Non-carving adults learning to carve arc-to-arc

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by LiquidFeet, May 26, 2019.

  1. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Instructors, how do you teach your non-carving adult clients to carve? Assuming different things work with different people, what are some of the progressions or concepts or drills or break-downs that have worked well for you?

    Skiers, what helped you "get it" when you first learned to make a cleanly carved turn, with tails following tips? Do you remember the most helpful demos/comments/directives you got from people helping you learn?

    ***Learning to do those first ever CLEAN CARVES is the intended topic here.
    In order to keep this discussion from devolving into a "discussion" about what a carved turn is, or turning into a "discussion" of the relative value of short radius "carved" turns where the skis brush across the snow, I'd like to limit the discussion to arc-to-arc carved turns with tails following tips.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
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  2. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    Start with Sean Warman's foot movements:

    Sean introduced a clinic group I was in to this process by having us sit with our boots off, feet on cafeteria trays and do one foot at a time until the movements became easy to do without tensioning. Then we stood and did one foot at a time before doing both. Finally, we put the boots back on and repeated the standing exercise before we got back on skis and tried them.

    Familiarity with the subtle foot movements inside the boots helps a lot with understanding how to engage both edges in carving. Most folks have difficulty because they try to muscle the edging. Working on carving on really gentle terrain also is important.
     
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Kneale, it sounds like you are talking about preceding the whole carving thing by teaching your clients to do RR Tracks. For anyone reading here not familiar with RR Tracks, you get on very gentle terrain (beginner terrain), point both skis down the fall line, push off, and tilt both feet/skis together left - then right - then left - then right - etc. Do nothing else but tilt/tip both feet/skis together... but avoid falling over as you do this (aka stay balanced over those tipping feet). Stop when the speed becomes too much. Repeat.

    The tipping starts with the invisible, inside-the-boot-ankle-tipping, which the initial indoor exercise with boots off explains well. I suspect that starting inside with boots off would necessitate this being a more than a one-hour lesson.

    I also expect the indoor work helps put a stop to the problematic foot rotation that people use because it's so habitual.

    Have I got that right?
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
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  4. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    Actually, I would consider RR tracks the end of the learning-to-carve process. I would want them tipping the feet, as well as steering, to turn. You said they would be non-carving adult skiers, which sounds like skidders. Refining the tipping, along with developing the balance required, leads to the greater and greater "carving" if you're talking tail following tip, with RR tracks the ultimate version of tail following tip. The ski marks in the snow become more and more narrow.
     
  5. Cheizz

    Cheizz Craving camber Skier

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    For me, as a skier, just rolling in my ankles (in stead of pivoting the skis) was the simple trick. On a mild slope and with skis that hold an edge no matter what. Just point them down the hill, tip the ankles, pull in the inside leg. That's it.
    The key for me is trusting the ski and that they hold while on edge. That means a ski with very good edge hold, but also to gain that trust on a slope that will not give me the feeling of the skis running away with me. A mild green groomer and a stable, smeeth slalom-like ski would work best for the first full carving turns. For me it was.
     
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    @Kneale Brownson, when you teach adults to carve, you don't try to get them to stop the foot/ski rotation, cold-turkey, from the start? You find it possible to get clients to reduce it progressively until it's gone and they are doing RR Tracks?
     
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    @Cheizz, did you teach yourself to make your first carved turns?
    By "pull in the inside leg" do you mean pull it backwards to reduce any tip lead, or pull it sideways towards the other ski to narrow your stance?
     
  8. Cheizz

    Cheizz Craving camber Skier

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    I didn't teach myself at first, but it's something you can work on on your own. Just make sure you don't teach yourself the wrong moves, so check regularly with ski instructor friends (I am lucky enough to have a few of those in my close skiing circle).
    By pulling in the inside leg, I mean shortening the iside leg to get enough tipping angle for the edge to properly engage and not skid. But I find it hard to explain, not being schooled at that...
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  9. BS Slarver

    BS Slarver Formally known as Catskill Carver Skier

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    YMMV but here is what I use
    Start with FLAT almost gentle uphill terrain. Introduce or review skating drills.
    Next, on very mild - and I mean mild slope, skate to accelerate. Student needs to understand and feel hips and CoM ahead of feet and the ability to skate to accelerate.
    After both drills the student should be able to demonstrate an edge set clearly in the snow, Don’t be afraid to take the student back over their path to look at edge sets and tracks.
    Once this skill has been mastered go back to the gentle terrain and start again with the skate with exaggerated extension from flexed knee and ankle reinforcing the propelling the body forward till speed has been achieved and then stop and repeat.
    Next move from the skate with opposite ski leaving the ground to the skate with both skis staying on the snow, this might be a bit awkward at first.
    From here move to the skate with skis on snow at turn initiation and add a carved finish.
    Follow this with wedge turn initiations with the exaggerated skate flex
    Increase the pitch only after the student has demonstrated the task properly.
    You can add edge setting exercises from a wedge stance to vary the drills and tasks but again caution on the use of terrain that is too steep.
    The student needs to feel the skis hook up and feel the edge engaging and the arc. This might be the first time they truly feel this and perhaps even allow / encourage a traverse between turns while performing the new drill

    The arc to arc will follow.

    IMHO - learning this new skill is best discovered on terrain well below the skiers current comfort level. I’ve even changed out their skis for a pair that is shorter and more shaped till I see the change.
     
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  10. Skisailor

    Skisailor Laziest Skier on the Mountain Team Gathermeister

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    I use a drill in shallow terrain - traverses - where the student stands on the downhill ski, and while sliding across in a traverse, practices tipping and untipping the uphill ski onto its little toe edge and then flat. They can look back at their tracks as well. The weighted ski should travel straight with a continuous line. The tipping ski has a discontinuous track and may even show the beginnings of a curve.

    You can do the same thing with weight now on the uphill ski. Tipping and untipping the downhill ski. One leg at a time.

    You can start this in boots. Then static with skis on, then sliding. It’s just to get them to isolate what a tipping motion FEELS like relative to a rotary motion. We experiment with just foot and ankle movements, then with using the femur in the hip socket to pull the knee out.

    Then take that to a RR track J turn where they start in the same traverse, then tip BOTH skis simultaneously and ride it uphill to a stop. Both directions.

    I’ve used some other things as well. Once they are moving a little faster, we practice extending the outside ski while it is still uphill and placing it on the snow on its inside edge to feel the carving:/turning action of the ski while the weight stays on the inside ski - kind of like an in-rigger - until the fall line. Then they can easily shift their weight onto that carving ski.

    Once this is comfortable you can begin working on earlier weight transfer.
     
  11. mister moose

    mister moose Instigator Skier

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    Dark to medium green slope, straight down, tip 'em and wait. "The wa-a-a-a-aiting is the hardest part", L Ronstadt.



    Later on you can discuss tip 'em and weight, tip 'em evenly, tip 'em early, and tip 'em more.
     
  12. mdf

    mdf entering the Big Couloir Skier

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    In my limited experience, you need a hill that is smooth and not too steep, and a student who is willing to change. Failures come from habitual movements that won't go away, or from rushing the turn (leading to a heel push). I've had good luck having someone closely follow behind me, imitating my motions and path as closely as possible. I've tried to get people to wait for the skis to come around by counting but have had absolutely no success with that.
     
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Some of these progressions are very different from each other. Interesting.
     
  14. Tony S

    Tony S aka qcanoe Skier

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    I had this question too.

    Not an instructor. My amateur observation is that without doing the RR tracks first, the vast majority of skiers do not actually understand what a clean carved turn is. Some who think they do, don't.
     
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  15. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    I kind of like them to "scarve" less and less and "carve" more and more through foot and balance awareness. I try to use offensive movements and round turns. Patience and what I call "allowance--allowing things to happen rather than trying hard to make them happen" are important.
     
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  16. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    For patience training tou can do Octopus turns. They may have different names. Tou need some space and say a blue pitch. If you can find a place that has a knoll, that works well.

    You arc uphill, carve sure, if not it's ok. As tou get near the top of where momentum will take you, tou flatten the skis. Tou then essentially wait to go downhill. Not twisting, not doing much. (You don't want to end the arc facing directly up the fall line). As has been disscused before, the turning mechanism is very slight rotoation downhill. Just looking will pretty much do it. (Side slipping and balancing fore or aft will not turn the tips or tails down. This is a persistant myth. Go test it.)
     
  17. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    Pull the downhill foot back (adds pressure to the shovel) while sideslipping and see what happens.
     
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Yes, when both skis are flat, pulling the new inside foot backwards will start a turn. So will turning the upper body to point in the new turn's direction ahead of the skis. But surely you guys are not implying those movements would start a carved (arc-to-arc) turn. Are you?
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    You have had success with getting people to progressively stop rotating the skis, then. Kneale, if you say it works, then I believe you. But how on earth do you get this to happen? That manual rotation of the skis is so deeply embedded in people's muscle memory that I've seen it be very persistent. Asking a seasoned adult skier to allow things to happen rather than trying to make them happen works? You must pair that with some great demos.
     
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    OK, got it. Shorten/flex the inside leg to increase tipping angle of skis.
     

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