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

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

  1. Thread Starter
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    I understand that. An uphill-arc or J-turn is equivalent to the end of the turn, the bottom half of the turn. It's what happens after the fall line. Getting a client to create a carved arc for the first half of the turn .... is a different kind of challenge for the teacher. And our private lessons here in the east tend to be short.

    You've taught longer than me. Do you actually get clients who want to learn to carve whole turns, and who stay with the task long enough to actually learn it? Do you consider teaching them to do this a worthy enterprise for an instructor?
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
  2. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Not really. I think years ago when "carving" was all the rage. Yes, people wanted to know. The little 113-123cm Elan psx skis were actually really good for that. Tons of fun. Snowblades sort of polluted that, then they fell out of favor and killed the whole short skis.
    All that's nearly 10 years ago I think and further to early 2000's.

    In general, people are quite far from carving arc to arc. With kids I try to build the skills. Using flat areas, riding an edge on boring cat tracks, going uphill competitions, having them try to ski a circle. Because it's obvious when they just skid out in the beginning of those last two. (Not too many good places to do that though)
     
  3. Thread Starter
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    So @James, I think you are saying that it is worthwhile to teach people to carve, but it's the kids who are actually capable of learning it. Not so much the adults. Old dogs, new tricks sort of thing. Have I got that right?

    I've had one dad/son lesson where dad had an afterthought during the lesson -- he wanted to learn to carve at the end of this one hour semi-private because he'd heard that carving was the way to gain good speed control :cool:. Son figured out how to do an uphill arc in one try; dad couldn't do it after several tries and we ran out of time. Other things were more important and all the first part of the lesson was taken up by those.

    Anybody else have thoughts on the value or even the possibility of teaching adult non-racers to carve (tails following tips)?
     
  4. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    No, I've just had way more kids recently and also that attitudes have changed over the years. Most adult lessons we have are not advanced. So teaching arc to arc doesn't make sense. (We don't even have blue group adults for the last 3-4 yrs. Little demand, so let's not offer it to make demand go to zero!)
    Adults have more patience for concepts, but often get lost in them.

    When shaped skis were more recent, and carving was such a big thing, people wanted to know about it. Don't forget, carving even amongst wcup skiers was rare with straight skis. I remember I think AJ Kitt reviewing an Elan Scx and saying how in 15 minutes he'd done something better, carving, that he'd spent his whole life trying to do. We called them cheater skis because it really was cheating at the game of skiing.
    Just like now skis are just skis, not referred to as "parabolic skis" or "shaped skis" as if they're something different. People just want to ski.

    Carving is part of that, but I don't see people obsessed with it. I think it's assumed as you get better you'll learn it. Once you can ski pretty well, carving really isn't all that difficult. Sure, if you parse it to the nth degree it might be, but probably very few people care to that level and those that do will keep seeking out refinements.

    I think for that dad his paradigm is off. Arc to arc is faster no matter how you slice it. Line controls speed, and if you're arcing you're going to go a lot faster on any line before you go a lot slower. We carve to have fun, not control speed.
     
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Right. Tony mentioned upthread that many don't know what carving is. So true. I think that dad was told by someone that carving involves gripping the snow, so he interpreted that to mean carving offered better friction. I explained how that was a misunderstanding.
     


  6. Nancy Hummel

    Nancy Hummel Ski more, talk less. Instructor

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    Most people I teach want “bumps and steeps” along with speed control in those situations.

    However, Aspen does some locals “race” clinics. I have went to several of them. It is interesting because many people have “fattish” skis and like to smear around and really do not have a grasp of edge usage. A couple of the instructors do a great job of teaching carved turns, from outrigger turns, to railroad tracks, to carved turns and then taking that into the nastar course. I think people are surprised what they can do.

    What I do think is that if people can go from a flat ski turn to a carved ski turn and everywhere in between, they ski all kinds of terrain much better.
     
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  7. Karl B

    Karl B USSA L100 Skier

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    The value of an adult learning to carve is that it is much less effort, therefore less tiring. Additionally, a parent has a better chance of keeping up with their offspring. Let's keep this simple. I use tuck turns with much success.

    1. Low tuck. On a gentle green slope, coach the student into a low tuck with proper form. Hands in front, elbows in front of the knees, shins in contact with the tongue of the boots, weight on the BOF. To initiate the turn, move the hips in the direction they are to turn, i.e. to turn left the hips move left. After completing that turn, shift the hips to the right and repeat as necessary.

    2. High tuck. On the same slope coach the student into a high tuck with proper form. Starting in a low tuck position have the student move up and extend forward. In this position the student still moves the hips effectively tipping the skis to make the turn but now due to the high tuck position they are starting to flex forward into the new turn as they shift their hips to the other side.

    3. Outrigger drills. From the high tuck position, extend the poles out to the sides with the palms facing forward. The goal here is to keep the pole tips in contact with the snow throughout the run. This will help to promote angulation.

    4. Window Frames. Now that the student is making arc to arc turns, He/she holds their poles by the shafts and picks out a point at the bottom of the run and maintains their focus on that point while skiing to the bottom. This will promote upper/lower body separation.
     
  8. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Well you bring up a good point in that people may not know. Back in the early 2000's, skis were different and everyone knew they could do something differently, so they wanted to know about this carving. That motivated already advanced skiers.

    Then also if you could carve decently, not a braced park and ride arc to arc, it translated to powder. Along came ever fatter skis making that less important.

    People in crowded ski areas are better off learning bumps as there's few people there. Carving makes the groomers fun though.

    For tuck turns, why not just roll the ski on edge? Hips first seems tail wags dog and doesn't translate well to upright skiing.

    Time for some carving fun in corn.

    "If you're good at carving you can ski anything." -Robby Kelley
    [Pretty true. Steeps and bumps are different]



    "There's plenty of guys that can go big at Snowbird, but if you can't arc a turn you're not going to impress me." - Claire Brown
     
  9. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

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    First off, we need to tip our hat to the snowboard industry which forced ski designers to get off their duff and create a tool we can have fun with as James says.

    But I don't look at carving as an obsession, it is what the modern ski is designed to do! Anything less is a subset of the ski's ultimate redirectional capability to create the carving state and that is not a negative statement, it's just the physical reality.

    Unfortunately many intermediate adults are doing "skid to perpendicular with the fall line and then fight with gravity" turns. The initial carving process that they started with the tipping of the skis and redirection into the fall line to create the edge angles and speed needed to build the carving state is suddenly aborted in favor of bracing against the pull of gravity. To teach someone who is actively moving about the mountain with this kind of skidded turn to change these survival based movement patterns, is problematic at best.

    In the JF video I posted above, JF shows some excellent movement patterns to create a carving state and the most visual IMO are the ones done in the wedge formation, hmmmm..... Problem is, experienced skiers frown on returning to the days of the wedge and many instructors are opposed to introducing these movement patterns at the beginner stage.
     
  10. François Pugh

    François Pugh Making fresh tracks Skier

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    You can count me as a skier who parses carving (current thread definition) to the nth degree. Key things to me are that the person wanting to carve understands how a ski works on hardpack (a tipped ski gets bent into a turn when pressed against the snow and greater tipping dials up a shorter radius turn), and that it won't slide sideways once it's tipped to a large enough angle for the turn forces required to make it go around the dialed up turn.

    "Steering" (introducing torque from the skier to the ski to make it point in a new direction) the outside ski while shortening the inside ski is not carving and won't help anyone learn to carve. This type of steering has no place in carving.

    You can not carve in a wedge; both skis need to be tipped past the critical angle and carving their turn.

    I can see how difficult it must be for someone who has been taught from day one to point their skis in a wedge instead of edge their skis in a snow plough, and then taught to steer skis to a steering angle to strart turns.

    BTW I taught my daughter to carve, and she had it down pretty well. I noticed the last time I was skiing with her that she had devolved, and wasn't carving her turns. Now I try not to give uninvited instruction, but I had to ask her about it. She said she knew how to carve, but did not want to go that fast with other people on the hill; she was afraid of running into them. Given the number of days she skis, she didn't have the skills to carve through that crowd safely. I suspect it is the same with a lot of folk, in that they don't want to ski that fast given the conditions they get to ski in (Holiday weekend crowded ski hills).

    BTW, I ski with many patrollers who have a good short radius turn that puts my short radius turn to shame, but their carving sucks. They have no interest in carving, or skiing faster. I think wanting to ski faster (e.g. racers, speed freaks and adrenaline junkies) is an incentive for some folk in learning how to carve.
     
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  11. Steve

    Steve Moving towards Understanding Skier

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    @François Pugh that was a great post on what carving (arc-to-arc) is, the why's and what-fors.

    imo there are two ways to ski. Arc-to-arc and everything else. I like them both equally.



    (Everything else used instead of a name like "steered" or "skidded" or "brushed", etc.)
     
  12. Nancy Hummel

    Nancy Hummel Ski more, talk less. Instructor

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    Snowmass sets up mini race courses for children on fairly flat terrain. I take adults there all the time. We work on carving there. It is great. They love it and it lets them experience carving without going too fast.

    In my experience, when people feel they are going too fast, they do all kinds of things to slow down except turn up the hill. Most people do not want to run into someone else or grt hurt so they are cautious about speed. The carving feeling is usually very different than what they are used to feeling. It takes time.

    The race course allows people to experiment with speed without worrying about other people.
     
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  13. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    It's hard to determine how much if anything that had to do with it. It's a convienient explanation. One of the guys who worked for Elan and developed the SCX says it had nothing to do with it. He was trying to understand why a ski skidded, why some did some did not. There were no answers.
    There were also others working simultaneously on the concept.
    Perhaps management was more willing to explore given the growth of snowboarding, but at least one responsible for developing shaped skis says snowboards were not the driving force. At all.
    Jurij Franko talks about it in this interview:
    http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/jurij-franko-developer-of-the-elan-scx-ski_129989

    While one ski arcing and the other not may not be "carving", it's closer then both not, and a valid way to get there. Wedge or no wedge.
     
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  14. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Out on the slopes Skier

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    Carving would have been more catchy is it was named the Y2K Method. When I bought my first pair of semi-shaped skis around the turn of the century I was frequently visiting my ski bum friends in Vermont. Those guys would give me some pointers and at least I had good carving skiers to emulate when I started out on the new skis. The snowbaorders were into carving too so all the better.

    Years passed and my skiing got sloppy as I'd go skiing a handful of times each year and I'd usually seek out moguls and woods. Fast forward and I started skiing 25 days year with my kids. I had completely forgotten about carving, but I quickly got bored on green and blues while my kids were learning, so I skied on one foot a lot. I think that at least helped get my skis on edge. I'm probably not even close to proficient carver but I think at least starting out on the right track might have helped some.
     
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    My summary of what's been said so far altered to include tuck turns for getting beginners started, with an emphasis on angulating from the hips.

    Instructors mentioned the following things helped adults learn to carve arc-t-arc their first turns.

    1. Some instructors start the teaching with tipping both feet/legs/skis, both the same amount and at the same time... without rotating the skis across the snow, and without using the hips. That "without rotating" part is a big deal. W-a-i-t-i-n-g for the skis to turn is a challenge; it calls for patience and allowing the skis to do the work. Also, skiers must recognize that tipping can be done without rotating. Static practice is necessary. A few instructors said that getting the skier to start the tipping with the ankles inside the boots is important; others mentioned tipping from the lower leg. IOW, teaching students to do RR Tracks is the initial goal that leads to full-on carving.
    2. One (or two, did I miss someone?) instructors prefer to start the teaching with skating downhill, cleanly edging the propelling ski without any rotation. This makes the new outside foot/ski/leg in charge of the initiation.
    3. Two instructors (I think) try to eliminate the persistent habitual rotation, which destroys the carving, by doing one-footed drills of some sort. This may involve picking up one foot/ski (either one) off the snow, or skiing in a wedge with the inside ski flat while the outside ski is edged to make the turn without being rotated. One instructor (me) mentioned using a very wide stance to kill the rotation.
    4. Two instructors (I think) attempt to get the skiers to progressively reduce the rotation to zero, rather than working with them to go cold turkey from the start. The rest seem to aim for eliminating the rotation altogether from the get-go.
    5. A number of instructors mentioned they start students on beginner terrain in a straight run. The reason is that having tails following tips generates unexpected and significant speed.
    6. Only a few said they start the process with students doing a traverse.
    7. One or two instructors mentioned teaching adults to use a pedaling motion when beginning to learn to carve.
    8. Two instructors mentioned using Deb Armstrong's poles/hands on knees to diagnose clean tipping.
    9. Two (I think) mentioned the Schlopy drill, which encourages counter and angulation.
    10. One instructor uses tuck turns with hip angulation, first low tucks then high, progressing to personal skiing.

    Non-instructors mentioned that starting with the following things helped them learn to carve.

    1. Beginning on gentle terrain helped several people.
    2. Rolling ankles and shortening the inside leg helped a few people.
    3. Two/three people mentioned counter/counter-balancing and angulation are a must-do for the ski tails to follow the tips
    4. Two members mentioned that counting helps the skier to w-a-i-t for the skis to turn, to help with the patience needed to avoid turning the feet
    5. One member mentioned that learning to not let tips drift at top half of turn and learning to not let tails drift in second half of turn (old school skis) was essential.
    6. One member mentioned that learning what "critical edge angle" was and how to get it mattered.
    7. One member mentioned that there are misconceptions about what carving is; some people think they are carving when they aren't. Implication: this fact might impact what's posted in this thread.
    8. One member mentioned that inside leg management is a topic for advancing a skier's carving skills; must get it shorter and out of the way
     
  16. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    The whole key in the beginning is to get people to stop twisting the skis and feel that a ski on edge will redirect their path. All by itself. There's a bunch of ways to do that, but if someone doesn't understand that and experience it, so they trust it, everything is just a senseless "carving" excercise. They'll always wonder why they can't get it. Could be a lot of technical reasons, but it comes back to standing on a ski on edge. Feel the ski's edge turn you. Don't get that in the simplest way possible, it's likely they'll never get it. Get that, and a lot of this you can train yourself.

    You left out edge locked wedge, or carved wedge. We used to call them Flying Wedges once you link them and let it run because you can go very fast. Like railroad tracks.
    There's lot's of variations. Basic ones I sort of call inrigger turns. The inside just holds you up as you stand on the edged outside ski.

    Can't do this, can't carve. It's easier these days.
    IMG_6511.JPG

    IMG_6512.JPG
    Warren Witherell himself.
    The Athletic Skier ,1993.
     
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    LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    @Karl B, your teaching process for carving is a new one for this thread. I am assuming that moving the hips is equivalent to creating angulation, and that this angulation creates the edge angle with weight directed to the outside ski. And that these combine to make a carved turn. I haven't tried this hip movement in a tuck myself. Am I understanding it right?

    A second way to do carved tuck turns is just roll the ankles. I've found that directing pressure appropriately follows unconsciously (for me), and a carved turn results, but I haven't taught this so don't know if it usually works with adult students.

    A third way to do carved tuck turns is point the hands left, then right; IOW, counter to the left then counter to the right to indirectly create the edge angle necessary. For me when I do this, pressure is directed appropriately, this happens unconsciously, and a carved turn happens. Again, I haven't tested this on students.

    Anyone have comments on using tuck turns in any of these ways to start the carving process in non-carving adults?
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
  18. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

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    Tucking while attempting to carve is a big plus in that it allows you to feel and focus on where the action is. It, for the most part, eliminates the negative inputs that the upper mass so often contributes to the corruption of the carving process.
     
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  19. Karl B

    Karl B USSA L100 Skier

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    You are correct. I like to subscribe to the KISS process. In this situation the student has one move to focus on (moving the hips) instead of worrying about if they performing a half of a dozen movements correctly. Normally by using the one move the other movements will fall into place. If they don't. I will address them at that time. For instance, if the skier is A-Framing, I will advise to initiate the turn with the inside knee. Again keeping it simple. I rarely ever used technical terminology when communicating with student.

    Once the student has accomplished the drill, I add another element, the High Tuck building off their previous accomplishment and continuing the progression. Try it next fall. I think you will have as much success as I have had.

    Karl
     
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  20. Ross Biff

    Ross Biff The older I get, the faster I was.... Skier

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    I completely agree with the allowance idea which goes hand in hand with patience. There is no doubt that a skier used to foot steering, rotary motions and " making things happen" has a hard time waiting for a carve! I find that, for me, when I feel the mountain push back at my feet, rather than me engaging the mountain, I am making my cleanest and most powerful carves. "Loose" ankles,for want of a better term,between turns seems to make the transitions smoother but there is no substitute for the appropriate, confidence inspiring terrain.
     

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