HOW TO RIDE THE EDGE!
No, it’s not a spot the difference competition. These shots might all look the same, but it’s the position of the skis you need to concentrate on. It might look basic, but it’s a skill most skiers lack.
Making really powerful carving turns on the piste can feel awesome, there’s nothing better than an early
morning blast to sort out last nights excess from your body, and get your head into gear for the day ahead.
If you speak to ski instructors about carving it can all get complicated very quickly, words like ‘angulation’, ‘stacking’ and ‘balancing against the forces’ get thrown around and before you know it, something that looks simple sounds like you need a maths degree before you can even start to attempt it!
But fundamentally, it is very easy and it’s often about cutting through the chaff and doing less rather than more to achieve that goal of riding the edge at high speeds. There are only two things you need to do to get yourself carving well, balancing and edging. It makes sense to get the balance first, before you move onto the edging. Being well balanced is something we do everyday just going about our normal lives so it shouldn’t be something that feels new and difficult to get into.
If we take a look at Rupert Tildesley in the main photo we can see that he has that great balance. This means that as he is standing against the outside ski he can feel that all of his weight is getting
channelled down through his outside foot. This means he is not leaning too hard against the front of the boot, and he’s not relying on the back of the boot to keep him upright.
Basically the pressure is coming down through the centre of his foot so he can feel the ball of his foot against the snow as well as the heel. It’s exactly the same place you use when standing normally on the
ground, except the foot is tilted over.
As long as he his balanced over the right place in his foot, it’s then easy for the rest of his body to do the right thing to help maintain that balance. As you can see, he’s nicely flexed through all his main joints while looking up ahead and keeping his hands forward to help him feel stable. This stance should feel quite natural, we do it all the time in many sports, it’s just about getting ’ready for action’ while keeping good balance over the foot.
Now, once he has that strong base of being balanced over the outside ski, all he has to do is keep the skis riding on their edges. If you look at the bases of his skis you can see that they are tilted over. If the skis are tilted onto their side they will rest on the edges, once onto the edge they can simply ride along them and cut into the snow. It takes a bit of faith to do this and very often at this point it’s easy to throw the towel in and start twisting the skis into the new direction, however if you do this they will lose grip and start to skid.
Once the ski is riding along the edge your speed builds up very quickly, this is one of the great things
about carving, so it’s important to run with the speed, put a big smile on your face and enjoy it, rather than backing off. From this point on you can see that as Rupert moves through the turn he keeps tilting the skis onto even more of an angle, this gives him even more grip and will steer him back up the hill, ready for.
Courtesy of Ski and Board Magazine www.skiclub.co.uk | Photos by Mark Junak www.snowimages.co.uk