Why can't I carve?

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by Captain Furious, Dec 29, 2018.

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  1. Captain Furious

    Captain Furious A ticking time bomb of fury Skier

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    Very frustrated. I grew up skiing with my feet close together (but I SUCKED) and then when I started skiing again after a 20 year hiatus, back in 2012, I kept skiing with my feet close together. Now my 14 yo son is racing and he has that beautiful carving technique down perfectly. Of course I can't carve worth a damn, no matter how hard I try. I just can't get comfortable spreading my feet apart more than 10". I also don't know how to get weight on that outside ski if my feet are apart so I can't ever get a true carved turn. Instead, all of my turns are of the brushed variety. When we have fresh snow, soft snow and/or moguls, I've very happy skiing the way I always have b/c it serves me well. I can rip down the mogul field and I get great explosion out of my skis when I'm skiing in soft snow. However, as soon as it turns to hard pack / boiler plate, I'm skidding all over the hill. It's really frustrating. When I got a lesson recently, I found it to be totally debilitating and my skiing actually suffered. I think the guy just threw waaaaaaaaaaaaaay to much at me at once. I now understand the old adage, "it's the indian, not the arrow". Any suggestions besides lessons, which I'm signing up for? Keep in mind that my narrow stance serves me extremely well except when the conditions turn rock hard; then I'm toast. BTW, I ski primarily in Maine and New Hampshire and get an average of 50 days per year. Of course b/c I ski in New England, the conditions are generally more hard than they are soft.

    Thanks.

    Bill
     
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  2. Doug Briggs

    Doug Briggs Skiing the powder Industry Insider Pugski Ski Tester

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    The width of your stance will affect your balance on two skis but more importantly the inside leg will affect how you can or cannot get your weight to your outside ski.

    It sounds like you are probably balanced between both skis. Carved turns, as you noted, require more outside than inside ski pressure.

    The inside leg needs to flex so that you don't build up pressure on it. In order to get your inside leg to flex, it is helpful for the inside knee be moving towards the inside of the turn. I would suggest initiating turns by moving the inside knee into the turn; the outside knee and leg will follow naturally.

    The other key concern for getting carved turns is to start your turn carving which generally involves tipping the ski with the feet, ankles and knees. Avoid using rotary leg/foot movements to begin the turn as that will lead to a skid to start which is much harder to turn into a carve.

    Also consider that while you may not achieve perfect carves, both of the suggestions I gave will help you to achieve better edge angles. Brushed/skidded turns with more edge angle are much stronger and provide more control than brushed/skidded turns with less edge angle. Kind of obvious but worth mentioning.

    If you could provide video it would be greatly helpful in us evaluating what will help.
     
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  3. Scruffy

    Scruffy Out on the slopes Skier

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    Since you stated you are planning on taking lessons, that is the place to start--find a good instructor and don't expect just one lesson to cover it.

    I'll just add that there is no reason to give up on your current skiing style for bumps, if it's serving you well. Think of learning to carve well as adding skills not changing everything all the time, but having said that, carving will improve your soft snow skiing as well, out of the bumps usually, but even in bumps if you choose to throw in some other style of bump skiing. Also get a good front side carver ski with a good 1/3 tune on it.
     
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  4. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Do you have video?
     
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  5. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Curious why do you turn?
     
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  6. JPM

    JPM Booting up Skier

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    " Now my 14 yo son is racing and he has that beautiful carving technique down perfectly."


    Maybe you could drop your son off at your work and you go to race camp.:roflmao:

    I am sure your instructor has given you exercises that will help guide you through the process. Are you doing your homework?
    A race coach friend would constantly tell me "practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect"
     
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  7. Erik Timmerman

    Erik Timmerman Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Are your skis sharp? Seriously, good luck balancing on your outside ski if it is dull.
     
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  8. CalG

    CalG Out on the slopes Skier

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    Do the thousand steps drill . There is really nothing magic about having your feet 10 inches apart.
    If you can stand on one ski in a turn, you can carve!
     
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  9. JPM

    JPM Booting up Skier

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    Whats the infatuation with outside ski, inside edge, I paid for all that fancy sidecut, flex and four edges and like to use two edges when carving. Outside ski, inside edge, inside ski, inside edge and weight equally balanced between the two skis. Am I missing something?
     
  10. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    your missing alot and honestly we can debate but its not up for debate.

    Myt one question to you JPM is whats easier for you. Carving on the outside ski with the inside ski lifted? or carving on the inside ski with the outside ski lifted?

    and then tell me why which one you find easier is easier, if you know? i mean you must know with the statement like that. I am also curious if you think WC alpine racers are equally weighted when racing or even when doing drill? What do you think again why? I know why, and i tell you, but I want to hear why you think you should have equal weight, well unless your a tele skier, and then the mechanics change. If your a tele skier then there is no need to comment on alpine skiing tec threads.
     
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  11. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    just to be clear the inside ski carves as well but there is almost no balance on it.
     
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  12. JPM

    JPM Booting up Skier

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    That's why I asked and I have no idea what is going on with WC skiers. I am not here to argue with anybody about mechanics. I want to know why nobody is discussing the other edge when carving. I have no problem switching back and forth between or skiing both outside ski, inside edge and inside ski, inside edge. Just practicing and doing what the certified instructors taught me.
     
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  13. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    I mean the thing is the inside ski is active but there just isnt balance on it. Its bio mechanically easier to balance on your outside ski, because the muscles in our body can support weight easier when are legs is outside of us, than when it inside. Also as you skis turn you naturally get pulled to the outside meaning that balancing on your outside ski, leads to more pressure on your outside ski.

    I still want to know why the OP turns though, my guess it has more to do with his intent than skills.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  14. Tony S

    Tony S aka qcanoe Skier

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    You really want help? You need to let go of this. Change your mental model of what great skiing looks like - on all kinds of terrain and snow, not just ice. Burn the wooden racquet. Start over from scratch. I'm sure others will post video of good models.

    I was there 15 years ago. I sucked, and I didn't know I sucked because I skied pretty. Or what I thought was pretty. In any case it was essentially non-functional.
     
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  15. Coach13

    Coach13 Out on the slopes Skier

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    Absolutely true statement which is why I always scratch my head with the weighting of the inside vs outside ski debates. In my skiing world I never give this much thought as it just happens.
     
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  16. mister moose

    mister moose Instigator Skier

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    As mentioned, make sure your skis are well tuned. Then find an instructor that knows what outrigger turns are, and see what 50 of those do for your situational awareness.

    1) Close foot separation goes completely out the window.
    2) Carving sensations are accentuated, and edging the ski is the focus.
    3) High edge angles with good lateral balance give great learning opportunities.
     
  17. Chris V.

    Chris V. Getting on the lift Skier

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    No one can really say why you can't carve without seeing you ski.

    But there are two common causes of these problems that I'd urge you to explore:

    (1) The alignment of your gear may be off. A basic goal of alignment is that both ski bases should be flat to the snow with you standing naturally with feet about hip distance apart. Sure, it's more complicated than that, but that's a start. When you're in "neutral," you don't want the edges hooking up. When you're turning, you want both skis to be tipping to the same angle. The most functional stance will vary a bit according to body type, some a little narrower, some a little wider, but using hip distance as a guideline. If you feel ungainly without having your feet very close, it could be an alignment issue. If your alignment is off such that you can't edge properly, it's going to be awfully hard to carve. I may sound like a broken record, but if you're skiing 50 days a year, you'll probably consider the investment in getting aligned worthwhile. A nice present to yourself. (It helped me.) Figure about $150 for evaluation and adjustments to your boots, or if that's not possible, to one pair of skis. Get a referral. Don't just go to any old ski shop and expect whoever's on duty to be able to do a proper job.

    (2) Many skiers don't fully appreciate the difference between turning the legs in the hip socket, and turning the feet using primarily the subtalar joint. Or to refine it further, the skill of turning in the hip socket without redirecting the feet. If you turn the feet in turn initiation, you're going to start off skidding, or brushing, whatever you want to call it. Yes, you can find lots of video of World Cup racers starting a turn by redirecting the feet, THEN engaging in a carve, but it's a difficult skill. For most of us, the pathway to carving is early edge engagement without twisting into a new steering angle. Easily 98% of the skiers you'll see on the mountain don't manage to do this. If this is your issue, get lessons.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
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  18. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    There are entire threads on this, like the Pulling Inside Foot back thread.
     
  19. Andy Mink

    Andy Mink I am a half fast skier. Moderator Pugski Ski Tester

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    You mentioned you've been off for 20 years. When you came back did you get new gear or are you using your old skis and boots? A lot can change in 20 years. Weight, strength, FEET, etc. As noted above, how are your edges? 20 years ago a 1°/2° or 1°/3° edge was fairly new, at least for recreational skiers. The old 90° edge will not serve you as well as what I guess could be considered a more modern edge tune.
     
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  20. Doug Briggs

    Doug Briggs Skiing the powder Industry Insider Pugski Ski Tester

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