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Effective carving at very slow speeds

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

In another thread about the merits and downfalls of using more flexible skis (specifically, I was interested in the potential these skis have to bend into a tighter arc at lower speeds), many posters mentioned that precision and finesse in turn transitions is required to get the most out more flexibile designs. Low speed carving came up, and this piqued my attention. 

 

beyond mentioned the following:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Typically, you ski a softer ski with a lighter touch, more attention to feedback from the edges, more real finish to the arc, making use of the flex to achieve an efficient shape.

 

Makes sense. This is exactly what I am after. 

 

This reminded beyond of:


Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

 

the US Team's drills carving at very low speeds. 

 

 

So, my primary questions are: What does this drill consist of, and generally, how do you change your technique to achieve a nice, tight arc at very low speeds? If you're doing it right, how much would having a flexible ski make a difference?

 

I have an acquaintance who can carve the most graceful, tight arcs, even on a dreary, slow catwalk. He isn't on skis with wicked sidecuts. I have always been jealous of this. I try to follow his tracks while avoiding much skid, but I can't seem to get my skis to bend into the flexed shape that would permit such a turn at such low speeds.

 

Aside from that, I'm currently on relatively stiff and heavy skis (Atomic Nomad Savage Ti and Head Monster im85), but sometimes these can feel leaden on a more relaxed day with family and such. It would be fun to use some more "playful" skis on days when I'm fooling around at lower speeds. 

 

Thanks in advance for your thoughts, respected EpicSki gurus. :)

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by LiveJazz - 11/30/11 at 3:40pm
post #2 of 13

Not sure what the US Team drill is, you might want to take a look at USST Alpine Fundamentals I and 2, which are both good DVDs. Lower speeds generally mean you have to use more muscle power to bend the ski, as you start moving faster, you can use momentum and gravity to bend the ski. And, yep, skis do make a difference. On the flats, I can carve turns on my 165 SLs or my 210 Super Gs, but I have to let my Super Gs run faster and stay closer to the fall line. 

 

A USST drill you might try is turns in a tuck (high tuck) on the flats. Use your legs to put the skis on just enough edge angle, given your momentum, to carve. Keep your hips loose so your upper body can keep moving down the hill as your skis turn underneath the upper body...in other words, don't follow your skis. It's a really good way to learn how to finesse the ski through a carved turn...

 

 

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post

A USST drill you might try is turns in a tuck (high tuck) on the flats. Use your legs to put the skis on just enough edge angle, given your momentum, to carve. Keep your hips loose so your upper body can keep moving down the hill as your skis turn underneath the upper body...in other words, don't follow your skis. It's a really good way to learn how to finesse the ski through a carved turn...


Oh, I remember doing that, but I completely forgot about it! I will definitely pick it back up...I can see the utility for carving at lower speeds: accentuating basic movements like angulating at the hips and knees. When you don't have the momentum to offset your COM from the skis through the arc, you'd have to stack up a little more to stay balanced and skill pressure the edge, no? 

post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveJazz View Post


Oh, I remember doing that, but I completely forgot about it! I will definitely pick it back up...I can see the utility for carving at lower speeds: accentuating basic movements like angulating at the hips and knees. When you don't have the momentum to offset your COM from the skis through the arc, you'd have to stack up a little more to stay balanced and skill pressure the edge, no? 


LiveJazz,

 

You might find some of the info on this video interesting...It is very basic but shows how "carving" can be taught at slow speeds in a way that will hold up to the loads and forces of more dynamic "carving" at higher speeds.

 http://skiherenow.blogspot.com/p/uncle-rays-video-on-how-to-teach-carved.html

post #5 of 13

Some things that help carve clean turns at low speeds on high speed skis to conserve every last bit of momentum:

Counter balance to the point of being a human pretzel as you tip those skis way over (instead of leaning in to the turn);

Ski on only one ski, keeping the other off the snow; and

Weight shift to the tips to get the turn started, moving weight back as you can.

 

 

post #6 of 13

 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

Some things that help carve clean turns at low speeds on high speed skis to conserve every last bit of momentum:

Counter balance to the point of being a human pretzel as you tip those skis way over (instead of leaning in to the turn);

Ski on only one ski, keeping the other off the snow; and

Weight shift to the tips to get the turn started, moving weight back as you can.

 

 


 

You could  do what Ghost said above. What really helps me sometimes in situations like that are two things:

 

-extend more the outer leg and flex more the inside leg.. Especially the inside leg/kind of exaggerating the flexing of it... This will help you turn the skis on edge more, earlier in the turn.

--you have to move quick with your legs, even though your speed is relatively slow.

Take a look at the vid below..Pay attention to the angle of teh inside leg....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #7 of 13


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveJazz View Post

In another thread about the merits and downfalls of using more flexible skis skis with a narrower waist and more sidecut (specifically, I was interested in the potential these skis have to bend into a tighter arc at lower speeds), many posters mentioned that precision and finesse in turn transitions is required to get the most out more flexibile carving ski designs. Low speed carving came up, and this piqued my attention. 

 

 I'm currently on relatively stiff and heavy skis (Atomic Nomad Savage Ti and Head Monster im85), but sometimes these can feel leaden on a more relaxed day with family and such. It would be fun to use some more "playful" skis on days when I'm fooling around at lower speeds. 


A skilled 'craftsman' can get the most out of the tool he/she is using, but a smart craftsman knows to pick an appropriate tool for the task... or work on something that his current tool will help with. You own the equivalent of two framing hammers that you are trying to do finish carpentry with.

 

Flexible vs Stiff has nothing to do with it.

 

post #8 of 13

And... the Savage Ti is not a stiff ski - not in the relative pantheon of the ski world.  It actually has a fairly flexible tip and readily carves at slow speeds with good technique.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your thoughts, all. Maybe I am making too much of the flexibility of the ski. I'm sure sidecut and technique will go much further than longitudinal flex by itself. I demoed some Nordica Hot Rod Afterburners a couple years ago, and with those things I could effortlessly whip around at pretty much any speed. That was a fun ski, but it may have skewed my expectations. I think I've been trying to squeeze that kind of feeling out of a bigger ski, when I need to just get a carvier pair of skis to play with.

 

Of course my technique can improve (and I will certainly experiment with the points provided here), but I also need to accept that I'm not going to carve figure eights at low speed on all mountain boards, flexible or not. 

post #10 of 13

The USST drill is somewhat similar to railroad tracks.

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

 

the US Team's drills carving at very low speeds. 

 

So, my primary questions are: What does this drill consist of, and generally, how do you change your technique to achieve a nice, tight arc at very low speeds? If you're doing it right, how much would having a flexible ski make a difference?

 

I have an acquaintance who can carve the most graceful, tight arcs, even on a dreary, slow catwalk. He isn't on skis with wicked sidecuts. I have always been jealous of this. I try to follow his tracks while avoiding much skid, but I can't seem to get my skis to bend into the flexed shape that would permit such a turn at such low speeds.

 


LiveJazz, I too am interested in the US ski team's "very slow speed" carving drills.  That YouTube video someone provided of WC skiers "free skiing" is not low speed carving.  Those guys are trucking, and they can carve at those speeds on stiff boards.

 

Slow carved round turns on cat tracks require you generating your own momentum to drive the ski around, since you don't have speed to do it for you.  That requires a very athletic movement pattern.  You have to get your body weight way in front of the skis, then drag/pull the skis around in an arc from up-back-behind-you, then out-to-your-side, then to in-front-of-you, using your core muscles.  Then you project your body forward and repeat.  It's the projecting forward that generates the momentum for your pulling the skis around in that nice round track.  If you ride the chair back up and go along your line again, you can generate those beautiful figure 8s.  Your skis need to be up on edge too, and your weight needs to be out over them just right (platform angle <90 degrees) or you'll skid them around instead of carving them.   If the ski is very very stiff it might not bend, but maybe again it will.  This takes practice; the skier's action is more important than the ski's flexibility.

 

I doubt WC skiers do this type of turn, so I'm still wondering what their very slow speed carving drill is, and if that "very slow" speed is anything like what you've seen someone do on a nearly flat trail.  

 

post #12 of 13

If you look back at the video in post #6, that is relatively low speed for racers on SL skis, which is what they are using. If you're talking about slow, round carved turns on flat tracks, yep, you have to muscle them. If you don't want to muscle them, keep a consistent arc, but stay closer to the fall line. As we've all said in this thread, you can carve on anything, it's just that you might have to adjust your speed up or down and your "best" carved turns are always going to be around the design radius of the ski. I use an Atomic D2  Men's WC Super G for Masters DH, 210 cm, 36 meter sidecut.  I definitely carve turns on them, but not until I'm doing 45 or so. On the other hand, for SL, I use an Atomic D2 165 cm, 12.3 meter sidecut. Whenever we're working on technical stuff, we generally do it on slow-er speeds with SL skis. So, just as an adjunct to this discussion, if you want to work on your carving skills, go get a pair of SL skis of the appropriate length for you, where the non-FIS skis are good, too...

 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post


LiveJazz, I too am interested in the US ski team's "very slow speed" carving drills.  That YouTube video someone provided of WC skiers "free skiing" is not low speed carving.  Those guys are trucking, and they can carve at those speeds on stiff boards.

 

Slow carved round turns on cat tracks require you generating your own momentum to drive the ski around, since you don't have speed to do it for you.  That requires a very athletic movement pattern.  You have to get your body weight way in front of the skis, then drag/pull the skis around in an arc from up-back-behind-you, then out-to-your-side, then to in-front-of-you, using your core muscles.  Then you project your body forward and repeat.  It's the projecting forward that generates the momentum for your pulling the skis around in that nice round track.  If you ride the chair back up and go along your line again, you can generate those beautiful figure 8s.  Your skis need to be up on edge too, and your weight needs to be out over them just right (platform angle <90 degrees) or you'll skid them around instead of carving them.   If the ski is very very stiff it might not bend, but maybe again it will.  This takes practice; the skier's action is more important than the ski's flexibility.

 

I doubt WC skiers do this type of turn, so I'm still wondering what their very slow speed carving drill is, and if that "very slow" speed is anything like what you've seen someone do on a nearly flat trail.  

 



 

post #13 of 13

In respect to achieving a tighter arc at low speeds with a softer ski my view are as follows:

 

- the flex of the ski is relative to the weight of the skier and the pressures combined with velocity and centrifugal force no matter its value. Providing the skill level of the skier remains constant, a softer ski will bend easier on edge thus tightening the radius of the arc.

 

- Other considerations, such as, torsional rigidity, flex pattern(soft shovel, stiff tail eg.) and the radius design of the ski will also influence performance.

 

- Binding placement, boot centering will effect turn initiation and balance point. 

 

- Boot canting, a skier that is knock-knee may track the outside ski more effectivly but will have to focus on rolling the inside ankle up hill thus opening the knees wider. This will aid in picking up the inside edge. Boot canting will also effect slower skiing maneuvers and should not be over looked.

 

Do not care how you look at it. A Soft ski is easier to ski at slower speeds, but has limitation on increased performance.

Although I am biased. I do suggest you try the Rossingnol Avenger Carbon. A softer fore and aft flexing ski but yet has what it takes when things get amped up. The Avenger Ti is just more see for me.

 

Cheers. 

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