or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Trying to learn the black art of "carving"
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Trying to learn the black art of "carving"

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I took a lesson the other day.  The instructor focused my attention on 2 things.  Skiing on the edge of my skis and disconnecting my upper and lower body, not literally, in a skiing sense. :D  The upper/lower body thing was easy, no issue there.  The edge thing took a bit more work.

 

My turns up to this point were all skidded, and I knew that.  I had played around with carving on my own, but pretty much knew I needed help.  So, I found some.  It was actually a group lesson and I happened to be the only one in the group.  It was really a blustery day.  I think the weather scared some people off and it was a weekday as well.

 

The instructor got me to ski on my edges and I now know what all the hype is about...  When it worked well for me, it was addictive.  I kept going back for more.  I felt a fluidness (edge to edge) that I'd never felt before.  It was definitely cool!!!  After I dropped the instructor and near the end of the day, I kept telling myself 1 more run and probably made an additional 7 or 8 runs.  I finally had to stop as I was getting a little worn down.

 

I wasn't necessarily trying to ski fast, it just happened.  It dawned on me as I started to pass more people and I was passed by fewer and fewer people.   

 

Here's my question...  On green runs I felt as though I actually was skiing like a pro.  I know I wasn't but the feeling was amazing.  I was actually skiing fast and enjoying the hell out of it.  I want to say that when on edge I was feeling the irregularities of the snow less.  It was a much smoother ride, no doubt.  On the blues it was better as well.  The one cool thing that I noticed was the acceleration in the direction of my skis near the end of the turn.  It wasn't pointed out to me beforehand, but it was noticeable.  So, I'm not sure if I was making my turns correctly or not???  I never really noticed the acceleration on the greens... seemed like my speed remained pretty constant.  If I do feel that acceleration, is that a result of getting on my edges incorrectly?  Too soon or too late???

 

The instructor pointed out at the end of the lesson that whatever I was doing with my edges, keep doing it.  She felt the edge angle (if that's what you call it) was just right.  I'm pretty sure she meant after I was fully engaged on edge. 

 

With my newfound skill and enough confidence for 3 or 4 skiers, I decided to hit a black run.  I ate a piece of humble pie on that one!  The steepness didn't necessarily bother me, it was the snow that had turned into small moguls (whatever that's called) that completely threw me.  I made it down in one piece, but didn't go back for any more.  I'll stick to blues for now thank you... unless it's a smooth black.  I don't know how you guys do it.  You have my utmost respect.Thumbs Up 

post #2 of 23

Congratulations on discovering carving.  Lessons sometimes are a great short cut to better skiing, especially private lessons at group rates!

 

Your post suggests to me that you may be skiing a little aft.  Skiing aft amplifies the feeling of the tails of your skis working to propel you around the turn and into the next turn.  It also makes it harder to handle bumps and irregularities on steeper hills.  Lot's of folk fall into the back seat on their quest for better skiing.  Fortunately, there are plenty of threads on getting/staying out of the back seat.  Recentering is especially important if you are doing cross-under transition (again ton's of posts).

 

Carry on!

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

 

Your post suggests to me that you may be skiing a little aft. 

 

Now that you mention it, she did suggest I need to get my weight forward.  She was talking in terms of moving my hips though.  I think she said the hips should lead the into the next turn???  I believe she said the hip movement was diagonal, either toward the slope or in the direction of the next turn.  I could have that explanation wrong...  I can't remember everything she said.  In practice It was difficult to think in terms of moving my hips, especially since I haven't done it before.  Sometimes I felt like I had it right, other times not so much.  

 

I'll do some searching on back seat skiing...  Thanks! 

post #4 of 23

Welcome to the darkside Vik. Work on some drills to improve your carving. Your a beginner carver. It will take sometime to be an accomplished rider of the rails. Carving around crowds is not recommended since you will be traveling at much higher speeds. +40mph.  Your going to have a ball. 

post #5 of 23
Carving is fun. However, there are places where lots of edge may get you going faster than you are capable of skiing in control, specifically, in the bumps. Playing with the whole spectrum of edging, from high edge angles to flat skis is challenging and makes skiing fun. It sounds like you had a great lesson and are enjoying your new skills. Fantastic!
post #6 of 23

I have just got back into skiing and am trying to learn how to carve. I took a lesson to help me learn the process. It is hard for me to think about all of the proper moves to make. People on this site are very knowledgeable  but it was hard for me to grasp the meaning of flexing at the ankle (to help move the weight forward) and pulling your feet back thru the turn. The lesson really helped. I continue to want to squat a little and I also find myself with my weight back a lot.

 

Keep practicing!!

post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtViking View Post
 

 

With my newfound skill and enough confidence for 3 or 4 skiers, I decided to hit a black run.  I ate a piece of humble pie on that one!  The steepness didn't necessarily bother me, it was the snow that had turned into small moguls (whatever that's called) that completely threw me.  I made it down in one piece, but didn't go back for any more.  

 

That run was a peek into the "next" lesson. Once you learn the fundamentals of carving, you will discover that it is a tool, not the only tool. 

The best skiers on hill have a whole bag of tricks and turns - carving being just one of them.

But an addictive one at that.

Ultimately, you will find that the best turn in a particular circumstance may be a hybrid, combining just the right amount of carving, or sliding and everything in between  - like pulling out just the right golf club. 

Congrats on expanding your tool chest.

D1

post #8 of 23
Feeling increased forces at the end of the turn is normal when you are carving. Since you have less friction to slow you down at the top of the turn, more energy travels to the bottom of the turn. Thats part of the fun.

As far as carving on steeps and bumps, keep in mind that carving is only one tool in a good skier's repertoire. Bumps aren't a place for carving, and carving steeps is an advanced skill, which will come with time.
post #9 of 23

the thing is carving is very elitist technique that is debatable what it actually means.

 

I try to have my taila following my tips everywhere on the mountain at all speeds and all conditions.IMO tails following tips nearly anywhere anytime and in any snow conditions is a hallmark of a Hi-expert skier.  

post #10 of 23
Well, josh, everyone needs to start somewhere. Sounds like the OP was introduced to some higher edge angles than he had previously experienced and liked it.
Nothing elitist about that.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post

Well, josh, everyone needs to start somewhere. Sounds like the OP was introduced to some higher edge angles than he had previously experienced and liked it.
Nothing elitist about that

 

 

no my point was that instead of trying to debate whether or not you can not/or can carve some condition is just to use elements of those arced Railroad Track turns everywhere we can. The OP was not being "elitist" at all. 

post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm glad I'm not an elitist! Lol.

Honestly, I can't wait to get back on the skis!!! Nearest hill is 3 1/2 hours away. We'll be at Jay Peak next Monday through Friday though, so I should have some time to work on some stuff. Really looking forward to it.

I'm going to concentrate on getting my weight forward, along with my newfound edge awareness skills.

Thanks for the replies from all.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtViking View Post
 

On the blues it was better as well.  The one cool thing that I noticed was the acceleration in the direction of my skis near the end of the turn.  It wasn't pointed out to me beforehand, but it was noticeable.  So, I'm not sure if I was making my turns correctly or not???  I never really noticed the acceleration on the greens... seemed like my speed remained pretty constant.  If I do feel that acceleration, is that a result of getting on my edges incorrectly?  Too soon or too late???

 

Can you clarify what you mean by acceleration at the end of the turn?  Do yo mean that yo seem to pick up more speed with each turn, or is it more that you feel the pressure on your edges building up at the end of the turn.  

 

The two concepts I'm talking about are pretty much opposites, and they relate to finishing your turns.  If you are picking up speed after each turn, chances are you aren't finishing your turns.  If you feel the pressure building up at the end of your turn, you probably are, at least to some degree.  

 

Finishing your turn refers to the last part of a good turn where the majority of your control is gained.  There are a lot of skiers that never grasp this concept, and they will ski just fine, right up until you tell them to take it slow for a run.  If they aren't finishing their turns it will be very hard to keep your speed down.  The steeper the terrain, the more critical it becomes.  If you think of the shape of your carved turn, it is more or less C shaped.  An unfinished turn is shaped more like this (.  In other words as you carve your turn you create an arc.  The orientation of that arc relative to the fall line will dictate how fast or slow you will go.  So if your arc curves around to the point you are facing up the hill, you will ultimately stop.  If your arc has so little curve that your skis stay facing essentially downhill throughout the entire turn, you will continue to pick up speed.  So the key is to find an arc that will let you maintain a speed that you are comfortable with the entire time.  Your turn is made up of three parts; the beginning, the middle, and the end.  The beginning is where you come out of your last turn and start to steer the tips of your skis down the hill.  The middle is where you transition from facing down the hill into the new turn.  This is where you pick up most of the speed.  The end is where you get rid of some of the speed picked up in the middle of the turn by bringing your skis across the hill.  The more speed you need to get rid of, the more you need to turn your skis.  

 

To practice this, you can try doing J turns.  Start on an easy slope that you are comfortable with.  Face down the hill and allow yourself to pick up some speed.  Then roll onto your edges to make a carved turn.  Stay on your edges and continue to carve until you are facing up hill and come to a stop.  Then do it again turning in the other direction.  This drill makes you finish your turns to the point where you are facing uphill and come to a stop.  As you move along the arc of the turn, notice how your speed changes.  You will pick up speed as you face downhill, but as the arc comes across the hill and ultimately up the hill you will slow down.  This is where your control comes from.  

 

To incorporate it back into your skiing, think about how far along that arc you need to go to slow down enough to comfortably start your next turn.

 

Understand that I'm not talking about simply continuing across the trail until you run out of room.  It is more about your position along the arc and the direction you are facing relative to the fall line. If you follow the arc until you face uphill, you will slow down and stop.  If you only follow the arc until you are facing straight down the hill you will rapidly pick up speed. In reality you will be somewhere between these two extremes.

post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by TreeFiter View Post
 

Can you clarify what you mean by acceleration at the end of the turn?  Do yo mean that yo seem to pick up more speed with each turn, or is it more that you feel the pressure on your edges building up at the end of the turn.  

 

 

I didn't mean that I was picking up speed with each turn.  What I meant was I felt an acceleration just for that one turn as I transitioned from completion to initiation of the next turn.  I think I was feeling the edges fully engage.  Instead of feeling my edges skid down the fall line (and my momentum going that way), they kind of grabbed and took me in the direction they were pointed.  It was an unusual feeling.  I'm sure my technique wasn't perfect.  After having thought about it, maybe I was skidding partially at completion and finally fully engaged at transition???  Didn't notice it on the greens, only the blues and I guess only on some turns.

 

I made a couple of green runs toward the end of the day and they felt fantastic.  Granted, it was a easy slope, but I was purely concentrating on technique and nothing really else.  The best part was when I made quick short radius turns with my upper body basically heading down the fall line all the time.  It was fun.  I had done skidded turn like that before, but nothing close to carving.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeFiter View Post

 

The middle is where you transition from facing down the hill into the new turn.  This is where you pick up most of the speed.  The end is where you get rid of some of the speed picked up in the middle of the turn by bringing your skis across the hill.  The more speed you need to get rid of, the more you need to turn your skis.  

 

I may have been rushing this part early on.  I remember mentioning something to the instructor, I can't remember what she told me.  I keep hearing progressively get on edge.  I'm sure my moves aren't very progressive right now.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeFiter View Post

 

To practice this, you can try doing J turns.  Start on an easy slope that you are comfortable with.  Face down the hill and allow yourself to pick up some speed.  Then roll onto your edges to make a carved turn.  Stay on your edges and continue to carve until you are facing up hill and come to a stop.  Then do it again turning in the other direction.  This drill makes you finish your turns to the point where you are facing uphill and come to a stop.  As you move along the arc of the turn, notice how your speed changes.  You will pick up speed as you face downhill, but as the arc comes across the hill and ultimately up the hill you will slow down.  This is where your control comes from.  

 

I'm definitely going try this.  I more or less ran out of gas the other day, so I'll have a bit more time to practice some stuff next week.  We're headed to Jay Peak for a week, so I should get plenty of time to practice.  Should be skiing by Monday afternoon!!!!!!! :yahoo:

 

 

I'm bringing a gopro and a video camera.  Hopefully, I'm be able to get some video of myself.  I'm sure my wife won't mind running the camera while I ski!  :D 

post #15 of 23

Be careful where you take your wife;  I made the mistake of talking my wife onto a trail that was apparently beyond her ability so she could cut over a little bit to take some picks of me skiing a steeper trail.  She managed to break the camera and though strange and mysterious ways that only wives have, ensured that I would never ask her to take a picture of me skiing again.   Like I have said before, I guess Ghosts aren't very photogenic.

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

Be careful where you take your wife;  I made the mistake of talking my wife onto a trail that was apparently beyond her ability so she could cut over a little bit to take some picks of me skiing a steeper trail.  She managed to break the camera and though strange and mysterious ways that only wives have, ensured that I would never ask her to take a picture of me skiing again.   Like I have said before, I guess Ghosts aren't very photogenic.

Ha ha! Good point. My wife just backed into a truck with her minivan. Insurance claim, repair shop, yeah it was a good smack. I just shook my head. What can you do?

I'll try to station her somewhere safe! Maybe I should put the go pro on her helmet and then all she has to do is look at me and shut up! Maybe that's asking too much... biggrin.gif
post #17 of 23

The "acceleration" you are describing sounds to me like a good thing.  In my previous post, I described two things and said they were pretty much opposites.  I think what you are describing is the feeling you get when you properly finish a turn.  At the end of the turn, you feel like you are being "bounced" like you are coming off a diving board or something. This means that your edge is engaged, the ski is flexing, and you are carving.  Part of the control you get from carving comes from your skis flexing.  It takes energy to flex your skis.  The more they flex, the more energy they are taking in.  This causes your speed to decrease a little bit at the end of a finished turn.  Much like a stretched out spring, when you release the pressure on your skis, they will snap back.  

 

You can use this energy transfer as an opportunity to shift your weight into your next turn.  Its an awesome feeling!!!  Its like a split second of weightlessness.  

 

It sounds like you are on the right track.  Have fun with it.

post #18 of 23
I'll have to come back and read more of the posts after I've eaten, but my current 'trick' learned in a recent clinic is to lead with the inside hip; that is, when I'm turning left and my weight is over my right ski, I drive my left (inside) hip to get ready to transfer my weight to my left ski. The other part is to start the lead early, before I've finished the turn, which is doing all kinds of fun things for me. Not that I'm a great skier, but the latter might be hard for you to get a feel for now, while the first part might make sense. Don't feel bad if it doesn't; we all learn differently and are at different places in our skiing.

And if the amount of information you're getting here is overwhelming, just stick with what your instructor taught you and whatever seems to support it. Don't go too crazy making it up, though; I've dug myself a few pits that way. wink.gif

Congratulations on getting a nice little breakthrough and the bump in your confidence! Practice it in as many different conditions and kinds of terrain as possible, and then go right back and take another lesson. With the same instructor, of course; anyone who leaves you feeling strong and excited is a keeper.
post #19 of 23

The black art of carving in simple terms is applying gradual forward pressure on both skis (and holding it there) while you simultaneously are rolling onto the edge and releasing it in the reverse sequence, followed by repeat in the opposite direction.

 

It is as easy as it  sounds except for the timing part (something to do about multitasking forward pressure and roll).

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschoolskier View Post

The black art of carving in simple terms is applying gradual forward pressure on both skis (and holding it there) while you simultaneously are rolling onto the edge and releasing it in the reverse sequence, followed by repeat in the opposite direction.

It is as easy as it  sounds except for the timing part (something to do about multitasking forward pressure and roll).

I like it!

No doubt, I have to concentrate on getting my pressure forward. I've been doing some reading and I think I've read that forward pressure is maintained through the turn and it gradually reduces until transition when you're off the tips and are in more of a balanced position.. After that, the process starts all over again... I think I have that right.

A little confused about this...

I've heard some suggest that in order to keep your weight forward one should lift their toes. Makes sense, I get it. But, if you raise your toes to pressure the front of the ski, how do you set the BTE if your big toe is raised????? Stupid question, I know. Is it because the two problems don't usually exist with one another?
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtViking View Post


I like it!

No doubt, I have to concentrate on getting my pressure forward. I've been doing some reading and I think I've read that forward pressure is maintained through the turn and it gradually reduces until transition when you're off the tips and are in more of a balanced position.. After that, the process starts all over again... I think I have that right.

A little confused about this...

I've heard some suggest that in order to keep your weight forward one should lift their toes. Makes sense, I get it. But, if you raise your toes to pressure the front of the ski, how do you set the BTE if your big toe is raised????? Stupid question, I know. Is it because the two problems don't usually exist with one another?

What you read sounds right to me.  

 

As far as keeping your weight forward, that is one of the hardest things for most skiers to nail down.  The tip about lifting your toes is only part right. Its hard to ski if you are lifting your toes.  There are a whole bunch of extra muscles flexing that don't really need to be.  The idea is that if your weight is back, you can pull yourself forward from the ankles.  If you lift your toes by bending your ankles you can pull the rest of your body forward.  That being said, its not really a great way to keep your weight forward.  It can help you get your weight back to where it should be, but I wouldn't want to rely on it to keep me in place.  

 

In order to keep your weight forward it helps to really understand what that means.  It doesn't just mean to lean forward.  It means to shift your center of mass forward.  Next time you are on your skis, try this:

Stand on flat ground with your knees bent, and ankles flexed.  Try to keep your shoulders, knees and toes all lined up over each other in a straight line.  This is called a "Stacked" position as you have stacked your toes, knees, and shoulders.  In this position, your center of mass is directly over the arches of your feet.  You should feel equal pressure from the balls of your feet to the heel.  

 

Since skis are designed to perform with your weight forward, you want to tip the entire "Stack" forward.  So you should lean forward from your ankles.  When you lean forward, you want to still keep your toes, knees and shoulders lined up, but now instead of the line being straight up and down, or perpendicular to the base of your skis, you want it to tilt forward.  This is where you want to be when you are skiing.  

 

Its easy to tell if you are forward.  If you can feel your shins pressing into the front of your boots, you are in good shape.  If you find it hard to press against the front of your boots, or you feel yourself leaning against the back of your boots,  you need to move your whole center of gravity forward.

 

Where people often go wrong is they only move part of the stack.  They will lean forward at their shoulders by bending at the waist.  Getting your shoulders forward can help, but your true center of mass is closer to your hips.  When you bend at the waist, your shoulders move forward and your hips fall back.  Its how we are built, and it is what allows us to bend over without falling over.  (try to bend over to touch your toes with your back up against a wall)  So by leaning in at the shoulders, your hips naturally go back to counter that movement, and you aren't much better off.  You need to get your hips forward by tipping the "stack".  If you tip forward at the ankle, the whole stack will tilt forward, and your hips will move along with them.   

post #22 of 23

Dirt Viking,

 

Honestly, the get the pressure and roll timing correct (there is a lot of balance going on here) and the rest starts to follow.  Keep it simple at the beginning and when the speed/pitch variation start to increase then look at the finer details.  By that point you will understand some of the refined comments because the have an actual meaning to what you are doing.  (Do then understand)

 

 

There are few recent threads where is discussed on correct position here is a link which shows a little of what you are asking.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/126015/carving-skis-east-coast-learning-to-carve#post_1694878  read the whole thread (it is just one of many threads posted).

post #23 of 23

It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how.  There are two things.  I will call them thing 1 and thing 2 and they are both about speed.  Having fun with speed is one of my favourite ways to have fun.

 

Thing 1:  For any give turn size (radius) there is a critical angle that you have to tip the skis up on edge or they will not hold you against the g-force of the turn.  That critical angle is higher the faster you are skiing.  You can tip more than the critical angle for that turn size and speed and still hold the turn, but if you tip less, the ski will begin to slip out of the groove it is cutting.

 

Thing 2: On hardpacked snow the more your tip your ski, the tighter the radius it will try to turn at.  For example, if you have a 13 m sidecut radius ski (typical SL ski), and you tip it to 60 degrees from the horizontal it will try to cut a 6.5 m turn.

 

So what happens if you critical angle for that turn at the speed your going is more than 60 degrees?  Answer, the ski slips.  You could try tipping the ski more, but then, the ski is trying to turn at an even smaller radius, in other words, the turn shape the ski is bent to is smaller than the turn it can hold, so you get slippage.  A SL ski will only "pure carve" SL turns up to a given speed.

 

You could try carving wider turns, and you should have no problem executing these turns, but then your ski is still bent into a shape that is different than the turn you are making.  The result is that instead of pencil-thin lines in the hardpack, your tracks are a few inches wide.  The purity of the carve has been compromised. Of course, if the snow is a little soft, it's hard to tell; your trenches will be a few inches wide anyway.  If it's deep snow it's even harder to tell; base -carving is a whole different animal.

 

Carving is extremely energy efficient, it converts elevation into speed as you descend the hill.  That's why your SLs will carve beautiful turns on the typical blue, but only on the first 100 feet of the typical black, unless you kill some speed (not a carving technique).   Or you could get GS skis, which won't make the SL turns so easily, but will let you carve turns at GS speeds.  If you want to carve pure turns with significant vertical and speed involved, you will need to go to SG/DH skis,  which are even worse at SL turns with SL speeds, and won't let you make a good  pure carved turn until you have a couple of 100 feet of vertical used up to build some speed up.  Skiing on open public ski runs at DH speeds is generally frowned upon.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Trying to learn the black art of "carving"