PDA

View Full Version : What nobody tells you about learning to carve...



SWriverstone
March 2nd, 2009, 01:38 PM
Yeah, I know—it's a provocative title, but I swear I'm not trolling. :) I wanted to post about something I've been pondering for a few years...hopefully for the benefit of new carvers.

There are many outstanding articles on carving technique by Jack Michaud, Tom Palka and others. I've read them all and learned a lot from them.

But I've noticed there is one crucial aspect of carving that typically gets omitted from instructional articles. Maybe because people think it's obvious, or maybe because it's the most difficult thing to explain (in which case I'm gonna take a shot at it).

DISCLAIMER: I'm not an instructor, but I do think a LOT about what I do and what other people do and why. If you find anything wrong with the following, then by all means correct me. What follows is what I've noticed about my own carving, as accurately as I can express it.

-----
No matter what technique you use, a fundamental element of carving is learning to balance lean angle with centripetal force in a turn. Assuming you're doing everything else correctly (which is a big assumption for some of us, LOL), you will not just automatically carve great turns.

Every new carver has to go through the process of figuring out...
• How far you can lean at a given speed without falling, and
• Exactly how fast or slow you angulate—and to what degree you angulate—throughout the course of a turn to avoid falling

There are a lot of detailed descriptions of proper stance, initiating turns, how to angulate, rotation, etc...and though all of these things absolutely have an impact on carving, you could do all of them perfectly and still not be able to carve until you figure out those two bullets I mention above.

Regarding lean angle vs. speed: there is no way this can be taught, in my opinion. The only way each individual carver can learn this is by sheer practice, just doing lots and lots of turns. You have to figure it out for yourself, and it's different for everyone (depending on height, weight, weight distribution, board specs, etc.) It took me several seasons to feel like I'm starting to really get a handle on this.

Regarding the extent and speed of angulation: what I mean by this is that even if you know how to angulate perfectly, you don't just instantly "snap an angulation" when you carve a turn and "snap back" when the turn is done. It's a process that happens over the length of the turn...where (in my experience) you begin to angulate at the start of the turn...and as the turn progresses, so does your angulation, until you are at maximum angulation at the apex of the turn...then you gradually back off as the turn finishes. Like lean angle, knowing how to time this can't be taught (again, in my opinion). You just have to go out and figure it out for yourself.

-----
I think it's important for new carvers to realize this. I believe many beginning carvers study all the articles on doing the Norm, on proper stance, on weight distribution, on looking through the turn, etc. but still get frustrated when the "big carve" doesn't happen. They might have technical problems with things that can be fixed by an instructor or someone more knowledgeable...but (to reiterate) they can do everything perfectly and still not make it happen.

This is even more true of EC turns. Again, I think you can study proper body positioning 'til the cows come home...but you're still not gonna be able to lay out big EC turns until you've practiced for a few years and done a lot of turns (and fallen a lot).

Like I said, some more experienced carvers might read all this and say "Well DUH!" Yeah, it might be obvious...but I think it's important that everyone teaching anyone else to carve say "I can show you stance and body positioning and some other things...but some of the most important things you'll have to learn on your own through trial-and-error, and you won't learn those things unless you stick with it and do it a lot!

Scott

shawndoggy
March 2nd, 2009, 01:55 PM
Put me squarely in the "well duh" camp. It's like riding a bike... you pull more Gs and lean in harder when going faster than slower. I think this just patently obvious once you get the board to carve. This is why you don't see people EC'ing on green runs.

SWriverstone
March 2nd, 2009, 02:07 PM
But the problem is, carving isn't like riding a bike. I mean, it is in the sense that greater lean requires greater speed...but here's the difference:

When someone learns to ride a bike for the first time, the continued learning progression from "timid, upright turns" to "fast, leaned-over turns" happens relatively quickly (aided by the fact that rubber tires stick pretty well to dry pavement).

This is not the case with carving. Someone can struggle for an entire season (or longer) and never get past the "timid, upright turns" phase...because every time they pick it up a notch, they fall.

A bicyclist doesn't have to worry about angulation, weight distribution over/along the edge, timing, snow conditions, etc. On a bike, you just do it.

Not so in carving! :)

Scott

PS - Geez, can you imagine how hellish learning to ride a bike would be if you had to angulate to do a fast turn? LOL

shawndoggy
March 2nd, 2009, 02:21 PM
LOL, ever try taking a hard turn on a bike with your inside pedal down? Weighting does make a difference!

Weighting, countersteering.... I guess I'll concede it's more like riding a mountain bike out here in the desert (where angulation and weight balance makes a ton of difference).

Stand, sit, balance countersteer.... or washout and crash. Same is true for roadies. I don't have time to go find a better pic, but criterium racers get all over the bike to get the fastest line through a tight course. Look at the riders below... why do the first and third riders have their knees out? Not for aero braking!

http://www.ontariocycling.org/web_img/ew_img/Prov_Crit_08_dsj_corner.jpg

Of course you are right that one can make leaned turns pretty quickly on a bike. But not super-dynamic turns in variable conditions. The relationship between the norm and dynamic carving on steep terrain is quite similar.

jtslalom
March 2nd, 2009, 02:23 PM
By SWriverstone - Every new carver has to go through the process of figuring out...
• How far you can lean at a given speed without falling, and
• Exactly how fast or slow you angulate—and to what degree you angulate—throughout the course of a turn to avoid falling


I think this can be calculated. The exact "lean" angle can be calculated using a given speed, angle of inclination, and raduis of curvature and given the fact the board actually holds an edge. Just like in the article " The physics of a carved turn" that is here on this site, a free body diagram can be analyzed with incremental speed and sidecut radii that produce possible lean angles throughout a carve. There is no doubt that this can be found but as you sort of stated, why would you want to know?

First of all, who actually knows their own angle of inclination or angulation when riding. I have no idea what I even look like riding let alone the angle my body and board are at. I guess you could get some kind of jugdement by getting filmed and estimating the angles. You could possibly use the same tool people measure the degree of slopes.

Secondly, isn't that the idea about discovering the carve and as Jack Michaud wrote in "The Norm", I think that is one of the funnest parts about learning to carve. A rider finds out his own lean angles through trial and error and it's fun. I don't think there should be a need to know them. Even if you did know them, how could you use that info.

SWriverstone
March 2nd, 2009, 02:35 PM
You're right jtslalom, and I wasn't trying to prove anything in my original post...just point out that huge amounts of time on the slope is sort of the "white elephant in the room" when it comes to learning to carve.

It doesn't get talked about much because most people think it doesn't even need to be said...but I think it does need to be said to newbies!

Personally, I'd tell anyone just learning to carve, "It's fun and rewarding, but unless you hit the resort every single day your first season or two, it will take you a few years to really begin getting a handle on it." I think carving is unique in this regard...because with average freeride snowboarding and average skiing, people can get good enough in one season to skid down any slope in the world. But of course, nobody wants to ride a carving board like a freeride skidder...so there's a greater burden of mastery (and expectations) placed on the beginning carver than anyone else (even if we place that burden on ourselves!).

Scott

PS - Just looking at my avatar reminded me that carving is a lot like hang gliding in terms of time and commitment required just to be a solid intermediate. You can take a ride in a tandem hang glider, and anyone can fly a few feet off the ground at a sand dune or training hill...but to become a rated pilot flying solo from mountains and aerotowing will require a few years of hard commitment. (It's definitely not for the easily-discouraged.)

I wonder if this is why we just don't see many carvers out there?

James Ong
March 2nd, 2009, 03:30 PM
It doesn't get talked about much because most people think it doesn't even need to be said...but I think it does need to be said to newbies!

Scott

I could have told you all this stuff at SES but you never asked. :ices_ange

kjl
March 2nd, 2009, 03:35 PM
Personally, I'd tell anyone just learning to carve, "It's fun and rewarding, but unless you hit the resort every single day your first season or two, it will take you a few years to really begin getting a handle on it."

I disagree.

I think that obviously sidecut, speed, lean, angulation, etc. are all balanced each other, but I think that you are viewing it as something you absolutely need to get right, and if you're a tiny bit too leaned over or a tiny bit too slow or fast or angulated a little bit wrong that you will fail, and this is not the case.

If I hop on a new board that I've never ridden before, and I don't know what the sidecut is, it's not like I have to spend time recalibrating exactly how far I can lean at a given speed or how much to angulate given the speed and lean, etc.. Maybe on the first turn I'll feel a little "whoa!" when it doesn't turn as much as I expect, but I will usually not fail to carve that first turn, and things are pretty natural after a dozen turns or so.

I think the key thing in your riding to balance all these different variables is to make sure you make sure your body position is always in a place where you can be dynamic. Sure, if you flop into a carve from a cross-over transition with straight legs, maximum twist and angulation in your hips, and you lean over 70 degrees and are just hoping that the board's sidecut, your speed, and your lean is exactly right to hold your carve, you need to have everything dialed perfectly, because you don't have any leeway in your body position to make corrections with. But if you enter a turn with flexed legs, a more neutral body posture, and ride just a little more by feel, it is not that hard to compensate for different flexes in the board, different sidecut, different snow response, etc., just by feel.

From your description of the feeling you have riding (and admittedly I've never seen you ride, so take it with a grain of salt), I think you could drastically improve your riding experience by simply bending your knees more. And relaxing.

Radial
March 2nd, 2009, 03:43 PM
I think you are absolutly right on with this post! I have become a carving addict. I really have a hard time admitting how much time and effort I have put into this sport. I am a 53 year old business man whose car smells like the YMCA locker room, with muddy boots, various knee braces, candy bar wrappers, Red Bull cans, and more than a few beer bottles.

I admittedly have some age and physical limitations working against me but when it comes down to it, it is the fear of looking like a scared old man that drives me up to the hill every day.

I understand about the lean/centrifical thing but for me it is really more about confidence and fitness. We have had unusually hard snow and poor visibility much of this season. Sometimes I wonder why I am putting myself through it on the tough days with the board clattering my back teeth out and my legs shaking with fatigue.

Then I get a day like yesterday with few people, softer snow and good visibility and I know that it is all worth it with effortless edge changes deep fully controled carves on both sides and people just going nuts up in the chairs.

I can't think of another sport where you are going to have 14-15 year old kids seeking you out for high fives and wanting to know what the secret is.......

lamby
March 2nd, 2009, 05:01 PM
I think the key to getting really proficient at alpine riding is spending a ton of time on the snow digging the heck out of this sport.

Mellow Yellow
March 2nd, 2009, 06:58 PM
Personally, I'd tell anyone just learning to carve, "It's fun and rewarding, but unless you hit the resort every single day your first season or two, it will take you a few years to really begin getting a handle on it."

Rarely do I step into the "do this, not this" camp... however I have to disagree on this one.... in my opinion, the biggest boost to one’s own riding is not countless days on the snow, but rather hooking up for a day or two with a more experienced rider. Follow that rider, emulate that rider (assuming he or she knows what they are doing), have the rider follow you, let that rider bark out orders like; "rotate you fu*$%ng shoulders", bend your knees, relax.... you'll probably do more for your riding by doing that than you ever will reading articles and posting about what you should and should not do....

just my 2-cents :freak3:

Carry on.....

SnowieQc
March 2nd, 2009, 07:16 PM
Rarely do I step into the "do this, not this" camp... however I have to disagree on this one.... in my opinion, the biggest boost to one’s own riding is not countless days on the snow, but rather hooking up for a day or two with a more experienced rider. Follow that rider, emulate that rider (assuming he or she knows what they are doing), have the rider follow you, let that rider bark out orders like; "rotate you fu*$%ng shoulders", bend your knees, relax.... you'll probably do more for your riding by doing that than you ever will reading articles and posting about what you should and should not do....

just my 2-cents :freak3:

Carry on.....

Your 2 cents are worth a big CAD dollar !
There's so many routes one can take ... spending a whole lot of snow days alone, trying to get it the best you can and repeating over and over, or having an experienced rider to tag along or even an official instructor if available in your corner. Live tips are of great value.

In the mean time, at the root of it, instructor or not, carving buddy or not, one has to find the sweet spot like SWriverstone said. Gotta cleanly risk it at some point or another. Not under fatigue or stress though. If you accept to fall, it may help too :)

Good thread :cool:

Regards

www.oldsnowboards.com
March 2nd, 2009, 07:20 PM
I TOLD YOU !!! :confused: TWICE!!! You just didn't listen :nono:

I TELL EVERYONE EVERYTHING THEY EVER NEEDED TO KNOW> :eplus2:

NEED ME TO TELL YOU AGAIN??:smashfrea



Just a few {Pearls} :p

Get with an experienced rider.
Use a good stomp pad.
Start at the beginner area.
Get familiar with your gear BEFORE you get to the ski area.
Use a shorter, softer, wider, turnier board than what you are likely to eventually use.
Pad your ass, knees , wear a well fitting helmut.
Move to Colorado.
Fill out your Damn CP!!
Read, watch, search BEFORE you ask questions.
Clean your headlights off when you fill up.
Don't tailgate.
Never refuse a mint.
Oooops, getting carried away a bit.;)

Steve Prokopiw
March 2nd, 2009, 07:32 PM
that chicks dig the way hardboots lift our butts.

carvedog
March 2nd, 2009, 07:32 PM
a fundamental element of carving is learning to balance lean angle with centripetal force in a turn.

A fundamental element of riding a snowboard is learning to balance lean angle with centripetal force in a turn.

Or running around a corner
Or riding a motorcycle
You could go on and on...

Scott I am not sure exactly what it is you are looking for here. There is no magic pill to understand the subtlety and nuance of carving.

You are seeking understanding through words. For some that works, for others all the explanations in the world won't help as much as following someone for two runs.

On some boards there are larger and smaller sweet spots to be able to find the carve zone.

One thing you mentioned is body "positioning".
What I am constantly working on in my riding and in my students, is to think about groups of movements that work together, instead of body positions.

Subtle shift, but I wanted to mention it. Move, move, move and keep moving.

Dave ESPI
March 2nd, 2009, 07:34 PM
Step 1: stand up
Step 2: Point board down a hill
Step 3: go fast
Step 4: Lean
Step 5: fall
Step 6: repete step 1-3 and adjust 4 untill you can delete 5.
Step 7: Replace step 5 with "stand back up and lean other way".

This is all you will need to know.

:biggthump

Focus on step 3

big mario
March 2nd, 2009, 07:36 PM
Ride with others
ride blacks:eplus2:
or just over your head
ride, don't over analyze
own it
mario

David Glynn
March 2nd, 2009, 07:43 PM
For me it is a very tough thing to verbalize to a beginner carver. But we do talk about it to a small degree. They do, as we did, have to feel it and work it out by experience.
My experience is that unless you are teaching someone who is very cerebral it is a waste of time to verbalize this to any depth.
However there is a drill that I have them do that seems to help and makes this thing which is hard to verbalize very obvious through feel.
I pick a spot for us to stop and I have them carve to a stop. I tell them to get the board as far away from themselves as possible and up on edge as high as they can and then to end up LAYING on the snow with no intention of standing up. I then demo it and have them follow. I have them do this both toe and heelside. It does a few things: It teaches them what a deep carve feels like, it teaches them what it feels like to go beyond the point of no return in a carve and consequently a close approximation as to when to back off into the next turn. It seems to condense the learning curve considerably and it usually brings out a lot of laughter.
I'll usually do this on the first day. Getting this through feel seems to work well, then we can start talking about it and have understanding in our words.

SWriverstone
March 2nd, 2009, 07:55 PM
Carvedog, I'm not *looking* for anything...simply relating what I've learned in my own experience.

I've reached expertise in many sports (not carving, not yet anyway)...and one thing they all have in common is this: people who are good at it have all but forgotten what it was like when they first started. It comes so naturally for an expert that it takes extraordinary empathy (which is rare) to truly be able to put one's self back in the beginner's shoes.

I don't diminish or devalue the benefit of a great instructor at all. But neither do I believe that all the world-class instruction in the world will make someone a great carver (or great anything) without committing to a huge amount of time in the sport.

I don't say this defensively at all—I get the impression that some folks think this whole thread resulted from me feeling deficient in some way and whining about how hard carving is...and that my problem is that I haven't spent enough time around great carvers or taking lessons from a great instructor.

This isn't the case at all. I don't think there's a single advanced/expert carver on this forum who hasn't spent huge amounts of time on their own...falling, getting up, falling, getting up...thinking hard about what they did wrong...thinking hard about changes to make on the next run...then falling again, getting up, doing it better, then falling again...etc.

My point all along has been nothing more—nor nothing less—than saying instruction and hanging with expert carvers aren't magic bullets that will have you starring in EC videos in one or two seasons. Much of the carving wisdom everyone here carries around in their heads wasn't planted there by someone else, but discovered through trial-and-error.

Finally, though I admit I've typed a lot of words (:rolleyes:)...I'm not trying to over-analyze this or make it cerebral. On the contrary, I'm saying exactly what big mario and others said—to learn to carve you've just gotta get out on the slope and try, try, try. Eventually you'll start really feeling it. :)

Scott

loupa5
March 2nd, 2009, 08:28 PM
This my second season in hardboots. I read The Norm 1 and 2 and it worked for me. I have not made progress yet to the blues, but that is my goal for next season. Now it's just a matter of me - putting to practice what I've read. Bomber's....good!!:ices_ange

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVy9Y_R1B98

Keep it simple:biggthump

+1 with melloyellow, having someone more experience point out your faults as you ride. It doesn't work for everyone but for me...it did, props 2 "Chris eco". You have to be like the grasshopper and listen to the master. I can't wait till next season to get here because this season is almost over.

carvedog
March 2nd, 2009, 08:51 PM
My point all along has been nothing more—nor nothing less—than saying instruction and hanging with expert carvers aren't magic bullets

Oh, ok.

crucible
March 2nd, 2009, 09:43 PM
The secret that nobody told me about learning to carve was how much leg and butt strength was going to be required in order to keep my beginning carving form from falling apart.

After the first "lightbulb" turns where things would come together during a turn, I spent around 2-3 seasons where my the shape and speed of my carved turns were woefully inconsistent.

Things only started to improve after I started dedicating more than 12-15 days a season on the hill- and they REALLY started coming together when I combined 30plus days on the hill a season with off season training that built up my leg strength and endurance.

Road cycling, rock climbing, alpine climbing and plyometrics were the off season choices that elevated my carving game.

George

mr_roboteye
March 2nd, 2009, 09:56 PM
Much of the carving wisdom everyone here carries around in their heads wasn't planted there by someone else, but discovered through trial-and-error.

To learn to carve you've just gotta get out on the slope and try, try, try. Eventually you'll start really feeling it. :)

Scott

I would say that in the past tailing better riders had a lot to do with me improving my riding. But..................... I have listened to veterans / racers etc. and ended up regretting it. Everyones' body is totally unique, and you must find a stance, style that works for you. If someone suggests' something, mull it over, and maybe try it, maybe not.

You are spot on with the trial and error statement. Once you get your basic stance and style worked out, try as many boards as you can possibly get your hands on, until you find one you really like, then you're laughing.

later,

Dave R.

mr_roboteye
March 2nd, 2009, 10:07 PM
The secret that nobody told me about learning to carve was how much leg and butt strength was going to be required.

George

Amen brother,

I got into an argument a long time ago with a guy who was a hardcore halfpipe smoker, and thought that alpine racers were pussies and that he had way stonger legs. I have no desire to ride half pipe, but will not deny that it requires considerable leg strength, to resist the G's carving up and down the transitions.

When I was living in Whistler, riding alpine every day, I could have squatted 250 lbs on my shoulders, 10 reps without breaking a sweat. (Not anymore dammit). The older I get the better I was. Carving is also a lot of cardio, when you carve low in the turns with lots of knee flexion.

later,

Dave R.

kjl
March 2nd, 2009, 10:38 PM
Every new carver has to go through the process of figuring out...
• How far you can lean at a given speed without falling, and
• Exactly how fast or slow you angulate—and to what degree you angulate—throughout the course of a turn to avoid falling
...
I don't think there's a single advanced/expert carver on this forum who hasn't spent huge amounts of time on their own...falling, getting up, falling, getting up...thinking hard about what they did wrong...thinking hard about changes to make on the next run...then falling again, getting up, doing it better, then falling again...etc.

Scott, you're killing me. At the risk of sounding like a bad movie cliche, I honestly think you are your own worst enemy, by convincing yourself that certain things are possible or not. Just looking at your posts, you seem intent on putting boundaries and restrictions on yourself: you'll never ride blacks, OK you'll ride blacks but only if they're pristine, you'll never ride fast, are you a hula carver or an ec hero, what are the exact best angles to ride with, etc..

Yes, of course those first few years I had some falls, but it's not like it was hundreds of days of brutal beatdowns. Anybody who can straightline a green run can put the most basic of carves in, by simply straightlining while slightly up on one edge. From there, doing like a 5-10 degree leaned over carve on a green run is not a big deal. And yet, even on a 5-10 degree leaned over carve, the speed and the sidecut and the lean have to be "perfectly matched", and yet it's simply not that hard to just ride by feel and get it together without teetering on the razor edge of flying over the handlebars or falling to the inside of the turn. By definition, such a rider is already "getting the hang of it", and they may not have even fallen once in hardboots, and spent only a day or two at it, not devoted 2 years of pain and suffering trying to master this godawful sport.

If you just go out onto a blue run you're not comfortable with and flop yourself over 70 degrees over and over again hoping you're getting everything right, of course you will end up with weeks of brutal beatings and endless failure. If you pick a green run and gently lean the board back and forth and slowly work your way up to harder and harder terrain and harder carves, I think it's easily possible to become a perfectly good green or green/blue carver in a year without broken teeth. If you are just barely comfortable carving a green/blue run, you can retreat to a green run, and practice and experiment with all sorts of stuff (weight on front leg, weight on back, rotation or not, face the nose or face the bindings, bend knees or not, higher or lower stance angles, faster or slower speed, more or less angulation, etc.), and tell what is working better, all the while having nice, cruisey, glidey fun all over the mountain.

It honestly doesn't have to be hard work and suffering; otherwise nobody would have gotten good at it. Have fun, try stuff out, see what works, and see what doesn't. Play with the mountain.

iron_butt
March 3rd, 2009, 02:31 AM
I just realized how important "upper body twist" is. still excited about that.:lol:
my understanding is like this
1. glide
2. reach my front heel with my butt
3. lean and twist and stand up
4. enjoy the Gs

not bad for a 1st season hardbooter, huh?:D I am so happy that I can DO it though you old carvers have TOLD a thousand times.:1luvu:

SWriverstone
March 3rd, 2009, 04:00 AM
Sorry Ken...(and that's not said sarcastically)...I try to communicate what I'm thinking. I must have done a lousy job of it, because I think you misconstrued my posts. I definitely don't think certain things are possible or not, and I'm an eternal optimist and go-getter—that's why I've gotten good at so many sports, precisely because I don't believe in limits!

I've eaten crow on my "I'll never ride blacks" post. In hindsight, that was stupid. :smashfrea But other than that, all I do is write what I'm thinking. :) In forums like this, I guess that's not typical. I might say few people around here do much thinking based on the many 1-2 sentence posts. LOL But I know that's not the case...I suspect most people here think as much as I do, but they just don't verbalize it in forum posts. :biggthump

Internet forums usually have two types of posters:
20% - people who put themselves out there and are the first to express opinions, start conversations, etc.
80% - people who are "the peanut gallery" and just react to the first 20 percent's posts.

I'm in the 20% category. :)

Scott

shawndoggy
March 3rd, 2009, 05:19 AM
I might say few people around here do much thinking based on the many 1-2 sentence posts. LOL But I know that's not the case...I suspect most people here think as much as I do, but they just don't verbalize it in forum posts. :biggthump

Growing up in the age of the Apple ][+, I was scarred for life by the command "maximum verbosity" in Zork....

Honestly, how long does it take to perform a nicely executed, laid out heelside (or purecarve rail grab or "Bomber-style" heelside or...) on steep, narrow terrain? Half a second? A second, max? I really think it's not possible to try to remember to execute a 1500 word essay during that half a second. It's all about baby steps. One thing at a time. That's why people keep it simple with stuff like "reach the boot cuff," and then "pinch the pencil," etc.

If you haven't, watching yourself on video is likely to be a revelation in itself.

But you are right about one thing... it DOES take work and practice to master the skill.

corey_dyck
March 3rd, 2009, 05:47 AM
I don't think the difficulty level of carving affects participation. Think of something like street skateboarding - you spend a LOT of time trying to learn how to ollie without rolling. Then you try it while rolling. Then you try kickflips, etc. etc. The learning curve is much harsher for that because frankly it's not as much fun as sliding down a hill, even partially in control. But yet there are hundreds of thousands of people that will be trying to master their kickflips after school (or work) today, some in a basement because of the snow outside. They have to be strongly internally motivated to stick with it to learn the basics.

Another point: Ever read a snowboarding magazine article on how to do a trick? An example that stands out in my mind was for how to do a 540 spin. It was basically:
1. Find a jump
2. Go off the jump while starting to spin
3. Spin 1 and 1/2 times in the air
4. Spot your landing
5. Land centered and ride out

That's a ludicrous simplification of a quite difficult thing, but they leave out the finer details that can't be expressed without a coach seeing what you're doing wrong.

The articles here are similar, they give you a good basic foundation but the fine details need to be pounded out by each rider. Mostly because one rider is going to have a grossly different set of issues than the next, but partially because to describe every little aspect of a carved turn would result in a novel that no one (except for Scott and myself ;)) would want to read.

If you want to read a really good book about sports psychology, check out the "Inner Game of Tennis". (I think it's by Tim Galleway, no idea how the name is actually spelled.) I don't even play tennis, but it has helped me immensely in both car racing and snowboarding. He talks a whole bunch about relying on your muscles and nervous system to figure out the finer details of a given skill, and how getting your big clumsy brain (and consequently your ego) involved is actually a slower and more error-prone process. He actually recommends distracting the brain from the activity a bit to let the body and central nervous system give it a shot on autopilot.

SWriverstone
March 3rd, 2009, 06:45 AM
One anecdote, one "hearsay factoid" without actual confirmation...

First, when I was actively training and racing in whitewater slalom, the (then) U.S. team coach's mantra—and standard response to just about anything—was simply, "Time in the boat." (Bill Endicott.)

Someone would ask a question about conditioning, and he'd respond (smiling) "Time in the boat." Someone would comment on changing river levels affecting a course, and he'd respond (smiling) "Time in the boat."

He believed the best way to learn was just by showing up at the river every day and paddling gates, period. That's not to say he didn't offer some analytics, but he always felt anything he could say was secondary to "Time in the boat." I think a large part of this is because whitewater slalom is an intensely technical sport...made even more difficult because (like surfing or sailing) the "playing field" is incredibly dynamic and always changing from one second to the next.

As an aside, the greatest American slalom racer to date (and one of the greatest in the world) Jon Lugbill spent more time in the boat than anyone else. When others would be weight training or studying videos or having analytical discussions, Lugbill would be out there paddling...and it showed.

----------

The "hearsay factoid" is that I once heard (from a physical therapist) that it takes at least 10,000 repetitions for a particular set of muscle moves to become engrained in memory to the point where they are second-nature and happen automatically.

Think about that: 10,000 repetitions. That's a LOT of turns on the mountain! (I'm guessing many more than anyone would ever do in a season, even carving every day.)

"Time in the boat."
:)

Scott

lamby
March 3rd, 2009, 07:33 AM
Sometimes I find myself reading the threads about technique and equipment set up and wonder if the innumerable subtle changes in binding set ups and technique considerations are of much help to people trying to improve their riding. Maybe, maybe not, but if people have fun describing what they are trying, or thinking about, as they work on their riding then that is great. It can be fun to read those posts and chime in, or to read those posts and not chime in.

Anyway, I think being stoked on this sport and striving to improve and doing a lot of riding will translate into improved riding.

My wife and I took the sport up about 10 years ago. Learned on soft gear. Rode with friends who rode alpine. Rented alpine gear for a day (back when you could rent alpine gear at local shop SkiTek). Right away I dug the feeling of a carved turn.

From there it has been a love affair that has seemed to have a life of its own. It is always pulling me back to the mountain.

We sought out a lot of instruction where ever we could find it. Read everything we could get our hands on, took lessons (thanks Carvedog), followed better riders... All of these contributed tremendously to our riding.

All very helpful. Now that things have come together for me to some degree I find myself thinking less about my technique and how to make that next turn happen. But, then again, if things don't seem to be going so smoothly I will reach back for a tip or technique consideration to work on. concentrating on one drill/idea can help me to remember how to have more fun with it all.

I find it fun to read what everyone thinks and how everyone approached this cool sport. I think if you love what you are doing you are going to immerse yourself in it and get better.

I agree with some of the earlier posts that it is incredibly helpful to one's riding to seek out other riders and to ride with them.

Thanks for the conversations.

shawndoggy
March 3rd, 2009, 07:39 AM
"Time in the boat."

Cyclists have a similar quote reportedly attributable to the great Eddy Merckx (the Cannibal).

Q: Eddy, how should I train?

A: Ride your bike. Lots. (alt: "Ride lots").

Alas, with your time in other sports, you can surely also appreciate that some people are just better athletes than others. They learn in weeks what it took you months or years. Life ain't fair.

SWriverstone
March 3rd, 2009, 08:53 AM
Alas, with your time in other sports, you can surely also appreciate that some people are just better athletes than others. They learn in weeks what it took you months or years. Life ain't fair.

Very true! And, paradoxically, what I've also noticed is this: superior athletic skills (which I don't claim to have) can get someone near the top in any given sport. But what separates the world champions from the "almost-but-not-quite World Champions" is (IMO) a total geek mindset!

The champions I've known were actually the antithesis of the swaggering, superstud, look-at-me characters...they were introverted, analytical to the point of obsession, super-detail-oriented, and tended to live an ascetic, monk-like lifestyle.

Though it takes athletic prowess to get close to the top, it seems to take anal-retentiveness to actually BE the top. :)

Scott

shawndoggy
March 3rd, 2009, 09:02 AM
Very true! And, paradoxically, what I've also noticed is this: superior athletic skills (which I don't claim to have) can get someone near the top in any given sport. But what separates the world champions from the "almost-but-not-quite World Champions" is (IMO) a total geek mindset!

The champions I've known were actually the antithesis of the swaggering, superstud, look-at-me characters...they were introverted, analytical to the point of obsession, super-detail-oriented, and tended to live an ascetic, monk-like lifestyle.

Though it takes athletic prowess to get close to the top, it seems to take anal-retentiveness to actually BE the top. :)

Scott

Agree 100%. See masters level bicycle time trialists for a dose of max geekatude.

The other thing I'd point out is that geeking out that hard can take the fun out of the sport. Being good, getting better... those things keep the sport fun. Needing to perform at absolute tip top performance at all times can be very rewarding when you are "on," but very discouraging when you are just better than average.

You can prolly tell from my posts I'm a bit of a reformed bike racer, having geeked out to the point that it took over my life. There is a very special feeling to achieve that level of mastery (not that I was ever THAT good, but I had my moments), but life is more than just one thing. I think if you did live at a resort and ride every single day it would be fun... for a while. And then you'd squeeze the fun out of the sport. Well, I would, anyway.

skipsilvia
March 3rd, 2009, 09:39 AM
Originally posted by shawndoggy.
I think if you did live at a resort and ride every single day it would be fun... for a while. And then you'd squeeze the fun out of the sport.As someone who lived at a resort in N.H., lived close (2hrs) to the BIG 3 in Colorado, and now lives in Chicago, I would have no problem with the above scenario. Maybe I would squeeze the fun out of the sport.....


after 25-30 years. That works for me.

SWriverstone
March 3rd, 2009, 09:42 AM
There is a very special feeling to achieve that level of mastery (not that I was ever THAT good, but I had my moments), but life is more than just one thing. I think if you did live at a resort and ride every single day it would be fun... for a while. And then you'd squeeze the fun out of the sport. Well, I would, anyway.

Yeah...but the nice thing about carving is that (unless you're wealthy enough to travel south of the equator) you can't do it year-round.

I was the same way about whitewater racing that you were about bicycling—for 3 years I literally paddled twice a day 5-6 days a week, all year long. (In the winter we'd not only paddle on half-frozen rivers, but indoors in a mile-long tank used by the U.S. Navy for testing ship designs.)

Yeah, I burned out on it, LOL.

Good thing you're carving though—there was a big article in the Washington Post recently about how doctors have discovered serious cyclists have dangerously low bone density (because cycling isn't weight-bearing enough). It seems cycle racers break bones way too easily compared to the average population...

Scott

shawndoggy
March 3rd, 2009, 10:04 AM
(In the winter we'd not only paddle on half-frozen rivers, but indoors in a mile-long tank used by the U.S. Navy for testing ship designs.)

http://www.renowheelmen.org/results/2004_results/MatterhornRR4_17/Shawn2.jpg

lowrider
March 3rd, 2009, 10:09 AM
SWriverstone; Thanks for the post i'm trying to be one of the 20 % as i seem to have an inherent dislike for authority types a post like yours is something i can relate to ,self teaching is good ! why does everthing have to be so complicated . It's also nice to have another point of view available to all on a forum like bomber. As a newbie to it I still have a thin skin but if i keep skidding it will thicken up:biggthump.

SWriverstone
March 3rd, 2009, 10:35 AM
http://www.renowheelmen.org/results/2004_results/MatterhornRR4_17/Shawn2.jpg

http://www.sport-touring.net/forums/Smileys/default/lol.gif

That's hardcore!

Lowrider—thanks for the good words. As long we avoid name-calling and "us versus them," it's all good! :biggthump

Scott

Arclite
March 3rd, 2009, 10:47 AM
Get with an experienced rider.
Use a good stomp pad.
Start at the beginner area.
Get familiar with your gear BEFORE you get to the ski area.
Use a shorter, softer, wider, turnier board than what you are likely to eventually use.
Pad your ass, knees , wear a well fitting helmut.
Move to Colorado.
Fill out your Damn CP!!
Read, watch, search BEFORE you ask questions.
Clean your headlights off when you fill up.
Don't tailgate.
Never refuse a mint.
Oooops, getting carried away a bit.;)


Lol! I wish I could move to Colorado..... ;)

And that sounds a lot like my dad.... the driving stuff at least...and the mint...

shaunconnor
March 3rd, 2009, 11:56 AM
my 10 cents worth!! got given a free carving board so with the little snow we have been getting here in the canadian rockies thought i would try to master a new sport.i have a little ski racing background and understand the carve of a ski.i started riding a carving board this winter and have had about 25 days on it.metting other carvers have helped alot so has filming me to see my weaknesses .so here goes:first guy told me to push the front knee forword and towards the turn on heal side and the the back knee back to open the space between the knees for toe side.so here i am carving "stand up turns".a few days later another guy tells me that i need to get my legs out from under me.tips were, pretend that im boarding in a room with a 5 foot ceiling[im 6 feet tall] ,do not hit that ceiling and do not bend forword at the waist but sink down using knees and waist.helped lots for the next many days.[started carving low turns on low angle slopes].then last week, met carving boarder guy #3 and did 3 runs with him.his pointers were key.on toe side instead of using my up hill hand to touch the snow lift it up in the air [armpit touchs snow later instead],drive my down hill hand ,down to my boot or board edge and drive my knees into the snow on the up hill side,wow carving a turn on black groomed run.still working on linking these steep turns but having soooo much fun trying.[words from a beginner] shaun .p.s. im riding a freesurf highlander 160cm with ski touring boots.should i upgrade and why?

Transistor Rhythm
March 3rd, 2009, 12:42 PM
I've learned there are a few different schools of thought about technique, and they disagree as much as they agree. It can get kind of frustrating first learning to rotate ("EC style") then to be told to stop rotating and keep your hands in front of you "(race style") and both tips coming from riders that can really rip and know what they are talking about!

I say absorb it all, watch it, try it, learn it, then do what works best for you.

carvedog
March 3rd, 2009, 01:35 PM
I've learned there are a few different schools of thought about technique, and they disagree as much as they agree. It can get kind of frustrating first learning to rotate ("EC style") then to be told to stop rotating and keep your hands in front of you "(race style") and both tips coming from riders that can really rip and know what they are talking about!

I say absorb it all, watch it, try it, learn it, then do what works best for you.

I like to do all three, in the same run. :eplus2:

I know he just said two. Just seeing if anyone is paying attention.

BigBump
March 4th, 2009, 06:32 AM
First, I think what the OP was talking about is "feel", feeling how far you can lean the board at a given speed, the rate at which you angulate...blah blah blah. It's tough to teach, I have a few exercises for it. Alot of times a lesson on something like this, boils down to just riding with the instructor using his/her trained eye to say "on those turns you weren't getting it up on edge early enough in the turn" or "you were too extended at the finish". Those little bits of feedback can help accelerate the learning/development of board feel.

As far as styles, instructors and coaches shouldn't be getting caught up in generalized "styles", they should be knowledgable about all the movement options available for making a carved turn and know what is needed to be added/taken away/modified to suit the students style. This is the difference between working with a skilled instructor or coach and someone who simply rips. In general( there are exceptions obviously) someone who rips will tell you what works for them(which may or may not help you), a solid coach will tell you what will work for you......

SWriverstone
March 4th, 2009, 06:46 AM
First, I think what the OP was talking about is "feel", feeling how far you can lean the board at a given speed, the rate at which you angulate...blah blah blah.

That's pretty much it BigBump. As you pointed out, a good coach can give you tips like "Your weight is too far forward at the end of the turn." Which is valuable...and I was trying to say in my first post that even if you get top-notch feedback from an expert coach/instructor...even if you know exactly what you need to do...it's tough to "just do it."

You still need a lot of trial-and-error time, and even if you're able to make an adjustment or do something differently and it works perfectly, you'll still need a LOT of time and repetition to make it habit.

And sometimes you won't get it until you've hammered away at it for a long time...until you have that "lightbulb moment" and it all comes together.

Scott

b0ardski
March 4th, 2009, 07:26 AM
I do agree with "time on the board", and watching advanced riders. Whenever I give tips, I try to find a couple of tid-bits that can make the most difference, then say " work on that" & I get out of the way.

One tid-bit that came to mind while reading this thread is to make an effort to ride conditions & slopes above your comfort zone, then go back to easy groomers & those efforts will result in calmer more efficient movements.:biggthump

Jack Michaud
March 4th, 2009, 09:19 AM
Haven't read through the whole thread yet but....

This subject is the whole point of The Norm, though it is not explicitly worded there like you have worded it, and it does not need to be. It is explicitly worded that way in the Physics article.

Also, this concept is plainly obvious to anyone who knows how to ride a bicycle. Or for that matter, skis, or a freeride snowboard.

Scott, you seem like a very nice guy. But your last... I dunno, 10 threads seem to be simply starting conversations with inane, banal questions just for the sake of starting conversations. I think you need to spend more time riding and less time thinking straight onto your keyboard.

:confused:

SWriverstone
March 4th, 2009, 10:10 AM
Aw c'mon Jack. I start threads like this because it actually gets people talking and thinking. Plenty of folks here have interesting things to say, but will never say it unless they're prompted to. And I've honestly never started a thread just for the hell of it. I care about this stuff as much as anyone! :)

Heck, if you think this thread is banal, then I guess all these other current threads are too...
• Home Alpine Snowboard Tuning - do you do it?
• Rant: How About An Addition to the Code? (complaint about people standing in the middle of a slope)
• owwwww....... (someone crashed)
• Here it comes (lots of snow)
• Is it skill or snow conditions?? (Sounds like one of mine, but isn't!)

This isn't said at you Jack...but I'm always amazed by people who describe an Internet forum thread as stupid/banal/pointless...when fully two-thirds of every post on every forum is precisely that!

I suppose we could always institute a few hard posting rules, such as...
• Only post hard facts that can be independently verified.
• Only post facts about events, including location, date, and time.
• Only post hard technical information supported by empirical testing. Submit backing data.
• Gossip is not allowed.
• Opinions are not allowed.
• Humor is not allowed.

Gosh...if we had rules like that there would be no forum! :)

Scott

Civ
March 4th, 2009, 10:28 AM
^^^post # 666

Coincidence?:angryfire:angryfire:angryfire

(pointless post....proves Scotts point)

Arclite
March 4th, 2009, 10:37 AM
hey SWriver dude.

you've reached 666 posts!

you evil little son of a... :eplus2:

SWriverstone
March 4th, 2009, 11:17 AM
There...not evil anymore! :D (Sorry for the banal post.)
Scott