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skidding vs carving

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
so i just started learning to ski, and i presume i've been skidding all along to slow down, and throwing up some bit of snow in the process.

i just realized that one can carve on skis too, and while i probably did that at times, i've never carved intentionally.

what is the purpose of carving vs skidding? i don't control my speed very well on steeper slopes, is it cause i am not turning my skis fast enough, or is it cause i am not carving? i read somewhere that carving doesn't require a lot of energy, and i do put it some energy in turning my skis, so i figure i must be skidding my way down the slope.
post #2 of 15
One purpose of carving is to grip the mountain. There are 2 parts to the bottom of the skis, parts that interface with the snow. One is the base material basically plastic that's for speed lets call it slip. The 2nd is the metal edge that's for control lets call it grip. The part that grips the snow (metal edge) helps with direction control and allows you to have the skis take you all around the trail. The plastic is for the speed (slip) its what lets you glide , lets you easily turn the skis. There are basically two ways to make the skis turn. One is to turn/twist your legs, this gets the skis around fast but with minimal edge grip. This is the skidding that you are experiencing. The other is to tip your skis onto the  metal edge by tipping your leg bones (femurs) in the direction you want to travel, 2 left edges to go left, 2 right edges to go right.  If this is done smoothly you will leave little lines in the snow with the edges of your skis. To control your speed on the steeper slopes you have to turn such that you are not losing so much elevation with each turn. That feeling of out of control and skidding is the result of not using enough of the gripping part of the ski and too much of the slipping part of the ski.

One way to think about it is to try to tip your legs 1st ,then turn your legs to tighten up the shape of the turn. The tipping will get you on the grip (edge) before you start to slip (on the plastic base). As your skis grip more (carve) you will shape your turns to go across and try to turn back up the trail thereby letting gravity slow you down, versus friction from skidding/braking slow you down. Conversely you can use gravity and base plastic,the slippery part of the ski,  to speed yourself up by turning  the skis down the trail.
post #3 of 15
When you tip your skis onto their edges, they contact the snow/ice of the slope on a curved line that looks somewhat like these braces looking down on the snow from above )).

You can imagine that you have a very flexible knife that is bent into a curve.  If you were to advance a such a curved knife into say a block of cheese, and allow the knife to seek its own path, you would cut a curved line in the cheese with that curved knife, a curve that would match the curve of your knife.   That's what you do when you carve turns with your skis.  If you force the knife onto a wider arc, you can tear the cheese.  You can rip up the snow too.
post #4 of 15
Carving has the least amount of friction, thus lets you go faster. Carving requires that you make turns that by varying their frequency, the pressure you apply to the ski and thus how deeply they dig into the snow and how complete they are will regulate your speed. (more frequent, more pressure, more complete each slow you down some).

Skidded turns don't as effectively capture the inertia you have and direct it into speed. Rather, you deflect snow and create friction which slows you down. Controlling the amount of skid and how much it slows you down will help you manage your speed.
post #5 of 15
quikfire, you've gotten good information from the guys here.  Skidding your turns well involves using a skill called steering.  Have a look at this link to see a couple demos of it being done, both off and on snow.  

http://www.yourskicoach.com/YourSkiCoach/S.html

Also on that same page is an explanation about something called skid angle.  Steered turns can be made with various skid angles.  The size of the skid angle determines how fast you travel.  You can use it as a speed control mechanism, just as MastersRacer explained.  

In carving there is no skidding.  The skis leave 2 thin tracks in the snow.  The following link explains a little more about carving, and shows a nice picture of the track carving leaves in the snow.

http://www.yourskicoach.com/YourSkiCoach/C.html

You can tell if you are carving or steering by going back and inspecting the tracks you leave in the snow.  Two thin lines means you're carving.  Anything wider than a thin line and you're steering.  The wider your tracks, the larger the skid angle you're using as you steer.  

 
post #6 of 15

Most people carve as an efficient way of turning, maneuvering, and controlling speed. You go faster carving turns vs. skidding turns, but you actually are fastest bombing straight down a hill.

 

Carving feels a lot more fluid and conserves energy vs. skidding. However skidding allows you to maneuver and control speed a lot more aggressively. You want to learn both, and you want to practice carving on a wide and fairly even run that's not too steep for you.

post #7 of 15

Daren brings up some valid points!

 

When space is at a premium due to trail configuration or skier density,  Short carved turns  can leave you breathless, with long turns not a safe or responsible option.  Skidding (brushed turns ;-) gives one the option to effortlessly carry speed while providing the possibility to rapidly change direction  with the introduction of edge set.

 

Both techniques are important

post #8 of 15

A big problem with skidding is that you're skidding across the snow, bumping and bouncing along.  That hurts my knees.  Also, skidding usually means that you're bracing against your skis, so if the skis hit a slick spot, they slide out from under you.

 

Carving usually means going faster.  Not always--there's an alternative.  Carving means slicing through lumps & crud.  Smoother.  Usually means balanced over your skis, so if they slide on hard stuff, you slide along in balance.

 

There are two types of carving.  Locked carving means that your skis are locked into the snow and leave two knife edge cuts in the snow.  Great sensation unless you get going too fast.  Brushed carve means that your ski tips are engaging the snow and pulling you around.  You don't turn your skis, your skis turn you.  A brushed carve scrubs off speed.

post #9 of 15

This is a great topic for spring skiing conditions.  For what little normal skiing conditions have existed during a poor winter, it certainly affords each of us to delve deeper into our bag of tricks and showcase a wider array of agility and base skills, while gaining more experience with skills we know, or in my case, are still learning, but use less often.  I love to carve and go as fast as I possibly can.  Now that spring is here, carving isn't always the best choice.  My own lack of experience has taught me to learn to read the snow and recognize changing conditions, and adapt my technique to those conditions.  

 

Over the past week, I've skied 6 of 7 days.  Each day has been almost identical conditions.  Early morning, snow is still set up and you can ski however you want.  1.5 to 2 hours in, the sun has been baking the snow and and softening it up, while temps reach up into the 40's and 50's.  I call this next period velcro snow.  It isn't mashed potatoes yet, but it's very wet, grabby, sticky snow.  It doesn't matter if you waxed your ski's the night before.  All your troubles will come at transition when your skis are flat on the snow for that brief instant before you tip/roll onto your new edges.  If you happen to hit a patch of velcro snow, you will instantly slow down several MPH, and it'll feel like you're going to go over the handlebars.  Velcro snow can be an entire run, a relatively small patch of overly saturated snow, or exist when skiing out of a shaded area to a sunlit area.  I watched a guy who was participating in the Midwest Masters on Sunday come right out of his skis.  He wasn't on the course when it happened, the actual course was salted, but he was skiing down an adjacent run below the lift I was riding up.  He wasn't overly inclined, didn't catch an edge or tip, just got vaulted out of his skis on some bad snow at transition.  He was an awesome skier and totally ripping it up right until that moment.  Next comes mashed potatoes, and you really can't set an edge unless you're carving tracks deep enough in the snow to reach something a bit firmer below.  That may depend on edge angle or the weight on the skier.  After mashed potatoes, the sun starts to sink lower in the sky, temps begin to drop and the snow starts to set up again.  By now the snow has deep ruts carved into it, is mounded up in spots and show signs of moguling.  Not even sure that's a word, but it fits.  Variable snow to be sure.  It starts to get very fast again, which is enjoyable for a short period of time because I can carve again.  Eventually, I have to reign myself in because it gets icy and becomes too dangerous to ski at higher speeds on bumpy rutted snow on our short Midwestern hills.  The last thing I want to do is become airborne and land on variable snow.  You just don't know what's going to happen, plus the pounding my knees are taking really sucks.

 

The point to all this is, there is a time for carving and a time for steered turns.  Efficiency, unfortunately, can't always be the deciding factor in how we each choose to ski.  And whether you call it a brushed carve, steered turn, smeared turn or skidded turn... and whether you use a pushed initiation, where your skis remain weighted, or a pivoted turn using up unweighting, they all have their place based on several factors.  Snow conditions, type of ski we're using and even a person's weight.  A dude who weighs 285 may pound right through some stuff, where a person who weighs a buck 30 might get launched into orbit while skiing at the same speed.  Not saying I'm right about any of this, but something to ponder.  Y'all have a nice day!!!         

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by checksix68 View Post
 

This is a great topic for spring skiing conditions.  For what little normal skiing conditions have existed during a poor winter, it certainly affords each of us to delve deeper into our bag of tricks and showcase a wider array of agility and base skills, while gaining more experience with skills we know, or in my case, are still learning, but use less often.  I love to carve and go as fast as I possibly can.  Now that spring is here, carving isn't always the best choice.  My own lack of experience has taught me to learn to read the snow and recognize changing conditions, and adapt my technique to those conditions.  

 

Over the past week, I've skied 6 of 7 days.  Each day has been almost identical conditions.  Early morning, snow is still set up and you can ski however you want.  1.5 to 2 hours in, the sun has been baking the snow and and softening it up, while temps reach up into the 40's and 50's.  I call this next period velcro snow.  It isn't mashed potatoes yet, but it's very wet, grabby, sticky snow.  It doesn't matter if you waxed your ski's the night before.  All your troubles will come at transition when your skis are flat on the snow for that brief instant before you tip/roll onto your new edges.  If you happen to hit a patch of velcro snow, you will instantly slow down several MPH, and it'll feel like you're going to go over the handlebars.  Velcro snow can be an entire run, a relatively small patch of overly saturated snow, or exist when skiing out of a shaded area to a sunlit area.  I watched a guy who was participating in the Midwest Masters on Sunday come right out of his skis.  He wasn't on the course when it happened, the actual course was salted, but he was skiing down an adjacent run below the lift I was riding up.  He wasn't overly inclined, didn't catch an edge or tip, just got vaulted out of his skis on some bad snow at transition.  He was an awesome skier and totally ripping it up right until that moment.  Next comes mashed potatoes, and you really can't set an edge unless you're carving tracks deep enough in the snow to reach something a bit firmer below.  That may depend on edge angle or the weight on the skier.  After mashed potatoes, the sun starts to sink lower in the sky, temps begin to drop and the snow starts to set up again.  By now the snow has deep ruts carved into it, is mounded up in spots and show signs of moguling.  Not even sure that's a word, but it fits.  Variable snow to be sure.  It starts to get very fast again, which is enjoyable for a short period of time because I can carve again.  Eventually, I have to reign myself in because it gets icy and becomes too dangerous to ski at higher speeds on bumpy rutted snow on our short Midwestern hills.  The last thing I want to do is become airborne and land on variable snow.  You just don't know what's going to happen, plus the pounding my knees are taking really sucks.

 

The point to all this is, there is a time for carving and a time for steered turns.  Efficiency, unfortunately, can't always be the deciding factor in how we each choose to ski.  And whether you call it a brushed carve, steered turn, smeared turn or skidded turn... and whether you use a pushed initiation, where your skis remain weighted, or a pivoted turn using up unweighting, they all have their place based on several factors.  Snow conditions, type of ski we're using and even a person's weight.  A dude who weighs 285 may pound right through some stuff, where a person who weighs a buck 30 might get launched into orbit while skiing at the same speed.  Not saying I'm right about any of this, but something to ponder.  Y'all have a nice day!!!         

 

This is a great description of the snow changes during spring days.  I want to add something to it about the possibility of carving mashed potatoes.

 

First, you're carving if the tails follow the tips, and if the turn shape is determined by the bend in the ski. 

 

Yes, you can carve mashed potatoes without hitting the hard snow base.  But you need to keep both skis pointing in the same direction, and you need to be tipping them equally.  Any difference between left ski and right will cause the skis to go in different directions since they are embedded in white glop that doesn't like to move out of the way.  All the usual requirements for carving on hard snow (ice) apply in mashed potatoes.  You'll still need to tip the skis onto their new edges before they point down the fall line.  You'll need to get your COM in the right place relative to your skis at the top of the turn.  And you'll need to ski with most (or all) of your weight on the outside ski (this helps lessen the problems when you fail to keep both skis parallel and equally edged).   The big differences between skiing glop and hard-packed snow is that you can't pivot and skid your way down easily in the glop, and the glop will punish non-parallel or unequally-tipped skis.  Both are possible on a hard surface.) 

 

(Exception:  maybe you can pivot and skid if you have wide rockered skis that allow you to float on top; I can't speak to that since I'm on narrow skis in these conditions.  The narrow skis make the morning ice fun to ski.)

 

I just saw that this is a beginner thread.  Whoops, too much information on carving.  Sorry.    


Edited by LiquidFeet - 3/15/16 at 7:28am
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by checksix68 View Post
 

This is a great topic for spring skiing conditions.  For what little normal skiing conditions have existed during a poor winter, it certainly affords each of us to delve deeper into our bag of tricks and showcase a wider array of agility and base skills, while gaining more experience with skills we know, or in my case, are still learning, but use less often.  I love to carve and go as fast as I possibly can.  Now that spring is here, carving isn't always the best choice.  My own lack of experience has taught me to learn to read the snow and recognize changing conditions, and adapt my technique to those conditions.  

 

Over the past week, I've skied 6 of 7 days.  Each day has been almost identical conditions.  Early morning, snow is still set up and you can ski however you want.  1.5 to 2 hours in, the sun has been baking the snow and and softening it up, while temps reach up into the 40's and 50's.  I call this next period velcro snow.  It isn't mashed potatoes yet, but it's very wet, grabby, sticky snow.  It doesn't matter if you waxed your ski's the night before.  All your troubles will come at transition when your skis are flat on the snow for that brief instant before you tip/roll onto your new edges.  If you happen to hit a patch of velcro snow, you will instantly slow down several MPH, and it'll feel like you're going to go over the handlebars.  Velcro snow can be an entire run, a relatively small patch of overly saturated snow, or exist when skiing out of a shaded area to a sunlit area.  I watched a guy who was participating in the Midwest Masters on Sunday come right out of his skis.  He wasn't on the course when it happened, the actual course was salted, but he was skiing down an adjacent run below the lift I was riding up.  He wasn't overly inclined, didn't catch an edge or tip, just got vaulted out of his skis on some bad snow at transition.  He was an awesome skier and totally ripping it up right until that moment.  Next comes mashed potatoes, and you really can't set an edge unless you're carving tracks deep enough in the snow to reach something a bit firmer below.  That may depend on edge angle or the weight on the skier.  After mashed potatoes, the sun starts to sink lower in the sky, temps begin to drop and the snow starts to set up again.  By now the snow has deep ruts carved into it, is mounded up in spots and show signs of moguling.  Not even sure that's a word, but it fits.  Variable snow to be sure.  It starts to get very fast again, which is enjoyable for a short period of time because I can carve again.  Eventually, I have to reign myself in because it gets icy and becomes too dangerous to ski at higher speeds on bumpy rutted snow on our short Midwestern hills.  The last thing I want to do is become airborne and land on variable snow.  You just don't know what's going to happen, plus the pounding my knees are taking really sucks.

 

The point to all this is, there is a time for carving and a time for steered turns.  Efficiency, unfortunately, can't always be the deciding factor in how we each choose to ski.  And whether you call it a brushed carve, steered turn, smeared turn or skidded turn... and whether you use a pushed initiation, where your skis remain weighted, or a pivoted turn using up unweighting, they all have their place based on several factors.  Snow conditions, type of ski we're using and even a person's weight.  A dude who weighs 285 may pound right through some stuff, where a person who weighs a buck 30 might get launched into orbit while skiing at the same speed.  Not saying I'm right about any of this, but something to ponder.  Y'all have a nice day!!!         

 

This is a great description of the snow changes during spring days.  I want to add something to it about the possibility of carving mashed potatoes.

 

First, you're carving if the tails follow the tips, and if the turn shape is determined by the bend in the ski. 

 

Yes, you can carve mashed potatoes without hitting the hard snow base.  But you need to keep both skis pointing in the same direction, and you need to be tipping them equally.  Any difference between left ski and right will cause the skis to go in different directions since they are embedded in white glop that doesn't like to move out of the way.  All the usual requirements for carving on hard snow (ice) apply in mashed potatoes.  You'll still need to tip the skis onto their new edges before they point down the fall line.  You'll need to get your COM in the right place relative to your skis at the top of the turn.  And you'll need to ski with most (or all) of your weight on the outside ski (this helps lessen the problems when you fail to keep both skis parallel and equally edged).   The big differences between skiing glop and hard-packed snow is that you can't pivot and skid your way down easily in the glop, and the glop will punish non-parallel or unequally-tipped skis.  Both are possible on a hard surface.) 

 

(Exception:  maybe you can pivot and skid if you have wide rockered skis that allow you to float on top; I can't speak to that since I'm on narrow skis in these conditions.  The narrow skis make the morning ice fun to ski.)

 

I just saw that this is a beginner thread.  Whoops, too much information on carving.  Sorry.    

 

Not a problem.  Post #6 bumped a thread from 2010 when the Beginner Zone was not being moderated as closely.

 

Sooner or later beginners become intermediates, assuming they have been bitten by the ski bug hard enough.  I think by the time someone is skiing more blues than greens, it's well worth understanding that different snow conditions require adjustments to technique.  Just as true for a tiny mountain in the southeast as a big mountain in the northeast or out west.  Especially for people heading out for a late season trip to take advantage of school spring breaks.  There are intermediates who don't have the chance for lesson who can get a lot out of Beginner Zone threads.

post #12 of 15

I'll try to do a better job of explaining what I think is happening to me during mashed potato conditions.  In all my posts, it seems I do a pretty poor job of articulating my thoughts.  Usually, I'm worried about getting too technical or typing up some long winded posts.  

 

I'll start with what I ski on and what I'm trying to accomplish.  Usually, I ski on a pair of Volkl RTM 84's, 2014/2015 model.  I'm about 5'7, the skis are 171's and are about the same height as me.  They are fully rockered.  When I put the bases of the skis together, there is no camber or space separating the bases of the skis.  I have another pair of Volkl RTM 75's that are 173's.  Tip and tail rocker, camber in the middle.  For whatever reason,  I tend to favor my 84's.  Maybe it's the color, who knows.  I ski equally as poorly or well on either pair.

 

So, what's happening to me during mashed potatoes?  I mentioned in an earlier post that I like to go fast and try to carve my turns.  That usually means lower edge angles and 15 to 30 degree turns.  I do spend time practicing turn shapes of 45,60,90 and 110 degree turns.  I understand that in order to carve a smaller radius turn I need to have good fore/aft and lateral balance skills, and in order to achieve higher edge angles to produce shorter radius turns, the key is progressive tipping of my inside ski and shortening or flexing that leg more heavily in contrast to my outside leg.  The problem I experience with mashed potatoes, is that the snow is constantly displacing out from underneath me.  It is an uncomfortable feeling when trying to ski at higher speeds, and part of my tracks look like low edge angle wide track steering, instead of the nice pencil thin tracks I'd like to be leaving behind.  With the uncomfortable feeling of higher speeds due to the displacement of snow, I try to tighten up my turn radius, (high edge angles) and control my speed more.  Here's where it all goes off the rails.  The displacement of the snow becomes more pronounced and I find it difficult to remain available or as flexible at the ankle, knee and hip.  A bad recipe to be sure.  I'm not as well balanced once I start stiffening up the joints that are key to remaining balanced.  I also think I start to push more against my outside ski in order to find a stable platform that just isn't there.  Ultimately, I realize I suck and go back to steering my turns.  I remain more square to my skis, which is intentional, and use gentle leg and foot rotation to make rounder turns to control my speed.  I guess what I miss most is the more dynamic style that comes with carving, but narrow and wide track steering are fun too, but just not as much fun.  That's just a personal preference.   

 

I also realized that I made an expensive ignorant mistake when I purchased my boots, which are Fischer Hybrid vacuum fit with a 120 flex.  The boot fitter I used really knew his stuff, but being the idiot I am, I told him the boots fit great.  In my mind, I was recalling the cold feet I used to get back in the 80's and 90's,(and yes, I was a horrible skier who thought I was a good skier)  before I took up skiing again a couple years ago.  I thought I'd be doing myself a favor by leaving a little extra room for an additional pair of socks.  I didn't realize how much better ski boots and ski socks had become.  My feet may get a little bit cold when I've stayed out on the slopes for more than 3-4 hours on a low single digit or below zero day.  Comfort wise, they are like a pair of bedroom slippers.  Now, during certain variable snow conditions, I find my feet are getting slopped around on the inside of my boots.  I have to stop frequently in variable snow in order to get my heel back where it belongs in the heel cup.  I also find I have to crank down my buckles to lessen the effect of the sloppy foot syndrome.  During normal snow conditions, this is rarely an issue.

 

Anyhow, if anyone has any thoughts on correcting my mashed potatoes carving dilemma, or if you think I've diagnosed my own issue with the pushing I think I may be doing, I welcome any comments or criticisms.  

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by checksix68 View Post
 

This is a great topic for spring skiing conditions.  For what little normal skiing conditions have existed during a poor winter, it certainly affords each of us to delve deeper into our bag of tricks and showcase a wider array of agility and base skills, while gaining more experience with skills we know, or in my case, are still learning, but use less often.  I love to carve and go as fast as I possibly can.  Now that spring is here, carving isn't always the best choice.  My own lack of experience has taught me to learn to read the snow and recognize changing conditions, and adapt my technique to those conditions.  

 

Over the past week, I've skied 6 of 7 days.  Each day has been almost identical conditions.  Early morning, snow is still set up and you can ski however you want.  1.5 to 2 hours in, the sun has been baking the snow and and softening it up, while temps reach up into the 40's and 50's.  I call this next period velcro snow.  It isn't mashed potatoes yet, but it's very wet, grabby, sticky snow.  It doesn't matter if you waxed your ski's the night before.  All your troubles will come at transition when your skis are flat on the snow for that brief instant before you tip/roll onto your new edges.  If you happen to hit a patch of velcro snow, you will instantly slow down several MPH, and it'll feel like you're going to go over the handlebars.  Velcro snow can be an entire run, a relatively small patch of overly saturated snow, or exist when skiing out of a shaded area to a sunlit area.  I watched a guy who was participating in the Midwest Masters on Sunday come right out of his skis.  He wasn't on the course when it happened, the actual course was salted, but he was skiing down an adjacent run below the lift I was riding up.  He wasn't overly inclined, didn't catch an edge or tip, just got vaulted out of his skis on some bad snow at transition.  He was an awesome skier and totally ripping it up right until that moment.  Next comes mashed potatoes, and you really can't set an edge unless you're carving tracks deep enough in the snow to reach something a bit firmer below.  That may depend on edge angle or the weight on the skier.  After mashed potatoes, the sun starts to sink lower in the sky, temps begin to drop and the snow starts to set up again.  By now the snow has deep ruts carved into it, is mounded up in spots and show signs of moguling.  Not even sure that's a word, but it fits.  Variable snow to be sure.  It starts to get very fast again, which is enjoyable for a short period of time because I can carve again.  Eventually, I have to reign myself in because it gets icy and becomes too dangerous to ski at higher speeds on bumpy rutted snow on our short Midwestern hills.  The last thing I want to do is become airborne and land on variable snow.  You just don't know what's going to happen, plus the pounding my knees are taking really sucks.

 

The point to all this is, there is a time for carving and a time for steered turns.  Efficiency, unfortunately, can't always be the deciding factor in how we each choose to ski.  And whether you call it a brushed carve, steered turn, smeared turn or skidded turn... and whether you use a pushed initiation, where your skis remain weighted, or a pivoted turn using up unweighting, they all have their place based on several factors.  Snow conditions, type of ski we're using and even a person's weight.  A dude who weighs 285 may pound right through some stuff, where a person who weighs a buck 30 mi It also desribed how myght get launched into orbit while skiing at the same speed.  Not saying I'm right about any of this, but something to ponder.  Y'all have a nice day!!!         

Good description of Velcro snow! Also a good explanation of the crash that ended my season. I was descending a pretty easy blue on some tricky snow -- a hard-packed frozen groomer covered with, an inch or two of fresh, wet stuff, topped with falling drizzle. Just as I transitioned to drop into a steeper pitch, my skis stopped and my body kept going. My son, who saw the whole thing, called it a double cartwheel. Tweaked my knee just badly enough to keep me off skis for the rest of the year. Also got a bruised hip, a sore shoulder and two broken ski poles. Could have been worse.

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by checksix68 View Post
 

I'll try to do a better job of explaining what I think is happening to me during mashed potato conditions.  In all my posts, it seems I do a pretty poor job of articulating my thoughts.  Usually, I'm worried about getting too technical or typing up some long winded posts.  

 

I'll start with what I ski on and what I'm trying to accomplish.  Usually, I ski on a pair of Volkl RTM 84's, 2014/2015 model.  I'm about 5'7, the skis are 171's and are about the same height as me.  They are fully rockered.  When I put the bases of the skis together, there is no camber or space separating the bases of the skis.  I have another pair of Volkl RTM 75's that are 173's.  Tip and tail rocker, camber in the middle.  For whatever reason,  I tend to favor my 84's.  Maybe it's the color, who knows.  I ski equally as poorly or well on either pair.

 

So, what's happening to me during mashed potatoes?  I mentioned in an earlier post that I like to go fast and try to carve my turns.  That usually means lower edge angles and 15 to 30 degree turns.  I do spend time practicing turn shapes of 45,60,90 and 110 degree turns.  I understand that in order to carve a smaller radius turn I need to have good fore/aft and lateral balance skills, and in order to achieve higher edge angles to produce shorter radius turns, the key is progressive tipping of my inside ski and shortening or flexing that leg more heavily in contrast to my outside leg.  The problem I experience with mashed potatoes, is that the snow is constantly displacing out from underneath me.  It is an uncomfortable feeling when trying to ski at higher speeds, and part of my tracks look like low edge angle wide track steering, instead of the nice pencil thin tracks I'd like to be leaving behind.  With the uncomfortable feeling of higher speeds due to the displacement of snow, I try to tighten up my turn radius, (high edge angles) and control my speed more.  Here's where it all goes off the rails.  The displacement of the snow becomes more pronounced and I find it difficult to remain available or as flexible at the ankle, knee and hip.  A bad recipe to be sure.  I'm not as well balanced once I start stiffening up the joints that are key to remaining balanced.  I also think I start to push more against my outside ski in order to find a stable platform that just isn't there.  Ultimately, I realize I suck and go back to steering my turns.  I remain more square to my skis, which is intentional, and use gentle leg and foot rotation to make rounder turns to control my speed.  I guess what I miss most is the more dynamic style that comes with carving, but narrow and wide track steering are fun too, but just not as much fun.  That's just a personal preference.   

 

I also realized that I made an expensive ignorant mistake when I purchased my boots, which are Fischer Hybrid vacuum fit with a 120 flex.  The boot fitter I used really knew his stuff, but being the idiot I am, I told him the boots fit great.  In my mind, I was recalling the cold feet I used to get back in the 80's and 90's,(and yes, I was a horrible skier who thought I was a good skier)  before I took up skiing again a couple years ago.  I thought I'd be doing myself a favor by leaving a little extra room for an additional pair of socks.  I didn't realize how much better ski boots and ski socks had become.  My feet may get a little bit cold when I've stayed out on the slopes for more than 3-4 hours on a low single digit or below zero day.  Comfort wise, they are like a pair of bedroom slippers.  Now, during certain variable snow conditions, I find my feet are getting slopped around on the inside of my boots.  I have to stop frequently in variable snow in order to get my heel back where it belongs in the heel cup.  I also find I have to crank down my buckles to lessen the effect of the sloppy foot syndrome.  During normal snow conditions, this is rarely an issue.

 

Anyhow, if anyone has any thoughts on correcting my mashed potatoes carving dilemma, or if you think I've diagnosed my own issue with the pushing I think I may be doing, I welcome any comments or criticisms.  

  the snow is constantly displacing out from underneath me.

  I try to tighten up my turn radius, (high edge angles)

 The displacement of the snow becomes more pronounced

 I start stiffening up the joints that are key to remaining balanced.

 I start to push more against my outside ski in order to find a stable platform

 I find my feet are getting slopped around on the inside of my boots.  

 I have to stop frequently in variable snow in order to get my heel back where it belongs in the heel cup.

 

You are not doing a poor job of describing what's going on.  This is a very good description.  
What's coming to mind for me is that your skis are not on as high an angle as you think because the boots are sloppy and your tipping isn't working,

or your are not angulated over your skis appropriately so they are sliding out.  In other words, you could be leaning in/banking.

Do you think it might be one of these?

 

The boots are definitely contributing to the problems if your feet are sliding sideways and if there is a ton of space above the forefoot.  

We already know the heel slips out of the heel pocket :eek.  That's most definitely not good.  The boots might be able to be re-vacuumed.

  

post #15 of 15

Thanks LF!!!  I suppose anything is possible.  I can't see what I look like when I ski, so that's entirely possible.  I'd like to believe that's not the case, but who knows.

Usually banking is an intentional tactic I use on rare occasion.  It is one of my lesser developed skills, that needs a lot more refinement.  I do spend some time drilling with skiing on one foot, which would include skiing on the LTE of my inside ski.  Same with certain edging skills like 360's and certainly one footed 360's.  There just hasn't been enough time in the season to further refine all the things I've learned this year, which is why I'm such a big advocate of doing drills.  However, with learning new skills comes lack of experience/muscle memory/refinement when putting them to use, especially in some variable snow conditions.  In other words I definitely lack the experience to know exactly when to change tactics or which tactics would work best for a given situation or snow condition.  It is frustrating to fail by feeling out of balance at times, but exciting to know that I'm at least thinking about other skills as an option.  I had none of that going for me last season.  When this season started, I was still a train wreck.  A-framing, hip dumping, not maintaining hand discipline by allowing my hand to take a weekend vacation in Geneva behind me while progressing through a turn, which would put me in the backseat and wreak havoc with my balance...along with other bad habits I had.

 

The boot issue is something I only became aware of a few weeks ago when spring snow conditions arrived.  Last year, I had no base of foot awareness.  This year, I developed base of foot awareness, but like I say, skiing on fairly decent snow, the problem didn't manifest itself earlier in the season.  Once the spring conditions arrived, I noticed my foot was getting jammed or sliding forward, which was my own fault for getting 1/2 size too big, but it's just enough to cause some recent problems.  I'll talk to the boot fitter, maybe an insert will work.

 

As always, I thank you and really appreciate the time you and others have taken to help me on my journey to become a better skier.  If you have other thoughts or criticisms, they are always welcomed and appreciated.    

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