Originally Posted by MidwestPete
I can carve the nice clean "railroad track" turns on the flatter slopes of the Midwest (see photo), but as I ski more difficult trails in the mountains I get sloppier. Is it a case of needing higher edge angles, not committing fully to the turn, steering my turns more with the outside ski (bad) as opposed to guiding with my inside ski?
As I'm sure you know, I'm not a real instructor. I only play one on my PC. Nevertheless I'm posting here because I have been there. For that matter, most of the time I'm still there. But not all the time. I am making progress. Others have made excellent points. I'll just tell you what has helped me.
1) Get really comfortable with high speeds on groomers of all pitches, without specific regard to your carving goals. Ski your GS skis on easy terrain like you mention, skiing as fast as conditions, ability, crowds, etc., will safely allow. Weekdays are more or less mandatory for this. Then increase the pitch of the hill. Don't try to maintain the no skidding rule. Ski clean and well, but do whatever amount of scarving you need to to feel comfortable. But get used to going FAST. Most specifically, practice getting really familiar with that "off the diving board" experience you have when going off the back side of a steep roller or dropping off a cat track with some speed onto a steep pitch. Focus on keeping your feet back and your hands up front even in those weightless moments in the fall line, getting confident that you're really in the driver's seat, even though it's steep and you're going fast.
2) As others have said, do not try to learn arcs on steep runs on a GS ski. Unless you are one of those rare people who doesn't have the fear gene, it's too scary and you will pull back from the end of the diving board, despite your earlier speed tolerance exercises. Instead, get on a pair of really sharp 12 - 15m skis.
3) Increase the angle of the slope on which you are skiing clean arcs EXTREMELY gradually. If you go from an easy green to an easy blue, that's too big a jump. Similarly, if you go from an easy blue to an easy black, that's too big a jump. Take this in very small increments. If you are beginning to cheat, go back to the greens and start over. The speed training you did in #1 should help you tolerate the seemingly LONG moments of skydiving (as someone else put it well) that occur with every clean arced turn on steeper terrain. If not, go back to a less steep pitch and start over. You will get there. Be patient and have fun.