Originally Posted by Whiteroom
There are a few threads touching on the topic of 'Carving', some about the PSIA (probably should include all schools of ski technique) some about the 'Industry' pushing wider skis and some about how width effects 'Edge Grip' and the ability to Carve.
In the words of Jerry Seinfeld: "What's the deal with Carving???"
Why is a pure carved turn in any way desirable for the average skier? I think that most here associate 'carving' with control. I would disagree. When a ski is edge-locked it is basically on auto-pilot for all but the most skilled skiers, the skier isn't really controlling the ski as much as most would have you believe. A pure carved turn has it's place, and can be a lot of fun, but what most skiers think of as carving just isn't. I see the 'Racer's use narrow skis because they make their living carving turns..." argument used. What are you watching? When I see a WC race, I do see some carving... I also see lots of pivoting, steering and drifting. I see carving all the time... on well groomed Intermediate slopes, outside of that, not so much. There was a group of PSIA Examiners here at Stowe this week, they are fantastic skiers, watching them ski Liftline was fun. They were arcing some great turns in some very challenging conditions, what they WERE NOT doing was 'carving'. They were using extremely well developed edging skills to shape the turns they were making. I'd say that a hallmark of excellent skiing is not carving but a full range of skills that includes carving... but also the ability to feather an edge, steer a turn, drift a turn and smear a turn. The more difficult the terrain, the less carving is useful. Perhaps if people were hearing about developing 'Edging Skills' instead of hearing that 'Carving' is the pinnacle of ski performance they wouldn't mistake their new ski purchase with new SKILL.
That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.
So are we switching the definitions of arcing and carving? I thought that "arcing" referred to leaving those nice pencil thin tracks on the hill while doing "edge-locked" carving.
Regardless, I agree with a lot of what you say, although I don't think it requires that you be one of the "most skilled" skiers to control your turn shape via adjusting tipping angle while leaving those pencil thin lines, and you don't need to be on "auto pilot" to edge-lock carve; the edge is locked in, but the radius is not.
For the purposes of this post, let's just call "carving" leaving those edge-locked thin tail follows tip lines on the snow (to save bandwidth).
Personally I enjoy "carving" most of my turns, and leave carving tracks behind me most places I ski. It is true that there is a limited range of turn radii that any given ski can carve in, but it is pretty easy to break out of a carved turn and turn it into a non-carved turn when you want to go beyond that range. When conditions are deep I ski the same way, except my edge extends all the way along the base to the other edge. I love the feeling of power and control of a carved turn, and once the average skier feels that, they will be hooked.
Race courses are designed to challenge the racers, who will carve as much of the course as they can, but cannot carve it all and still make all the gates. The faster you go, the harder it is to carve a tight turn. I bet if the race were old-style timed top to bottom with racers choosing their own line, we would see more carving.
There are a few more people carving today, but most don't; In the east, most of the on-the-open-slopes skiers I see that are skiing fast have SL type carving skis that have a small radius and ski GS radius turns at low edge angles without carving. Back in the day, these folk would be smearing turns with straight SL skis at low edge angles.
IMHO, there is a more skill involved in making a non-carved smooth turn that kills speed without looking like you are trying to slow down than there is in controlling the radius (within the ski's limits) of a carved turn.
Edited by Ghost - 1/7/11 at 3:35pm