by J. Scott Mcgee
The term “carving” is often thrown around by metal-edged skiers, and yet few truly carve. To define it, carving occurs when every point along a ski's edge passes through the same point, or, more poetically, through the same snowflake. In this sense, skate skiers carve far more than most alpine skiers.
Now carving is a great sensation, but it's more than just a good feeling. Mastering the art of holding an edge and using ski design to scribe an arc – rather than pivoting to turn – develops expert-level edging skills. It also helps provide clear feedback, and proof, of whether both skis are edged equally, another key skill for advanced skiing.
Practise on cat tracks and green runs, checking your tracks until you see you're carving. Refine your accuracy, and soon you'll be carving up a storm!
J. Scott Mcgee coaches the PSIA Nordic Team (USA) and works as Snow King Mountain Sports School's director. A former telemark competitor, he now dreams of perfect corn on spring backcountry skate-ski tours. Mcgee spends his summers guiding climbs in the Tetons for Exum Mountain Guides.
Try this: Start by tipping both skis equally. Follow the arc that the skis naturally scribe when edged. Increase edge angle as needed to keep from slipping sideways, a.k.a. skidding. Look back at your tracks to see if you have two clean parallel arcs. A wide track indicates skidding; if so, edge more. Converging or diverging arcs indicate unequally edged skis.