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Questions about carving - low speed/performance turns vs. high speed/performance turn

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
I've come across a difficult place with carving turns, and what precisely it means to be "carving" a turn. My confusion comes from a couple places: my instruction in normal turning, at low to medium speeds, and turning at higher speeds, and the technique involved.

I'll start with normal turns. To make a turn, you put your weight on your outside foot and edge it. The skis carry you through the turn. Lito of Breakthrough on Skis tells me that when I do this and do not skid, I am carving my turns. He know's what he's talking about beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Next, my actual instruction in how to carve when going faster. My instructor (a European guy, maybe Scandinavian, who has probably been skiing all my life and is very good. I was lucky to get him as an instructor) tells me that in order take advantage of my shaped skis, I need to initiate the turn differently when I am moving faster. Initiate the turn with your inside foot he says. Initiate, edge, flex. The outside ski follows the inside as you initiate, and edges at about the same time. The skis carry you through the turn. Unlike the other turns I've been using, weight is more or less evenly distributed across my skis, perhaps a bit more on the outside. That's about the best I can describe it - I'm no instructor.

So the question is, am I doing this right, at lest according to the basics? Are these both carving a turn? And is the second method the high performance turn, or is the first method what I should be using all the way up, at all speeds?

I've been trying to reconcile this knowledge, to be the best skier I can out on the slopes. I tried watching the footage of the Olympic skiers, to see how they made high performance turns, but it didn't help much. Can anyone tell me which direction I should be going in here? Thanks!

Grolby
post #2 of 35
Grolby,
Welcome to epicski and welcome to the wonderful world of skiing..

Only 6 days and already playing with Carving. I'm impressed. You had a good teacher and it sounds like you have been reading Lito's writings.

As Nord has pointed out the carving is an action the ski is doing. The skier is guiding the skis and along for the ride.

A lot of what Lito advocates is based partly on older technology skis. Lito began to teach long ago on straight stiff skis. A lot of his early research brought him to a conclusion that all the weight needed to be on one ski (which was true for most intermediates) in order to bend the earlier skis. This was a huge revelation for most earlier skiers and propelled many intermediates and advanced ranks well beyond their current skiing abilities (Myself included) Then as skis changed and technology changed we found that the new skis were softer (didn't need my 150 lbs on one ski to get them to bend) and most of us light weight/non superman athletes to bend both skis. The skis also became more shaped and stiff torsionally. This allowed the average skier many new options.

Your european instructor has moved along to the newer technique for modern skis. Lito has also written a new book (if you have not gotten it yet) "breakthrough on the new skis" I have not yet had a chance to dig too deep into his new book because I was studying for my PSIA level 1 certs but what bits and pieces I have read and my dad has tried on our last trip make me suspect he still advocates the almost 100% weight on one ski. The techinque will still work and can produce some great results but I find I can make both skis carve, at slow speeds and high speeds by concentrating more on matching the edge angles of the skis and letting my body/balance put the weight where it needs to go to keep me upright.

If you think about a car going around a turn, more pressure will be on the outside wheels. speed, balance and physics will determine how much. If you are in good balance, your body will put what weight needs to go where to keep you from flipping over the outside ski or falling over to the inside. Does this make sense?

It sounds like in your little experience of skiing you are doing it right.. Don't worry about the why's and how's. Just go out and enjoy the skiing, take a lesson from time to time and check your progress, and have fun.

I would also put to you that skidding is also good. Carving is a lot of fun but a truly great skier will skid some turns, carve some turns, wedge, brake, slip, hop turns, Jump turns, etc. When you have all these skills and many more in your bag of tricks and learn to blend them/balance them depending on the terrain, conditions and your mood, then the real fun begins..

Keep it up and keep us informed on your progress. If you browse through the forums and posts you will find many of the skiers have their own opinions. I like the one comment someone made recently, If you find an instructor that says "this is the only way to ski" take your money and run the other way. There is no one way to ski. Take what works for you, put the rest in your quiver of tricks.
post #3 of 35
Initiate ALL turns with your new inside ski. If you put even a little weight on it, you will be able to steer the skis after you get them on edge if you want. (easier to tighten the turn by steering than with additional edging) But try to keep most of the weight on the outside ski, especially if the snow is hard.
post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 
Wow dchan, that was very helpful. Thank you. I know exactly what you are talking about, and it makes perfect sense. I have more than once tried to put more weight on the outside ski while carving with both feet, trying to give it more arc so as to turn faster. The result? I turn no faster, but I do fall over. This happens more at slower speeds. The lesson? From what I have experienced and you have told me, don't be afraid to use the inside ski.

I suppose there is a place for the old technique and the new technique. I have seen it said before - there isn't any one way to ski. I guess they're right [img]smile.gif[/img].

About Lito's book, which I have indeed heard of, is it worth picking up? I believe that he is indeed a master of technique, and of course, as has been mentioned, I don't have to make every turn like Lito does. I rather like this ability to mix and match different styles; I think it's what makes skiing individually unique for each person.
post #5 of 35
Milesb, there's no place for ALL, EVERY and similar terms in turn considerations. There's ALWAYS an optional way to skin the cat.
post #6 of 35
DChan:

In his new book, Lito does continue to emphasize putting all/most of your weight on the outside ski, but he does devote some paragraphs to "phantom edging" (sounds mysterious), where you use your inside ski to help carve tighter turns.
post #7 of 35
Welcome,
Lido also has three well done instructional vidio tapes...To clarify his techniques and point of view. #one complements his first book... #2 is one powder and Bumps... #3 complements his new book on shaped skis. Check his website at
http://www.breakthroughonskis.com/
post #8 of 35
Grolby, the only one that can tell if you are really carving is yourself (as opposed to those who can't see you). What do your tracks look like? There's some good feedback in the snow, but you have to stop and look back at your tracks in the snow. It sounds like you're doing a pretty good job already.
post #9 of 35
Only shortly after getting used to carving, there will never be any need to look back at your tracks anymore - its a very distinct feeling from skidding. Its also very black and white, its either a carve or a skid, nothing in-between.
post #10 of 35
Grolby,

Way to go.

You're following Lito, that's great. So, are you advancing rapidly by his book alone? If so, that's a major testimonial.

Anywhoo, pick up Harbs books and videos. wwww.harbskisystems.com

Harb and Lito teach nearly the same thing. Harbs books are more technical but there's a few here who can help. MilesB and myself to name a few.

Happy turns!
post #11 of 35
Thread Starter 
I definitely can feel the carve. I was simply wondering whether there was a strict definition of what carving was, and how I should turn at a given speed. The feeling of the edges grabbing the snow and carrying you through a turn is simply indescribable. I managed it on about my fifth try of attempting to do what instructor was telling me. I was only carving for about a second before I had to stop, but I knew I had done it, and was immediately hooked. I'm told that when skiing we turn to control speed, but I know that we also turn because it's fun!

I actually haven't read Lito's book. I do read his writings and essays on technique from breakthroughonskis.com, which includes excerpts from the book, but I do not actually own any of his books or videos.
post #12 of 35
Yep - a good definition was put down above, its simple: If the edge on the tail of the ski follows exactly in through the path cut by the edge on the tip of the ski, its a carve.
post #13 of 35
Uh oh, Grolby's hooked! Got wings on his feet now... no turning back!

Welcome to the sport, it's the best there is!
post #14 of 35
SnoKarver-Welcome back!
post #15 of 35
Grolby,


Welcome to the forum and to this sport. Here are some comments:

First, there are two main factors that will determine if you carve a turn: momentum (or speed) and ski size/shape. Momentum (i.e. speed) will allow a greater centrifugal/centripetal force to bend the ski and get it to carve the turn and stay in the carved track. And a shorter, shaped ski will allow carving a turn at far lesser speeds than a long straight ski. Technique is all over the map, although most agree on some basic primary movements.

Lito’s approach to ride the outside ski through the turn is hardly the only way to make a slow turn. Similarly, the European instructor’s advice to initiate fast turns with the inside foot is hardly the only way to go in fast turns. In fact, we can initiate slow turns with tipping the inside foot (and keeping it very active through the turn) and we can ride the outside ski exclusively in fast turns. Exactly the opposite of what you learned.

My point is not to confuse you, but to make you realize that there are many minor variations in technique and there is no single way to turn (certainly no specific technique for slow or fast turns). And Lito is hardly a “master of technique”, even though he may be a good skier and a great teacher. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #16 of 35
I would not ever focus on the inside ski as the primary motive in a turn. The inside ski is a safety ski, there to bail you out when the outside ski becomes problematic for any reason.

As to "tipping the inside ski," that's just one perspective. Whether you notice the inside foot movement first, or the outside foot movement first, doesn't matter. Sometimes I focus on tipping the inside foot and sometimes I focus on tipping the outside foot. It depends on my mood, it depends on the condition. One thing's consistent and certain, though - changes in direction should begin at the feet.
post #17 of 35
If you watch some intermediates and many lower level skiers you will notice that they do not initiate with the inside ski. They move to the outside ski and then pick up or twist the inside ski to match. This usually means a skidded or Z type turn and trouble on steep terrain. I tip the inside ski first, or in some cases simultaneously with the outside ski and try to match lower leg angles. This gets my body moving in the direction I want to go and gets the inside leg and ski out of the way. Without doing this I get a mini A-frame and a delayed turn.
post #18 of 35
Thread Starter 
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lucky:
If you watch some intermediates and many lower level skiers you will notice that they do not initiate with the inside ski. They move to the outside ski and then pick up or twist the inside ski to match. This usually means a skidded or Z type turn and trouble on steep terrain. I tip the inside ski first, or in some cases simultaneously with the outside ski and try to match lower leg angles. This gets my body moving in the direction I want to go and gets the inside leg and ski out of the way. Without doing this I get a mini A-frame and a delayed turn.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Lucky, this is exactly the thing about the one-footed turns that has been causing me trouble! You go to turn, but the inside foot does not want to turn with the outside, because it isn't really in contact with the snow enough to let it turn itself. This could be very helpful in coordinating my skis. This problem tends to make me cross my tips when making linked turns fairly quickly, which is not a recipe for fun.
post #19 of 35
If I turn my outside ski first it will always run into the inside ski. So I try to turn the inside ski first. But no that really isn't so. I first try to tip the inside ski over and then continue turning it. Note that if I tip it I get an initial outward rotation of the femur, then I continue to steer it. These combination moves result in the creation of a round turn.

At really high edge angles trying to rotate the leg becomes impossible. All that happens is a turning of the tip down into the snow. So in order to tighten the turn I either have to bend the ski more if that isn't possible I have to pull the inside foot up and forward. Then the arc will tighten.
post #20 of 35
Just a word of caution. Lots of skiers (even lower level instructors) tend to rotate the inside foot until they get a V-shape between outside and inside ski. That is not what an active inside foot should be about. In fact in difficult snow that would be asking for trouble. In the January issue of skiing on page 4E (the section on Eastern skiing) there is a good example of an active inside leg that gets rotated rather than tipped on edge.

I am not saying that it is a crime to do this! But if you want a strong, two-footed carved turn, the skis must match in direction and the inside ski should trace a nice arc in the snow (tail following the tip). Page 1E (same issue) has a better example, although you don't need to ski that hard to apply inside foot tipping action.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 05, 2002 08:49 AM: Message edited 1 time, by TomB ]</font>
post #21 of 35
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> In the January issue of skiing on page 4E (the section on Eastern skiing) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Skiing Mag? January? - I cant find that picture or section.

Also, I have been working on keeping my inside leg tucked 'back' with the other leg. Allowing too much lead with the inside leg locks you into a long radius turn, and inhibits the inside ski from tracking smothly. Tip lead is very neccesary, but too much is bad.
post #22 of 35
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gonzostrike:
I would not ever focus on the inside ski as the primary motive in a turn. The inside ski is a safety ski, there to bail you out when the outside ski becomes problematic for any reason.

As to "tipping the inside ski," that's just one perspective. Whether you notice the inside foot movement first, or the outside foot movement first, doesn't matter. Sometimes I focus on tipping the inside foot and sometimes I focus on tipping the outside foot. It depends on my mood, it depends on the condition. One thing's consistent and certain, though - changes in direction should begin at the feet.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

FYI: I'd agree that the beauty of skiing is that we should be able to do what ever our fits out mood, unless we've learned habits that preclude that option. If all you care about is left & right whatever old way then your advice will work perfectly for you. But I'm don't see how your "advice" could be of any help to someone else by discouraging them from expanding their options or efficiency by exploring these concepts because you choose to disregard them. Would you really give this advice to a student if they came to you with a curiosity on this topic????

Accordingly, if someone else comes here looking for help to improve their level of ability or efficiency, or options for how they ski or what they teach, then clear understanding of ramifications of "order of movement" matters a lot. Tipping new inside first vs tipping out side first produces different inputs to the skis, both individually and as a pair, and produces different results, with different feedback to the body from the skis. Efficient order of movement enables options (inside lead) or limits them (outside bulldozer).

If you are having problems with your outside ski that you keep bailing out to your inside, you might consider clarifying their role definitions to a more efficient level of synergy that doesn't create such problems (inside leading as primary motive, outside primary support & balance). Discovering new things in your own skiing is a key to presenting valuable learning advise to others who are seeking more options to ski the way their mood strikes them.
post #23 of 35
Arcmeister, I need to offer a few observations/explanations on my post, to which you just responded.

1) I'm not an instructor, nor do I pretend to be, nor do I want to be mistaken for one. I'm offering practical advice based on what I've learned from personal experience and through my coach. You can doubt my wisdom all you want, but as to my coach's wisdom I suggest you ask nolobolono, as she knows him and will vouch for his skill and knowledge.

2) Where did I discourage ANYONE from exploring options?

3) I'm not having problems with my outside ski. You have misunderstood the whole "safety ski" concept. I'm not saying anything even close to the idea that the outside ski is having problems. I'm talking about a contingency. Okay?

4) PMTS Harbisms notwithstanding, I don't think that telling a student to focus on the inside ski engrains the proper feedback circuits. First have the student manage the downhill ski and the transition. Then have the student focus on what's happening to the uphill ski as it enters transition. Once the student has learned each ski's role, then the student can play with focusing on each individual ski's actions in a properly executed (better said, properly experienced) turn.
post #24 of 35
Gonzo..
Thanks for clarifying where you were coming from, I now better understand your viewpoint.

I'll try to further clarify mine.

You said yourself that you are not an instructor, and I'm glad you cleared that up. Yet the very act of giving advice on how one might/could/should ski is an act of instruction. Most of the pros here take this seriously and have committed years and countless of hours of time to exploring and seeking understanding how the related fields of biomechanics (FYI: PMTS's cornerstone), teaching and learning theory, motor skill aquisition, equipment technology and ski techniques apply to the act of giving ski instruction. There is a big differance between giving advice based on study, application, research, experience and applied working knowledge of these components tailored to someone's specific situation, needs and desires and giving advice based on what you feel happens to work for you.

This is not to say your advice could not be correct, it might well be. However, one of the "truisms" most pros have learned is that "everything works". But just because something works at a point in time does not mean that it truely contributes to an appropriate developement pathway to the students learning goals. Often such self-justifying perspectives in fact de-rail real learning oportunity by creating or encouraging inefficient habits that are inhibiting to future growth.

Pros are just that because they are committed to something at a more value added level than a "here's what works for me buddy" instructional process.

Obviously you are interested in learning, you stated that you have a coach. If you are really interested in helping others by sharing what you think you know, I'd encourage you to pursure exploration of these fields of supporting study to enhance your expertise and the appropriate value of your instructional "advice". Maybe your coach can share some materials or give you additional guidance to help you achieve this.
Best Wishes.
post #25 of 35
Thread Starter 
Nothing to see here, ignore me. Mis-read a name somewhere : . Nothing to see here, move along...

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 06, 2002 12:34 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Grolby ]</font>
post #26 of 35
Arcmeister, I think I understand most of your message, but I have one question. It seems to me that you are belittling my observations, or perhaps indirectly qualifying them. Whatever the case:

Do you think that only professional instructors should be commenting in this Forum?

If so, this would be the first time I've ever heard of such a restriction, and it would be contrary to the history of this Forum.

I've received a lot of useful advice from friends who've found things that work. My experience is that someone with acute body awareness, solid skiing skills, and an effective way of communicating can do many of the things that a PSIA person or coach can do - they're just less efficient at detecting flaws, and maybe less clear at describing the possible remedies.

As to my coach - well, I am lucky to have one of the finest coaches alive today working with me. Nolobolono described him in this article.
post #27 of 35
I certainly think anyone who has something valuable to offer should feel free to post here, or ask a question that invokes sharing.

And no, my intent is not to belittle your observations, only to qualify them, as I do my own. My qualification of anyones observations would be that, without some quantifying support, it is only an observation of what someone percieves to happening, what works for them.

For example I'd have been very interested to learn from your explanation of just how the body's actual neuro-muscular programming process to "engrain the proper feedback circuits" based on a specific focus works, had you provided one. As well as the basis by which you qualify what you consider proper to engrain, presuming there is one that applise to every skiers needs and desires.

As a retort I might suggest that you appear to have shown a propensity to leaping at opportunities to "diss/flame" posts here without any quantifiable, much less qualifiable context or criteria other than your observation of what works for you. But I'll withhold that judgment as yet, as I'm looking forward to learning from your future posts, if only to vicariously gleen from your coach.

We can all learn from each others knowledge and experience, but little from just opinions that have no supporting basis in what pros consider the science of skiing. By all means, if you've got a real case to make for or against any movement suggested here, have at it. Expand my horizon, give me something I can really use, and I'll thank you dearly. However, any movment's analysis should be able to be expressed in the context of Who it is relative to, What outcome it is intended to achieve, How the body should move to make it happen, and Why it works, is more efficient, or differs from some other movment, and Where and When it is applicable in the vast world of skiing options. Support context like efficient biomechanical processes, or established (even hypothetical) learning theories are helpful supporting documentation to making your case. Without such clarification, this just becomes round and round opinions -vs opinions.

I contend that any focus that works for me does just and only that, it works for me. Only if and when I can present it in the context of it's Who, What, Why, How, Where, & When can anyone else know if it is an appropriate solution/option, or not, for someone else.

By the by, you seem to come across in this and other posts as eager to "diss/flame" any movement concept that you feel can be associated with PMTS and H.Harb. Yet at the same time you do not seem to have an expert working knowledge of PMTS, much less know at all what H.Harb is about. If you've been thru PMTS training and can personally qualify your critique as outlined above, I'd love to hear your personal analysis, not another parroted opinion.

p.s. I've been fortunate to have read the article on your coach before, thanks for the re-read opportunity. You, and others in your area, are indeed lucky to have access to such a mentor to guide you on your learning pathway.
[img]smile.gif[/img]
post #28 of 35
Arcmeister,

thanks for the reply. as to my inclination to flame/disrespect folks, you are correct but only to a certain extent. I admit to being blunt and somewhat intolerant, and to being judgmental, and to being shameless in expressing my beliefs and values. call it passion, call it idiocy, call it boorishness - it doesn't matter to me, I'm not too likely to change it because it's comfortable and I enjoy it.

most of my flaming is mental exercise for me. I can't recall the last time I was actually mad at someone's post or the thoughts laying behind that post. and usually, I disrespect people who state things as absolute truths even when based on guesswork (a/k/a The Male Answer Syndrome, as dubbed by Tom & Ray on "Car Talk"). And I'm open to explaining anything I say that seems so based.

as to my description of the kinesthetic learning sequence, I described what works for me and what has worked for many of my friends. since all turns begin with a traverse and therefore a downhill/stance ski, it's the action of that downhill/stance ski (and the person connected to it) that initiates the turn. if the skier remains weighted predominantly on the downhill ski, it's going to be awfully hard to start that turn. before the uphill ski can assume an early edge as the new downhill ski, the skier's weight and/or ski pressure must shift. implicit in the shift is a lightening of the existing downhill ski. how can you, or Harald Harb, say that the existing downhill ski is unweighted by movements in the uphill ski? I really don't get it. I've never seen or read about or tried any exercise that successfully creates a new downhill ski without originating in the prior dowhnill ski.

if there's a way to do it, please explain it. I'd love to have something else to play with.
post #29 of 35
Part of the inclination for him to flame posts regarding HH are probably something of a natural flashback against the other thing we see sometimes, which is near worshipful devotion of the same. Natural human nature!
post #30 of 35
Jim Weiss is a great coach. I wish I could ski with him more often. He's a Yoda, for sure. He also is a bit like Dennis Miller--you have to catch the references to appreciate the show.

If Jim sees fit to teach Gonz, that's a strong recommendation. He doesn't waste time with the casually interested.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 10, 2002 06:16 PM: Message edited 1 time, by nolobolono ]</font>
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