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How can I carve instead of skid?

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 


I am returning to skiing after taking 30 years away from the sport. When I last had skied back in 1976, needless to say, skis and technique were much different. I am having difficulty getting a good clean carve on steeper slopes. I feel my difficulty is that I start skidding to keep my speed in check. N On a more moderate pitch I feel like I get a decent carve.  I am on Norica GranSport 8 skis, 176 cm 116-70-100 with about a 18 m radius. I am trying to  use my ankles first to edge in followed by my knees while putting more pressure on my outside ski and pushing the shovel in to initiate the carve.
 

This is the only video I have taken on one of the steeper intermediate slope, Capitan, at Ski Apache in southern New Mexico. Unfortunately the first 10 seconds are out of focus. The remaining 25 seconds are better. According to my GPS I was traveling at about 20 to 25 miles per hour at the top of the hill and got up to 30 miles an hour at the bottom. This is about the speed and pitch that I start having trouble holding an edge.
 

Any comments about how get a cleaner carve would be appreciated.

post #2 of 52
I'll bite, take a lesson!?!
post #3 of 52
Thread Starter 
I have been, though not every time I go ski. I feel like I need to work on what has been presented by the instructors. It takes a while for me to get the mental concept translated to physical action. I posted this because I had seen so many other posts where people say post a video and we'll tell you what we see.
post #4 of 52
You are only using the back half of your skis to grip the snow.  A carve has to start with the tips, so you need to ski with your weight more forward, which comes with keeping your body square to the fall line and your hands farther forward.  When you ski with the entire edge engaged you will have more control, especially on the steeps and at speed.

Use all of one ski at a time, instead of the back half of both at the same time.  Once you learn that you can take it to the crud and bumps, where your current style creates more problems than on the groomed. 

If it is any consolation, you ski like the vast majority of skiers.  It is a serviceable style on the groomed, but it's deficiencies start to surface at speed, or on the ungroomed.  You need to commit completely to one ski, which can be more of a psychological than technique issue.

Like he said, take a lesson.  You are not far off from where you want to be.
Edited by mudfoot - 2/4/10 at 9:32am
post #5 of 52

I can assure you a one hour private lesson is going to be infinitly more helpful than some clown giving you advise on an internet forum.

post #6 of 52
What are the instructors saying to do? Is this video recent after working on their suggestions or prior to lessons?

Quote:
I am trying to use my ankles first to edge in followed by my knees while putting more pressure on my outside ski and pushing the shovel in to initiate the carve.

Is this their instruction or what you are doing independantly of it?

You are pushing your tails to start the turn which causes the skis to skid. Carved turns require patience to let the ski get on edge well before it is in the fall line (pointing straight down hill).

Once you start pushing the tails and skidding, the likelihood of getting a carve to happen is slim.

Are you getting a good clean carve on less steep slopes? If so, think about what you are doing differently on the steeps.
post #7 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks Eric. I am heading out again in the next few days and will be getting another lesson. I appreciate your input.
post #8 of 52
Thread Starter 
MastersRacer,
This video was after lessons. The last instructor had me on this slope practicing "garland" turns focusing on how the edges felt carving across the fall line back up hill. They were telling me to focus on using my ankles to lean first followed by my knees to get more on the edges. I had been leading with my outside shoulder into teh turn and am trying to keep more square to the fall line. My technique really seems to fall apart as I get on a steeper slope and trying to slow down. When on a more gentle pitch I feel like I can let the skis glide and get a better carve.
Edited by LCNM9789 - 2/4/10 at 9:47am
post #9 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCNM9789 View Post

 I am having difficulty getting a good clean carve on steeper slopes. I feel my difficulty is that I start skidding to keep my speed in check.  On a more moderate pitch I feel like I get a decent carve. 

Yep.  Carving moderate pitches is fairly easy.  When the terrain gets steeper, your choice is to either skid a bit to keep your speed down, or you wind up going mach 5.  Few skiers really carve the steep stuff.  I wouldn't sweat it, and try not to get sucked into the "must carve at all times" school of thought.

That said, looking at the video, you are twisting your feet to change direction.   In a clean carve, you don't twist your feet at all, you just roll your ankles to place the skis on edge.  HTH.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric S View Post

I can assure you a one hour private lesson is going to be infinitly more helpful than some clown giving you advise on an internet forum.


+1 (c:
post #10 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks Mudfoot,
You are correct in that on ungroomed crud on steep slopes I am having trouble. I appreciate your input and will share your observations with my instuctor this week.
post #11 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks Walt. Words of wisdom there. I am just glad to be back out skiing and having fun, I can't believe I waited so long to get back out there. When I last skied back in 1976 I broke my leg on this same hill. So I am trying to get over that in the back of my mind.
post #12 of 52
also after you roll your hips and knees in roll your hips into the turn and keep your body straight up instead of leaning into the turn, this will help you create a very clean quick carved turn, as said above dont use your feet to twist the skis, just rely on tipping the skis to turn, and if your on the steeps dont worry if you have to skid once in a while, dont want to end up skiing faster than your abilities
post #13 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCNM9789 View Post

My technique really seems to fall apart as I get on a steeper slope and trying to slow down. When on a more gentle pitch I feel like I can let the skis glide and get a better carve.
 

Sking the steeps is counterintuitive. You do fine until the grade steepens and the natural reaction is to lean back into the slope, which is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing.  The steeper it gets, the farther back your weight goes, which accelerates you, and the more you try to rush your turns by forcing your tails around (instead of turning from your tips).

Lead with your face, keep both hands in front, and keep your weight on the tip of the turning ski. On the real steeps you should almost feel like you are out there in front of your skis.  If you lean into the hill your edges wash out, so the steeper it is the more you need to hang out there in space to weight your carving edge.  It is a trust issue.
post #14 of 52
He just wants some extra input, he already said he is taking lessons.
And judging by your picture, you also need a couple of lessons. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric S View Post

I can assure you a one hour private lesson is going to be infinitly more helpful than some clown giving you advise on an internet forum.

post #15 of 52
The take a lesson is always great advice.  Having ski'd NM for years my next suggestion would be to go to Taos and take that lesson.
The Ernie Blake Ski School is rated Excellent.

(how is that for a clown giving advise on the internet?)
post #16 of 52
Thread Starter 
I've been to Taos a few times and have enjoyed it, mostly staying near the Kachina lift. I have not taken lessons there, but now that they are getting some better snow, I need to get back up there. They had some pretty icy/crusty conditions back in early January
post #17 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCNM9789 View Post

I've been to Taos a few times and have enjoyed it, mostly staying near the Kachina lift. I have not taken lessons there, but now that they are getting some better snow, I need to get back up there. They had some pretty icy/crusty conditions back in early January
 

Yep funny how Ski Apache in the South has been getting all the snow this year.  First time in 30 years they have had better conditions than Taos.  Even Cloudcroft has been getting record dumps of powder.   I think its Al Gore's fault.
post #18 of 52
Originally Posted by Eric S View Post

I can assure you a one hour private lesson is going to be infinitly more helpful than some clown giving you advise on an internet forum.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by feanor View Post

He just wants some extra input, he already said he is taking lessons.
And judging by your picture, you also need a couple of lessons. 

 



 

So internet clown, where's your advise to the OP? If he is getting lessons any input here is useless clutter. Also thanks for your insight on my technique and if I feel I need improvement I'll get the lesson and not look for advise here. 
Edited by Eric S - 2/4/10 at 10:20am
post #19 of 52
Agree with Tarzan, sign up for a SKI WEEK at Taos. You’ll be a different skier by end of week. Best money you’ll ever spend on skis and you’ll have lots of fun at the same time.
post #20 of 52
pretty good for 30 yrs off!
but you are heel pushing... that's obvious in the frames as you get closer.
lessons may help.
but you need some time on the hil and properly develop 'feel' for balance and pressure.
commented by mudfoot, you're not starting the turn with the tip of the ski, then you push the heels into the hill.
find the balance point and then work edging.

couple things you can do
1st find where you're obviously forward and pressuring the ski tipe/forebody.
Trying to do this during a whole section sequence can be difficult, so work on it for just the last two turns before you stop.
Look at the video, at the end when you stop. You heelpush and rotate the upper body to further drive the heels to slow. Do the opposite for the stopping process. On same groomer...
Push your knees down/forward and into the boots, hard, for each turn before the stop. In the last turn before stopping, drive hard and steady forward and continue the turn all the way back 'up'' the falline, until you stop. You've now found the full forward balance zone.
Practice it 'sooner' and continue until stopped... say 4 or 5 turns before stopping. Once you've got the hang of that for say 6 turns; bring the same thinking to the 'start' of the run/section. Once you feel as though you're slowing, back off the forward pressure a little at a time, til you find the neutral balance point. Now you can make decisions on edging and how much.

Your upper body has to be a bit more refined in order to make best use of balance in linked turns. That means maintaining more 'direction of travel' orientation - as in facing the general direction you are heading.
A good exercise for that is to tuck both poles under your armpits, so they stick straight out (perpendicular to your body line) in front and behind, like headlight/taillight beams. Hold them up with your hands, of course.
The exercise is to ski so that the poles always 'point' down the slope in the general direction of your travel, not necessarily the direction that your skis are taking at any particular moment. May be hard to visualize...
The object is to always 'face' your torso/upperbody in the direction you're traveling, always.
This exercise seems easy, but many can't do it properly for more than a turn or 2. It points out balance issues, big time. Heel pushers will be frustrated.
Get this exercise down and get the 'feel' for balance issues and you should see some real changes.
Carving on any terrain is really up to you and what will work for the terrain and conditions. All this is about is making your toolbox as extensive as it can be.

as a note: my first run on any day starts with very slow deliberate turns, pushing forward hard into the boots/skis. This 'wakes up' my balance awareness and alerts me to how aware I am, how the skis I happen to be on, feel; and the snow conditions initially seem to feel. Most important run of the day.
Edited by moreoutdoor - 2/4/10 at 10:50am
post #21 of 52
I couldn't resist. Just teasing you there with the technique  :)
And nobody said a lesson was worst than some clown giving internet advise. I'm just saying all input is good.

No advice because he is getting better advice from more experienced skiers.

If I would say something it would be, that you should lean more forward, hands out. Press on the tongue of the boots some more, until you can get the feel for the ski biting the snow once you start carving. When i was learning i remember crushing the front of the boots, even though its bad technique to be so forward aggressive, it can get you to feel your edges sooner. then you start relaxing a bit more.
Also try doing some exercises, like lifting your inner leg and only carving with your outside ski. This will let you feel the snow and edges a lot more.

hope the clown-advice helps!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric S View Post

Originally Posted by Eric S View Post
 

I can assure you a one hour private lesson is going to be infinitly more helpful than some clown giving you advise on an internet forum.

 


So internet clown, then where's your advise to the OP? If he is getting lessons any input here is useless clutter. Also thanks for your insight on my technique and if I feel I need improvement I'll get the lesson and not look for advise here. 
post #22 of 52
I was on an old lift and had nothing better to do than watch a lesson in progress. I couldn't hear what was being said. The instructor made a few turns on a 5 - 10 degree pitch in front of a vertically arranged group of 7 or 8 students, who were diligently, intensely observing. I think they were straining to see what was going on. I was watching the guy and could not detect anything going on that would create a turn. In his boots he was probably shifting his weight a little, but that is totally un-deciferable. No upper/lower body separation, totally static, arms hanging limply, head position ambiguous.  So he was showing them nothing, unless that was the point: weight on the big toe, weight to the inside: aaand tuuuuuuuurrrrn! . It was the most absurd thing I ever saw. Look I'm turning by doing nothing. So, lessons, well maybe, but  I'd check the guy out first, find out who you'll get and watch him in action. check him before he checks you.

A ski instructress starts  preaching at me in a bar. The new thing is to weight the uphill ski first, and then a lot of un-intelligible jargon to support the theory. I said that is only of any importance on a low angle groomed pitch. Othewise it's accurate but useless information. (Exception: racing turns early carve initiation) God you instructor guys need to get a grip. Your irrelevance beyond 10 degree groomed pitches is becoming enormous. (Exception: kids season coaching programs)

I learned more visualizing in a dream once than anyone had been able to explain on the hill. More than one or two ways to have a breakthrough.

LCN, your video shows you are intensely pro-active about improving your skiing. Find a new instructor, first, he is missing the basics. And technically speaking: your turns are static, you need upper/lower body separation (think: c'mon everybody, let's twist again, let's do the twist again, yeah, yeah....), angulation, a down the fall line stance. everything else will take care of itself and may be best left out of your thoughts. my .02.

This isn't a non-sanctioned instructor sting is it?
post #23 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by feanor View Post

I couldn't resist. Just teasing you there with the technique  :)

From one Clown to another, you really had me going there for a minute, I just couldn't imagine there could be anything wrong with my technique.
post #24 of 52
For carving steep stuff it really helps with having short radius skis. I chose 11m radius skis because carving steeps is what I do.
I have no idea what garlands are, but try doing fishing hooks or J's. Straight down and then turn by tilting the knees and the butt in the direction. Again and again, tilting more and more.
Then start slightly in the other direction and do it again (go straight first and then lean downwards into the turn) . Then add more "other direction" until you feel you can lean down without hesitation. Then just string this together.

With enough speed for the ski radius it's possible to carve until you are across the slope and then lean downwards with the knees.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey0PqeQ8B_c 
It's not so complicated really. It's more in the head.
post #25 of 52
Can I jump in here? This isn't a hijack..
LCN, your skiing, after 30 years or so, is pretty damn good, so don't get all bummed w/ it!
I get the same way on steeps - I feel like I'm losing control, so start to Christy and slide all over, it can be ugly!
Have been injured pretty badly on the slopes twice, too, so I understand your trepidation completely.
What we both need to do is RELAX. Skiing should be fun - if you feel like every run is a lesson, you'll feel like you're beating yourself up for something you didn't do 'perfectly'.
Get that upper body facing downhill & a bit more quiet, get your stance a bit more forward,remember that every turn needs some lateral motion as well, and MARK your turns, which helps w/ rhythm as you ski. It IS counter to what we want to do, but it works, especially when body weight is distributed over the fronts of your boards.
It's all about the mileage! Don't give up - keep doing it, you'll get there.  
post #26 of 52

lcnm,

If you define carving as getting more edge grip than skidding, there are some simple things you can do to see better results (e.g. finishing your turns more up the hill). If you define carving as leaving pencil thin tracks in the snow, your turns are going to need to "rebuilt". This is probably why your instructor had you working on garlands.

 

To carve on slopes of this kind of steeper pitch you need to be much more aggressive about tipping your boots onto their new edges earlier in the turn and develop much more "separation" between the lower and upper body (difference between where the skis, feet and knees point verus where the hips and shoulders point; and angle difference between a straight line from the feet to the belly button and a line from the belly button to the chin). You've got a lot of new movements to learn to make these things happen.

Recommended drills:
Tug of war
Long hockey stops
Variable speed side slips
Carved traverses

Tug of War

Stand with your skis across the slope. Have a partner stand parallel from you down slope. With one set of poles, both grab one end of the poles and try pulling the other person up/down hill. The uphill person will find that they have the most strength with their legs apart, their hips and shoulders facing downhill, their skis on edge angle and their butt uphill of the skis and lower to the ground (than just standing straight up). The sensation the uphill person feels when doing this exercise are the same as you get from a dynamic turn.

Long hockey stops
Try to make a hockey stop as long as possible with increasing edge angles through the stop.
 

Variable speed side slips
You first must be able to do an absolutely straight side slip at a constant speed.  Once you can do this, vary the speed faster and slower while keeping the slip straight.

Carved traverses
Stand on the side of a trail with your skis sideways to the hill and pointing out to the middle of the trail, but at a slight downhill angle (holding yourself in place with your poles). Release and proceed straight across the slope (be careful about cutting in front of downhill traffic). Once you get a bit of speed, tip both knees into the hill. The skis should slowly turn uphill until you come to a stop. The objective is to leave pencil thin ski tracks in the snow. When you can do this, gradually increase the starting angle to increase speed. As speed and forces increase, you will need to face your upper body more downhill in order to stay balanced.

Once you can do carved traverses on easy terrain in both directions, you can start working on linking them together. Here, you will likely need a new set of drills to help. Once you can link them together, you can work on taking them to steeper terrain.

post #27 of 52
Thread Starter 
Moreoutdoor, Windy, Therusty,

Thanks for your input.

Windy,
"Marking" the turns has been difficult for me. As speed increases, it feels like a pole plant just whips back behind me. It seems to throw me off so I quit trying.

All of the comments point to the same thing, separating upper and lower body, getting my weight forward and using the front of my skis.
Thanks to all of you for the suggestions. Most of all I will relax and have fun, that is why I am out there.

Carl R
Nice video in the link. That is what I am trying to get to.
post #28 of 52
To get the feel of carving you would need to get the feel of moving with your skis instead of creating turn shape by moving as a unit against your skis.

First you need to balance between your skis and not leverage them by banking and skidding abruptly. We use shape and earlier edging to make our turns find a happy shape that will carve.

I would work on rounding your turns while opening your ankles to help to tip into the fall line. Feel how having your feet under you at your finish will help your balance to be ready to move by tipping into your next turn.

Go to a groomed spot that you can check your tracks  and stop and see what is occurring in your skidding.  We can't expect a ski to turn gracefully  and carve unless we help it to stay in it's expected path of travel by moving along with the skis and using tipping and aligning our body to enhance the carving opportunity. Work on being patient while tipping your skis into the fall line and feel the skis turn the skier. You want the skis to turn the skier and not the skier to turn the skis.
Soon you can learn how to shorten or lengthen your path  by also using pressure , balance and terrain advantages. But first try to lessen your skidding by shaping your turn all through the turn to get a round shape. After a bit you will find the sweet spot of balance and tipping and makes carving happen . It will happen but not by one factor(tipping) but improvement in many.

It's not all about the carve but the path you take to get there. Enjoy the trip.

For access to more detailed information you can work on by yourself  to make lasting improvements PM me.
post #29 of 52

Internet Skier/poser/gaper here. The new thing is to weight the uphill ski first, What do say about this therusty?
post #30 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post


Internet Skier/poser/gaper here. The new thing is to weight the uphill ski first, What do say about this therusty?

since the uphill ski is the new outside ski then I d say its pretty correct to weight the uphill/outside ski first. dave didnt know what he was listening to.....
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