How to Carve on Skis

A guide to the quickest way down the mountain

Flickr/skistar trysil

Trysil in Norway

What is carving? A pure carve is a turn is when the edge of the ski cuts into the snow and grips so well there is no skidding at all. The shape of the ski, thinner in the middle and wider at the edges, turns the skier naturally with a just a slight shift in body weight.

ski shape on Make A Gif

Carving is the most efficient way to turn, making it the quickest way to get down the mountain. Ski racers carve, displacing the least amount of snow and getting down the mountain in the quickest way possible. A typically skier might carve for part of the time but will likely need to skid to let off some of the speed they gain while carving.

To carve on skis, first practice shifting your weight without skis. Stand straight with your feet shoulder with apart, then put your right arm out to the side and imagine you’re pushing off of something that’s not there. Your weight should shift to your left leg and it should naturally bend. Ideally you should be on the outside edge of your left foot and the inside edge of your right foot. The opposite should happen when you switch to the other side.

On skies, the best way to start carving is to face forward directly downhill and then shift your weight to one side, just like you would without skies on. If you are turning left, your left leg should bend naturally when you shift your weight and most of your weight should be on your left leg. Your right leg should be the farthest down slope and it should be mostly straight. Remember, the main component of carving is that the side edges of your skies are pressed hard into the snow, creating clean lines. If you’re skidding then you are not carving, but skidding is an effective way to slow yourself down.

How to carve on skis on Make A Gif

It’s best to practice on a hill with a gradual slope first and build up to steeper slopes. Once you feel comfortable you’ll be flying down the slopes using the most efficient way of getting down, the carving technique.


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