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WINTER-SPORTS.COM's online SKI LESSONS: Carved turns
ALPINE SKI LESSONS : CARVED TURNS
The carved turn: an essential technique
The carved turn is an essential alpine skiing technique. Managing to go from a skidded turn to a carved turn is therefore an important step.
The limits of a skidded turn
The beginner skier is used to skidding to steer his skis in the desired direction. At this level, skidding is the appropriate technique. It's easy to learn, adapted to slow speeds and allows the skier to brake quickly.

At a higher technical level, however the skidded turn has some major drawbacks:
It's not made for turns at high levels of speed, as the centrifugal force will be so important that the skier won't be able to stay in his/her trajectory,
It doesn't allow a precise enough control of the skis,
It's not possible to execute a skidded turn in areas with limited space ( mogul skiing, skiing in forests, slalom skiing),
It causes an important loss of speed.
How does the carved turn work?
Take a look at a ski's profile. It's not straight but rather has a more or less pronounced "hourglass" shape. When the ski is tilted over on to its edge with no constraint, the surface of the ski that touches the ground is limited. If, however, you firmly press down on the ski perpendicularly to the sole's line, the ski will carve and the entire edge will be in contact with the snow. It is this curve that allows the ski to turn without skidding. Parabolic skis made carving turns a great deal easier and transformed the way people skied. The hourglass shape of the parabolic skis causes them to naturally curve when tilted on the edge.
The advantages of carved turns
Carved turns allow a precise steering of skis in a curve at high levels of speed. As when executing a turn on a motorcycle, the loss of speed is very minimal. What's more, the support remains firm during the entire phase of steering the skis through the turn, thus enabling a very efficient steering.
Carving a turn
The good news is that the ski is the one that does most of the work. The skier must however follow certain basic rules to make sure the ski carves around correctly and turns without skidding:
He/She must carry most of his/her weight over to the outside ski
Increased edging is necessary : in addition to the skier naturally leaning out during the turn, the outside knee must be slightly rolled in and the ankle must provide internal support.
The weight must be centred on the outside ski, evenly distributed on the entire surface of the boot's sole.
The bust must be leaning slightly forward and the knees must be very flexed.
To see if you're executing carved turns, look at the trail your skis are leaving. The narrower it is, the more the turn is carved.
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