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What's the difference: edging, carving & parallel turns... - Page 2

post #31 of 41
I think this is a great thread as it highlights many key issues. It should almost be required reading for those who post in the reqular MA/TA threads.

To answer the OP:

As KB pointed out "parallel" simply means that. The skis are parallel throughout the entire turn. The term is used to differentiate turns from those that contain a wedge or a stem.

Edging as Big E pointed out is an input. It is a term used to refer to various movments used to put the ski on edge. Edging by itself does not dictate any particular turn.

Carving is an output. Edging when combined with proper pressure control, balance, and timing can create a carved turn.

As for teaching from wedge to carving...I simply do not beleive that is what you saw. Teaching from wedge to parallel is more likely. There are many Fast track to parallel progressions. It is a valid progression for many skiers on modern gear. With the above definiation I hope you can see how this is possible....parallel turns, that may have some level of edging...but that does not mean the skier is carving.

As for the confusion in the industry. I think your observation is correct, but I do not beleive that any TTS would delibeartley try to create confusion. Rather the confusion is a function of the confusion that exists amongst the instructors themseleves. Keep in mind that ski teaching is a totally unregulated industry and as such there is a huge variance in the quality and level of instructors out there. Perhaps more so then you would find in any other industry.
post #32 of 41
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post
I hope you can see how this is possible....parallel turns, that may have some level of edging...but that does not mean the skier is carving.
Yeah, sure I can see that, because it's what I do myself at least half of the time. But what I have witnessed and mentioned above looked very much like some teachers attempting to bypass that stage. To my eye, the students were almost certainly trying to initiate carving turns (as demonstrated by their body movements etc.), and I know they weren't very advanced. That was also plain to see.

On the other hand, you may be right. I appreciate that a skidded turn on a modern ski can come quite close to a carved turn - with differences in initiation leading to the respective results and possibly striking a beginner as rather slight (despite being pivotal). I did myself point out that skidding and carving were twins, given today's skis. They complement each other, and can even blend well in individual turns, too.

Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post
I do not beleive that any TTS would delibeartley try to create confusion. Rather the confusion is a function of the confusion that exists amongst the instructors themseleves..
That sounds feasible. I was being a bit provocative, myself.


post #33 of 41

Skid Carve Parrallel

last Saturday I was skiing along parrallel and initiated a turn being on edge and then carved one of my skis, then the other ski decided it didn't want to go with the other ski and it departed my inside/unhill foot and then my body in different phases of symetry slid down the hill. Getting my remaining ski below me it was forced/rotary to go on edge and skid/one ski hockey slow down while the body caught up - became a perpendicular edifice to the ski and edged to a stop - whew.

Bruised the holy #@$% out of my arm too-I guess that is bouncing. Sorry not an accepted ski phrase. Oh Well.
post #34 of 41
That was funny, Pete!

It also demonstrates the fact that skiing is actually rather natural. Master just a few skills, and the brain and body will figure out much of the rest via practice - at least to the extent of becoming a passable skier able to tackle any groomed slope. You are, after all, still on your own two legs and essentially concerned with elementary tasks like slipping and needing to retain balance. Moreover, modern skis greatly enhance that ease. Learning to ride a bicycle is much harder... witness kids, who will take many days or even weeks to achieve a semblance of confidence on two wheels, but often less than a couple of days on skis.

I know I was sometimes carving (even on the old skis) before I'd ever heard the term - and I know it wasn't taught to me 30 years ago, because it was considered a very advanced skill in the old days. Skiing itself taught me to carve (albeit rudimentarily). Attaching a label to it decades later had the value of heightening awareness of the technique, refining it and applying it more consciously... by sometimes skiing in a more analytical mode and trusting intuition to make use of the data at other times. The theory thus accelerated learning in some cases, but only rarely functioned as the very foundation of progress. On the other hand: reading the theory often fostered insecurity. The notion became that getting down a slope with a confident attitude no longer sufficed.

For myself, I think the message of theory should have been a different one: You can do all this, and you've done it before, and now you can optimise use of your tools - if that is your choice.

Here's a thought that may be valid in this context:

My main sport is archery, and in this activity, there's very little fundamental difference between top-notch and recreational shooting. The basic goal of accuracy is the same, and the best way(s) of getting there are identical for amateurs and pros. It therefore stands to reason that a dedicated recreational archer would pay through the nose for a week with a first-class Olympic coach.

By contrast, I think the average recreational skier would be bored stiff by a week of unrelenting Olympic-style coaching. That's because the goals of recreational and elite skiing are fundamentally different. I think the spirit of recreational skiing is to get down the mountain in a way you find enjoyable. To do that, you need to acquire the skills you find necessary personally, and then apply them until you hit a wall of declining enjoyment/improvement. But while that wall is not in sight, there's no cause to fret.


post #35 of 41


Martin, like your posts, make sense, clean, logical etc.

Along this line. I ski the best when in rythmn, not thinking alot of how I am skiing and naturally finding a comfortable and natural line between; joy and smiles, challenge, speed, good snow and fun. The only negative to this is sometimes I get so relaxed on easier terrain that I take a crash for lack of concentration. WhenI am working on something I make every effort to work on one thing at a time not several or a whole plethora of crap.

NOTE. Was in Berlin in l961-63 when the Wall was built. Where do you ski. Spent some time in Garmisch and Oberamaggau and skied there. Hoping to get back to Europe before I do the ultimate cornice but the US dollar not worth anything now.

Nice to have you on Epic, Welcome.
post #36 of 41
Carving vs. Skidding? I've seen skiers who most would be considered experts who don't ever carve a turn. They think they do yet every turn they make has a skid. Very few skiers on the hills (anywhere from Michigan to Idaho to Utah to Colorado) carve their turns without a skid. Now, most skiers when they start skid their turns because they can't do anything else. Yet there are a select few who do get it. Do you think it is based on athleticism? I don't. I think it is based on who was selected for this sport. Those with the ideal feet. So while I can see a need for a skill set to intentionally skid, say to "skitch" some speed before dropping into a steeper run so as not to blow out too fast at the bottom of the turn, generally speaking most skiers don't have the benefit of serendipitous (read lucky) bone construction which results in good alignment in conjunction with the boot that out of the box allows for a great carve. So many variables which all need to come together to result in a great carve. I also see no reason why a flat out beginner should not be able to carve pure parallel turns if the alignment is right. And by this I mean on the first day. We let too many skiers out on the hill with inadequate fit and certainly inadequate alignment. We allow them to go out, struggle, become frustrated and never come back ever again.
post #37 of 41
Originally Posted by MartinFarrent View Post

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?
Snowplow ?!?!?! : That's old school!

But to answer your question: sure it makes sense,,, if your goal as a ski school is to give people what they want and make money. If your goal is to teach people the skills they need actually ski and carve WELL long term,,, then no,,, I believe that learning is easier if base/foundation skills are learned first.

Teach basic edging and balance skills right off the bat, and carving is a piece of cake to learn, and the result is an initial carved turn of reasonable quality. Rush through the plow, and go straight to carving, and you generally get carved turns that are of crap quality,,, skiers traveling at speeds they are ill equipped to ski safely at,,, skiers who's lack of base skills cause them to easily get ejected from their limited comfort zones and have to abort,,, and limited technical option skiers who are don't have the skills to adapt to various terrain and conditions.

You think the base skills can get "just picked up on ones own along the way"? Well, sure, it can happen via that route,,, but visual evidence suggests it's a rocky trail. Not to much casual "picking up" going on from what I see. Could it just be a case of a pervasive wave of bad backs?
post #38 of 41

I hope you didn't gain the impression that I was appealing for pure autodidactism. And like you, I find skidded turns of pivotal importance, whereas carved ones constitute a more optional skill in my view. Hope I made that plain.

I think my main gist is conceptual clarity in instruction: a path that puts new skiers on the fast track to safe cruising and does not assume ambitions that ain't necessarily there. Or generate them by force of peer pressure and value judgements. As EJL pointed out, you can learn to tackle every single slope out there without ever carving in your life. There is no reason to feel inadequate unless you personally wish to carve. In my view, the valuable message many freshly graduated 'intermediates'* aren't getting is simple: "You can now ski. If you want to learn more, there is indeed more to learn. But you don't need to."

(Instead, we have a rather absurd situation: 'new-school' prophets teaching 'old-school' skills... and then demeaning them. Or new-school prophets bypassing necessary 'old-school' skills and thus producing skiers who feel unsafe and in perpetual need of further instruction - and who meanwhile clandestinely violate the principles taught to them. Or rather: violate them as best they can, because they must.The mountain dictates it.)

I think this is exactly the point many experts and some instructors fail to grasp: About 90% of budding skiers view the learning process like driving lessons. They want to learn how to ski, and see that as a finite project. And since they're right, because it can be (if one wants it to be), it's unfair to discourage or confuse them - or teach them with a long-term approach, as if they were to win the Olympics one day.


We have several options around here (Rhine Valley). There are the moderately high Eifel Mountains with few lifts and very short runs - rarely open. There is the Sauerland area with slightly longer and steeper runs, which are okay for a day trip when the snow is good. For real skiing, it's a five-hour drive to the Alps. When we do this, we go to the Oberstdorf area and spend at least a week there - only once this season, whereas we have two such trips planned for next winter.

Then there are two fairly reachable snowdomes (about one hour's drive). These are actually surprisingly useful for concentrated practice on individual aspects of one's skiing, and I've taken to visiting one monthly all year round.



* You can probably see why I don't like that terminology, now. 'Intermediate' or 'Advanced' suggests that you may pat yourself on the shoulder and go home, but come back for more lessons next winter whether you want to or not... because you can't really ski yet.
post #39 of 41
Martin, I understand your message, and I agree; there should not be negative judgment cast upon those who are satisfied with attaining a basic skill level that allows them to get from top to bottom in some manner,,, as long as they are not running over other skiers in the process.

Personally, I have no interest in pressuring or guilting those currently satisfied with how they ski into lesser states of technical peace. And I certainly have no interest in working with them. My purpose for posting on these forums is to help those who DO have a desire to move forward in developing their sliding abilities, and to explain to those who are conflicted between satisfaction and envy, as they observe highly skilled skiers gliding with effortless precision down the mountain side, the steps involved in getting to that level of skill they're admiring. They can decide for themselves if it's a journey they deem worthy.

I wouldn't be surprised if my perspective on this reflects that of many of the pros you see posting on Epic.

I must tell you, though, when I look at the skill level of most skiers on the slopes, the little coach that constantly lives in my head screams to me how much I could easily help them improve their skills and their enjoyment of the sport. I have to keep telling him to mind his own business,,, it's up to them where they want to go in the sport.
post #40 of 41

For many if not most of us, skiing presents logistical challenges. People who would be more ambitious if they lived closer to the slopes don't necessarily want to spend their precious few days in the mountains on a perpetual learning quest.

For example, the often heard advice of practicing a specific technique on a tame blue slope... for hours or days... requires a high level of commitment from someone who has spent a lot of money and valuable vacation time to be there at all (one reason why I've transferred that kind of practice to the snowdome).

For that reason alone, some of us who can see the lure of more accomplished skiing hesitate to walk the walk. Skiing instructors who generally live close to the slopes may not fully appreciate this. Perhaps they should think of activities like scuba diving or sailing (or whatever)... things they can't take for granted themselves.


post #41 of 41
Skidded turns vs Craved turns - They both are turns, you change direction! But you ever hear the term "mashed potato snow" or "spring corn snow"? "Craved turns" in these snow conditions, no effort, no problem. "Skidded turns" in these snow conditions, lotsa effort, lotsa problems, makes me tired just thinking about that turn whether it be skidded parallel or gliding wedge(stemed skis). Groomed slopes even with a couple of inches of fresh snow on top no problem either type turn. So now comes why even bother with the skidded turn? Consider this: Blue trail, considerable traffic, not enough room to "really complete" that craved parallel turn. A skidded turn works well for speed control and with groomed slopes the effort is minimum for the turn. Traffic thins out let'm carve and make'm go. The more tricks in your bag, the more fun you will have.
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