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Why and What About Carving

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
 First off, I've never skied, but I am going next week - I don't know if I could be more excited. 

Now, I've done quite a bit of research on skiing, and, almost every time, I come across people that greatly stress the importance of "carving." I've looked up some videos and understand the basic movements and how carving is supposed to look. But, I don't understand the reasons for carving or some of its principles. Mainly, what is the philosophy of carving? Why is it so important to being a good skier? How long does it take from starting skiing to the time where one starts to learn how to carve? Why does a side to side pattern create a more efficient skier and higher speed style of skiing? Thanks for any help in advance. 
post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huckle View Post

 First off, I've never skied, but I am going next week - I don't know if I could be more excited. 

Now, I've done quite a bit of research on skiing, and, almost every time, I come across people that greatly stress the importance of "carving." I've looked up some videos and understand the basic movements and how carving is supposed to look. But, I don't understand the reasons for carving or some of its principles. Mainly, what is the philosophy of carving? Why is it so important to being a good skier? How long does it take from starting skiing to the time where one starts to learn how to carve? Why does a side to side pattern create a more efficient skier and higher speed style of skiing? Thanks for any help in advance. 

 

the easy answer is you wont be carving anytime soon so I wouldnt be to worried about I would be worried about your balance if I was you.

you ask alot of questions go skiing first can come back with questions about your skiing.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
If I'm going to do anything, I don't do it lackadaisically. I hope to learn some things now so that I don't get overwhelmed later. I see what you're saying, and I probably should ski before I come up with any questions, but would you tell a young football quarterback to not worry about passing because the rushing game can accomplish what is needed at his level? After all, "Chance favors the prepared mind."
post #4 of 9
Wasn't it Dorothy who said "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more!" That's kind of like the philosophy of carving.

Most people learn to ski by skidding their skis in some fashion. Our brains are inherently wired to go into warning mode when skidding. Overcoming that feeling is a nice thrill and part of the fun of skiing. Carving usually involves generating G forces. G forces are universally cool. Even our dog used to love smooshing us in the car when Mom would take the corner fast. A carving ski provides a more solid connection to the snow. This enables quicker response for controlling where you want to go, especially when you want to move laterally across a slope. Some people learn to carve on day 1. Some people never learn to carve. Your lessons may vary. Carving is simply the tip and tail of the ski passing though the same point in the snow while the ski is on edge. Here the direction of travel of the ski and the direction the edge is pointed are aligned. Skidding is when the tail pass through a point in the snow different from where the tip passed (usually below). Here the direction of travel of the ski is different (usually more downhill) than the direction the skis are pointing. In this case, because the ski edge is traveling sideways through the snow, there is significantly more friction to slow you down. For beginners trying desperately to slow down, this can be a very good thing, Controlling speed through turn shape instead of skidding friction is harder to do. Think of a train trying to make a turn without railroad tracks. It would skid all over the place and take a lot more energy to pull the train. A carving ski riding in a groove in the snow is like a trains wheels riding on a rail. The difference is the carving ski makes it's own groove.

If you don't get taught how to carve on day 1, you can practice it on your own. Just start on one side of a trail, point your skis to the other side on a slight downhill trajectory and slowly tip your skis into the hill as you pick up speed. The faster you go, the higher edge angle you can achieve without falling over. If you don't edge enough, you'll either skid or just go straight. If you do edge enough, the skis will automatically turn you uphill to a stop and your skis will leave pencil thin tracks in the snow.

It's exciting to see such enthusiasm and inquisitiveness. But there is also wisdom and joy in "just doing it" (i.e. Bush's approach above).  Some would say this is too much talking and not enough skiing. Have fun next week! We already know you will.
post #5 of 9
Huckle, first trying to establish a semblance of balance on a slippery platform with gravity pulling on you which you can't turn off is a beginners chore, a lesson from a certified instructor can help.

Once you can do this and make parallel slipped turns consistently you can try to learn carving. You can be a good skier without carving, which, before the event of the shaped skis was out of reach of most skiers.

The reason skiers try to carve is that it gives a solid platform with the edges of the skis tracking in the snow rather than slipping and when done right it is a positive stable feeling and since there is little slipping there is not much braking taking place, but it does take skill to master it.

That said, on most green and blue terrain you can be happy skiing without carving, it is not necessary to negotiate the slopes but skier who know how to carve often choose it because of the stability and the fun of the feeling.

....Ott
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huckle View Post

If I'm going to do anything, I don't do it lackadaisically. I hope to learn some things now so that I don't get overwhelmed later. I see what you're saying, and I probably should ski before I come up with any questions, but would you tell a young football quarterback to not worry about passing because the rushing game can accomplish what is needed at his level? After all, "Chance favors the prepared mind."
 

the best way to prepare right now is go ice skating and learn to turn your ice skates with out crossing over your skis. All of your turns on the ice skate will be 'carved" interestingly hockey ice skate have rocker.....

the quarterback analogy is not a good one in this case. I will say this carving should be an outcome and never a goal for the first time you carve outside of a drill. I actually hate how much emphasis is put on it, because people want to learn before its even needed or desirable. 
post #7 of 9
Huckle, it's best to learn to walk before attempting to run.  The same applies to carving.  Carving results in much faster speeds, and requires higher forms of balance and edging skills.  It's good to know carving exists, but patience is the best policy for getting there.  When you get on the slopes you will get to witness the repercussions of people attempting to carve when they don't have the foundation edging skills to quickly adjust their speed and direction of travel.  It can be a scary and dangerous event for the neophyte carver, and all those around him.  Have a read of the following article and it might provide you with an worthy appreciation for the value and usefulness of another method of turning. 

http://www.yourskicoach.com/YourSkiCoach/A_Revival_of_the_Steered_Turn.html
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies. It has given me something to look forward to later on. For now, though, I'll just try to work on the basics this coming week. 
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl View Post

Huckle, first trying to establish a semblance of balance on a slippery platform with gravity pulling on you which you can't turn off is a beginners chore, a lesson from a certified instructor can help.

Once you can do this and make parallel slipped turns consistently you can try to learn carving. You can be a good skier without carving, which, before the event of the shaped skis was out of reach of most skiers.

The reason skiers try to carve is that it gives a solid platform with the edges of the skis tracking in the snow rather than slipping and when done right it is a positive stable feeling and since there is little slipping there is not much braking taking place, but it does take skill to master it.

That said, on most green and blue terrain you can be happy skiing without carving, it is not necessary to negotiate the slopes but skier who know how to carve often choose it because of the stability and the fun of the feeling.

....Ott

Great post Ott!  How true
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