Billy, Patrick, Lilly, Holly 4


Introduction to “carving”. The skis run along their edges – as if locked to a railway line – no sideways drifting. The exercises started with traversing from a very shallow gradient with the goal being to hold the skis on edge and let them turn you up the hill to stop.

  • Stand on inside edges of feet
  • Stand on the uphill edges of the skis
  • Move the body (CoM) uphill to insure the uphill ski is on its uphill edge
  • At low speed the two edges act as a platform of support
  • Two solid lines must be left in the snow – with a slight arc uphill

On very flat ground we then repeated the same from pointing straight downhill – then continued with very shallow turns attempting to have the skis carve all the time. Patrick struggled to keep the skis from skidding as he rushed the starts of his turns – a legacy from his “two footed” skiing and pushing the tails outwards. Patrick was encouraged to widen his stance and be patient at the start of each turn. Lilly was skidding initially but soon managed clean carving for most of her turns. Billy was amazingly quick to understand and is perhaps the fastest to learn carving that I’ve ever seen.

Group photo on the carving piste with Mont Blanc in the background…
Holly following Hunt on a green slope – then directly onto a black slope… (That’s called “trust”!)

Impressive bank of cloud in the Val d’Isère valley…


Forget the times today – big ruts are not ideal for attempting to bring carving into slalom for the first time. Higher speed from carving is almost guaranteed to launch you straight out of the course and into the banks of snow building up outside the ruts. The course also appeared significantly slower today. In reality accurate comparisons can only be made “on the day”.  The training predictably started out with crashes – but the boys did extremely well to bring this under control, constantly adapting and becoming more stable.


Lilly was working on developing a strong and confident impulse with the uphill leg to push the CoM into the new turn – but not only moving laterally to the skis but forward over the fronts of the skis and downhill at the start of the turns – so as to avoid being left back on the tails of the skis as they turn downhill. The aim is to anticipate the change in slope pitch (from the horizontal traverse) and the acceleration. In the video she is starting to use the fronts of the skis and is parallel even on the steeps due to successfully moving her body instead of stemming the uphill ski. 


Billy was taking a relatively slow line today (turning high on the rise line) to try to contain the speed of the carve and avoid tangling with the ruts below the gates. (I didn’t tell them that this form of line is longer and so quite slow!) Billy’s fall was mostly just bad luck (before he changed his line) – this time he wasn’t on the backs of his skis – the carving seems to have provided clearer feedback for him to be more centred. The only way to have prevented the fall (other than changing the line) was to have committed even more forcefully to the outside ski – the same thing that Lilly was working on. The line Billy had taken on this early run (and fall) was “late” due to his carving speed.  Billy’s dynamic range is starting to get interesting with the extra grip and support from carving allowing him to incline much more than before. 


Patrick’s fall actually started at the same rut that took out Billy – and for the same reason! Patrick however stayed up until losing control at the next gate. More commitment  to the outside ski would have prevented the problem at both gates. Patrick was also later working on turning high on the rise line but what’s more important is that he managed to start to get his feet apart when necessary and start to use independent leg action. Perhaps the rough course conditions were exactly what was necessary to encourage this change to take place.

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