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Improving Carving - Beginner/Intermediate Question

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to improve my parallel turns. I picked up skiing again this season after a 14 year break (Last season I skied, I was 8 and only knew how to hotdog straight down the slopes and stop with a snowplow).

After skiing around 8 times this season, I've improved to some form of parallel turning, enabling me to handle black diamonds on occasion (with a lot of sliding and not really carving) and regularly do blue runs with ease.. (still with sliding...)..

My problems are:

a) My skis are shoulder width apart... any ideas how to get them closer together? (Planning on trying Harb Ski System's Phantom Lift exercise)

b) My main problem is that my uphill ski / free ski doesn't carve. I mean, it's parallel because I intentionally turn it quicker than my downhill ski, but it doesn't carve like the downhill one. I think this has something to do with Problem A. Is it my knees or something?

I find that it helps for me to keep my hands in front and doing the pole plants, but I think it's more of a lower body issue. I've got Head C260i All-Mountain Skis. Right now, I feel like those race car drivers who win because their cars are fast... not because they drive well. Thanks in advance - Looking to carve with both skis tomorrow morning!
post #2 of 9
jon,
Your skis may be a little wide b/c you are leaning in on your turns and not engaging your outside ski in the turns. If your inside (free) ski is flat on the snow and the outside ski seems to drift away from you, that is the problem.
Try this, on easier terrain (green runs), stand over your skis and try to lift the inside (free) ski off the snow while turning. Balance over your outside ski while turning while lifting the inside ski and repeat the process while turning the other direction. This should make a huge difference in your lateral (side to side ) balance. Once you get the feeling of balancing over your ski, let the inside (free) ski softly contact the snow, duplicating the action of the outside ski.

Hope this helps!

RW
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ron.

I tried to do that today and for the life of me couldn't balance on just the downhill / outside ski. Then a guy on the lifts told me that I need to move my weight even moreso to the downhill ski if I want to do that. I still have problems balancing well, but it helped in some ways to carve a bit better. Will try to work on it a bit more later in the week.
post #4 of 9
read my first post on the Carving/ultimate goal thread.

Then think about where you are in your skiing. Learning edge control with all the ranges of edge angle will serve you better than just learning how to balance on that edge.

Shoulder width for your skis is a great place to start on your journey. find very flat hills to start and begin to play with balance. All directions, Fore, Aft, left and right. learn to let the skis skid very smoothly, learn to brake while sideslipping. do traverses skidded and on edge. Try to do a traverse with very straight lines Then traverse with no slip.

Do some drifting side slips (side slip while moving forwards and backwards) make sure you do this on both sides. Vary the amount of drift. Learn to do it in soft snow as well as hard snow.

It sounds like "just exercises" and no carving but it will teach you how to use your edges better. It will also teach you much better balance and how to feel the different forces in play as you slowly begin to get your skis on a higher edge.

The carve will come as the need arises. You will find if you are in balance you have to move farther inside to keep from falling over as you increase your speed or pitch.
post #5 of 9
The only reason for wide track skiing at speeds less than 60 mph is so anyone with any sloppy fitting boots can get down the hill.

Find a good bootfitter and get aligned.
http://www.gmolfoot.com/performance.html

You can not carve if your are not correct aligned in your boots. You can not carve with certain skis that are made to skid. You can not carve well with certain boots that have the cuff rivets offset to kick you heels out when you flex the boots. You cannot carve if you try to set the edges too abruptly. You cannot carve the beginning of the turn if you start the turn by thrusting your heels out in a steering movement.

You can carve with well aligned boots, boots that track straight, skis made to carve, and proper technique to smoothly roll the skis on their edges, and increase the edging and pressure on the skis throught the turn until you release the old outside ski to begin the new turn.


Ken
post #6 of 9
Everything dchan said with emphasis on feeling your ankles. Flex your ankles and straighten your ankles, feeling how it changes your contact with your boots. Roll your ankles from side to side, weighted and just contacting the ground. Feel for your inside ankles bones rolling in and out of the pockets made for them in the liners of your boots. In weighted mode, feel for the sides of your arches. Keep doing the things dchan describes while feeling for these aspects of your feet and shins in the boots.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonpole
for the life of me couldn't balance on just the downhill / outside ski. Then a guy on the lifts told me that I need to move my weight even moreso to the downhill ski if I want to do that. I still have problems balancing well, but it helped in some ways to carve a bit better. Will try to work on it a bit more later in the week.


Let’s take a step back from carving for a minute and consider the basics. You’re in balance when you can make a move on either leg at any time. If you are having trouble lifting the inside ski on gentle terrain, then I would suggest you take an inventory of your stance and balance.

First check out your boots, are they allowing you to flex your ankle? Is there a straight line from your foot to your knee? Or is there an angle there? If you can’t flex the boot, you are not going to be able to be in balance and accomplish the move you want.

When you are skiing, where are your hips in relation to your feet? Are you moving forward with the skis throughout the turn? Try to jump, shuffle or take steps as you make turns. Is there a part of the turn you are unable to do this?

It may be that in the bottom third of the turn, when pressure builds up you are flexing more out of the knee putting you in the back seat.

Dchan’s suggestion of drifting sideslips can help give you a sense of where your weight is on your skis and how to adjust it. When you are comfortable with that drill you can allow your tips to point down the hill and make large, round turns. With the focus of continuing to move forward.

For you, stance width is a highly unlikely cause for the inside/uphill ski not carving. It is likely not carving because your CM is not leading through the turn or because you are not flexing and rolling your inside ankle.

Good luck!
post #8 of 9
jon,

If you can't balance over your outside ski, you may be only trying to edge the ski by leaning inside. The side slipping exercises will get you balanced over your outside ski. Once you get balanced there, you also need to direct the skis through the turn by adding leg rotation and use less tipping to turn. This is still a lateral, or tipping inside too much issue. Also, make shure you can use the whole lengh of the ski by standing more over your foot (feet) and not bending too much at only the knees which puts your weight too far back on the ski. Bend your ankle so your shins contact the tongue of the boot, stand up and get balanced.

Do some traversing acrost the hill on shallow terrain and then try lifting the uphill foot and balancing. This will allow you to see and feel where you have to be on your skis while turnning.

RW
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. Will give it a shot as soon as it stops raining here in Ontario. I just hope I can improve w/o having to spend money that I don't have for lessons.
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