Snowboarding Forum - Snowboard Enthusiast Forums banner

Deep carving, Kijima method

142992 Views 1362 Replies 72 Participants Last post by  powaranoia
Ok guys here goes. I offer this purely as a demonstration of how I get this job done, and a bit of an insight into how I think about snowboarding itself. I will try to upload pics and video in time.
My stats are 40 years old, 191cm, 84kg, US10 burton boot, Rome Katana bindings and my own hand made snowboard which is 142cm, 30.5cm waist, 1m edge, 12m radius

My focus in this post will be body movements not board actions.
When I think about my snowboard I ride poorly, when I think of body positions I ride with much more fluidity and start progressing quickly.
To me carving is like dancing, when you get it right you find your body doing a funny little dance, focusing and perfecting this dance until your muscles learn the rhythm is key. This leaves our mind free, free to identify mistakes and make the appropriate corrections, the body works on autopilot, it is our mind that will get us there.

Unlearning bad muscle memory is a huge part of learning to lay it down, the way I unlearned my bad muscle memories was by getting very dynamic with short turns, hundreds of them every day. I can hear the sound in my head as I type, woosh, woosh, woosh, woosh as my board wraps itself around my body with newfound effortlessness. In short time your muscles learn the new memories, the new dance.
I call mine the dolphin dance, cause I kinda feel like a mix between a dolphin and a surfer duck diving a wave as I do it. One thing that my dolphin dance does for me is it automatically gets me bending my knees at the right time. That natural curve that a dolphin swims with is how I visualize my body movements, its an up and down rhythm. When we add up and down rhythm to our turn we become dynamic. You can call yours anything you like, but learn yourself a carving dance, I can practice carving in my living room simply by doing my little dolphin dance. Enough said on that lol.
edit. Most competent snowboarders think they can skip this step but they are the ones you see hunched over at the waist reaching for the snow.

Now that we have mastered the dynamic body movements, its time to start trying to lay it down. Now we will run into lots of problems, identifying the problems we run into and dealing with them pronto is how we will progress. It is critical that we use methods we understand clearly, there is no room for confusion here.
Following are some things that my experience has proven to be true, I‘m not interested in arguing these points, to me they are simply true.

1. Think of a triangle between your two feet and your front shoulder, a constantly variable triangle, weight distribution from front to back over your board can be controlled by manipulating this triangle. Your front shoulder is all you need to move to manipulate this triangle. I like to imagine a grid, my shoulder fills one square in the grid, if I feel chatter at the front of my edge I move my shoulder one grid position forward and the chatter is eliminated, likewise for the back edge. Get to know your chatter points by seeking them out and correcting them.

2. A snowboarder is a joy stick. The snowboarders front shoulder is the ball on top of the joy stick. If you want to get lower to the snow, the joy stick must be tilted over. Moving your front shoulder is how you lean it over. Give power to your shoulder as you practice, let your body recognize its importance. I push things around, open doors etc, basically do random shit with my shoulder all the time when I am not snowboarding. Its like my body respects my shoulder as an important part of my body now. This helps my snowboarding immensely .

3. A turn is simply a by product of upper body rotation.

So we now have 3 things to think about as per my previous list.
Number one is all about simplification of front to back weighting of the edges.
Number two is all about simplification of leaning it over.
Number three is all about simplification of both turn initiation and completion and it also plays a critical role in in the heel side lay down carve which I will talk about later.

So we learned our muscle memory and now we have only 3 things to think about, our shoulder, our shoulder and our shoulders lol. This is getting easy now.

Lets talk toe side lay down turns. For me it starts with identifying a nice piece of snow to do the carve on, I like a slight berm or slightly concave terrain as this eases the amount of flex required of the board, effectively making your turn bigger and longer.
I am travelling directly across the hill as I start and finish this turn.
So the main difference between Ryans method and my method is that Ryan finishes his heel turn fully squatted, flips to the toe edge and extends out his body where as I finish my heel turn by straightening my legs completely and popping up, by popping up I harness the stored energy in the board and get a little bit of air as I shift to the toe edge.
Now the straight legs that I just stood up with are the straight legs that will carry me through the turn, no extension is necessary. Because muscle memory will carry me effortlessly through the turn, and that from this beautifully set up position my board has no option but to race around my body as I fall forward with straight legs. By the time my face approaches the snow the board is already pointing down hill, my shoulder quickly drops back a few grid positions to avoid folding the nose of the board over. My two gloves effortlessly touch the snow unlike Ryans one forearm, ITS PARTY TIME, and ever so quickly its over as I bend my knees which lets the board come under me and picks me up, if I‘m good I can straighten my legs and get some air as I exit the turn.

When I tried Ryans method my heel turns felt very undynamic staying crouched the whole time and not popping out of the turns. My heel turns lost efficiency and caused me to lose momentum into the lay down carve which really hurts your confidence.

Now lets talk heel side lay down turns.
The heel side lay down turn feels so much better than the toe side turn for some reason and looks way cooler IMO.
So the heel turn starts with over exaggerated shoulder rotation as you finish your toe turn.
Find a chair, sit down in it, now stand up and down a few times, noting where your butt automatically goes to. Now stand up again and rotate your shoulders simulating the end of a toe side turn, try to sit back in your chair with your shoulders still rotated, your butt moved huh? This is the secret.
I start my heel turn travelling across the slope with my shoulders still fully rotated from the toe turn, the pop from the toe turn exit unweights the board, whilst the board is in the air I shoulder my body weight across to the heel side and begin to sit down on the snow. Once my butt touches the snow it is super easy to bring both gloves down onto the snow and enjoy heel side Party Time. To exit the turn simply bend your knees and the board will pick you up.
When you learn this you will actually sit on the snow a lot but as you get better you can finesse the joystick action with your shoulder to keep your butt just off the snow.

The other variation of this is the fully flat on your back style which I am working on at the moment but this comes with much higher risk of injury so I am rocking a back protector now for it.
For the lay flat you simply don’t bring your hands to the front and lay down on your back, its an easy position to get into but it is much harder to stand up from and I am tending to 180 out of it which I can obviously fix by moving my shoulder back a grid position or two.

If you have questions fire away.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 4
1 - 12 of 1363 Posts
(I have nothing to add, just want to follow this thread.)
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Hm. Are you sure about this? I usually think of it as a "soggy 8" (works in 3 dimensions!). See pic. But ofc I might be wrong; granted, I'm not an advanced rider...


See less See more
Seppuccu: I think you are on the right track about this, in theory, except that the vast majority of riders will move their head further forwards than their hips whilst on a toeside turn. The exception would be shallow to medium carving and performing a "soul arch" toeside turn, something rarely seen surfing let alone snowboarding.
I was perhaps more thinking of the COG moving than just the hips and the head standing still in the middle - but you are right. With deeper aggressive carves it becoms more difficult to uphold, especially for tall dudes like me and Kijima...although I'm sure Mikkel Bang would be able to soul arch the shit out of it, felt he inclined to do so. :D
Updated hip movement map
That orange section is seriously driving the hips into the toe turn. It may be my biggest oddball finding so far lol.
Guess I will have to try it out on Sunday. :)
  • Like
Reactions: 1
That's a very nice way of telling us we're just inventing the wheel all over again. :D
  • Like
Reactions: 2
The hula hoop method means, while carving on my toe edge, I'm shifting my weight from aft to fore as the turn progresses, right? In that case, compared to figure 8, I'd have less pressure on the rear contact point when it was most needed: at the point in a turn where all the forces a carved turn is acting against come together and the edge is the most at risk of washing out.
These were my thoughts exactly.

So even if you can initiate a turn that way, I don't see what the advantage is. You'll be artificially limiting how hard you can rail a toe edge carve in order to gain... what?
A better heelside turn, which is the problem that most snowboarders have. I suppose. If one is to believe Niel McNab, most snowboarders have a problem in linking the finish of the toeside turn and the beginning of the heelside turn, and Kijima's concept might, counter-intuitively, help with that.

Also: The more I'm thinking about it the more I think the "hula hoop" might not be evenly paced throughout the circle, and it's probably not as big toeside as heelside.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
My buddy is coming up on saturday to film.
You guys get out the popcorn, Ill put on my knights armour and release a quick edit of a few turns lol.
You should get one of those silly bird-view head mounted pole cameras so we can study your hula-hoop movement. :D
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Those arm movements are more or less what I've noticed Nicholas Wolken use a lot in his carves (see Yearning for Turning). I've been trying to emulate his riding a bit lately. Success has been moderate at best. :)
Spent a few days in Åre last week and tried the principles of hula hoop out. My assessment is that basically it works, with a few comments.

First of all, the reason I think it works is simply because my heelside carves have never felt so good.

My foremost reservation is that it probably works best with a snowboard with a long sidecut - which is what Kijima has been claiming all the time. With my Rossi One LF, which has progressive and overall tight radii, I often felt that my feeble ass kind of got overpowered by the board when switching to toeside, because I was going straight to the tail section of the board's sidecut. But maybe it was because I was just to much in the backseat, or maybe I forgot to drive my front knee in, or maybe I just suck, or perhaps even all of it, idk.

Anyways, for what it's worth here's a short video of me trying. Disclaimer: I am fully aware I'm not "Eurocarving" - like I already said I only "tried the priciples". Not dragging my ass in the snow and not soul arcing. But the basic hip movement is there.
See less See more
@Seppuccu cool vid! I think if you slow down the rotation of your weight you’ll draw those turns out longer and deeper.
It's pretty lame, but I've never had much of a problem flashing my inadequacies in public. :) Thanks for the encouragement and the tip - I'll try it out again in Kvitfjell this weekend (unless I get sick again; knock on wood).
1 - 12 of 1363 Posts