A-Z of Skiing: C is for Carving Skis

The revolution is over: there's no such thing as a carving ski anymore. Decades of tradition have been wiped out in three years, and all newskis, from giant slalom racing models down to those for beginners, now have the characteristic "waisted" shape, wide at tip and tail, narrow underthe boot. There is no point in calling them carving skis, since there is no other type of ski from which to distinguish them. These skis are mucheasier to bend in a turn.

The revolution is over: there's no such thing as a carving ski anymore. Decades of tradition have been wiped out in three years, and all newskis, from giant slalom racing models down to those for beginners, now have the characteristic "waisted" shape, wide at tip and tail, narrow underthe boot. There is no point in calling them carving skis, since there is no other type of ski from which to distinguish them. These skis are mucheasier to bend in a turn.

Put them on edge, exert pressure down through the boot, and the ski creates an arc, with the whole length of the edge in contact with the snow.You don't make the turn; the curve of the ski does it for you. If that explanation is not clear, put a plastic ruler on a table, lift one edge a quarter ofan inch off the surface, and try to bend the other edge into a curve. You won't succeed. But if a shallow arc were cut into that edge, you would beable to bend the ruler until its entire length - now forming a curve - was touching the table's surface.

The key variables with this type of ski are length, flex, and depth of side-cut. Because they bend more easily, the leverage afforded by a long skiis unnecessary; and since they make turns much livelier, a shorter more manoeuvrable length gets the best out of them.

The degree of flex varies widely: experts put more power into their skis, so they require a stiffer model than a beginner, who needs one which willbend easily.

A deeper side-cut will permit tighter turns, because the ski can bend further before the part of the edge under the boot comes into contact with thesnow.

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