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Heel-side sliding vs carving

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

The situation: Steep hardpack, transitioning from toe-side to heel-side


I've noticed in these cases, after the turn I often tend to be descending the slope roughly along the fall-line, rather than carving across the slope. So I started playing with "dipping" the front side of the board during the turn in order to get the edge engaged early in the turn and hopefully get more translation across the slope and less descent.


Has anyone else experienced this? Is this a credible solution? It seems mildly successful.

post #2 of 6

I'm a new boarder and experience the same. I think you're doing what I'm learning to do, engage early with the front foot first, then add the back heel/toe depending on the side. For me, it's been easier toe to heel than heel to toe. I also feel like it's most about confidence for me. My mind thinks: "good lord you're going fast, do you really think you can turn?!?!" Finally, I have to remind myself to really bend the knees and lean into the hill. But, in general, I'm still slipping and sliding more than I'd like to be.

post #3 of 6

There's a concept instructors call longitudinal flex or "board twist" that sounds like the "dipping" you are talking about. When you change from a toe turn to a heel turn, both feet have to go from toe to heel, but they don't have to do it at the same time. If the front foot goes from to to heel first, then the board gets "twisted" a little bit. Depending on the flex of your board, this can make a significant difference in the amount of time (and amount of surface) that the board is flat on the snow between the transition from toe to heel. That in turn can minimize the opportunity for skidding. When you say "descending the slope roughly along the fall-line" if the board is not pointed down the fall line as this happens, then we are talking about trying to reduce skidding in your heel side turns. There are several potential causes for this, but two common ones are overweighting the back foot and too small of an edge angle. Board twist will work best when it is accompanied by a small movement forward to get more weight onto the front foot. Board twist is great for helping you to get the board onto the new edge earlier in the turn. There are some instructors who argue that board twist is not necessary to do this, but there is no argument that this technique does help many people. Either way, you've got to have high enough of an edge angle to engage the board into the snow (this is harder on steeper terrain) and enough weight on the front foot to make the board travel more across the slope than down it.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

... When you change from a toe turn to a heel turn, both feet have to go from toe to heel, but they don't have to do it at the same time.

I think we're on the same page. I find on very steep slopes, the turn becomes very abrupt, almost akin to a jump-turn in skiing. In this case, the two feet are engaging the edge at basically the same time. The board is pointed more across the hill than down it, but a fall-line descent ensues.


So the "dipping" described was less about flexing (but I should have been thinking about that) and more about angling the nose onto the snow first (before the heel engaged) in order to try to get some more traversing and less descending.

post #5 of 6

That sounds more like a nose roll. But you have to load the weight onto the front of the board to do a nose roll. If you finish the roll with overweighting the back foot, you'd skid. But most people don't have that problem. If you're just pivoting the tail of the board around instead of lifting the tail off the ground, you'd probably end up skidding. But that doesn't sound like dipping to me. If your jumping and lifting the whole board off the snow and pivoting the whole board, you could dip the nose of the board lower but still end up overweighting the back foot. In that case, try leaving the nose of the board on the snow to encourage keeping more weight on the front foot throughout the whole turn.


One technique for riding short steep bumps is called dynamic carving. This is where the feet get way out from underneath the body and work sequentially instead of simultaneously. 

post #6 of 6
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

There's a concept instructors call longitudinal flex or "board twist" 


I really focused this past Saturday on doing this. Very helpful. Not sure how much actual flexing is going on vs. just the mental picturing of the twist... regardless, felt like it helped tighten up my s-turns.

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