This information is from the book: A Weekend Warrior's Guide to Expert Skiing. 

BASICS OF THE CARVED TURN: Introducing CPCPU  

             It is almost time to hit the slopes again and convert your newly learned mind/body engrams (body positions), into correctly carved turns. But first, I am guessing you will enjoy a little discussion on how a carved turn actually happens on snow.  As you read through this dissertation on carving, always imagine the carving is taking place on a nicely groomed and very smooth intermediate run. This is the kind of run that allows you to relax and float euphorically down the slopes.

 In the SITS method your lower body creates a ski turn using a four part continuous movement sequence referred to as: Compress, Point, Continuous Push, and Up (CPCPU). Say what? Well, all I am saying is this is the perfect lead-in to the next phase of the SITS system. In this section of Part Two, we begin with an explanation of the basic carved turn utilizing the CPCPU turn dynamics. Once again, it is really simple and clearly illustrated by an everyday object; the common spring. 

Figure 8.1 Compressing Springs to Start the Turn. From an upright stance compress the imaginary springs forward with your knees. Next, point your knees in the direction of the turn. Keep pressure on the springs throughout the entire turn.

           The essence of the carved turn is found in getting your skis tipped up on their edges. Have you ever wondered what exactly is happening here? Let me start this discussion by saying I will not answer this question with a laundry list outlining some complicated series of steps required in an exact order to get the desired result of a single carved turn.

I will share with you the few elements necessary to accomplish a rhythmic dance of coordinated and balanced turns down the ski slope. As we dissect the components of the carved turn I want you to promise me you will remember to always think of a ski turn as much more than a sum of parts.  I want you to think of the carved turn as a fluid continuous flowing motion.  A motion that takes you down, around, and up again.  Thatís it, the basic carved turn!  Think of the down part, or initial phase of a turn as using your knees to compress two strong springs that are hooked to your knees and extend out to the tips of your skis. This is phase one of the carved turn, and this compression action is identified by C in the CPCPU turn sequence.

The compressing action loads your skis with energy as they push against the snow. Creating this load on your skis causes them to counter flex. To see this, next time you are in the local ski shop lay one of their skis on a flat hard surface. You will see that the ski bows up in the middle, while only the tips and tails are touching the surface. Push down on the center of the ski until it touches the surface, and then release your hand quickly. The ski springs upward a bit as it releases the energy you loaded onto it. When skiing, you compress the imaginary springs and the ski flexes counter to its natural shape due to the pressure you are exerting on it. When you press on the ski during an actual turn it will counter flex a great deal, substantially increasing the energy you load into it. Later, we will discuss using this energy to correctly finish the turn.

In the second phase of your turn, you continue to apply pressure to the imaginary springs and point your knees in the direction you want to go. This pointing action, which drives your knees into the turn initiates the edging of your skis. Pointing your knees is the second phase of a carved turn and it is identified by the P in CPCPU. The key point to remember when carving good turns is to make sure you keep the above mentioned springs compressed throughout the entire turn. Simply keep pressure on the front of your skis by continuously pushing on the springs. Compressing in the beginning and then letting up before you are through the turn is a common mistake of immediate skiers, and even advanced skiers make this mistake too often. Applying pressure to the front of your skis by Continuously Pushing on the imaginary springs throughout the turn is identified by the second CP in CPCPU.

If you let up on those imaginary springs, the skis can and will accelerate out ahead of you, and now you are playing catch up.  Guess what?

Tip: While making short and medium radius turns try putting the most pressure down on the front of your skis "at the end of the turn". This creates the greatest amount of rebound energy to help you quickly spring up and float into the next turn. It also gives you an extra measure of control over the terrain.

And remember this, you will be using this same basic turn in the trees, in the powder, on the steeps, and in the crud. Yet, in each of these conditions you will add subtle variations to this turn for each condition. If you want to learn more about these "nuances of the basic ski turn" you will need to get our book, A Weekend Warrior's Guide to Expert Skiing. Learn more>

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