6 Ways to Improve Your Carving

Carving on the piste using the CARV ski app

How to carve better on the piste? Check out our latest review of the CARV ski app and the 6 ways it helped improve both carving and skiing technique

Backcountry Editor, Ken Reeve, discovers the secrets to good carving using the CARV ski app to give him the edge when it comes to Ski IQ scoring...

Back in January at the SIGB ski test in La Clusaz, the guys at CARV gave me a set of their pressure-sensing insoles to evaluate.

In brief, 72 pressure sensors and 9-axis 3D motion by accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer combine with their algorithm to give real-world metrics on the accompanying app.

As well as giving instructions to help improve, each session of turns is marked as your Ski IQ, according to how well you were carving. On the app's leaderboard, you can see how your Ski IQ scores stack up against other users. There are seven levels in the app, from Geen Guru with Ski IQ 50-90 ranging up to Grim Ripper Ski IQ of 150 plus.

Back in January at the start of my CARV journey, I scored 132 on my best run and gradually over the following months, with the aid of CARV's excellent instuctional videos and in-the-ear tips via ear buds, managed to move from Carve Connoisseur (Ski IQ 125-140) up to Grim Ripper (Ski IQ 150+).

As you move up on the scoreboard, each level gets exponentially tougher to achieve and I found myself wallowing at the lower end of Mountain Master (Ski IQ 140-150) for several weeks and not really knowing how to improve.

Being a bit geeky I started analysing the metrics and realised what was not happening!

So, in no particular order, here are my 6 takeaway pointers to help improve your score AND your carving:

1) TOPPLE gave me the biggest single improvement to my score and skiing. Toppling like a tree into the turn, leads on to: 

2) HIGHER EDGE ANGLE is a by-product of topple, which allows for more outside ski pressure, a good thing!

3) EARLY EDGING on the new downhill ski, again vital to engage the ski solidly at the start of the turn, otherwise it will skid out and never carve properly.

4) WEIGHT FORWARD and across the skis as you transition from old outside ski to new outside ski, is part of the all-important topple and gets the shovel of the ski loaded at the start of the turn, the shifting of weight to the rear of the ski to get the tail to engage seems to happen automatically for me, but I need to concentrate on the forward motion at the start of the turn. 

5) INNER KNEE RETRACTION as all of this extra lean means you have to create some room for the inner ski, otherwise you end up loading it too much and spinning out of the turn, do this by retracting the inner knee up towards your armpit.

6) S-SHAPED TURNS are a sign that your ski edging and pressure build smoothly, enabling the skis to engage and carve  rather than being in a hurry to get the turn over and done with which leads to Z-shaped turns with skidding.

All the above enabled me to massively improve my score (and my carving!) from a respectable 132 Carve Connoisseur in January to a cool 156 Grim Ripper by the end of March.

Some metrics:

Ski IQ 132

Topple 51%
Edge angle 34°
Early edging 68%
Turn shape 68%


Ski IQ 156

Topple 80%
Edge angle 59°
Early edging 97%
Turn shape 86%

Thanks again Carv guys, it's been a blast!

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