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Teach me to Carve! Videos/Drills Needed!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone!  This is my first post on Epic Ski, so I just wanted to tell everyone a little bit about me.  I'm currently a Junior in College who has been spending the last 5 months studying abroad in the French Alps (Savoie specifically).  Being in the Alps I, obviously, had to go skiing.  I have been skiing before but not for some time.  I skied for 2 seasons between the ages of 4 and 6 when I lived in Boston, but having since moved to the south I haven't been skiing in some years (I am fairly decent at snowboarding, however, which I picked up from occasional weekend trips to West Virginia.  I wish I had been skiing instead now!).  During my time in France I have been skiing about 5 times.  So far, I have been to Les Arcs, Meribel, and Val Thorens and between the 27th of Feb. and the 5th of March (not next week, but the following week) I'll be in La Plagne with four of my friends skiing.  This brings me to my point.  I am decent on skis, being able to ski down blues and reds, but when it comes to skiing down blacks I haven't tried yet mainly because I want to get my form down.  When I ski I am able to control my speed, but I feel that I am hockey stopping down the mountain instead of carving it.  Do any of you have any videos, websites, drills, etc. that you could share with me to help me on my way to being decent at carving?  I know that I won't be an expert at carving over night, but if by the end of my week in La Plagne I could have the basic feeling of carving down so that I can continue to work on it when I go skiing over the subsequent weekends I would consider my week to be a success!  Thanks in advance and I can't wait to become an active member of Epic Ski!

 

Denny

post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 

Anyone?

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Seriously, any drills or just advice you guys could give me would be much appreciated.  I know that videos are harder to come by, but those would be great as well!  I was thinking about getting the Sofa Ski School DVD before going out there.  Anyone have any experiences with that DVD?  Have any others to recommend?

post #4 of 11

Go to U tube and search for carving drills. That ought to keep you busy for awhile.

post #5 of 11

 

Klaus Mair is a class act, and his one video is the best there is for teaching an intermediate or beginner or advanced how to ski, the most basic stuff to the heading to the level of expert, and it's fun. Those 20 to 30bucks (there are certain places with lower prices for it) will be about the best investment short of private lessons from an expert in the US, or Klaus M himself.

http://www.sofaskischool.com/

 

And on Epic, discussion of SofaSkiSchool and Klaus are in these threads on Epic

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/67864/sofaskischool-video

 

The other option is to go to Rick S. website

http://www.yourskicoach.com/YourSkiCoach/Your_Ski_Coach_Home.html

 

His videos are very good but far more extensive, you be the judge.

Definitely go through his glossary on his site, its a unique source of knowledge and education.

 

Good luck

post #6 of 11
Hi Denny--welcome to EpicSki! Sorry your post hasn't gotten more attention. It may be that most of EpicSki's top instructors are getting pretty busy, especially through the Presidents' Weekend holidays and this busy week that follows it. Your desire to carve better is certainly a worthy topic.
Quote:
I'm currently a Junior in College who has been spending the last 5 months studying abroad in the French Alps (Savoie specifically).

I believe that the politically correct term would be "belle jeune fille," not "broad." But I envy you either way!
biggrin.gif
Quote:
When I ski I am able to control my speed, but I feel that I am hockey stopping down the mountain instead of carving it.

In this statement is very likely the main root of any problems you may be having with carving. Realize that carving (and good turns on skis in general) are offensive, not defensive--intended for controlling direction and line efficiently and fast. Consider that they have absolutely nothing to do with controlling speed. They are FAST--and will get even faster when you get better at them.

It sounds like you like skiing fast, which is good. But no matter who you are, or how fast you are comfortable skiing, when you get to a speed (aka state of mind) that feels "fast"--with the accompanying adrenaline rush and excitement and all that--when you reach your speed threshold at which you start thinking about "controlling speed"--you become defensive, pretty much by definition. Defensive intent--the desire to control speed--is the enemy of carved turns.

To make carved turns--or to make good, offensive ski turns in general--you must want to go FASTER, all the time, focusing purely on controlling your direction of travel, not your speed. And that's the key, of course: your direction will control your speed for you, if you use good tactics. I've written a lot here at EpicSki about the expert's way of thinking--skiing a "slow line fast"--and it is critically important if you want to learn to carve. The "hockey stops" you've described are typical of the 99% of all skiers who think of turns as a way to slow down, so you are not alone. That thought ("paradigm") dictates that your technique causes--requires, even--your skis to skid sideways and literally scrub off speed. Great skiers control their speed with tactics, not technique. With technique, they control only their direction (at least when they can; braking, of course, is a critical skill too, but it is a bad habit, and it is a habit completely at odds with the desire to carve better turns).

The desire to go as fast as you can on whatever line you choose to ski is the essential pre-requisite to success with any of the technical coaching tips you'll get here, or from the videos and other sources others have pointed you toward above. Paradoxically, perhaps, you must want to go faster even when you don't want to go fast. Even stopping can be offensive--you go as fast as you can, UPHILL. Every time you start a new carved turn, releasing your grip on the mountain and guiding your ski tips down the hill without the brakes on, you're going to gain speed. Obviously, to do that, you have to want to gain speed. (A little hint: the only speed--state of mind--where you want to gain speed is..."too slow"; you must literally be going "too slow"--whatever speed that means at any moment--if you want to carve better turns.) Again, thinking of turns as a technique of slowing down is incompatible with good turns!

Something to think about....

Have fun aboard, er, abroad.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #7 of 11

Below is a video produced by Bob for his digital version of the complete Encyclopedia of Skiing.

 

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Dustyfog,

 

Thanks for the input on DVDs.  I've actually seen advertisements for both of those DVD sets, but its great to get some feedback from someone else!  I think I'll probably end up trying out the Sofa Ski School DVD.  From what I can tell he seems like an incredible teacher and from the reviews easy to follow.  

 

Bob,

 

Thanks for the kind words!  Yea, I was wondering why I hadn't gotten any attention, but I figured that either there was already a thread like this and that I hadn't seen it or I wasn't very good at coming up with thread titles...  I completely forgot about the holiday!  I get turned around sometimes being halfway around the world from where I normally call home.  As far as the broads go, you can't beat french women can you?  Haha!  

 

You're exactly right with the mentality assessment.  I LOVE going fast on skis.  In fact, that one was of the things that got me hooked on the sport: The adrenaline rush of being hurtling down a mountain at insane speeds.  I suppose that I started "defensive" skiing when I started to progress onto reds (I think they're considered upper blues in the States, not quite sure though...).  The combination of narrow runs, people converging from other trails, and people going slow around me caused me to get into a defensive mentality.  On some of the blue runs I was getting quite bored because they were too slow for me and I know that I can turn at any point, which is what initially set me about wanting to try to have proper technique and learn how to carve.  What would you suggest for getting out of this mentality?  Seeing that I'm going to a resort for a week I figure that I can make some real progress towards becoming a better skier as I can focus on some of the initial things that I am doing wrong.  Would you suggest sticking to blue runs for the entire time while I'm there or should I still go on the reds?  I know that I'll be doing some drill work mainly in the mornings for about 2 hours, as my friend who is going with me is an instructor and she said that she would help me a bit (but obviously she doesn't and SHOULDN'T be sticking around with a newbie the entire time!  Its the ALPS for crying out loud!  She needs to go profit!).  Oh, and hope you don't mind but I'll probably be snooping around some of the other things you've written to try and get a better sense and understanding of offensive skiing!

 

BillA,

 

Great video!  I haven't seen that one before!  Where did you find it?

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Oh, and Bob, great French!  You sound practically fluent!  You sure you don't want to join me out here and brush up on the language skills?  Haha

post #10 of 11

Al Hobart has an instructional DVD I think is pretty good which is focused on carving: Complete Carving Made Easy

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

Hi Denny--welcome to EpicSki! Sorry your post hasn't gotten more attention. It may be that most of EpicSki's top instructors are getting pretty busy, especially through the Presidents' Weekend holidays and this busy week that follows it. Your desire to carve better is certainly a worthy topic.


Quote:
I'm currently a Junior in College who has been spending the last 5 months studying abroad in the French Alps (Savoie specifically).



I believe that the politically correct term would be "belle jeune fille," not "broad." But I envy you either way!
biggrin.gif


Quote:
When I ski I am able to control my speed, but I feel that I am hockey stopping down the mountain instead of carving it.



In this statement is very likely the main root of any problems you may be having with carving. Realize that carving (and good turns on skis in general) are offensive, not defensive--intended for controlling direction and line efficiently and fast. Consider that they have absolutely nothing to do with controlling speed. They are FAST--and will get even faster when you get better at them.

It sounds like you like skiing fast, which is good. But no matter who you are, or how fast you are comfortable skiing, when you get to a speed (aka state of mind) that feels "fast"--with the accompanying adrenaline rush and excitement and all that--when you reach your speed threshold at which you start thinking about "controlling speed"--you become defensive, pretty much by definition. Defensive intent--the desire to control speed--is the enemy of carved turns.

To make carved turns--or to make good, offensive ski turns in general--you must want to go FASTER, all the time, focusing purely on controlling your direction of travel, not your speed. And that's the key, of course: your direction will control your speed for you, if you use good tactics. I've written a lot here at EpicSki about the expert's way of thinking--skiing a "slow line fast"--and it is critically important if you want to learn to carve. The "hockey stops" you've described are typical of the 99% of all skiers who think of turns as a way to slow down, so you are not alone. That thought ("paradigm") dictates that your technique causes--requires, even--your skis to skid sideways and literally scrub off speed. Great skiers control their speed with tactics, not technique. With technique, they control only their direction (at least when they can; braking, of course, is a critical skill too, but it is a bad habit, and it is a habit completely at odds with the desire to carve better turns).

The desire to go as fast as you can on whatever line you choose to ski is the essential pre-requisite to success with any of the technical coaching tips you'll get here, or from the videos and other sources others have pointed you toward above. Paradoxically, perhaps, you must want to go faster even when you don't want to go fast. Even stopping can be offensive--you go as fast as you can, UPHILL. Every time you start a new carved turn, releasing your grip on the mountain and guiding your ski tips down the hill without the brakes on, you're going to gain speed. Obviously, to do that, you have to want to gain speed. (A little hint: the only speed--state of mind--where you want to gain speed is..."too slow"; you must literally be going "too slow"--whatever speed that means at any moment--if you want to carve better turns.) Again, thinking of turns as a technique of slowing down is incompatible with good turns!

Something to think about....

Have fun aboard, er, abroad.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

 

Couldn't agree more with this assessment. I skied today in fairly heavy, wet snow and I skied tentatively and skied like a mo-mo. The faster I skied the better I skied but it was hard for me to let go and trust my ability. Lesson learned.
 

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