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Help picking a ski for learning carving?

Auri_616

Diva in Training
Reviving an older post, as I am looking to add the Liberty V76W to my quiver as a dedicated front side carver.

I am 5'4 / 165 / advanced-expert / non-racing background. For the last couple of decades I mostly skied off-piste, but more days than not it's groomers on tap. My narrowest ski is a Nordica Enforcer (93mm, 169cm) and it's been a struggle to perfect consistent, clean carving turns.

I am looking at a 165cm length and I am wondering if I need to go shorter?

I am also struggling to find a suitable binding for the flat ski? Most bindings I see have breaks wider than 85mm and/or they are for lightweight, intermediate skiers. For those that have the Liberty V76W, what binding have you mounted? @nopoleskier, @ilovepugs, @Auri_616 Cheers!
Hi! I took them to a local ski shop and they put the Marker Squire 10's on them--so yeah a binding for lightweight/intermediate skiers, but I didn't want to argue with them and figured I might as well save the $$ and weight. When I talked to them on the phone before coming in, they were thinking of putting on a different pair of Markers and swapping out the brakes. Maybe just call the shop you'd like to have your bindings installed at and see if they are willing to change the brakes?

Not sure about the length, but the 158s have seemed fine for me at 5'4 / 125! Except for the time I caught the tip in the snow bank at the start of the chair lift and had to jump off.... XD

I predict the others are going to tell you the 165 is fine :smile:
 

Lmk92

Angel Diva
I'm so thankful for this thread. But even after reading (and rereading and rereading) it and others like it, and after many lessons, and watching dozens of videos, I'm still trying to figure out why I'm not improving. At this point, I'm going to assume it's because I am mired in that back seat.

Thinking about going down a steeper trail (especially one where the snow is skied off), in my mind, I'm thinking: shoulders facing downhill, hands in front, eyes up, foot to foot, finish your turn, close the ankle. And still, I'm mostly skidding downhill. Instead of carving, my downhill foot (at the ball/bottom of my big toe) is putting on the breaks. Or trying to.

Any advice?
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'm so thankful for this thread. But even after reading (and rereading and rereading) it and others like it, and after many lessons, and watching dozens of videos, I'm still trying to figure out why I'm not improving. At this point, I'm going to assume it's because I am mired in that back seat.

Thinking about going down a steeper trail (especially one where the snow is skied off), in my mind, I'm thinking: shoulders facing downhill, hands in front, eyes up, foot to foot, finish your turn, close the ankle. And still, I'm mostly skidding downhill. Instead of carving, my downhill foot (at the ball/bottom of my big toe) is putting on the breaks. Or trying to.

Any advice?
Your description of the turns you are working on is accurate, but clearly there's something not working properly. There is a fix.

Spend some time teaching yourself to do pivot slips on short icy drops that are not intimidating. Blue or black pitches are good, and ice is good for pivot slips. They are stupid hard to learn on the bunny slope when there's fresh snow. Steepish and icy is best.

The benefit of teaching yourself pivot slips is that you can easily see as you do them whether you are getting it right or not. You don't need an instructor. It will take some experimentation to get them working. They are NOT easy to learn, but well worth the time spent experimenting with different approaches until finally something clicks. Try for a while, then post what you've been doing. At that point instructors can chime in with things that might help improve what you've got going.


Once you can do pivot slips straight down the fall line, without any left-right travel, go to that same run that you are now having trouble on and do pivot slips there. Eliminate any left-right travel that emerges. Do them all the way to the lift, and repeat until you can do them in your sleep. See if you can speed up a bit and slow down a bit on purpose.

Once you can do the pivot slips there, you'll be able to morph them without much thought into the short radius turns that you're currently trying to do. Start heading down with pivot slips, the morph them into turns that go a little bit left and right. Whatever's currently not working with those turns will have disappeared.

Pivot slips teach a bazillion skills.
 
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Lmk92

Angel Diva
Spend some time teaching yourself to do pivot slips on short icy drops. You can easily see as you do them whether you are getting it right or not.


Once you can do pivot slips straight down the fall line, without any left-right travel, go to that same run that you are now having trouble on and do pivot slips there. Do them all the way to the lift, and repeat. See if you can speed up a bit and slow down a bit on purpose.

Once you can do the pivot slips there, you'll be able to morph them without much thought into the short radius turns that you're currently trying to do. Whatever's currently not working with those turns will have disappeared.

Pivot slips teach a bazillion skills.
Thank you for this! I have an appointment with a bootfitter next week, and will head straight to the slopes after my visit. I'll definitely be trying pivot slips. A lot. :smile:
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@Lmk92, I just remembered the title of this thread. Pivot slips and the turns you want to make that you just described are on the opposite end of the spectrum from carved turns. They intentionally skid the skis across the surface of the snow. Your short radius turns are designed for speed control. Carved turns intentionally eliminate all skidding. Those turns are made for speed.

Knowing how to do both is a big deal.
 
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shadoj

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@Lmk92 I wonder if you're mis-timing your leg extension/retraction in the turn. As turns get carvier, full leg extension happens roughly in the middle of the turn (out to the side). Which means getting those skis up on edge in the *first half* of the turn. Early edges! Tips first! If you're late, the leg extension happens more towards the bottom of the turn arc, which ends up more as a braking/bracing position. Happy to explain further if needed. Or draw more stick people on request ;)

Do you practice skating on flats & slight uphills? Can you make clean V's gliding & pushing against your edges? That can help you get patient riding and edge with a nice springy leg. Very useful when carving.

Keep at it!
 

Lmk92

Angel Diva
@Lmk92 I wonder if you're mis-timing your leg extension/retraction in the turn. As turns get carvier, full leg extension happens roughly in the middle of the turn (out to the side). Which means getting those skis up on edge in the *first half* of the turn. Early edges! Tips first! If you're late, the leg extension happens more towards the bottom of the turn arc, which ends up more as a braking/bracing position. Happy to explain further if needed. Or draw more stick people on request ;)

Do you practice skating on flats & slight uphills? Can you make clean V's gliding & pushing against your edges? That can help you get patient riding and edge with a nice springy leg. Very useful when carving.

Keep at it!
I try to practice carving on flatter, but it's difficult. I was really trying last year when it seemed I could carve nicely on more green terrain, but once I shifted to blues, I had trouble keeping the skis on edge. Was I just being too impatient?

I do have trouble skating as well. My last instructor also encouraged me to skate more, so I was trying last week, but I'm really slow, and it seems to take a LOT of effort, and my lungs feel like they're going to give out.
 

shadoj

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I try to practice carving on flatter, but it's difficult. I was really trying last year when it seemed I could carve nicely on more green terrain, but once I shifted to blues, I had trouble keeping the skis on edge. Was I just being too impatient?
Keep practicing on those greens! Carving steeper terrain means skis are going to accelerate faster down the fall line, and if you're on edge, you can quickly end up at race-like speeds. Being the in-control skiers that we are means choosing to jam on the breaks at the bottom of turns, or smear/skid, or patiently ride edges while turning slightly uphill across the fall line to bleed speed. I prefer the latter, since I can then ski steeper, icier terrain smoothly without going too fast or fearing a ski sliding out. Think turns like ribbon candy rather than S/sine-wave-shaped.
 

Lmk92

Angel Diva
Yes, that was definitely what I was finding - I was going too fast to comfortably stay on edge. So it sounds like maybe I was being too impatient, and not really finishing my turn?
 

newboots

Angel Diva
Wow, that's my experience with skating. Since I began skiing, I have struggled to get anywhere skating without enormous effort. Someone on epicski (so, many years ago!) told me that if I could ice skate, that skating should be easy. And said if it wasn't, I wasn't ice skating correctly.

Well, darn, he turned out to be right. I enjoy skating a lot, but never got super-fast and my hockey game was never better than mediocre. (Less than mediocre, actually. Started at 48.)

Once I went skating with my daughter on Lake Fairlee in Vermont, a HUGE lake that had a cleaned track that runs for miles. It was way too warm, and I couldn't make progress. I realized that my skating technique for speed was to throw my body forward, as opposed to pushing with the sides of my blades. My daughter, a superb skater, did the whole track, but I got so wet from falling into the slush that I had to stop much earlier.

Anyway. I have to work on skating on skis. And skates.
 

newboots

Angel Diva
Yes, that was definitely what I was finding - I was going too fast to comfortably stay on edge. So it sounds like maybe I was being too impatient, and not really finishing my turn?

I practice on easy trails or wide trails. If it's wide enough, I can truly turn uphill and keep the speed down. (You know my carving is at the baby step phase, so it's not important to listen to me!) :laughter:
 

shadoj

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I practice on easy trails or wide trails. If it's wide enough, I can truly turn uphill and keep the speed down. (You know my carving is at the baby step phase, so it's not important to listen to me!) :laughter:
Yeah, most trails here (midwest) & crowded conditions don't really allow arc-to-arc turns if you are truly riding your ski's builtin sidecut radius. But when there's a chance to try it out for 2-3 turns, it's awesome!
 

newboots

Angel Diva
I know, isn't it? Much more speed, and incredible control! I feel like nobody told me that it would be such a great feeling due to the control one has. I had good results on indoor snow (uncrowded), and am just beginning to feel it outdoors, but only on those wide, empty Maine trails. You know, the ones with perfect snow?
 

tinymoose

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
My "carving" is always going to be a work in progress. I'm at the point where I'm comfortable with it on most greens and blues, and depending on the black I might be game for a bit if it's a short drop with a good run out, but otherwise I tend to cut my turns short/rush them and skid the bottom some to scrub speed on most blacks. Some of it is confidence, and some of it is not feeling like I have the space to ride them up back hill with the crowds on the trail to lose the speed I'd need to be comfortable on a black. I do try to work on it little by little when I get a short drop on a black trail and there's not many people around me. It's just so hard to commit as the pitch increases and to have the patience to let the ski bring itself around.

ETA: I'd also like to increase my angulation. It's better than it used to be but it's still not great.
 

newboots

Angel Diva
Is it appropriate to carve on a really steep trail? Seems like it would be dangerous on very steep terrain. I mean, other than for Mikaela!
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
Yeah, most trails here (midwest) & crowded conditions don't really allow arc-to-arc turns if you are truly riding your ski's builtin sidecut radius. But when there's a chance to try it out for 2-3 turns, it's awesome!
This makes me feel better … I find that I can get 2, MAYYYYYYBE 3 (depending on which side is first) and it’s SOOOO fast and fun. I know which slope I can try to get 5…I’m just apprehensive
 

snoWYmonkey

Angel Diva
Is it appropriate to carve on a really steep trail? Seems like it would be dangerous on very steep terrain. I mean, other than for Mikaela!
That is the million dollar question!

I personally will only attempt it if I either have a closed race course or am the first person skiing down a run on an early start morning or if I am on a run where I can see long before I start my turns that no one is coming in from either side or below me if I fall at speed. I also make those turns only on skis that have a sharp edge on a day where I am confident that the snow is consistent and I won't wash out.

The consequences of a high speed fall in a non racing arena with trees instead of fencing are likely serious and life threatening injuries. I have reached speeds in the high 40s and low 50s and while those do not compare to Miki or any FIS racer I always imagine what it would feel like to stand on a highway and get hit by a car going that speed. I think it is very important to think of others first, then self, and then reality for those who have to care for us if things go wrong at those speeds.

The rush is amazing, the risks horrifying. I believe that taking a time out, even a split second one, just like medical teams do in the OR, before a high speed run can prevent tragedies. 5 years ago, I decided to become comfortable skiing fast, and learned to carve with great instruction from my favorite coaches. So far I have been lucky, and avoided injuries in a 20 year career teaching skiing, but also attribute some of it to making wise choices.
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
Except for the time I caught the tip in the snow bank at the start of the chair lift and had to jump off....
@Auri_616 …. When this happened to me, my ski popped off, I stayed on the chair and my dismount at the top (riding with my friend who is a snowboarder) was the stuff of slapstick comedy gold. (Horrifying at the time, but still…)
 

newboots

Angel Diva
That is the million dollar question!

I personally will only attempt it if I either have a closed race course or am the first person skiing down a run on an early start morning or if I am on a run where I can see long before I start my turns that no one is coming in from either side or below me if I fall at speed. I also make those turns only on skis that have a sharp edge on a day where I am confident that the snow is consistent and I won't wash out.

The consequences of a high speed fall in a non racing arena with trees instead of fencing are likely serious and life threatening injuries. I have reached speeds in the high 40s and low 50s and while those do not compare to Miki or any FIS racer I always imagine what it would feel like to stand on a highway and get hit by a car going that speed. I think it is very important to think of others first, then self, and then reality for those who have to care for us if things go wrong at those speeds.

The rush is amazing, the risks horrifying. I believe that taking a time out, even a split second one, just like medical teams do in the OR, before a high speed run can prevent tragedies. 5 years ago, I decided to become comfortable skiing fast, and learned to carve with great instruction from my favorite coaches. So far I have been lucky, and avoided injuries in a 20 year career teaching skiing, but also attribute some of it to making wise choices.

I like what you're written, and agree, although I have far less experience than you. I skied fast (not carving, actually) at Saddleback last week. It was extremely cold (-19 at 7 am), a weekday, and so uncrowded that the word "empty" describes the trails better. All the slower skiers had left but me, so I was following @MissySki , @ski diva , @lisamamot and a couple of husbands, all of whom can ski very fast. And they were so far ahead that I had a clear (blue) trail ahead of me. I hit 39 mph, all the while chanting, "You're in control. You're in control." to keep the panic at bay.

Carving would have been even faster! I was practicing my nascent carving on much flatter terrain, and as always, astonished by how fast I pick up speed. One does feel in control, remarkably. But any faster than that - what if someone came out of the woods onto the trail? :eek: :eek: :eek:
 

lisamamot

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
All the slower skiers had left but me, so I was following @MissySki , @ski diva , @lisamamot and a couple of husbands, all of whom can ski very fast. And they were so far ahead that I had a clear (blue) trail ahead of me. I hit 39 mph
What a great day that was! I don't track my days with a mobile app unless I am out west, but the apps that track speed/incline (SkiTracks is one I have used in the past) are notorious for clocking numbers that are suspect. I remember getting an incline reading that was a complete head scratcher. Opening it up like you did though, and realizing you are in control on a traffic free trail, is a wonderful feeling.

Being slow or speedy is relative to your group too. Even when I am not practicing my round turns, I am always the slowest on the groomers in the groups I ski with at SR...luckily no one minds waiting at the lift in the least :thumbsup:
 

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