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# What's the difference: edging, carving & parallel turns...

Hi,
Another newbie confusion : - as the title says, what are the differences between these 3 terms?

Assuming we are all on shaped skis now, what I have been taught to make a turn is to apply pressure to the inside edge of the outside ski, and the two skis are parallel to each other. Different pressure controls the radius of the arc.

So, is this edging? carving? or just parallel turn?

thanks...
This is kind of like a square is a rectangle....of sorts.

Any forward parallel edging maneuver is "edging". The degree to which the tail of the ski follows the path taken by the tip determines how much "carving" goes on.

If you go to a shallow hill, begin a traverse across the hill on both uphill edges and gradually increase the amount the skis are tipped up on edge, you will see increasing "carving".
Quote:
 Originally Posted by hobieboy Hi, Assuming we are all on shaped skis now, what I have been taught to make a turn is to apply pressure to the inside edge of the outside ski, and the two skis are parallel to each other. Different pressure controls the radius of the arc. thanks...
I'm just wondering, were you told to edge one ski and keep the other one flat? I've had a lesson where that was an exercise, and that would indeed cause a turn on a gentle terrain (more a left/right strafe actually), but I'm not sure how one goes from there.
ummm no... the other wouldn't be flat. The emphasis is that pressure is on the outside ski. We actually practised skiing with 1 ski to get the sensation & balance for this.
I wish there was a standard teaching curriculum.

So the idea is that you are traversing and then dig more with the inside edge and somehow the other leg joins ? Or is this from a schuss?
not an instructor etc just my impression

parallel to me means nothing more than that your skis are parallel

edging means you tip you skis on edge carving discribes what your skis do after you edge them

you may edge and carve for various amounts of space and time. for example you edge, carve and then you tails release and skid.

pure carve means you put it on edge and the edges hold thru the turn.
For me, parallel means both skis do the same thing at the same time while generally pointed in the same direction.

So if you're edging the right ski on its left edge for a left turn, you also want to be edging the left ski onto its left edge, although there might be a weight difference depending upon the dynamics of the turn. Your shins should be in contact with the cuff of both boots. Generally, if you are going left, your shin contact should be at something like 10 o'clock if 12 o'clock is straight ahead. It would be toward 2 o'clock if going right. If you're not edging both skis and contacting both boot cuffs at the same time/point in the turn, you're not going to be simultaneous and parallel.
It sounds like all 3 terms essentially mean the same thing then; particularly edging vs carving?
Quote:
 Originally Posted by hobieboy It sounds like all 3 terms essentially mean the same thing then; particularly edging vs carving?
Like my original comment regarding a square being a rectangle, but a rectangle is not necessarily square, carving is a degree of parallel edging. There can be less intense parallel edging that is not really carving.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by rrryan parallel to me means nothing more than that your skis are parallel edging means you tip you skis on edge carving discribes what your skis do after you edge them you may edge and carve for various amounts of space and time. for example you edge, carve and then you tails release and skid. pure carve means you put it on edge and the edges hold thru the turn.
That makes sense and is literally true, but I think that what confuses us beginners is that there appear to be two different approaches. One is the "classic?" parallel, which you initially learn by stemming and then planting pole and bringing skis parallel. If you get good enough, you're parallel the whole way through. Obviously there is edging there, but it seems that the unweighing and using the poles for that helps.

Then there's what seems to be the "new skiing" or at least some of the new systems that I've seen in books that argue that one can skip all those phases and go straight to carving: The main thing is to tip the skis and then add on the various movements, so that the poles are held almost for balancing that sort of slanted racer shape. There is no learning process that goes though stemming, wedging and whatnot.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson For me, parallel means both skis do the same thing at the same time while generally pointed in the same direction.
Ding ding ding.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by homeboy It sounds like all 3 terms essentially mean the same thing then; particularly edging vs carving?
Carving is a subset of edging (as is skidding). If you give me a knife and a carrot, and I pull the length of the blade (edge) across the carrot, cutting into it, that is carving, while one can move the blade the other way and peel the skin off of it (like skidding a turn shaves snow off the pack), which is also using the edge, but to a different end. Either of these types of edging (or combinations of them) can be done with skis parallel to each other.

### Carve/edge/skid

Quote:
 Originally Posted by volantaddict Ding ding ding. Carving is a subset of edging (as is skidding). If you give me a knife and a carrot, and I pull the length of the blade (edge) across the carrot, cutting into it, that is carving, while one can move the blade the other way and peel the skin off of it (like skidding a turn shaves snow off the pack), which is also using the edge, but to a different end. Either of these types of edging (or combinations of them) can be done with skis parallel to each other.

Nice/interesting analogy VA - never heard the carrot reference before. Next time I go into a big skid I'll think of peeling skin - hopfully not my skin but the carrots skin. Matter of fact did that yesterday.
I got so excited over VA's illustrative new technique, that I took a tuber with me to use durning class.

OK, so I used a potato .... instead of a carrot .... and I forgot that I'm not to be trusted with sharp objects.

Only four stitches and the Doc says my thumb will be good a new in a week or two.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Yuki I got so excited over VA's illustrative new technique, that I took a tuber with me to use durning class. OK, so I used a potato .... instead of a carrot .... and I forgot that I'm not to be trusted with sharp objects. Only four stitches and the Doc says my thumb will be good a new in a week or two.
YEP, I was going to try a tomatoe but the sight of anything RED on the snow brings back some real bad memories. Carrots sort of OK at least orange isn't too close to yellow-snow
thanks guys (gals).... the analogy is good.

Probably too good as in too much details I think I get the picture now
Edging is a skill.

Carving is an outcome.

Parallel turns require that the skis are parallel.
Great semantic discussion and a vitamin source to boot! One could skid,say vadel in old school style and the skis could stay parallel. My personal goal is to be able to get onto a chair and look down on carves that parallel each other like railroad tracks. Most folks have problems pulling this off because they skid their turns at the back to some degree if they commit to their turn. I call this an inefficient burn with exhaust coming off the back. If you ski efficiently you won't skid unless you intend to and there are times you might Anyway, to accomplish the perfect carve your foot needs to be aligned correctly inside the boot and then the outside of the boot needs to be aligned as well. Most skiers are overedged [too much plastic on the medial side of the boot] which causes the ski to skid as you commit to the turn. That means holding onto the turn well past the fall line and even going up the hill. Practice and practice won't overcome the misalignment of the boot. Nearly everyone requires correction here. Arc 'em or Park 'em!
EJ
Quote:
 Originally Posted by uricmu Then there's what seems to be the "new skiing" or at least some of the new systems that I've seen in books that argue that one can skip all those phases and go straight to carving...
Pardon me for eavesdropping and barging in, but this development puzzles me, too.

I've not only read about it, but seen one or two ski instructors in the German Alps apparently teach this way: straight from the snow plough to carving. I don't know whether they cover skidded/slided turns later on or whether their students are supposed to pick such things up automatically. But to me, it seems that carving is just one of the skills needed to become a proficient skier. It's certainly not the easiest way to get down a really steep slope and not always the best imo, either. Besides, mastering a variety of techniques gives people a better feeling of security and of being able to cope with a whole range of situations.

That said, I'm only an average skiier myself... though I learnt back in the 70's. My personal idea is that your toolbox should at least contain the plough, carved turns, normal skidded turns and short skidded turns (facing the valley) to get down most any groomer... oh, and "schuss".

Best,

Martin
I like the carrot analogy, but here's my take...
Edging: not using the base of the ski, but using the edge. You can have one ski on edge, and one ski flat, or both skis on edge, or both skis flat. Unless both skis are flat on the snow, then you are edging.

Parallel: both skis are pointing in the same directing, and the gap between the skis stays constant. This is easiest done with both skis flat or both skis on edge. There is no requirement for a turn, or a particular type of turn, it's just the physical definition of parallel lines.

Carving: using just the edge on one or both skis (little toe of one ski, big toe of the other) to make a turn where the edges leave clear, narrow tracks in the snow. To go back to the food analogy, if you carve a steak with a sharp knife, you make a clean cut through it. If the knife is blunt, or you try to pull the meat apart while you cut into it, then the cut will be rough, and the meat torn, rather than sliced.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat Parallel: both skis are pointing in the same directing, and the gap between the skis stays constant. This is easiest done with both skis flat or both skis on edge. There is no requirement for a turn, or a particular type of turn, it's just the physical definition of parallel lines.
Yes. But technique and especially the size of the gap seem major sources of confusion. And I'm pretty sure blanket labels like 'old school' and 'new school' add to it. There appears to be some conceptual interference rooted in a blurry notion of 'what is no longer done'.

What I've noticed with amazement: Some newcomers restrictively associate "parallel" turns with narrow-stance turns. Are they still thinking of "wedeln" or the likes, and if so, why? And others confuse all wide-stance "edging" with "carving", even though they skid 95% of the time. Whereas the real difference today is between steered turns and induced turns (carved). That's the difference you can actually feel (and hear) as you ski. Even I can, and I'm really only a very casual skiier, though getting a little more ambitious in recent years.

I think the mistaken notion that 'new-school' skiing involves nothing but pure carving is creating a whole lot of confusion among beginners as to what carving actually is - i.e. more than a wider stance and a pair of short skis set on edge. Instead of accepting that they and everyone else will inevitably 'fail' to carve in many situations (and with good reason), they kid themselves that anything not resembling the 1970's is 'new school' and thus automatically 'carving'. It would be better to realise when one actually is carving or skidding and to what degree (and why). The next step would then be to apply the techniques in more conscious and reasoned doses, and a third would be to re-commit everything to intuition.

I know that goes beyond the topic of this thread, but I'm wondering why absolute beginners with no experience of 20th century skiing fall prey to this particular flavour of confusion - which ought really to bother old geysers who don't think about skiing enough like myself, and be a total non-issue to today's novices. To me, it would seem that the initiator of this thread has a virtual birthright not to harbour the questions he posed. But he's by no means untypical in voicing them nevertheless. So where do all those 'old-school' concepts live on to boggle minds without immediate cause to fret about them - and why is the old-school label frequently extended to techniques that actually remain perfectly en vogue? Where's the source of this unnecessary confusion? Skiing instructors with a passion for history lessons? Alpine scenes in old James Bond movies? Apres ski gossip with all the wrong people?

Seriously, I'm wondering whether images of 'wedel-style' skiiers remain so much part of popular culture that even youngsters have them engraved in their minds. Which would make modern skiing the antithesis of what people initially expect it to be. Which in turn generates stereotypes to combat stereotypes...

Best,

Martin
Martin, I agree.
There are those who like to redfine things so that it becomes confusing, or to make one way seem different or better than another (in other words it's just marketing BS).
So you have "old school" parallel (boots together) and "new school" (boots not together). Then within the "new school" you have narrow, medium and wide, and you'll have teachers arguing about what others teach and who is right and who is wrong.
Rather than arguing over what is good parallel and what is bad, or what is right and what is wrong, I'd prefer to give a physics/mathematics definition that can be used to apply to skis, cables, poles, tracks, lines, in fact anything. That way, I'm hoping it is simple enough for others to understand, as they can relate it to something they already know.
WTFH - for physics - just make it french fries- parallel & flat on the ground. The kids can't do that kind of math yet, but the straightlining picture down the mountain sure can be seen.
911over, that'd be "chips" or "frites" to us Euros. (it's the little differences )
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat There are those who like to redfine things so that it becomes confusing, or to make one way seem different or better than another (in other words it's just marketing BS).
It's curious though, isn't it? It seems to me that today's equipment and techniques allow you to tackle most slopes with a much reduced and far more integrated set of skills than 30 years ago - and the learning curve is significantly less steep in consequence. Yet the level of conceptual confusion has risen instead of dropping. Perhaps your suspicion of marketing BS, which I'm not really competent enough to utter myself, does actually hold the key. With the advent of simplicity, people with a stake in things are having a hard time setting themselves apart. So it's happening on a linguistic plane, rather than on-piste? And at the expense of those trying hard to grasp the basics?

In real life, witness the minimal number of days it now takes for 'beginners' to become 'intermediates' (I have difficulty with that kind of classification, too) and you wonder how people manage to conjure up such theoretical complexity and yet retain their audience. You carve a bit and you skid a bit and the mountain teaches you the uses of each - and as you improve, 70% of the remaining subtleties come to you for free. The other 30% should be fairly easy to access too, but people seem to be building academic walls around them. Pass the gates at a premium and your peril: You may enter with a clear mind, but emerge with a clouded one.

Best,

Martin
P.S. Please don't read the above as a poorly qualified swipe at theory per se - or at attention to detail. I hope the target is clear: veiled value judgements like 'old school' and 'new school', with their apparent potential to bother and confuse unnecessarily. (I keep getting the impression that beginners think of 'old school' as the human body's default, but totally unacceptable mode of skiing... and more or less synonymous with getting things wrong.)

Best,

Martin
Hi Martin,
I think you're right. There are a lot of phrases that are used like "old school" that people would certainly interpret as "wrong." As one of the lesser experienced skiers on this forum, I would have to say that's what I would think if someone labelled my skiing as "old school." Fortunately for me, I've worked with instructors who see a variety of options as totally valid depending on what you're trying to do. It's a much more open point of view that I hadn't had quite as much exposure to before but very non-judgmental and I like it!!
Hi Ski Spirit,

An example: There are those that portray carving as the only desirable technique, and the implication to newcomers is that ('old-school') skidding is invariably inferior or even 'wrong', though that's rarely said explicitly.

In reality, however, you will not find a single skier who can carve each and every slope he/she encounters under all conditions and with all skis. In fact, trying to carve a steep and well-populated European groomer at 11.00 am on Christmas Day would most likely be objectively 'wrong' for almost any of us with a will to live and let live, and with almost any ski. Indeed, the truth is that skidding and carving are twins that belong together for well-nigh all of us on any given day. But for some reason, many Internet resources fail to make this extremely basic fact plain. Instead, they teach people to be somewhat clandestine about anything they do that ain't undiluted 'new school' (as they perceive the term after wading through a few websites).

Best,

Martin

### Old/New School

Hi Martin,
I agree; I've had this discussion w/several instructors and I admit to being a confused student, i.e. am I supposed to try to carve every turn? The answer from the current instructors....no, you need to do what's appropriate for you depending on where you are, the circumstances, etc. ...and skidding is another tool that you can use just like any other tool. Ok, maybe there are times when it would be more desirable to carve and you're prone to skidding, so you need to work on that...but it doesn't mean skiing is "unacceptable" (although it is more tiring).
I prefer to think there may be ways to improve in a given circumstance and as you move along the scale of learning those instances will be more and more clear. But personally, the people that I consider to be the strongest instructors I've worked with are not at all black and white in their viewpoints.

### Turns

Quote:
 Originally Posted by MartinFarrent It's curious though, isn't it? It seems to me that today's equipment and techniques allow you to tackle most slopes with a much reduced and far more integrated set of skills than 30 years ago - and the learning curve is significantly less steep in consequence. Yet the level of conceptual confusion has risen instead of dropping. Perhaps your suspicion of marketing BS, which I'm not really competent enough to utter myself, does actually hold the key. With the advent of simplicity, people with a stake in things are having a hard time setting themselves apart. So it's happening on a linguistic plane, rather than on-piste? And at the expense of those trying hard to grasp the basics? In real life, witness the minimal number of days it now takes for 'beginners' to become 'intermediates' (I have difficulty with that kind of classification, too) and you wonder how people manage to conjure up such theoretical complexity and yet retain their audience. You carve a bit and you skid a bit and the mountain teaches you the uses of each - and as you improve, 70% of the remaining subtleties come to you for free. The other 30% should be fairly easy to access too, but people seem to be building academic walls around them. Pass the gates at a premium and your peril: You may enter with a clear mind, but emerge with a clouded one. Best, Martin
Martin. thankyou for your above post. ...and you wonder how people manage to conjure up such theoretical complexity and yet retain their audience [some of the clinics I have taken].....people seem to be building academic walls around them. SUMMARY. YOU MAY ENTER WITH A CLEAR MIND, BUT EMERGE WITH A CLOUDED ONE.

Awesome post, I have had these thoughts many times over the past 10 years, some of them as an instructor but never could have reduced them so succinctly to the written word. Personally I thank you, there are others out there that feel as I do.
Pete,

Your contribution is helping to answer my own first question in this thread: Does it make sense to go from snow-ploughing straight to carving without teaching skidded turns?

Possibly, the answer is a tactical (business) "yes". People are going to learn skidding pretty fast whether you teach it or not, because it's supremely useful and comes pretty naturally. Yet if it's not actually taught, people will also feel a little guilty about applying it, especially when the stigma of 'old school' is erroneously attached to it... by implication, rather than explicit condemnation.

And that gets them wondering whether they need more lessons, which is probably a good thing. Except that those lessons must imperatively fall short of maximum efficiency if they quietly nurture people's misconceptions on the desirability of techniques - instead of simply explaining the application of techniques. People with a clear mind learn better and faster. Boggling it is sound business strategy, perhaps.

In an nutshell: people get a sense of perpetual inadequacy, instead of feeling empowered to get off the learning train at any station of their choice, because they define adequacy for themselves and their own needs or ambitions.

Best,

Martin
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