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Harb's Carver Ski Trainer

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
Has anyone used the Harb's Carver ski trainer?

http://www.harbskisystems.com/carver.htm

It is basically a pair of roller skates (not inline skates) mounted on bindings that you use your ski boots and poles with. It looks like skiing on the videos on the site.

Regardless of whether you endorse the PMTS method, this looks like a cool way to get ski training in the off months.

Any opinions on this?
post #2 of 59
Have to agree, looks like a fun addition to your physical activity in the off months. Any skiing benefit is a bonus.
post #3 of 59
Nice chunk of tip lead in those last few turns on the QT video.

How does he get back uphill?
post #4 of 59

Harb Carver questions

For anybody with specific questions about Harb Carvers, I would be happy to answer them on the forum, and I probably also have e-mails available from others that address many topics.

To let you know where my bais is, I am PMTS accredited, coach for Harb Ski Systems, and I sell Harb Carvers (and upgrade accessories) in Portland Oregon. I spend a lot of time at Mt. Hood during the summer demo-ing them and coaching with them for teams and individuals.

While many people who buy them are interested in PMTS, lots of people use them who have never been exposed to PMTS. However, to get the best learning curve, I would recommend that the new user either spend some time on them with an experienced user (or at least have access to an experienced user).

To answer the question about getting back up the hill, it depends on where and why you are out. My Harb Carver friends distinguish between training and free-carving.

I spend a lot of time training in big parking lots of varying steepness. In this case, we usually just skate & pole back up. If there are lots of people in a realy big parking lot (over a block long), then it helps to have a person tow people up using a few long ropes with loops in them on the back of a car. This is especially useful when training with actual gates, but should only be done on private property. Carvers in many places have the same legal status as inline skates and bikes on the roads, but everywhere towing next to, or behind a car is illegal.

I regularly go out free carving in huge neighborhood developments or on appropriate secluded highways. Many of them are over 2 mile runs and a few go as steep as 25 degrees (that's as steep as I have carved; the best is about 8 - 15 degrees). We usually go with a few people and switch off being the driver to get everyone back up again.

I am also working on a ratched wheel (like in cross country training ski-skates) that can be snapped down with your pole for the walk back up -- Randonee Harb Carvers.

In Portland, one of the best areas in town is Mt. Tabor. It has about 1/2 - 3/4 mile of car-free road that winds down through a beautiful park with a view of the city. About 8-15 avid Harb Carver users show up there on thursday nights through the summer.

If you have any questions about anything (learning,equipment,transfer to skiing, etc.), please feel free to ask. I'll answer as best as I can.
post #5 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkierSynergy
I regularly go out free carving in huge neighborhood developments or on appropriate secluded highways. Many of them are over 2 mile runs and a few go as steep as 25 degrees (that's as steep as I have carved; the best is about 8 - 15 degrees).
It's a subtle point, but I'd guess that you're talking percent not degrees. The steepest paved road I've been on was a 14% grade. No trucks allowed. Speed limit 20mph. I can not imagine a 25 degree paved road. A 25% road would be scary enough. Anything steeper would need a winch paver!

From the thread - http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=4507&highlight=steepness+degree+p ercent ...

Quote:
% grade = (rise/run)*100 where rise is vertical distance and run is horizontal distance.

When rise and run are equal you get 100% grade or a 45 degree slope. So a 70% grade is far from scary to many skiers. Strait-lining a 70% grade slope is very scary however.
or put another way..
(Change in elevation÷ measured distance = slope %)

23¢ ¸ 100¢ = .23 or 23%
post #6 of 59

steepness for Carvers

My references to steepness are in actual degrees as measured by the inclinometer (slope indicator) on my climbing compass.

For most people about a 5-10 degree slope is all they will ever need for training. On this steepness with enough room, you can always push to go faster when you are training cones or gates.

For free carving it's fun to have something steeper once in a while, especially if it comes in 1/2 to 1 block chunks and then levels off to 5-10 for a while in between.

The 25 degree road is the area around SE Wyndham way on the west face of Mt. Scott in Portland OR. It was in the news this last winter when a cab with chains on the back tires slid about 4 block down it and crashed, killing the occupant.

There are about 5 nice blocks of carving above the steep part that is at about 10 degrees, then it just drops out for a few blocks. The Carving here is survival, turn by turn stuff. You have to work hard to get a little up hill at the end of each tyurn as you cross the street and then suck it up hard into the next turn. It's so tiring that you do about 10 turns and then stop for a bit, then go again.

This would be tiring on my hands to go straight down this on a bike. I can't imagine trying it on inlines. But it's do-able on Harb Carvers.

Also, we only do this occassionally because it really wears your wheels. It's tuff to keep your technique clean and not steer on this steepness. Steering makes the wheels slide. It's scary and it also wears the wheels.

There are other roads this steep in the area that are more fun because the steep part wil be in rolls: 10 degrees for a block, 5 degrees winding left and right, 15 degrees for a block or so, then flat for a block, 7 degrees for a few, etc. Just nice long runs through wooded newly paved streets.

There are lots of 1 - 2 mile runs around. Now I look at every new housing development like it's a new summer ski area.

I demo-ed them a few times in Wausau Wisconsin and found lots of great fun runs there. Also got kicked uot of one of the best training parking lots.

I have a friend in Alabama, that has almost quit skiing and just switched to carving. He talks about all the desert roads he wants to visit for carving

There are lots of these being used around Truckee and through out s. California. I have mostly sold to Masters racers there. Many of them don't tell their friends or race coaches that they use them. One guy e-mailed me and said that after a month on the carvers he went to a camp and his coaches and friends raved about how his foot work had improved so much. They all wanted to know what he had been working on between camps. He just kept quiet. He calls them his secret weapons.
post #7 of 59

Rollerskis

I'm not familiar with Harb Carvers, but I do use two sets of rollers skis for off season cross-country ski training. Particularly the cross-country skating roller skis are great for alpine training, developing both cardiovascular fitness and strength and maintaining and improving one-ski balance and weight transfer. Here's a link that discusses roller skiing pretty fully:

http://www.jenex.com/

Tom
post #8 of 59
Question for skiersynergy:
Could you compare and contrast the comp and pro models? Which would be better for a decent ski racer who has never carved on pavement? I am surrounded by the Newton hills of Boston Marathon fame, so that should be about all the incline i need to make use of the carvers.
post #9 of 59
Not trying to hijack the thread, but how do StreetSkis (www.streetski.com) compare to the Harb Carvers?
post #10 of 59
I'll reiterate my question for skiersynergy since this thread is getting old and 'jacked. Could you compare and contrast the comp and pro models? Which would be better for a decent ski racer who has never carved on pavement? I am surrounded by the Newton hills of Boston Marathon fame, so that should be about all the incline i need to make use of the carvers.
post #11 of 59

Comp Model

The comp model with their larger wheels gives the fastest and smoothest ride. For real life carveing this smoothness can make a real difference. Also, you can skate strongly on them without worrying about hitting the "safety stop"

http://www.harbskisystems.com/carver/models.htm

Note in the pics the models other than the comp have this white nub on the front. I don't like the nub.

At the carver camp whatever model people brought with them (and you don't have to bring any as they are loaned to you at a carver camp) everyone that tried the comps liked them best.

The other two links to ski simulators in this thread look like interesting devices. I have not tried them, but here would be 2 concerns with them compared to the carvers. The carvers are very short radius devices which is very appropriate for real life use on streets. Those ski simulators that look 3 feet long would give me pause from a safety standpoint.

The 2nd observation is that the other 2 ski simulators linked to in this thread have no flat spot. In skis you have an area where the edges are not engaged as you roll edge to edge. Also, since in skis the edge is not centered under your foot but offset from that center, they require more effort to tip. The other two simulators have wheels in line centered under your foot which means the amount of muscle effort required to edge them would less emulate skis and more emulate roller blades. For those two reasons I would be think the carvers might be the better solution.
post #12 of 59

Differences between Harb Carvers and Streetskis

First, I'll answer the question about comparison to inline skate type devices like the street ski (and I'll asnwer the Pro vs. comp question in a few minutes).

I have not tried the streetski. However, a few racers that have bought carvers from me had tried street skis before they got carvers. There are a few things that I can say based on their inline design.
In the last International congress on skiing and science, someone from the Austrian national team gave a presentation on the limitations of inline skates for ski training. Their conclusions were consistent with the experiences that led Harald to develop the Harb Carvers.

One of the biggest problems with an inline wheel design is that the hinge point for tipping is directly beneath the foot, so the skier must actively keep the skates from tipping.

However, as John pointed out, skis are the opposite from skates in this regard.

Because skis have some width, they actively resist tipping. This is also why they have some stability for both general balance and also at speed. They want to retore to a flat state and the skier must tip them on edge with the hinge point being outside the width of the boot.

This also makes balancing different. Balancing on an edge offset from the center of the foot is different than in a skate. The contact point for balancing on a tipped skate is directly under the foot -- nice but not at all like balancing on the outer edge of a ski.

By using two rows of wheels on each skate, Harb carvers simulate the same flat and edge to edge feel and movement requirements that skis have. Another by product of this design is that the wheels hold on a much higher angle - some of this has to do with the way the wheels deform on edge and other things. Also, the relationship of how the grip of the wheels is related to body movements is the same as on a carving ski rather than on a skate.

At ICSS, pictures of the best Austrian skiers trying to lay skates over as best as they could just didn't even come close to what is done on skis or on carvers. They dropped their jaws at how layed over people in Carver videos were.

See the pics and vids here for examples:

http://web.pdx.edu/~petersj/HoodCamp...rvingIndex.htm

Another difference that I suspect, but don't have any direct experience about, is the role of skidding/sliding with the Streetski. The Streetski has longer, flexible frame design, as well as, wheels under the foot to act as a pivot. In several spots in their literature there are references to using wedge type movements to slow down, sliding the rear wheels, pivoting, etc.

These are aspects of skis that the Harb Carver purposely do not attempt to simulate and it is what makes them so effective for learning. Skis allow you to be sloppier with your technique. They will forgive an enormous amount of steering, twisting, and rotation and it is harder to feel the presence of these movements on skis. Harb carvers do not respond effectively to steering or rotating. Everthing must be done by lateral tipping, independent leg flexion for weight transfer and CM movement, and complimenting upper body movements.

Harb Carvers give constant and sensitive feedback on these two different sets of movements. Rotory movements (even in very small amounts) produce negative results and lateral movements prodeuce very positive results.

For those people who are trying to do PMTS movements, work the carving parts of their race technique, Harb Carvers give great feedback and many people say they learn more about thier skiing in a month on Carvers than a season on snow.

For those who want to hang on to steering movements, I would say that Harb Carvers will open up a whole new sensitivity and control of lateral versus rotary movements. Those people will greatly improve their lateral movement skills in their total toolbox and wil be able to develop more fine sensitivity for the presence of rotory and steering. If you don't think that lateral is everything, that's fine. Use the Carvers to sharpen the lateral tools in your box and work the other stuff on snow.
post #13 of 59

Difference between the Pro and the Comp

Both the pro and the comp are on the same length and width chasis.
It sounds like you are choosing correctly between the pro and the comp.

There are two design differences between the models. First, the comp uses larger 105 mm wheels on the rear two axles. Second, the frame is higher to accomodate the larger wheels.

Generally, everything can be done on the pro that can be done on the comp. However, in general, the pro will be easier to learn/do things on. The comp has higher balance requirements and rolls and tips faster. Therefore it is more dynamic (fun) but requires more commitment and control.

As a result, I often do harder one footed exercises, such as running courses on one foot, using the pro, but when I free carve, I always pull out the comp.

Here is the bottom line. If you are a pretty good level skier/racer, them the comp wil eventually be the one you want. However, even with good racers, for a fast learning curve to start out on the pro for a few days, then buy the comp.

I have had people just start on the comp and find that learning takes longer, especially if balance (and one footed balance ) is more of an issue. All of this is also affected by whether you have someone available to teach you a little bit in person.

If you are on your own, you have two choices. Buy the pro with an upgraded axle from me that allows more range of tipping than the standard axle, use it for a summer, and trade it in with me for an upgrade to the comp later -- or sell/give it to a friend so you can carve together. Lots of people who upgrade tell me about being able to take friends out using their easier models that they kept.

OR

Buy the comp and expect a little longer learning curve (Maybe five or six times out) before you might really feel comfortable on them. I am always willing to talk with people on the phone who are walking through the process by themselves.

If you are thinking of a little time at Mt. Hood this summer, I would be glad to demo whatever you need before you buy. Feel free to call me, if you want to talk more.
post #14 of 59
Tom
Are the roller skis hard to get used to? How do they compare to roller blades?
post #15 of 59

Rollerskis, StreetSkis, Harb Carvers

The posts are mixing four different devices here.

Rollerskis are for Nordic (crosscountry) training (different designs for trad and skate), Streetskis and Harb Carvers are for simulating downhill/Alpine skiing, Inline Skates do not simulate alpine movements, nor do they simulate trad nordic.

Do you really mean to ask about Nordic training devices by asking about rollerskis?
post #16 of 59
Probably he asked the question he wanted to ask. Check out a video calleed "Skate to Ski" which explains how to train for alpine skiing with rollerblades. I'm sure I want to wear alpine ski boots ever, but in summer on rollerskates! And you need to use a car to get uphill. Sounds weak to me but whatever floats your boat. Anyone try a Trikke?
post #17 of 59
yeah - my instructors are very happy with my results from inline skating in the summers. then again no-one ever said it was skiing....
My inline skate instructor is IISA acredited instructor & he works with another friend of my instructor who is a full cert ski instructor & IISA.... I am told he overtakes the buses going down the road from the mountain in winter(on inlines) .... He takes the skate to ski classes in my home city too....
post #18 of 59
I was reacting to the statement that inline skates do not simulate alpine skiing. I think it is easy to simulate alpine skiing with rollerblades, specifically carved turns. Also he can't believe someone wants to know about rollerskis. OK, the thread is about Harb Carvers and roller skiing IS far off topic...

The Harb Carvers actually look interesting and they probably do simulate skis better than inlines. I would be willing to try a pair with freeheel bindings (to practice telemark turns) and ratcheting wheels to allow "skinning" back up.
post #19 of 59
Yes my question was off-topic. I started inline skating last summer because I missed skiing. I have seen people with those nordic type skates and they look like a good workout and fun. I was just curious if they were easy to use if I know how to skate.

And I'm not a guy. Madeleine
post #20 of 59
There is no question that the Harb Carvers will simulate a ski better. After all, the wheels are doubled up and spaced apart just like the edges of a ski. But that is absolutely the ONLY difference. In-line skate can simulate carved turns just like the Harb Carvers.

I also noticed that the Harb Carves help you turn by having only 2 wheels in the back. For those of you who know how to inline skate, you will understand that the shorter the wheel base, the easier it is to turn. During turning on in-line skates pressure is slightly biased towards the heel (unlike skiing). Clearly Harb Carvers take advantage of that.

SkierSynergy said: Harb carvers do not respond effectively to steering or rotating. Everthing must be done by lateral tipping, independent leg flexion for weight transfer and CM movement, and complimenting upper body movements.

This is where I have to disagree. Some measure of steering (not rotation) is critical to turn a set of wheels that are in-line (does not matter if they are under foot or at the edge of the foot). The longer the wheel base the more they resist turning, regardless of tipping. Anyone who tried 5 wheel competition skates, will know that. It is the reason those comp skates often need the cross-over leg technique to buy a turn.
post #21 of 59
telerod15, take a look at the Fall 2001 copy of FASST magazine; the skating backwards article has a specific tie-in to telemark training.

TomB, recreational/fitness inline frames are quite often rockered. Are the Carvers?

Back to the Carvers and to the topic:

SkierSynergy, I'd like to ask a question about the planes of rotation of the wheels. How far from parallel are they? Was significant experimentation done to empirically determine the desirable angle between them? If so, could you give us any more observations from these experiments?
post #22 of 59

Yeah - you can steer them

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB

This is where I have to disagree. Some measure of steering (not rotation) is critical to turn a set of wheels that are in-line (does not matter if they are under foot or at the edge of the foot). The longer the wheel base the more they resist turning, regardless of tipping. Anyone who tried 5 wheel competition skates, will know that. It is the reason those comp skates often need the cross-over leg technique to buy a turn.
HH demonstrated this direct steering at the carver camp to us after we remarked that they couldn't be pivoting. He showed us that they could and it makes for a pretty ugly turn, but you certainly don't have to pivot them to get them to turn. All Jay was pointing out was that they resist direct pivoting.

You can stand with them with some level of counter balance and counter rotation and just coast with them tipped and they'll do a nice railroad turn. (you can do a total park and ride ugly turn on them where your body and feet and legs are completely stationary as they turn you) As you increase speed and pressure they will turn much tighter. It has to do with the way the wheels and the contact patches work. There are technical articles on some inline skate sites that go over the physics of inline skate wheels and why they turn you in response to pressure and tipping.

Here is one such article about the wheel deformation and changes to contact patches that create rotational force. There are many other such articles:

http://home1.gte.net/pjbemail/Turning.html
post #23 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex
TomB, recreational/fitness inline frames are quite often rockered. Are the Carvers?
On the contrary, recreational/fitness inline frames are never rockered. Some come with the option to rocker the wheels by effectively lifting the front and back wheel. Hockey specific in-line skates are rockered since they need super sharp turns.
post #24 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason
HH demonstrated this direct steering at the carver camp to us after we remarked that they couldn't be pivoting. He showed us that they could and it makes for a pretty ugly turn, but you certainly don't have to pivot them to get them to turn. All Jay was pointing out was that they resist direct pivoting.

You can stand with them with some level of counter balance and counter rotation and just coast with them tipped and they'll do a nice railroad turn. (you can do a total park and ride ugly turn on them where your body and feet and legs are completely stationary as they turn you) As you increase speed and pressure they will turn much tighter. It has to do with the way the wheels and the contact patches work. There are technical articles on some inline skate sites that go over the physics of inline skate wheels and why they turn you in response to pressure and tipping.

Here is one such article about the wheel deformation and changes to contact patches that create rotational force. There are many other such articles:

http://home1.gte.net/pjbemail/Turning.html
I don't buy any of the BS in that article. Perfect wheels aligned perfectly will not turn by tipping only. I have been in-line skating long enough to know what has to happen to make a sharp turn. Yes you certainly tip aggressively, but some steering is definitely required if you want the type of turns seen in the videos SkierSynergy offered in his post.

Here is a little exercise to try to understand why in-line skate do not turn by themselves. Since tipping will automatically cause you to steer (in order to avoid falling to the inside), try to "traverse" accross an inclined road. Nothing will make those skates go uphill except steering! Of course you need new wheels and good balance to be able to keep a skate going straight.
post #25 of 59
TomB, yes, that's the system as used in the 2nd generation R'blade Lightning, the first gen had a front-to-back wheelbase adjustment.

Some examples I've measured when folks have had speed wobble problems on them (these are frames with fixed-position bearing shoulders):
Tecnica CT5, CT3, CT1, Sabre/Tomcat : 4mm rocker front and rear axle holes (~8m radius).
Tecnica PS5, PS3: 4mm rocker rear (suspended front wheel), ~12-8m radius
Rollerblade Viablade: 3 mm rocker.

Measured by taking the wheels out of a left and right skate, touching the frames together so that they touch at one set of axle holes and splitting the gap where they do not touch.

K2 at one point ('97-'98?) had a lengthwise split frame that could be locked together with a pin.
post #26 of 59

I'm in total agreement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB
I don't buy any of the BS in that article. Perfect wheels aligned perfectly will not turn by tipping only.
I agree with you totally. Just, that isn't what the article said at all either. I would think that the author of that article would agree with you too. Perfect wheels aligned perfectly will not turn by tipping only, unless the contact patches deform which was the point of the article.

Interesting thought on going traversing on a slope. I know in skis they'll climb uphill. I'll have to try that on carvers.

The railroad turns with tipped carvers with no steering at all - does happen.
************************************************** *******

The carvers are not rockered but are straight and level. The two lines of wheels are parallel as well. They are not like the hocky inlines my son has that have a curve built into the wheels.

I don't inline skate, but when I'm doing a tight carver turn, they are turning me, not the other way around. I'm just pressuring them. You get a lot more turn as you go more one footed. So, they definately react to pressure along with the tipping. In this regard they react much like skis as well.
post #27 of 59
Madeleine, sorry I called you "he". The roller skis I've seen simulate diagonal stride, not xc skate technique. Maybe Tom can tell you about them. Even if they don't utilize your skating skills very much, I'm sure they are fun and a good work out.
post #28 of 59
I think wheels will turn by tipping only. Roll a tire down a hill, when it tips to one side, it will turn in that direction. When a bicycle is tilted to one side it starts to fall and turn in that direction. You need to steer in the opposite direction to keep it from falling to the ground (counter-steering). Even a straight ski can be made to turn without rotary input, if you can make it bend. Certainly my rollerblades will turn when tilted unless I use a great deal of counter-steering, and they are not rockered at all.
post #29 of 59

Ski movements and then ski movements

I should have said that inline skates offer some simulation of skiing movements, but that an inline design seriously restricts how close they can come to skiing movements and feel. Because of their design, the performance of Harb Carvers is far far closer to that of skis. Some of the issues have been outlined in my previous posts. It all becomes very clear once they are on your feet.

The Austrian team presentation about the severe limitations of inline skates for race training at the International Congress of Skiing and Science last year should be available in the book printing of the proceedings. They were very interested in the Harb Carvers and I remember Harald saying that they bought some to try.

Of course they have a cost and so if you have inline skates and you aren’t that serious about training in the summer, then . . . , but if you are serious and you try them for a bit, you won’t ever go back to skates for training.

In general, the movements, balance requirements, and feel are much more like skiing. For those who are trying to follow a PMTS model of skiing, inline skates actually promote some very ineffective/inefficient ski movements.

I can only say the following as some examples of what people think.

Several camps use them, such as SnowPerformance.com based out of Crystal Mountain WA and Hood River Oregon. Gavin Hunter used to run skate camps for racers in the Seattle area. He went out with me for about 2 hours on them last summer and immediately bought a bunch for his camps to use (See http://www.snowperformance.com/blade.htm). I also know that NASTC used some prototypes in past dryland camps.

Academies such as Sugarbowl (Hermann Gollner) use them extensively. Herman was part of their development and his kids used them for at least 1 ½ yerars before they were released for sale.

Several coaches for the US junior team used them last summer.

They have been sold to a few ski schools in Austria.

While Harald was just in Austria, one of the top Carving competitors from Italy (sorry, I don’t have the name off the top of my head) contacted him about the Harb Carvers. He tried them out with Diana, was very excited about them, and immediately bought some. You can expect to see some video from him on the HSS website soon.

I will always be available for anyone in my area (or when I travel) to demo them. That is free. Just give me a call and play for an hour. Theoretical discussions aside, the real proof is what they are like in use.
post #30 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15
I think wheels will turn by tipping only. Roll a tire down a hill, when it tips to one side, it will turn in that direction. When a bicycle is tilted to one side it starts to fall and turn in that direction. You need to steer in the opposite direction to keep it from falling to the ground (counter-steering). Even a straight ski can be made to turn without rotary input, if you can make it bend. Certainly my rollerblades will turn when tilted unless I use a great deal of counter-steering, and they are not rockered at all.
Nice try, but we are not talking about a single wheel tipping. Give me a bicycle with a fixed front wheel and I will show you how it won't turn at all by only tipping.

So let me repeat: several wheels that are in-line and connected to a common axis CANNOT turn by tipping. They don't bend, they have no sidecut. Comparing them to skis from that perspective is wrong. :
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