Ski Tips #006 - Steered, Skidded or Carved?

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If you asked most ski racers what the best amount of edge grip is, I bet the fast ones would say, “The least amount for the given situation.” That’s because using excessive edge in all situations is like hammering on the brakes, not enough edge will also really slow you down. So what’s the right amount? Well, that depends on a few factors. Some of these in no particular order, are: snow conditions, terrain, speed, the shape of turn you want to make and the direction that you want to go.

I like to think of edging in three approaches, with the first one being steered. I use a steered turn on moderate slopes when I want to maintain and control my speed. A steered turn usually ends up with a fairly round turn shape with a good amount of edge grip but not so much grip that you feel like you’re really slowing down. This is a good blue run tactic, if helps you stay in control but lets you go faster or slower as you dictate. To make this happen I think of guiding the tail of the ski through where the tip has been so that it stays on somewhat of a similar path. The next approach is skidded; you might be wondering what you’d ever want to skid for? If you think about it you’d be surprised how much you actually do this, sliding into the lift life for example, you’d normally get the skis sideways to dump off some speed so that you can ease up to the lift. That’s one instance. Here’s a couple more, a skidded turn is useful in steep situations where speed control is a must. Just like when you’re approaching the lift at the end of a run getting your skis sideways in the steeps helps you stay balanced as well as control your decent. A skidded turn will also help get you out of a tight spot when you really need it, have you ever needed to slide down a steep bit of terrain to see what’s over the next ledge? I know I have. The last application is carved; this one is probably my favourite. I love the feeling of carving big long arcs on easy to moderate terrain; it’s great to feel the ski flex and load up with energy. It’s that edge grip that allows you to do that. To feel this use the side cut of the ski, tip your skis over and enjoy the ride!

So, the next time you’re out for a slide maybe try and think of how your approaching the situation you’re in with regards to how you’re using your edges. What’s the best approach? Does it call for steered, skidded or carved turn? If you’re not sure, then stop by the Big White Ski & Board School sales desk in the Village Centre Mall and spend some time with one of our Pros!

 

Josh Foster – Director of Ski School

Big White Ski Resort

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