Like many beginners, my goal is to learn carving so I got myself some 13 radius skis (used blizzard race wcs 167cm - Im 181 cm tall). And it is just not going as I want it to. I am trying hard to get my edge angle up - but I just can't do it like other guys on the mountain do.
Today I had some weird feeling that I am lowering my body in turns more than an I usually do so I asked my sister to make a video of me skiing. And after I watched that video, I realized that I am still far away from carving and high edge angles.

Could you guys give me some advices, what should I work on?

Youtube video link:

http://youtube.com/v/kW_ZCz_MqBs
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Practice. A lot people are still doing snowploughs after 3 weeks Very Happy

Other than that I can't help, sorry!
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Although possibly not enough weight over the front - you're too upright/back. Bend zee knees!

Plenty of experts will be around soon though Toofy Grin
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@xpg94, welcome to snowHeads. For someone who only started skiing a couple of months ago you are making quick progress.

The thing which is holding you back is what you are doing are the very beginning of the turn. You "pop up" too quickly and often twist your skis in to a new direction, then you try to get your skis on to their edges. But by the time you are getting the skis on their edges you are already half way around the turn, and you have not yet any lateral forces (centrifugal forces, or centripetal forces if you prefer) so you have very little to balance against as you tip your centre of mass in to the centre of the turn. As a result of not having these lateral forces to balance against your body gets twisted out of shape to stay in balance.

What you need to do is make much smoother, more progress movements at the start of the turn. Rather than popping upwards, more smoothly press on the edge of your outside ski with a smooth, powerful action. This will setup the turn more effectively, and you will begin to turn more effectively. This will allow the lateral forces to build up earlier in the turn, so you have more to balance against as you keep tipping your hips in to the centre of the turn. Initially this will feel far too slow a movement, at a time when you are trying to get more performance out of your skiing. But is is they key to unlocking much more effective movements and working towards a clean carved turn.
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Not bad for 20 days. As @rob@rar, it looks like you're popping early and going into a skid.

As my old instructor once said "accept the speed!". Try and make the the turn longer, or in other words stretch out the bit where you are facing downhill. You will go quicker, but you need to "accept the speed!". One thing I used to do was head downhill until I wasn't comfortable any more, then force myself to stay on that line for 1 more second, before starting a slow turn.
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@rob@rar, Cheers - I'll try that myself!
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@MorningGory @rob@rar @Timmycb5 thank you all for quick replies, I did not expect so much "attention" so quickly Mr. Green
I will try to do that next time - to stretch the turn and to make smoother turns, and definitelly to accept the speed.
The thing is, I think I have watched all carving tutorials that youtube had to offer, drills, exercises, all of it. And each time I think that the next day I go skiing is the day I will take that knowledge to the piste. But as you can guess it, once I stand on the skis the things are so much different and I just can't figure it out hahaha. On videos it looks so easy, but when I am supposed to do it - well, I can't do it Mr. Green

Anyways, thank you for the valuable info, I will try to achieve what you guys described. Special thanks to @rob2rar for analyzing my movements and for the detailes explanation of what I am doing. It really makes sense.
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@xpg94, welcome to snowHeads snowHead

20 days? You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself - much, much better than many, after a relatively short skiing ‘career’.

I can’t add anything constructive (there are much more qualified folk here than I), but good luck with the progress Very Happy .
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Just to add, if you check out Bend Ze Knees and the thread “Skiing Insight/Analysis Videos”, there’s some really useful content.
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I'm with those who are impressed with how you are getting on after 20 days. Rob "is yer man" when it comes to this - but as an amateur, here are my thoughts....which are very much along the line of those of Rob.

- Get all your weight onto the u/hill ski prior to turning and keep it that way through the turn.....lift the tail of the d/hill ski prior to turning if necessary, to ensure full weight transfer (as a drill).

- Instead of popping up, soften the inside leg and drive forward and across the skis.

- Your skis aren't edged enough - so steadily and gradually roll them over onto their edges all the way through the turn (think of the angle going from 0 [fall line] to 5 [end of turn). Atm. they are too flat and you are twisting them. Let the amount of edge and pressure determine the radius, not the amount of foot twisting.

- Pinch your hip and ribs together at the top of the turn, to create a better C-Shape...demonstrated here:


http://youtube.com/v/sHXmn8O26Bg&t=12s

- I think your U/hill ski is pushed too far forward, which causes a split in your legs, which is a weaker skiing position - keep your skis more in line.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Wed 24-03-21 12:11; edited 2 times in total
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@Cacciatore, listen to @rob@rars advice, the only think I'd add is start off on a slightly easier slope, which will give you more time to get onto the edge without such a huge increase in speed/pressure.... What colour was that slope in the video? I'd be thinking a decent green/blue to practise edging/carving....
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
kitenski wrote:
@Cacciatore, listen to @rob@rars advice, the only think I'd add is start off on a slightly easier slope, which will give you more time to get onto the edge without such a huge increase in speed/pressure.... What colour was that slope in the video? I'd be thinking a decent green/blue to practise edging/carving....


@kitenski it was a red. I tend to go on as steep slopes as possible to practice, since on the blue ones I can't catch enough speed to even attempt the edging/carving.
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xpg94 wrote:
kitenski wrote:
@Cacciatore, listen to @rob@rars advice, the only think I'd add is start off on a slightly easier slope, which will give you more time to get onto the edge without such a huge increase in speed/pressure.... What colour was that slope in the video? I'd be thinking a decent green/blue to practise edging/carving....


@kitenski it was a red. I tend to go on as steep slopes as possible to practice, since on the blue ones I can't catch enough speed to even attempt the edging/carving.


My carving is FAR better on a blue than it is on a red. Point your skis south for long enough on a blue, and you'll get enough speed, I promise!
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You know it makes sense.
xpg94 wrote:
it was a red. I tend to go on as steep slopes as possible to practice, since on the blue ones I can't catch enough speed to even attempt the edging/carving.


This is part of the issue I think... You're not even vaguely 'carving' in that video, just moving from one skid to the next as you try to scrub off speed. That slope looks too steep for you and snow conditions are also a bit tricky

Get your self onto a nice bashed blue slope and get to know the feeling of actually having the skis railroading on their edges.

Good luck - I don't mean to sound too negative as you're skiing nicely for a beginner but too much time on too steep slopes in those conditions will likely inhibit your progress and could mean your develop bad habits that will stay with you for a long time (and I should know... Embarassed )
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xpg94 wrote:
it was a red. I tend to go on as steep slopes as possible to practice, since on the blue ones I can't catch enough speed to even attempt the edging/carving.


Ok learn to carve on greens first then blues, if you can't do it there you won't be able to on a red.

Hint: it's nothing to do with speed, if you can't roll onto an edge and hold it on an easier slope you won't be able to do so on a steeper one.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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xpg94 wrote:


I tend to go on as steep slopes as possible to practice, since on the blue ones I can't catch enough speed to even attempt the edging/carving.

IMV. This is exactly the wrong thing to do.

1. Skiing slowly is much more difficult than skiing quickly - and is inclined to highlight mistakes much more easily

2. With modern shaped Piste skis, you don't need speed to carve - on a gentle slope, all you have to do is gradually roll both skis onto their edges....and be Patient.....as going slowly on a gentle slope causes a large radius turn.

3. Practicing a new skill on a steeper red often causes all the problems you are experiencing in that video. To control your speed, you are resorting to twisting your feet.

4. The slope needs to be shallow enough, that speed control isn't an issue - so you can work on the movements, which should leave 2 thin tramlines in the snow.

5. Speed control from carving, is done through turn shape - where finishing your turn is key - think of a Fish Hook, where the tips can go back up the fall line, if necessary.

6. The turn shape should be like smooth S-shapes, where the end of one turn, runs into the start of another - there should be no Flat Spots, or Z-shaped skids.

7. Only when you can ride the edges down an easy Blue, should you take the carving onto a Red. Controlling your speed through Turn Shape, on a steeper slope, is a fairly advanced skill.
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@rob@rar, "and you have not yet any lateral forces (centrifugal forces, or centripetal forces if you prefer) so you have very little to balance against as you tip your centre of mass in to the centre of the turn. As a result of not having these lateral forces to balance against your body gets twisted out of shape to stay in balance".

I'm not trained to teach, so observation comments only. @xpg94, if you look at your inside ski and leg, when going away from camera, I think you can see what rob has said above. Your still trying to stand on your "inside" leg to stop yourself falling inwards.

Just watch those last two turns a few times and you'll see it illustrated.

For amount of time skiing though, very good progress and better than many.
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Thanks again to everyone who responded. I appreciate your advice and I will move back to gentle slopes and start practice rolling my edges.

One more question, how much of an issue would a too-large ski boot be?
I bought some new ski boots this year which are size 29, 334cm (Salomon wide x-access with 70flex). At the moment of buying them, I was only thinking to find a cheap option for ski boots, since I did not want to waste money on rent each time. But I did not feel at that moment that the boots are too large, I noticed it when I removed the liner from the plastic and compared it to my foot.

My solution right now is to tighten the buckles all the way, and after that my shin is 100% fixed. But I feel that my foot roams a little bit left and right, and there is still 2-3cm of empty space in front of my toes.

I plan on swapping those boots with new ones at the beginning of next season, but since snow conditions are still pretty fine and ski-able, I may go skiing a couple of times more this season. Do you guys recommend me to rent a new pair until I buy the ones that fit my foot, or are these good enough for me to attempt to practice edging on gentle slopes?
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ski3 wrote:
I'm not trained to teach, so observation comments only. @xpg94, if you look at your inside ski and leg, when going away from camera, I think you can see what rob has said above. Your still trying to stand on your "inside" leg to stop yourself falling inwards.
Good observation. The inside leg is being used as an "in-rigger" to provide something to balance on, compensating for the lack of lateral forces which would be needed to be properly balanced at the edge angles that xpg94 is trying to create.

I'd echo the comments above about not trying to learn to carve properly on a red piste. It is way too steep. I don't see many skiers cleanly linking carved turns on a red piste, even those with plenty of experience. Trying to learn carved turns as a novice skier on that kind of terrain which pretty much guarantee that you develop bad habits. When I teach early carving skills I'll use a green or gentle blue piste as anything steeper generates too much speed.
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@xpg94, you can carve/ski with your boots 100% undone, it's not perfect but for now they won't stop you practising finding your edges IMHO
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@xpg94, A wise person once told me that if you intend to go on more than 1 week of skiing in your life, it makes sense to get properly fitted boots. I couldn't afford to do that until quite a few weeks in, but I can't imagine wearing ill fitting boots now. And unless it's a proper fit, you will be losing some control.

As a general rule of thumb, when you put your boots and clip up the bindings, if you stand straight up, your toes should be touching the end of the boot (but not uncomfortably so). When you lean onto your shins, your toes should no longer be touching the end. Aside from that, only you (or a qualified fitter) will know if the instep or boot width is correct.
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@xpg94, Boots that are too big, don't make life impossible - but makes life more difficult than it needs to be, especially as you are learning.

A Flex of 70 is unlikely to be enough.

Having to crank up the buckles is not good for your circulation.

There is no point in hiring boots that are unlikely to be right either.

Find out where Instructors go to fit their boots and put yourself in the hands of that Bootfitter.
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@ski3, @rob@rar, @kitenski, @Old_Fartbag, @red_27, @Timmycb5 thank you all a lot, I really really appreciate your help. This all is a lot of info and I can't really absorb it in my head in the first reading, so I will definitelly re-read and analyze all of it. Mr. Green
About the boots - nice to know that they won't stop me from learning, but I will try to sort that issue out sooner rather than later Mr. Green
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@xpg94, Are you trying to teach yourself atm....do you intend to take lessons to guide you through all this? You are at the point in your skiing, that a good instructor will make a huge difference.....the alternative is to ingrain bad habits, that are harder to unlearn, than it is starting off on the right foot.
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@Old_Fartbag yup, I am doing it all by myself. A friend taught me the basics (first 3 times I went skiing) and then I proceeded to youtube and other online sources. I had intentions to take a real instructor but something always pops up - I pick up a friend and we ski together, and it seems a bad idea to take an instructor and leave a friend alone.
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xpg94 wrote:
@Old_Fartbag yup, I am doing it all by myself. A friend taught me the basics (first 3 times I went skiing) and then I proceeded to youtube and other online sources. I had intentions to take a real instructor but something always pops up - I pick up a friend and we ski together, and it seems a bad idea to take an instructor and leave a friend alone.

I think that is a mistake, if you truly want to get to a decent level. I have yet to meet a decent skier that taught themselves. YouTube is a great resource, but only to supplement lessons and provide a topic of discussion with the Instructor.

Instruction needs to be tailored to the individual and then feedback given....this is not something you can do yourself that successfully, as it needs training. You obviously have natural talent to get as far as you have - so imv you should maximise that.

There is no reason that you and your Friend couldn't share the lessons and split the cost.
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@xpg94, wot @Old Fartbag, says. Exactly that. Even just an hour private would get you some ideas and drills and not leave your mates hanging around too much.
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kitenski wrote:
@Cacciatore, listen to @rob@rars advice, the only think I'd add is start off on a slightly easier slope, which will give you more time to get onto the edge without such a huge increase in speed/pressure.... What colour was that slope in the video? I'd be thinking a decent green/blue to practise edging/carving....


Puzzled

Errr, not me seeking the advice wink
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Old Fartbag wrote:
xpg94 wrote:
@Old_Fartbag yup, I am doing it all by myself. A friend taught me the basics (first 3 times I went skiing) and then I proceeded to youtube and other online sources. I had intentions to take a real instructor but something always pops up - I pick up a friend and we ski together, and it seems a bad idea to take an instructor and leave a friend alone.

I think that is a mistake, if you truly want to get to a decent level. I have yet to meet a decent skier that taught themselves. YouTube is a great resource, but only to supplement lessons and provide a topic of discussion with the Instructor.

Instruction needs to be tailored to the individual and then feedback given....this is not something you can do yourself that successfully, as it needs training. You obviously have natural talent to get as far as you have - so imv you should maximise that.

There is no reason that you and your Friend couldn't share the lessons and split the cost.


100% agree with this.

For what it’s worth, when I was looking to move on from the ‘early intermediate’ plateau, I was well and truly stuck on, I decided to invest in a weeks worth of 1:1 instruction. 2.5 hours every morning for 6 days and then practice the drills all afternoon. The lessons included a fair bit of video analysis to help highlight the issues and improvements. Worth every penny and helped immensely to develop a strong platform. I still go back to the drills when things sometimes feel a little off...and that’s a good 40+ weeks worth of skiing ago! So quite a good investment, all in all.
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@xpg94, a lot of people above have given much better advice than I can.

But I thought I would add one idea that might click. Carving is a bit like changing direction on a bicycle, any change in which way the front wheel points is minor compared with your need to lean the bicycle inwards. So to initiate a carved turn you already need to lean towards the centre of the curve - which at that point is down the slope and feels wrong, but is actually completely right. And you need to have your skis at right angles to your legs so as you lean you are then moving on the inner edges.

With modern skis that will start you turning - but when it works you will have the weird feeling of accelerating out of control. No problem, now you know it happens you simply have to keep your knees well bent so your weight is forward and the out-of-control problem goes away. And then you are carving. At the end you simply straighten up and decide when to lean the other way to initiate the next bend.

When it works you will know, it is a satisfying sensation. And follow the advice given by others, find a blue slope with a steady gradient to practise the technique and embed it in your brain. To do it on a steeper slope or one where the gradient undulates you need to have it already embedded so you can concentrate on the slope not the technique.

(Apologies if you don't cycle, in which case my explanation will make no sense).
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Carving is a good goal to have but it is only one technique out of many. It works well on wide groomed, quiet slopes but not on patchy snow, steep runs or narrow chutes where some form of skidding will be necessary.
Other objectives include honing precise slow speed control in all conditions and continuing to look good doing it.
You’ve come a very long way in only 20 days. I took at least 10 years to not get there Laughing
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Tomorrow morning I will 99% go skiing, and I am in contact with one instructor to see if we could work something out for tomorrow. The temperatures are going up next week so probably the snow will melt and the season is over. So I will try to practice the next 3 days as much as possible with the instructor.

@j_b your explanation is really nice and helpful, I will give it a go tomorrow, hopefully, I will feel that satisfying sensation Smile

@Peter_S Yeah I've seen people who ski on really steep slopes where snow is in pretty bad condition - ungroomed with bumps, and people still ski there and they look awesome, doing some kind of really short powerful turns. Whenever I go on such slopes - I skid all the way down. I will ask the instructor about it tomorrow - if I manage to catch him at all.

I will let you fellows know about any improvement that I make tomorrow Mr. Green
Thanks a lot for the assistance
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xpg94 wrote:
Tomorrow morning I will 99% go skiing, and I am in contact with one instructor to see if we could work something out for tomorrow. The temperatures are going up next week so probably the snow will melt and the season is over. So I will try to practice the next 3 days as much as possible with the instructor.

@j_b your explanation is really nice and helpful, I will give it a go tomorrow, hopefully, I will feel that satisfying sensation Smile

@Peter_S Yeah I've seen people who ski on really steep slopes where snow is in pretty bad condition - ungroomed with bumps, and people still ski there and they look awesome, doing some kind of really short powerful turns. Whenever I go on such slopes - I skid all the way down. I will ask the instructor about it tomorrow - if I manage to catch him at all.

I will let you fellows know about any improvement that I make tomorrow Mr. Green
Thanks a lot for the assistance


Those people have probably been skiing since before they could walk and have thousands of days skiing under their belts. Achieving that would be like trying to drive in F1 when you've still got L plates on your car!
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Timmycb5 wrote:
Those people have probably been skiing since before they could walk and have thousands of days skiing under their belts. Achieving that would be like trying to drive in F1 when you've still got L plates on your car!


Probably, but I refuse to believe that I can't learn it. It is not quantum physics for God's sake Mr. Green
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xpg94 wrote:

@j_b your explanation is really nice and helpful, I will give it a go tomorrow, hopefully, I will feel that satisfying sensation Smile


Just to add to jb's excellent image, I would like to elaborate on the "Leaning In" idea.

In skiing, there are 2 ways of doing this - Angulation and Inclination

Angulation is where the Hips drop to the inside of the turn - and the d/hill side of the body forms a "C-Shape"....it is this shape that allows you to angle your skis, while balancing over your outside foot. It is what the "Hip and Rib" exercise above is trying to promote. This is what jb is talking about.

Inclination is where the whole body leans to the inside of the turn...otherwise known as "Banking". This is generally to be avoided for Piste skiing, as it puts too much weight on the U/hill ski, causing the D/hill ski to slide out from under your body, often resulting in a fall to the inside of the turn (loss of grip on the D/hill ski).

Your skiing needs more Angulation.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Thu 25-03-21 10:55; edited 1 time in total
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xpg94 wrote:
Timmycb5 wrote:
Those people have probably been skiing since before they could walk and have thousands of days skiing under their belts. Achieving that would be like trying to drive in F1 when you've still got L plates on your car!


Probably, but I refuse to believe that I can't learn it. It is not quantum physics for God's sake Mr. Green


Yes, you will be able to ski like that if you stick at it and practice, but you won't be able to ski like that this season if there's only a few days left! One step at a time. If you try and hurl yourself down an unpisted black before you're ready, you'll just be a danger to yourself and others on the slopes!
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Good point @Old Fartbag, that is terminology I hadn't met.

I remember discussing technique with a friend who memorably explained it by saying you need to lean sideways in the shape of a banana.

@xpg94, I found when struggling with skiing technique that different people, including instructors, have different ways of explaining the same thing - and some explanations I struggled to follow and others just clicked. We are all different.
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j b wrote:
Good point @Old Fartbag, that is terminology I hadn't met.

I remember discussing technique with a friend who memorably explained it by saying you need to lean sideways in the shape of a banana.

Leaning the whole body to the inside of the turn, is a classic beginner error - it seems to help....until it doesn't. "Banana Shaped" is a good image.

These basic ideas and concepts are why it is so hard to teach yourself. Understanding them in theory is one thing - implementing them in practice (correctly), is quite another.
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j b wrote:
[you simply have to keep your knees well bent so your weight is forward and the out-of-control problem goes away. And then you are carving. At the end you simply straighten up and decide when to lean the other way to initiate the next bend.


I'm not sure I like this advice, or just can't picture it! I have a horrible image in my head of someone with both knees well bent "leaning" into the turn.

This is a great video IMHO, J turns at t1min 45secs in well worth doing as is the following edge to edge drills later on. Note there is no leaning, just a simple roll onto the edges. You need to be able to do this and leave 2 perfectly clean lines in the snow.

Watch at the end how unhurried and smooth his demo is


http://youtube.com/v/UGn62uxnhjg
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A long time ski instructor brought a story from teaching in Austria which said, "to make beautiful turns, first you have to finish your turns" which if you take time to think about it makes a lot of sense.

Many are already anticipating the next turn and compromise the one they're currently in to contort themself for what's coming.

If separated into singular, just get speed right and stay turning to feel the whole turn build, weight up and then dissipate until it takes you back up the gradient. It allows you on your own to see what you are doing. Try them in alternate directions, again on their own, and it starts to describe the space you need to work through the progression.

Then you can feel the point in the turn at which it's optimum to link those beautiful single turns into a flow.

All on a blue slope as already mentioned, rather than having to control speed, you'll ordinarily be adding a little to get those singular turns smoothing into graceful arc.
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