Carving Lesson with Flo Jayme

April 14, 2002

Flo Jayme
Instructor at Squaw Valley


While carving the turn, angulate by keeping your shoulders parallel to the slope: don't let your inside shoulder dip. One drill is to touch your front foot with your downhill hand, and to extend your uphill arm so that it points up the slope. During the carve, twist your body to the inside of the turn and look uphill: Don't look to the side of the slope or downhill.

When your board starts to point down the fall line, start loading the tail: Move your weight to the back of the board and get the tail to dig into the snow. Load the tail sooner than you think you need to.

Angulating, twisting, looking uphill, and loading the tail will make you carve a tighter, more circular turn.

As your board becomes perpendicular to the fall line, release the pressure in the tail: you should feel spring from the tail, and you will feel like you are doing a wheelie with the board. Right as the tail springs, change edges, twist your hips to face downhill, move your body across your board downhill for the next turn, and immediately angulate. On the edge change, move your body downhill sooner than you think you need to. Change edges right as the tail springs: don't get lazy and traverse across the slope before changing edges. On the steeps, you should be able to get a good 6" of air from the tail spring (without having to load as much), change edges in the air, and land on the next edge.

Don't move your body up and down like a piston at edge changes: Instead, keep your upper body at the same vertical height above the slope and instead move your body across the board downhill. Your legs will compress when you move from carving position to the point where your body is over your board on the edge change, and then your legs will extend when you move your body further downhill for the next carve. So even though your upper body is not moving up and down, your legs are still extending and retracting as you move your body across the board. This motion is especially important for the steeps. By moving your body across your board early, it feels like you are "falling" into the next carve and your trenches will be tighter.

Other tips

When practicing, start going down the slope in the bent-knee position: don't straight leg it, even at the very beginning.

Off season training: hack squats, squats, lower back, abs, high repetitions. Emphasize the recovery movement of weightlifting.

Narrow stance: Can bend the board tighter, but you don't get as much leverage, making it difficult on the steeps.

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