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Deep carving, Kijima method

129385 Views 1351 Replies 69 Participants Last post by  Rip154
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.
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What are the main points that have helped you?

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It really tightened up my fundamentals. If all you work on for awhile is turning, all of your turns get better. I'm riding better and using less energy. I'm grateful to this thread and all of its participants.

Specifically I felt like it fundamentally changed my freeriding. Instead of bombing and doing hockey stops that blind you with faceshots or bleeding off speed with lots of shifty back foot movements, I'm more carving through the powder among the trees. I'm also in much finer control of my nose to tail balance, which makes all kinds of things easier- like not getting bucked around when you bounce off of hidden roots and rocks early season. Really getting on the nose helps in moguls. Your back leg is free to float and shift from toe to heel while the nose drives turns through the bumps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,307 · (Edited)
I spent a few seasons getting up on the nose for heel turns and couldn't work out how to weight the back of the board as the turn finishes.
This season I have been trying to stay off the front foot as much as I can and it's working.
This is what I worked out, my upper body is where the bulk of my weight is, and if I put my weight out in front it will all flow down my front leg and I end up locked in a front leg only turn.
In a front leg only turn your board doesn't flex properly, the front flexes a lot and the back stays much straighter. This is the cause of the double line in your tracks if you ever see one. Uneven board flex.
This pic I scooped off the net, it's not me but shows exactly how my heel turns used to be. Heavily rotated, one leg weighted and uneven board flex.
Snow Sports equipment Slope Snowboarding Winter sport


So I figured if my front leg can do the first 3/4 of the turn alone then my back leg should be able to do the last 3/4 of a turn on it's own.
I squared my shoulders up, dialled back my stance angles and started trying heel turns with no rotation and found it very easy to finish the turns with power. Unlike before.
I ended up being able to do bum down heel turns without putting my hands on the snow.
With the skills I learned by doing that I have been able to really hold back my upper body rotation and finish my heel turns cleanly, with power and control.
The trick was to not get on the front leg in the first place.
My board flex looks like this now and it leaves a razor sharp track.
Azure Snow Slope Ice cap Geological phenomenon


In video it looks like this. For me personally the heel turn is almost complete, the toe turn just needs the front shoulder opened up, relax the posture and swing down like a pendulum, without bearing weight on the snow.

 

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Discussion Starter · #1,311 ·
@Kijima,
Am I right saying that this tecnique requires even more leg control ie stronger quads and glutes?
As you are not pushing into the turn with your front leg it seems this is really the controlled pace of the squat that does it all.
Actually my heel turn now uses very little energy, the pendulum swing takes me down, I fold at the hips, no squat to speak of so not much leg strength really required, then the pendulum effect lifts me up effortlesly. Same for the toe turn. It requires little energy.

Patience and delayed movements are what I used to get this style of turn. Everything I recommended in years gone past was essential, I still recommend people to learn heel turns in the same way.
Let the toe turn run up hill.
Rotate heavily.
Squat while rotated until you sit on the snow.
Once on the snow rotate back around. People who follow these rules generally start touching their bum in heel turns within a few hours.
Once you lock that down I recommend patience and delay. Hold everything back and let the pendulum swing do all the work with a fold at the hips rather than a squat at the knees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,312 ·
Window Light Wood Office supplies Computer desk

This is what I worked out about weighting my board.
Upper body is like a water tank sitting on a table. If the tank is pushed to one side you cannot expect much weight to flow down the other leg.
If you look at anyone who does heavily rotated heel turns you will see where they are putting their weight, out over the front leg. They will usually prefer a set back board with a long nose as that brings the front leg close to the middle of the board because that's how they flex the board. They will usually hide it with speed and cannot perform a slow carve with the same action.
A good carving method will work regardless of speed, you should be able to do it fast or slow , doing it slowly is far better practice actually.
 

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This is what I worked out about weighting my board.
Upper body is like a water tank sitting on a table. If the tank is pushed to one side you cannot expect much weight to flow down the other leg.
If you look at anyone who does heavily rotated heel turns you will see where they are putting their weight, out over the front leg. They will usually prefer a set back board with a long nose as that brings the front leg close to the middle of the board because that's how they flex the board. They will usually hide it with speed and cannot perform a slow carve with the same action.
A good carving method will work regardless of speed, you should be able to do it fast or slow , doing it slowly is far better practice actually.
Couple questions.

1. The hips are the pendulum?

2. The carving you describe is for a twin-ish board in regards to foot weighting?

I mean of course we all do changes in weighting with more freeride shaped decks.
But are you saying that with a set back deck we should be not forward weighing? I feel like it’s crucial to initiating the turn.


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Discussion Starter · #1,316 · (Edited)
Couple questions.

1. The hips are the pendulum?

2. The carving you describe is for a twin-ish board in regards to foot weighting?

I mean of course we all do changes in weighting with more freeride shaped decks.
But are you saying that with a set back deck we should be not forward weighing? I feel like it’s crucial to initiating the turn.


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1. The pendulum effect is basically harnessing the natural forces of the turn.
If you look at my heel turn in the vid above you can see I don't put much weight inside the arc until the g forces start to increase. Max g force occurs at the 3/4 point of the turn, by having patience at the start of the turn I have been able match the amount of weight inside the arc perfectly with the g forces of the turn.

2. I don't feel the board type has any influence over the turn, only that it is wide enough to avoid boot out and flexible enough to achieve the necessary arc.
If you want to carve like this you need a flexible board. I build bamboo boards purpose built for the task, stiffer boards just wont give you the same performance.

3. Forward weighting is super important, especially for people trying to change from their old method to my method. Without heavy forward weighting you will never achieve your goal, but as you know I've been at this for years now and I have improved and refined the method constantly. In the end weighting the nose became a trap that I got stuck in, I worked out that I would never be able to weight the tail because my mass was too far forward.
I still strongly recommend heavy forward weighting for anyone trying to bring new life to their heel turns, there's probably an entire season worth of front heavy turns there for anyone before they need to think about staying off the nose like i am now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,318 ·
I’m definitely too front heavy right now. Going with a wider board, in my case a Korua, was really a game changer for getting lower on heelside. I didn’t realize my heels were catching the snow on regular width boards! Very curious what something like your boards would feel like
I have a buddy who has a korua and also one of my 28cm wide Taiyaki 151. Korua is much stiffer especially between the feet.
I don't want to say a negative word about other boards, but this is a game of flex, stiff boards do not help you carve.
 

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Yeah I just mentionned that back leg problem in a couple other threads and totally agree with you here. On +/+ angles I have more troubles to put power on my back leg. If I'm not cautious, I tend to pivot around my front leg, which locks me in a position where I can squat as much as I should and makes my back leg useless and rotating inward a bit. This totally kill my end of turn and chaining/jumping into the next one. When I try to really square my shoulders and knees, it's much better, but I really don't do it as well as I do with classic +/0 or +/- angles, yet… practice :)

As for the Korua, I was very disoriented at first, because I too like boards that flex and have quite some rebound. But it just works. They way the tapper, setback and sidecuts are made, just make the board doesn't need that much flex. It can still carve all kinds of radius once you figure out how to sail it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,320 · (Edited)
Yeah I just mentionned that back leg problem in a couple other threads and totally agree with you here. On +/+ angles I have more troubles to put power on my back leg. If I'm not cautious, I tend to pivot around my front leg, which locks me in a position where I can squat as much as I should and makes my back leg useless and rotating inward a bit. This totally kill my end of turn and chaining/jumping into the next one. When I try to really square my shoulders and knees, it's much better, but I really don't do it as well as I do with classic +/0 or +/- angles, yet… practice :)

As for the Korua, I was very disoriented at first, because I too like boards that flex and have quite some rebound. But it just works. They way the tapper, setback and sidecuts are made, just make the board doesn't need that much flex. It can still carve all kinds of radius once you figure out how to sail it.
You feel the same thing I feel ;)
My angles were +45 +30, I went back to +30+15 to learn the no hands down heel turn but I have gone back to +45 +30 again.
If my front foot is not +45 I cannot pressure the side of my foot enough and the heel turn suffers.
 
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