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Carving skis? [east coast, learning to carve]

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Me and my bud tried to learn carving this weekend. It didn't really work out.

 

Some guy suggested that I need to buy carving skis if I want to learn how to do it effectively. 

 

 

I'm going to be in the market for some new skis so I guessed it wouldn't hurt to ask here..

 

What are the characteristics of carving skis usually? How much sidecut? Are they generally stiffer or softer? Waist length? etc? 

post #2 of 22
It must be the skis. Definitely.

What skis are you on now, exactly, in what length? When is the last time they were tuned? How big are you, and where are you skiing?
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

I was skiing in some nearby resort, east coast, it has alot of manmade snow but recently we had some real snow. 

 

I'm about 5' 10", I weigh around 130-140 pounds.

 

The skis are K2 Escape 5500 (oldish), I don't remember when I got them tuned, and I got them from a yard sale for 20 bucks. :D 

 

107/68/97 17mm sidecut, turn Radius: 18m, they are the same height as me so about 175-180 cm. 

post #4 of 22
The skis are maybe 2% of your problem, at most. (My comment above was mostly tongue in cheek.) Get the bindings checked, get the skis tuned, then take a few lessons.
post #5 of 22

http://www.epicski.com/t/2573/anyone-ski-the-k2-escape-5500

 

Checkout the above link.  From 2002 so you know roughly how old the skis are.  One comment that stands out is that the ski is an advanced ski (with metal in it for stiffness), which likely means that a good part of the problem is the ski as it may be well beyond what you can carve at this point (in part because you are trying to learn to carve).  The second item is the ski is likely 12years old and I would have the bindings looked at.  Don't be surprised if the shops won't touch them because the bindings are to old.

 

I'll go back to a recommendation I make to friends:

 

Softer boots, softer skis for beginners to have forgiveness and allow ease of learning to ski without punishing the skier.

 

Stiffer boots and skis for better skiers as they will respond quicker and more precisely.  Unfortunately, this usually goes with losing a lot of forgiveness.

 

An improper ski/boot combination can lead to some problems that can be difficult to determine unless you have a very good experienced instructor to point out what is happening.

 

A cheap $20.00 deal may not help you progress as a new cheap $300.00 to $500.00 set of intermediate skis that will.  The second item is will the bindings protect you body?

post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by diesel47 View Post
 

What are the characteristics of carving skis usually? How much sidecut? Are they generally stiffer or softer? Waist length? etc? 

 

Carving was all the rage a dozen years ago, and most manufacturers had a line of "carving" skis that were intended to make railroad track arcs on groomed snow. They came aimed at various skill levels from beginner to expert.

 

Industry trends have changed, and what's "in" is going off trail into the trees and powder.  You don't really carve in that situation, and the skis for that are designed differently.

 

They still make skis that are primarily intended for making railroad track arcs on groomed, but today these are mainly race skis. The skis marketed to (for lack of a better word) lesser skill level skiers aren't carvers anymore.

 

So, if you are looking at anything made in the last 5 years, the general characteristics of "carving skis" is that they  are stiffer with a waist width somewhere around 70mm. Sidecut radius varies from ~12 meters for a slalom ski to more than 30 meters for an FIS legal GS ski.  They have a lot of torsional rigidity, which means they tend to hold an edge rather than skidding - this means it's more difficult to ski them by skidding them around than for a more forgiving ski.

 

Do you really want "carving skis"?  My hunch is probably not.  I love my (recreational version of) race skis, but they are not for everyone.

 

I demoed the Escape many years ago, and it will most certainly carve, but you have coax it a bit to make it do it.  Bottom line is that while you are due for new skis, the skis are not what's preventing you from carving.  Take a lesson if you want to learn how to carve.  And when it comes time to replace your Escapes, hit the demo hut and try several different kinds of skis to see what you like.

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

I wouldn't have a problem with skis that are a bit harder to skid than carve, because the way I see it ... skidding isn't really that hard to begin with. Doesn't seem like it would be such a big problem. 

 

But I guess the best way to know is to try out a bunch of skis... What would you suggest for this btw? Just rent them from a ski shop and take them to the slopes? 

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by diesel47 View Post
 

Me and my bud tried to learn carving this weekend. It didn't really work out.

 

Some guy suggested that I need to buy carving skis if I want to learn how to do it effectively. 

 

 

I'm going to be in the market for some new skis so I guessed it wouldn't hurt to ask here..

 

What are the characteristics of carving skis usually? How much sidecut? Are they generally stiffer or softer? Waist length? etc? 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by diesel47 View Post
 

I was skiing in some nearby resort, east coast, it has alot of manmade snow but recently we had some real snow. 

 

I'm about 5' 10", I weigh around 130-140 pounds.

 

The skis are K2 Escape 5500 (oldish), I don't remember when I got them tuned, and I got them from a yard sale for 20 bucks. :D 

 

107/68/97 17mm sidecut, turn Radius: 18m, they are the same height as me so about 175-180 cm. 

What stands out to me is that the turn radius is 18.  A ski with a smaller turn radius is easier to carve.

 

How long have you been skiing?  Did you have any lessons?

post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by diesel47 View Post
 

 

But I guess the best way to know is to try out a bunch of skis... What would you suggest for this btw? Just rent them from a ski shop and take them to the slopes? 

 

Most ski areas have a slopeside demo center where for about $50 you can try as many different skis as you want over the course of the day.

 

Sometimes the manufacturer will send a rep with a bunch of their ski and you can demo them for free.  Finding these free demo days is somewhat of a problem, since the manufacturers seem to keep their demo tour schedule a secret for some inexplicable reason.

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

 

 

What stands out to me is that the turn radius is 18.  A ski with a smaller turn radius is easier to carve.

 

How long have you been skiing?  Did you have any lessons?

 

 

Have been skiing for about 5 years. I'm not exactly sure. I had some lessons back in the day, but not for carving. The radius seems a bit big to me also..

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by diesel47 View Post
 

I wouldn't have a problem with skis that are a bit harder to skid than carve, because the way I see it ... skidding isn't really that hard to begin with. Doesn't seem like it would be such a big problem.

 

But I guess the best way to know is to try out a bunch of skis... What would you suggest for this btw? Just rent them from a ski shop and take them to the slopes?

An important thing to keep in mind is that carving requires forward pressure and lean.  This motion when learning is sometimes not as easy as it sounds, which is why beginner/intermediate skis are soft to start with to make it easy.

 

The ski you have is stiffer, which unless you already have the correct body position/motion learned, it makes it significantly harder.

 

The fact that you find skidding easy suggest that you aren't in the right position to start with.

 

16, 17, 17 is a nice compromise for the R.  Tight enough to turn lots big enough to go fast.  My turning skis are SL (about 12m) and the GS are 23m (what was available at the time but would have gladly taken the 27m).  Favorite ski is the GS for most of what I ski.

post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschoolskier View Post
 

An important thing to keep in mind is that carving requires forward pressure and lean.  This motion when learning is sometimes not as easy as it sounds, which is why beginner/intermediate skis are soft to start with to make it easy.

 

The ski you have is stiffer, which unless you already have the correct body position/motion learned, it makes it significantly harder.

 

The fact that you find skidding easy suggest that you aren't in the right position to start with.

 

16, 17, 17 is a nice compromise for the R.  Tight enough to turn lots big enough to go fast.  My turning skis are SL (about 12m) and the GS are 23m (what was available at the time but would have gladly taken the 27m).  Favorite ski is the GS for most of what I ski.


What do you mean if I find skidding easy it means I'm not using the right form?

 

The right form for skidding or carving?

post #13 of 22

Since I haven't seen you ski, I guessing here a bit.

 

Less experienced skiers tend to sit on their heels a bit and push with their bum (even though they may be leaning forward, or at least so they think).  Does that make sense?

 

The easiest way I think to start carving is a little more upright, push shin against boot and lean in and forward.  Crouching at the beginning tends to make you sit back and then you pull the turn, which causes the skid.  To help with this exercise, with out poles, put your hands forward and use them as a guide to angle your skis, and push hands forward every time your change direction,  Keep your hands over your tips at all times. Frist time I tried it, I was surprised at how it caused me to carve (and I knew how to carve).

 

What you see a racer do and what you are trying to do is vastly different at this point anyway.

 

No I am not a certified instructor (certified maybe...ha ha he he ho ho but that's a different story) but have help a few make it to the next level.

 

Here is a link on this

 

 

I would also suggest you post some pictures/video of yourself....there are some very good instructors willing to provide advice (better advice than I) if you ask.

 

After that its slope time and slope time.

 

Good luck and enjoy.

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by diesel47 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

 

 

What stands out to me is that the turn radius is 18.  A ski with a smaller turn radius is easier to carve.

 

How long have you been skiing?  Did you have any lessons?

 

 

Have been skiing for about 5 years. I'm not exactly sure. I had some lessons back in the day, but not for carving. The radius seems a bit big to me also..

Before you decide what skis to buy, invest in a lesson or two to improve your technique in general.  If you can go midweek, or in the evening if there are lights, a group lesson could end up a private or semi-private.

post #15 of 22

Ideal carving skis will have a radius equal to or less than 13 m. 

 

Expert skis will carve and hold a turn better, but are stiffer and therefore not as easy to bend into a carve.   Beginner skis don't have enough grip and don't initiate well enough.  The sweet spot is 1 or 2 steps below the FIS regulation racing skis.  Go much lower than that and the skis don't grip well and don't reward good movements enough to help your learn.  Go straight to a FIS SL ski and the difficulty level is too high for learners.

 

If you know how to carve you can carve any ski, maybe not with the same g-force, but still carve a turn.  However some skis make it easier to learn how. 

 

In the mean time, while you are still on your old K2 Escapes, try carving turns that are not so tight.  Just put them tip them up on their edges and ride them and see where they take you without trying to turn them. 

post #16 of 22

Diesel47,

You say you and friends tried to learn carving one weekend and didn't succeed.  

Learning to carve does not usually happen that fast, especially if you are trying to teach yourselves.

A lesson will get you farther than trying on your own, probably.  
Buying new skis won't teach you to carve.  You can carve with your current skis, so don't fall into the trap of thinking skis will teach you to ski.  

You may be able to carve differently on different skis, but only if you know how to carve in the first place.

 

That said, you might be able to improve what you've been doing and get some better results.  

So....

 

1.  What's your "source" on how to carve?  Videos online?  Instructional books on skiing?  A friend who knows how to carve?

2.  What did you do as you tried to learn to carve?  Can you be specific about what you were trying to do?  

3.  What happened when you tried?  Can you be specific on how it failed, and if any parts of what you tried seemed to work?   

4.  What kind of trails were you on?  What was the snow like?  

post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

Diesel47,

You say you and friends tried to learn carving one weekend and didn't succeed.  

Learning to carve does not usually happen that fast, especially if you are trying to teach yourselves.

A lesson will get you farther than trying on your own, probably.  
Buying new skis won't teach you to carve.  You can carve with your current skis, so don't fall into the trap of thinking skis will teach you to ski.  

You may be able to carve differently on different skis, but only if you know how to carve in the first place.

 

That said, you might be able to improve what you've been doing and get some better results.  

So....

 

1.  What's your "source" on how to carve?  Videos online?  Instructional books on skiing?  A friend who knows how to carve?

2.  What did you do as you tried to learn to carve?  Can you be specific about what you were trying to do?  

3.  What happened when you tried?  Can you be specific on how it failed, and if any parts of what you tried seemed to work?   

4.  What kind of trails were you on?  What was the snow like?  


Yes, yes I know. I'm not going out to buy new skis because of what one guy said.

 

I was planning on new skis anyways and thought I'd get some information before I make a purchase. 

 

I've had a variety of soruces, from youtube videos, to friends who try to teach.

 

Basically what I tried to do was gain some speed and get the skis on their edges so they would bend and turn.

 

The thing that happened was my inside ski would get stuck or feel as if I was losing balance. It caused me to fall a few times. At one point I did manage to pull off a carve turn, but it was very very wide. I guess that has to do with a mixture of the ski and lack of skill. 

 

The snow was alright, Packed powder during the day. but nearing the night some massive winds started blow the snow off. It became into crud and ice. 

post #18 of 22

Balance on the big toe edge of the outside ski; tip the inside ski, but lift it enough so it caries almost no weight; make sure the outside ski is matching the angle of the inside ski; close the ankle; tip more; don't pivot.  That should get you caving on any ski.

post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by diesel47 View Post
 

I wouldn't have a problem with skis that are a bit harder to skid than carve, because the way I see it ... skidding isn't really that hard to begin with. Doesn't seem like it would be such a big problem. 

 

But I guess the best way to know is to try out a bunch of skis... What would you suggest for this btw? Just rent them from a ski shop and take them to the slopes? 

There are two ways to demo skis.  The first is to take advantage of a free demo day.  I don't know if there are any scheduled in the east during late season.  There are quite a few in early season.  At a larger ski resort, usually there are tents set up for a variety of brands.  At a smaller place, a ski shop may set up one tent but bring skis from multiple brands.  The other way is to do what I call a "personal demo day" where you pay to try out demo skis.  That's usually better to do from a shop at the mountain.  Then it's easy to pick a ski, take a couple runs, then repeat the same runs with a different model.

 

How ever you demo, it's also good to try a couple different lengths for the same model.

 

I started to demo when I was an intermediate skier.  I was not picky about what model or brand.  Quickly discovered which brands I liked and which I didn't.  After that I could focus on the brand and type of skis that were of interest.

post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post
 

 

Carving was all the rage a dozen years ago, and most manufacturers had a line of "carving" skis that were intended to make railroad track arcs on groomed snow. They came aimed at various skill levels from beginner to expert.

 

Industry trends have changed, and what's "in" is going off trail into the trees and powder.  You don't really carve in that situation, and the skis for that are designed differently.

 

They still make skis that are primarily intended for making railroad track arcs on groomed, but today these are mainly race skis. The skis marketed to (for lack of a better word) lesser skill level skiers aren't carvers anymore.

 

...

Isn't that a bit like saying steering wheels used to be in fashion among car designers? Carving is how you go where you want to go, with a bit of skidding mixed in. I don't know where the OP is skiing, but there's no powder to speak of, and very little tree skiing near me. All newer frontside skis carve OK, AFAIK. And in heavy snow and crud, if you're not carving you aren't having much fun.

post #21 of 22

I guess it depends on what you mean by "carving". If you mean  laying railroad track arcs on groomed snow without any sideways movement at all , then there is much less emphasis on this today than a decade or so ago.  If you mean initiating the turn with a strong carving movement and then smearing the finish to control speed then it's very much style.

 

Anyway, nobody is making "carving" skis anymore, or at least they are not marketing them this way. 

post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post
 

I guess it depends on what you mean by "carving". If you mean  laying railroad track arcs on groomed snow without any sideways movement at all , then there is much less emphasis on this today than a decade or so ago.  If you mean initiating the turn with a strong carving movement and then smearing the finish to control speed then it's very much style.

 

Anyway, nobody is making "carving" skis anymore, or at least they are not marketing them this way. 


OK. I see a little of that railroad-tracks stuff, so I know what you mean now. My definition would be your second, but skidding only as necessay. It's more fun to use the terrain as your speed limiter.

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