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Carving is Misunderstood

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

   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.

 

  

post #2 of 16

Whiteroom - spot on on every count

 

The following link is in total support of what you are saying

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

 


Edited by Rick - 1/7/11 at 11:08am
post #3 of 16

I agree with whiteroom. There is deffinetly much more to skiing than carving. Carving provides you with little or no speed controll and you are unable to fully controll how tight you turn. Not very useful for the averidge all mountain skier. Its important to understand that a carving ski can also be turned outside the "carving zone" (look at Ricks article page 4) in a non carving type fashion. In a non edge locked way. In such skiing the tails are brushing. When the tails are brushing you are once again directly in charge of your turn radius and you can turn as tight as you want and speed and terrain allows for.

 

Good article Rick. Back in the late 90s I was not into ski racing at the time. I was into ski teaching and offpist and mogul skiing. When I first saw the skis I was not convinced but not as slow to pick up a pair as the local racers. They were late to switch over. Now they are going to be late to switch back. If that ever happens. Time will tell. New 192 cm GS and even longer SG skis look pritty old school to me. Seriously though, I dont think carving will ever dissapear from our slopes and the carving ski will be available for all die hard wannabe racers in many different colours but just like in snowboard, the masses will over time venture off to othere genres. Allready now park and phat ski are more attractive alternatives to young skiers.


Edited by tdk6 - 1/7/11 at 12:09pm
post #4 of 16

TDK, I agree with most of what you say, but I think that modern FIS GS skis are some of the most amazing carving skis you can get. Also, park and fat skis usually have carving sidecut as well.

post #5 of 16

Yes I agree with you but I had a friend that came fresh from old style pencil shaped straight skis and tried a pair of modern GS skis he got from a test center at the base of the hill. He could not in the world figure out what was so incredible about them. They felt just like his old skis he told me. I told him to try a pair of SL skis insted and then he suddently felt the difference. I agree with you, my GS skis are incredible carving skis. Need a closed slope to carve with them properly though..... The shape and the technique is deffinetly here to stay but the industry will be morphing towards all mountain skiing. It attracts more people at the moment.

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post

   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?confused.gif  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
post #7 of 16

I don't agree with anything said in this thread. :)

post #8 of 16

I agree with the thread title.

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post

    When I see a WC race, I do see some carving... I also see lots of pivoting, steering and drifting.

  



The thing about racing you need to remember is that race technique is a set of ideals.

 

These ideals never actually play out in the course as we theoretically study when training and racing.

 

If a WC athlete COULD cleanly carve every turn in a course, they probably would, because that would be the fastest.

post #10 of 16


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowCat67 View Post

 

...If a WC athlete COULD cleanly carve every turn in a course, they probably would, because that would be the fastest.


Yes and no...you obviously need good edging skills of all sorts to race well, but in many situations on a race course a clean, arc to arc carve is not fastest.  Bases are fast, deeply engaged edges are not.  Racers spend a lot of time manipulating their edge engagement for this reason. 

 

In the list of what racers do, laid-out carves on blue groomers are pretty easy.  Deep carves on blue groomers can also be very fun, and a good workout,  They're good to do on open slopes where they can be done safely.  But they are accessible, and not what you might call a premium skill.  Little things that racers do, like powering up their skis, are not as visible but much harder.  At areas with lots of real racers plus some "whatever skis [insert first name Bro-down of famous racer here] are on now are the best, the rest just won't for me at MY level" permanent trainers, it can be a good exercise to try to articulate why the real racers are so obviously different from the permanent trainers while free-skiing.  Racers tend not to make very round C-shaped carves; racers frequently power up their skis enough that their transitions can be a little airborne; when doing deep GS turns racers may have their hip and inside hand very near the ground, but at the fall line or very shortly after, and then they're very quickly out of the turn.  If their coaches let them, racers will frequently duck into at least a portion of the park; permanent trainers generally do not. 

 

Another way to express this is to look at park skiers and riders.  Good park skiers and riders obviously have a very different focus from racers, but on the way to the park they'll occasionally bust out deep carves as simply a fun thing to do. 

 

I personally enjoy deep round carves a lot.  They can make a blue groomer feel a lot like powder.  It's just good to keep it in perspective.

post #11 of 16

For me carving is misunderstood for the simple reason that 95% or more of the general population can't carve, or ski decent, period...... And generally I agree with Whiteroom.....

 

It very hard indeed to carve on a steep icy slope, but racers DO IT........ There is a monumental difference between freeskiing/carving and doing it thru the gates.......

 

Also I read that sentence below somewhere/don't remember where., but I will quote:

- 9 out of 10 people make turns to fight gravity and reduce speed....

- The rest make turns to generate power...

 

If you are doing it right you'll feel the G-forces, even at relatively not so fast speed/SL skis/ , or going considerably faster on GS skis...

post #12 of 16

 

Quote:CTKook
 

Another way to express this is to look at park skiers and riders.  Good park skiers and riders obviously have a very different focus from racers, but on the way to the park they'll occasionally bust out deep carves as simply a fun thing to do. 

 

I agree that they have different focuses but i am a racer and park skier i do both equal amounts of time and I think that racing skills such as carving benefits park skiers a lot its just that most of them don't know how to carve hard and i think park skiing has a benefit to racing like balance, air awareness sorta(if you get airborne in race)etc.  I do agree that carving is a very fun thing to do but i think any type of skiing is fun except cross country.

post #13 of 16


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by powpow16 View Post
  I do agree that carving is a very fun thing to do but i think any type of skiing is fun....


Yeppers.

 

The Bode Miller how-to-ski series with Phil McNichol is actually a pretty good model -- out of 6 or 8 video clips, they only had one on carving.  They probably could have added one on basics of park and basics of inbounds drops, etc. but overall you could use that series as a pretty good, free how-to for modern skiing.  Permanent trainers might complain that Bode should have rounded his turns more, could have been more static, etc., which is one sign that the series is a pretty good model.  I do wish they'd had a segment on "play" crosstraining in the summer -- MTB, dirtbikes, etc. because that also adds to it, and while you can carve a, say, MTB, it's again only one of a number of key skills.

post #14 of 16

Carving is quiet, smooth, a real test of balance, adjusting arc radius depending on the desired direction and speed, all great fun.  The only equal fun for me is deep power.

 

GS skis are poor carvers for most.  27 meter side cut and stiff.  It takes a very highly skilled skier to carve those well.

 

One needs to know when to release the edge lock, of course, to allow speed to be scrubbed off.  The same basic movement is the same for a locked carve and a scrubbing carve.  There is no need for rotary motion.  And, my gimpy right knee complains when I twist it in a rotary movement.  It never complains in carved turns.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post

 

 

GS skis are poor carvers for most.  27 meter side cut and stiff.  It takes a very highly skilled skier to carve those well.

 

 

I'm not so sure. With speed you get the radius down to around 10 meters, and with much more edge grip than SL skis. With enough speed you can actually carve tigher than SLs at the same speed. Off course you don't have much use for them on an overcrowded hill.

Modern GS skis are not necessarily stiff. The Elan racestock's I have come in three different stiffnesses. I have the middle one and with my 85 kg it is not stiff at all. Torsionally stiff yes, but not bend.

post #16 of 16

Carving is at the top of the pyramid.  To be a great skier one needs to have mastered that skill - generally speaking.  We talk about this all the time on Epic, but with the skill of carving comes many spin-offs.  "Carving" in the bumps, edging on steeps and the appropriate release of a carved turn are all based on this fundamental, but high end skill.

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