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Old 01-10-2012, 01:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: San Francisco, CA
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Thanks snowolf, I think you diagnosed my problem accurately. I am certainly really cautious when switching edges, and I try not to drop my downhill edge too early. I did also notice that on edge changes, it's really easy to go into a skidded turn, so the only way I could prevent that was simply not to force the turn so sharply.

I'll try the drills you described. Thanks again!
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Old 01-11-2012, 05:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 83

Originally Posted by Snowolf View Post
For the most part this sounds as if you are using decent angulation for more dynamic carving and that is good. What I think you are feeling and questioning is this "slowness" in turn transition. From your description I have a pretty good idea of where this issue is coming from.

It sounds as if you are hesitating a bit still when committing to your edge change. If you look at your track, I am willing to guess what you see is a nice pencil thin line in the snow throughout most of your turn, but a 5 to 10 foot area where there is clear evidence of skidding where you transition from edge to the next and more noticeably on the heel to toe transition?

Front foot steering and torsional twisting of the board is for all types of skidded turns included very dynamic skidded turns and is an absolutely correct way to ride. In carving however, we really do not want to use this front foot then back foot method because that causes momentary skidding. The edge change in any carved turn should be instantaneous with both feet.

Now here is the challenge of doing this. As intermediate and advanced riders working on good carving, we have been so "trained" to NEVER, EVER allow our "downhill" edge to catch that we totally fight (consciously or subconsciously) doing so when learning to carve or improve our carves.

I have a drill that I use for my intermediate and advanced students that really helps them out and builds confidence in making these two footed committed edge changes. The easiest and first one to try is the "leaper". For now, use an up unweight to get the feel and pick a gentle enough slope that you are totally comfortable straight lining. Point the board and ride solidly on your edge at all times with a fairly low edge angle so you "drift" more than actually turn. To switch edges, crouch down a bit (flex) and with both feet, pop up so that your board pops up off of the snow and while in the air, tilt it onto the new edge and land solidly on the new edge. Do this for an entire run and you will really get a feel for making this 100% two footed full committed edge change.

Next, play with the "edge change drill" Pick a really mellow run that is very well groomed and ride basically flt based. It is going to be very crucial to keep your hips and shoulders aligned with the board to prevent rotation because the edge change drill can lead to edge catches if you are not fairly precise. All you do for this drill is while flat basing with your board cruising straight tip to tail, is rock from flt to toe, back to flat to heel, back to flat, back to toe and so on. You have to be quick and you cannot spend much time on either edge or you will begin to turn too much.

Finally, you can play around with the "leaper" turn using a down unweight as opposed to the up unweight or pop. This will feel really weird and is more difficult, but if you keep working at it, you will not only feel the results from a down unweight but also how effective it becomes for making this quick edge transition. To down unweight, you begin the maneuver in a fairly extended position. What you will do to unweight your board is completely flex as rapidly as possible as though your legs suddenly went limp. A lot of people can understand this concept better to thing of it as "sucking their legs up" like they do going off of a jump. However it makes sense to you, the concept is the same. In this momentary semi weightless environment, you will make that positive two footed edge change to reweight your board solidly on the new edge.

When you have gotten confident in making these instant, two footed edge changes what you will see in your track is this pencil thin line come out of the turn with a very short (just over a board length) section of almost no track at all followed by another pencil thin line making a new turn. Keep in mind, that snow conditions do have to be right for these "perfect" carves to pan out. If it is too soft or too hard, you are always going to get a little skidding. While that perfect pencil thin line is the ideal goal, AASI for example allows the track to be up to a board width (no more) to still be considered a carve. Unless the conditions are really icy, it is pretty easy to maintain 1/2 board width through all phases of your turn....
Do you have a video or anything on those exercises? I'm having a hard time visualizing it in my head.
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