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Carving on steep terrain

VTKilarney

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Having just come back to skiing, I am working on carved turns with my shaped skis. I made quite a bit of progress yesterday at Bretton Woods.

One problem I am having is that I don't feel like I am controlling my speed enough on steep terrain. I'm used to skidding in a turn, and now that I am carving more, I feel like I get going too fast - or at least am not slowing down as much as I would like to. I usually wind up coming to a full stop and starting over, which I know is not a good technique.

What's the proper technique in this situation? Do you just go ahead and skid to bleed off speed? I've read a suggestion that you don't exit your turn as quickly, but this seems hard to implement in reality.
 
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from_the_NEK

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Not exiting your turn as early = making longer/wider turns which = cutting across the fall line of the trail rather than down it. This can be used to control speed, but it could also turn you into one of those skiers that takes up 3/4ths of the trail. This video sums it pretty well:
I find that I usually carve most of my turns but I like to ski fast and therefore resort to the skid method of slowing down if I'm approaching traffic rather than widening the radius of my turns.
 

VTKilarney

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I found this quote online:

Carve turns feel great on easy slopes where you have confidence to let the ski run without a skid. Where you are on steeper slopes and you want to control your speed turn your foot and the ski will skid nicely through the turn. The new carving skis are great because after you have skidded enough to slow yourself down, if you just roll over onto the edge the turn is finished off in a nice round arch. They are very smooth!

Exactly how do I "turn my foot"? Do they mean away from the hill?
 
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legalskier

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One problem I am having is that I don't feel like I am controlling my speed enough on steep terrain. I'm used to skidding in a turn, and now that I am carving more, I feel like I get going to fast - or at least am not slowing down as much as I would like to. I usually wind up coming to a full stop and starting over, which I know is not a good technique.

What's the proper technique in this situation? Do you just go ahead and skid to bleed off speed? I've read a suggestion that you don't exit your turn as quickly, but this seems hard to implement in reality.

Carving will generate more speed than skidding, which creates more friction. So the way I control my carving speed is exactly what you've read-- finishing my turns by directing my skis up the hill slightly at the end of the turn, which leaves a "smile" shaped arc in the snow across the trail... :smile: ...thus using gravity to slow me down.
To keep my skis more on edge (instead of skidding), I keep my shoulders parallel to the slope, which creates an angle at the hips between the upper & lower body, like this racer:

images


If you watched the Olympics, the racers who ended up on the podium were doing this and carving better than the racers who didn't. The commentators explained it pretty well using slow-mo segments.
 

bdfreetuna

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I like a little swoosh in the tail.

Either way on steeper stuff if you're trying to link turns you should make sure you're using your poles properly. What I do is point my downhill pole, 10 or 20 feet ahead of me to a spot on the ground where I intend to turn around. I won't do a good job explaining this properly, but it keeps you balanced and moving in rhythm.

I find good pole technique is much more critical on steep terrain.
 

SIKSKIER

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Make sure your not getting in the back seat as it becomes hard to control your speed there.The steeper it is the more forward you need to be.Be very aggressive and finish your turn more.
 

Twism86

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I also like to pick my lines way out in front of me as I go. Unless you are skiing first tracks or some fresh pow you might have some bumped up terrain or icy spots to maneuver through. I find that when I pick my lines I can carve and turn through them, going where I want to go, rather than skid turning to suddenly avoid areas I dont want to hit.

Not sure if that makes sense or is correct but just an observation of my own skiing.

Exactly how do I "turn my foot"? Do they mean away from the hill?

I think what that is trying to get at it is the difference between carving by rolling your feet side to side (to engage both edges) and carve vs turning your feet (or kicking out your heels) to skid the back end of the skis.
So, as I read it, its saying you roll your feet to the right to carve right. You want to scrub some speed so you kick out your heels (in the downhill direction) to skid a little.

*FYI Im no pro so if this is completely wrong please call me out, I dont want to confuse anyone!
 

Highway Star

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Carving will generate more speed than skidding, which creates more friction. So the way I control my carving speed is exactly what you've read-- finishing my turns by directing my skis up the hill slightly at the end of the turn, which leaves a "smile" shaped arc in the snow across the trail... :smile: ...thus using gravity to slow me down.
To keep my skis more on edge (instead of skidding), I keep my shoulders parallel to the slope, which creates an angle at the hips between the upper & lower body, like this racer:

images


If you watched the Olympics, the racers who ended up on the podium were doing this and carving better than the racers who didn't. The commentators explained it pretty well using slow-mo segments.

................seriously?
 

Twism86

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Also, again from my own experience, speed is your friend (within reason and your ability of course)! Trying to so too slow or slow down after I pick up speed is what resulted in most of my falls on steep terrain. Its better to just commit to a run, pick your lines and let gravity do its thing! Its also good to practice this when the slopes arent too jam packed as you build your skill on steeps.
 

wa-loaf

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Trying to so too slow or slow down after I pick up speed is what resulted in most of my falls on steep terrain..

Something is seriously wrong with your technique if this is happening.

Unless you are in a race course it's perfectly ok to scrub some speed with a little skid while carving on the steeps. And unless you are bringing your carve all the way around (using up most the trail) a good carve tends to accelerate you out of the turn. On steep trails when I'm not trying to hit Tunaspeed[SUP]TM[/SUP] I'll carve cleanly until I reach a speed I'm comfortable with and then throw in a few shorter radius turns with a little skidding to cut the speed some before charging on.
 

VTKilarney

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Keep in mind that this thread is to prevent Tunaspeed[SUP]TM[/SUP] from happening. Only a select few should be allowed to cross that barrier. I am not one of those few. I am not one of the chosen. I am a mere mortal and my speed must reflect that. :)
 

from_the_NEK

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I think my problem was I would lean towards the slope too much and then fall as my edges kicked out from underneath me.

This is exactly why a few quick short radius speed dumping skid turns that wa-loaf described are far preferable over trying to carve all the way around until you are shedding speed by going across the fall line. Trying to do that in slick or choppy conditions is a good way to lose an edge. The PSIA guys may frown but who cares :)
 

bdfreetuna

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I think my problem was I would lean towards the slope too much and then fall as my edges kicked out from underneath me.

My biggest wipeout in recent years was a hooked tip. But I didn't know it was really possible to fall face first on skis in most scenarios.

Those weren't ski blades were they?
 

Twism86

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My biggest wipeout in recent years was a hooked tip. But I didn't know it was really possible to fall face first on skis in most scenarios.

Those weren't ski blades were they?
Nope, no ski blades for me but they were rather short for me. 149cm and im 5'9''.

My falls like that all happened on icy blacks where I was struggling for grip and to get an edge. Still too uncomfortable to point straight down the fall line and crave my way down. I would get going fast then try and skid to slow down. So my skis are pointing perpendicular to the slope, struggling to grip and my body is leaning back toward the slope as well. Took a few falls on my right/left hip like that that left me sliding sideways down until it leveled off.

Its been at least 10 trips since a fall like that. Ive learned to avoid that situation and have better equipment that im more comfortable on. Not to mention gaining at least some more skill over that time, some haha.
 

mulva

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Nope, no ski blades for me but they were rather short for me. 149cm and im 5'9''.

My falls like that all happened on icy blacks where I was struggling for grip and to get an edge. Still too uncomfortable to point straight down the fall line and crave my way down. I would get going fast then try and skid to slow down. So my skis are pointing perpendicular to the slope, struggling to grip and my body is leaning back toward the slope as well. Took a few falls on my right/left hip like that that left me sliding sideways down until it leveled off.

Its been at least 10 trips since a fall like that. Ive learned to avoid that situation and have better equipment that im more comfortable on. Not to mention gaining at least some more skill over that time, some haha.

I can turn on ice using less tipping (rolling the feet) and less edge than on softer terrain, but full, finished, perfectly linked carves on ice doesn't work for me. Icy steeps will have snow to work with here and there and I look ahead to those spots to carve and control my speed. Now this may be more of a survival technique rather than any kind of desirable real skiing technique but trying for good looking carves on ice with my "all-mountain" skis just gets ends up in badly bruised hips for me.
 
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