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carving and speed control

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
This last year (2002/2003) was the first year that I started skiing avidly. Before that, I would go a few times a year with family, rent, and consider it a good day if I didn't fall. While I have never taken lessons, I have progressed a lot over last winter and become what I consider a competent intermediate (possibly/hopefully advanced intermediate in my own eyes). This offseason I have been reading and studying the technique of skiing and one question comes to mind. Compared to the company with which I ski, I am a relatively fast skiier. As for technique, I think I mostly carve but skid to control my speed. Besides making bigger carves (deeper in S-shape), how does one control their speed while carving? Thanks for any input and for hopefully helpimg me improve my skiing technique.

Andrew
post #2 of 20
Like you said, the only way to control your speed is to skid the turn or make a full S turn, carve the ski, and not rush the exit.

Just make sure you practice controlling speed before going on some steep runs with varaible conditions. If you get out of control on a blue you can always throw the skis sideways or have a controlled fall.

On a black you are putting yourself and others at risk.

The best way that I was taught to complete a turn is to pretend you are turning uphill. Obviously you do not turn all the way up. [img]smile.gif[/img]

Also be careful if you are getting stiffer boots and skis as this makes controlling speed harder until you get use to the better equipment.

I blew my knee out last Feb because I was cooking down a run at Cannon, hit a bump and it made me pick up too much speed. It was a soft, wet, narrow, and steep run so I couldn't make wide turns. I caught an edge when slowing down and my leg got spun around.

I could of messed myself up many other times but I think I learned my lesson when skiing fast.

Well maybe

We'll see this year
post #3 of 20
Andrew,

bring 'er back uphill... finish your turn!

As I"m sure many of the pros in here will tell you, carving isn't done well until you finish the turn.

If you're gaining too much speed, your arcs are too shallow and likely unfinished.

Turn 'em back uphill, finish the turn, then go to your next turn.

Your line is your brake. The more you cross the fall line and head back uphill, the more you slow even if you're in a carve.

Gravity ALWAYS is your friend when you're on the planks.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input so far... I guess I just wasn't used to what carving sould fell like. To me, carving wide and making deep Ss just felt weird for whatever reason - probably because I wasn't used to it. I could do it just fine, but making tight, small Ss and going fast just felt more natural. I would carve wide and make deep Ss when trying to ski slower to keep on pace with my girlfriend. Regardless, the cold temperatures even here in VA (below freezing tonight) really is making the 58 days until Wintergreen opens seem like way too long of a time.
post #5 of 20
Andrew,

As everyone has said, you can control your speed by direction (pointing them uphill) or by displacing the snow (skidding). However, I'll throw another carrot at you. Most people, when learning to carve, build up a lot more speed because they spend a lot of time at the beginning of the turn, getting the carve going, and pointing the skis straight down the hill. Someone who can carve well, will make the top half of the turn just as tight of an arc as the bottom half. This reduces the amount of time spent accelerating, meaning that you won't have to spend as much time facing across or slightly up the hill to kill enough speed. That said, on a steep run, if you are going to link pencil line turns, you still need an uncrowded and fairly wide hill. Steepish beginner and easier intermediate hills are the place to be. But those hills can get crowded, so be careful, and don't expect the other people will see you coming and/or be able to avoid you.
post #6 of 20
Get shorter skis.

In World Cup slalom, the men are on 165's. They used to be on 155's. If you want to carve without excessive speed, shorter is better. I have a pair of 140 fun carvers that carve very cleanly at pretty slow speeds.

We teach our beginners on 120's and 130's. They don't carve clean, but the approximate it very well, and don't rely so much on the braking skid or the snowplow.
post #7 of 20
It's a game. Start the top of the run and maintain the same speed from top to bottom. Until you can do that, you're not finishing your turns sufficiently. Shallow carves are easy and fun to do, but you're not really turning, just changing edges.

Demo some short slaloms and see what they can do for you.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
It sounds like ski length might be a factor for me here... I am a 5'11" 180lb athletic male . I was skiing 180cm Blizzard TG18s last year (approx. 103-63-95) and added 170cm Atomic R9s for this upcoming winter. I was considering trying to get a used pair of 160cm Atomic 9.12s or SL9s if the price was right (or when I start working) to use on hardpack and ice. Do you think these skis would be appropriate for me? Thanks for any input.
post #9 of 20
Short, deeply sidecut skis make it easier to make smaller turns, but what you have now isn't exactly what I'd call straight or long.

You may have to apply more pressure/edge angle or "brush" (as oppsosed to skid) the ends of your turns, but controlled short radius turns are more than possible on the skis you have already. A lot depends on speed and the slope you're on.

A centered stance that allows your body to flow down the hill and allows pressure to be removed from the edges as the skis carve out of the fall line makes complete short turns a lot easier and a lot more fun.

Don't immediately jump on the gear bandwagon, but keep your eyes open for an opportunity to demo or borrow a pair of short slaloms. Try them before you buy.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
I think all the pieces of the puzzle are there for me, I just failed to correlate turn/carve depth/size with speed. I was carving shallow Ss without pressuring the edges all too much and going fast. I'll have to go out when Wintergreen opens and practice controlling speed with the depth of the turn I carve.
post #11 of 20
Search the archives here for a few of the threads where Bob Barnes and others have discussed the idea of "skiing the slow line fast"
post #12 of 20
aschir01:

You've had great advice so far. As a non-instructor, there's nothing I can add other than to emphasize what JohnH mentioned about crowded slopes.

As you start completing your turns, you're going to find yourself making rounder turns that use more of the width of run. When you do that, you're going to be using a turn shape that very few skiers use and very few *oncoming* (uphill of you) skiers normally expect. That means you're potentially going to find yourself in the path of bombers coming fairly straight and fairly out of control down your slope.

I highly recommend that you develop a habit of glancing uphill as you come across the fall line. It helps to almost have eyes in the back of your head.

Believe me, as you start making that round turn, you'll have more of a tendency to get on an intersecting path with some yahoo screaming down the hill.

Bob
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Bob - thanks for the advice. I searched "skiing the slow line fast" and got a lot of info pertinent to my questions - now I just need to get on the snow and try to use this new knowledge to improve my skiing.
post #14 of 20
I wouldn't mess with 160's at your size.

I'm almost exactly the same measurements, and probably 2 levels better skier (not tooting my horn, just guessing), and I'm on 169's that feel like not enough ski. I picked up some 177 Head Cybers for a rock ski, and I really feel more comfortable at that length.

I think K2 has a bunch of skis in 174 that would be right up your alley, see about demoing some.
post #15 of 20
I agree with Rusty Guy about searching other threads. The one I keep near my desk and refer to occasionally is "The Perfect Turn"

It's a classic and should probably be in the Archive section.

Look for it and read it a dozen times until you really understand it.

bob
post #16 of 20
Alaska Mike's game is a critical component. It will teach you what you need to know--on any of the skis.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally posted by aschir01:
This last year (2002/2003) was the first year that I started skiing avidly. Before that, I would go a few times a year with family, rent, and consider it a good day if I didn't fall. While I have never taken lessons, I have progressed a lot over last winter and become what I consider a competent intermediate (possibly/hopefully advanced intermediate in my own eyes). This offseason I have been reading and studying the technique of skiing and one question comes to mind. Compared to the company with which I ski, I am a relatively fast skiier. As for technique, I think I mostly carve but skid to control my speed. Besides making bigger carves (deeper in S-shape), how does one control their speed while carving? Thanks for any input and for hopefully helpimg me improve my skiing technique.

Andrew
1 Think about taking a lesson 2 A mentor of mine taught me turn shape and "ski direction" (uphill, across, down?) will affect your speed. Another mentor (Bob Barns) says Great skiing is "skiing the SLOW line as fast as possible (carving), poor skiing is skiing the FAST line as slow (skidding) as possible"
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
After I join the workforce in a couple months and have the means to do so, I think I will consider taking lessons - how could it hurt. Looking back more critically at last season, when I started out I was comfortable on midwest blues. As the season went on and I got more confidence, I started skiing blacks half carving, half defensively (carving + skidding to control speed). I do think lessons would be a good step to try to advance my skiing technique. It is funny in retrospect of some threads here how being able to handle, not necessarily master, difficult terrain elevated one's ego and estimation of ability.
post #19 of 20
Hopefully this PA gathering will happen this year and we can all learn a few things.
post #20 of 20
Ski length. Yeah. You can try some shorter skis, but use that new found income to have a selection. I think that what you have is probably a good sidecut and length for around here, although the stiffness of the ski will play into it. I'm 6'2, 190#, very aggressive, L3 cert, and one of my pairs of skis that I love, are 150cm with a 10 meter radius. They are a bit short for the speeds I normally like to travel, but I like the turn radius a lot better than the 192cm skis I was also using, that had a 20M radius. This year, I'll be on a 178. I've skied it a couple of times as a demo, and found that it's great at the speeds I like, and also has a small enough turn radius to satisfy my cumpulsion to make entire runs without losing the pencil line carve, and at the same time, not get anyone killed.
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