What's essential for carving on hard snow?

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by LiquidFeet, Dec 31, 2018.

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  1. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Out on the slopes Instructor

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    In this thread, carving means tail follows tip, with skis scribing pencil-thin lines in the hard snow, arc-to-arc carving.
    Let's make a list.
    If there are disagreements, we can discuss our differences of opinion with civility. I'll start.

    1. Skier must be able to tip skis without turning them. Since so much of skiing involves turning the skis, habitual turning of the skis gets in the way of learning to carve.

    2. Since the tip needs to scribe a line, and the tail needs to scribe the same line, both ends of the ski need to be pressing onto the hard snow. So skier needs to stay over the ski(s) in a way that distributes the pressure to both tip and tail.

    3. Skier can carve on two skis (railroad tracks) or the outside ski (most or all weight on the outside ski) or the inside ski i(carved white pass turns).

    4. Skier must be able to balance on/over/against the ski (assuming outside ski is dominant) with less than 90% platform angle. This angle is different from the ski's edge angle to the snow. This image by Bob Barnes explains this concept.

    platform angle .jpg

    5. Skis need sharp edges for carving on hard snow. They will slip otherwise, unless the skier is a ski god with absolutely perfect form and timing.

    4. Skis need camber and parabolic shape. These two provide help in getting both the tip and the tail pressed onto the snow through the entire turn. Reverse cambered skis, straight skis, and spatulas are not going to carve on hard snow. Fully rockered skis (without any camber) are going to be difficult to carve on hard snow but with wide tails and tips that can grip and a very good skier it can be done.

    5. Skis that are torsionally stiff hold their shape and help the tip and tail bite the snow. So torsional stiffness is essential. A torsionally soft beginner ski isn't going to hold a carve on hard snow. Well, maybe it will at very slow speeds on low pitch terrain (railroad tracks).

    *6. Skis with a narrow waist make carving on hard snow easier, but are not absolutely necessary. The waist determines how fast the skier can get the ski tipped. Narrower waist = faster onto edge = quicker to achieve high edge angles = more precision when making short turns.

    *7. Carving can be done with low ski-to-snow edge angles (railroad tracks), medium or high edge angles. So high edge angles are not necessary. Edge angle determines how much the ski bends and therefore it determines the radius of the turn. Higher edge angle = shorter turn.



    Anyone disagree?
    What am I forgetting?




    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
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  2. Erik Timmerman

    Erik Timmerman Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Can't disagree with much of that, though I'd say 4 can be debatable. Given a good shape, I don't think rocker is a detriment.

    Of course as it gets steeper, some things start to matter more, on a flatter icy slope you can get away with a lot. When it gets steeper than that, you may want to readjust your idea of what carving is.

    8. Patience to keep the ski in the arc. Don't panic when the skis are pointed down the hill and break the arc.

    9. Flex and extend to manage pressure. Those edges can only take so much so you may need to absorb some into your legs and give it back later.

    10. Well-fitted/aligned boots and strong feet/legs - anterior tibialis!
     
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  3. skier

    skier Putting on skis Skier

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    It seems many people have this idea that with perfect carving the skis do all the work. In other words, there's no rotary pressure by the skier. But, there's this thing some talk about as the critical edge angle for carving. Until the skis reach a certain angle it won't bite and turn. I've played with that and felt how even though the ski is at a small angle, the shovel will scrape along, but the ski won't turn. This makes me think that there's a little bit of steering at the top of the turn for everyone, though some aren't aware of it and won't admit to it, because they are so wrapped up into being an "expert skier" by definition that must not include rotary input. However, by physics it might be required. I think the rotary input comes from knee angulation and ankles. With the right use of the ankles, knee angulation tips the skis and provides a little rotation. When you angulate with knees and ankles, the toes point into the circle, however, it's quite possible to do all this but have the toes point more to the outside of the circle, and then the skis won't turn. Play with that. Ski straight. Tip the skis slightly. Let the toes point straight instead of pulling in and watch the shovel scrape along destroying the pencil thin line.
     
  4. Plai

    Plai Paul Lai Skier

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    No disagreement with #1. A refinement, if you will. For engaging the new outside tip more powerfully, pressure with the big toe (of the new outside foot) as you tip the skis. I was on a few days for this season, and couldn't understand why my carved turns were so vague. Something clicked on day 4, and it made a world of difference.

    Thanks for the thread, now I'm wondering about little toe and pressure for White pass (inside ski) turns.
     
  5. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Parabolic is a term for a specific Elan shaped ski, it has been blanketed like "Keenex" or "Xerox" to cover all shaped skis. There are/were some pretty good reverse cambered skis like the original Völkl RTM's that were reversed camber that carved well, once put up on edge but even Völkl recognized that camber is important, camber provides a connection to the snow and rebound.
     


  6. WheatKing

    WheatKing Ice coast carveaholic Skier

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    Psychological commitment to the turn.. depending on what you call hard snow.. actual ice (think bormio) requires sharp edges and 100% commitment and trust of your gear. you can't half ass a turn or abandon the basics.. which is why most people can't ski ice.. mistakes here hurt.. bad.. hero snow aka groomed hardpack gives enough that you can get away with a multitude of errors in form and still get the ski to bend and carve, rather than 100% edging.. snow will pack under the tip of the ski and build a platform for the base.

    You can have all those skill above.. but if the mind says no.. then it aint happening.
     
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  7. Fishbowl

    Fishbowl A Parallel Universe Skier

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    Correctly alligned boots.
     
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  8. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

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    Pretty much in agreement with 0.P.
    4. My antique "straight" SG skis carve great turns on ice; it's just that the turns they carve when tipped to a 60 degree angle are 35 m radius turns instead of 7 m radius turns like my SCs will carve.

    As to tips not carving with the mid section, that happens in two cases: tip rocker until ski is tipped far enough to engage tips, and full cambered when underfoot stiffness prevents mid ski from bending to extreme shape dialled from tipping angle but tips bend past turn shape being carved by mid ski.
     
  9. JESinstr

    JESinstr Lvl 3 1973 Skier

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    Let's see,
    If a ski is on edge and bent and if tail is following tip what else could the ski be doing other than attempting to create circular travel?

    At its core Ski Carving is the act of converting straight line travel into circular travel... period.

    What we are really talking about when we talk carving is how effectively,efficiently and most important, sustainably we can accomplish this task.

    LF specified "Hard Snow" but if you are coming down a slope in hip deep powder, managing pressure more to the base of the ski than the edge structure, are we then not carving?

    IMO Carving is a state of being. It should be discussed in terms of obtaining purity in relation to the surface. The more skidding is introduced (by accident or purpose) the less pure it becomes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
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  10. Coach13

    Coach13 Getting off the lift Skier

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    Early turn engagement of the edges and patience are what I think about. Much of the rest just happens after that for me.
     
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  11. tch

    tch What do I know; I'm just some guy on the internet. Skier

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    Q: is it possible to carve, given LF's definition, any radius or slope? I'm good up to a certain point, but after it gets too steep, I start to brush the tails and shorten the turns. A lot of it is speed: I get going past my comfort level and need to brake. Some would say I simply need to keep carving to finish the turn -- theoretically until I'm perpendicular to the fall line or even pointing uphill -- but then that takes up a whole lot more ski run than I usually have.

    Is this simply my failure of technique (perhaps I could apply more bending force to the ski and shorten the radius that way), or is there some kind of practical limit to slope angle? Serious question.
     
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  12. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

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    If you are carving well on a sl radius ski on a narrow black trail you will soon reach a speed at which the turns you can make will exceed the radius a sl ski can cleanly carve. Solutions exist however, GS, SG, and DH skis, or hockey stop and start over.
     
  13. jack97

    jack97 Getting off the lift Skier

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    Using LF's definition it's not possible to carve with any radius or slope. BTW, there are some who believe the vid below is another form of carving. In addition, is more practical for the narrow trails in New England and tight glades.

     
  14. mdf

    mdf back to being an ordinary Gatheree Skier

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    Yesterday I was carving on an icy moderate slope. When I switched to a steeper slope, as speed built I felt like I was doing the same thing, but the sound told me my edges were partly going sideways. From past experience, I know that if I work at it I can keep the carve going a little longer, but even so it will eventually break free. I didn't try turning further up the hill because a) I didn't think about it, and b) it was crowded so I wanted to stay predictably in my "lane."
     
  15. Andy Mink

    Andy Mink I am a half fast skier. Moderator

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    I run into the same thing. On lower angle trails where speed is maintained by lack of gravity, I'm good. On steeper trails that are wide and uncrowded I'm good for a bit then I hit the speed comfort level where I begin to use the turn as speed control. I'm sure (100%) that a good bit of that is my skill level is not there yet. Also, I really REALLY don't like to crash. I'll live with brushed turns in exchange for comfortable speed. This goes to the mental/equipment trust issue. My brain knows what to do but the connection between brain and body is sometimes blocked by common sense and self preservation.

    I comfort myself by watching race footage and realize that they're not really carving all the time either. On the other hand, it's hard to carve when your skis are only on the ground about 10% of the time.
     
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  16. WheatKing

    WheatKing Ice coast carveaholic Skier

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    100% carved turned on steeps are recipe for disaster as you never really scrub speed.. unless you're some super athlete. i'm a normal joe.. something I do now (learn from experience) instead of slowing at the bottom of the turn (were forces are highest) brush the top of the turn past transition, before being directly down the fall line and then carve the bottom.. otherwise known as a stivot. Skip to 1:08 in the video.



    Is it an ugly way to ski.. hell ya it is.. but it keeps speed in check, still allows a carve albeit with a delayed edge set. Just another tool in the tool set.
     
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  17. tch

    tch What do I know; I'm just some guy on the internet. Skier

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    WK, thanks for the video! I never knew what a stivot was. Wow. It seems sorta like a "slide into a carve" technique and awkward as hell for normal folks -- the transition between the sliding/turning into the carve seems ripe for disaster if you're not prepped/skillful.

    LF, sorry for the thread drift....
     
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  18. Viking9

    Viking9 Getting on the lift Skier

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    A nice easy blue/green slope, a must for someone to show off their true carving skills, nothing but pure railroad tracks for as far as the eyes can see.
     
  19. Old boot

    Old boot Getting on the lift Skier

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    Maybe want to watch this ,even if they talk funny part of the time
     
  20. WheatKing

    WheatKing Ice coast carveaholic Skier

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    Not as awkward as you'd imagine.. and well.. a hell of a lot easier on the old bones and joints than controlling speed going into the bottom of the turn.. the video over exaggerates it (because racing) but explains it well. Try it.. not too difficult and the opposite of what most people do when trying to control speed on steeper sections.
     
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