Carved Turns: Learning the Skill
Carved turns are the next step beyond skidded turns. This new technique requires mastery of doing skidded turns. Turning is key when it comes to differentiating carved turns from skidded turns.
Carved turns vs. skidded turns
The first difference is that the required speed for a carved turn is much higher than for a skidded turn. The second difference is that a carved turn is made using the edge of your snowboard rather than twisting your snowboard as you do with a skidded turn. The third difference is the sound and feel of a carved turn. Slicing through the snow make for a quieter turn than skidding over it.
One nice thing about carved turns is that it is easy to see if your technique is correct. All you have to do is stop and look at the trail you leave behind. A carving turn will leave behind a pencil thin line. A skidded turn will leave a wide and long line.
To make a carved turn you use the effective edge of the snowboard. To do this, you will need to twist the snowboard more than you would for a skidded turn. Also, try to raise the snowboard to a much higher angle than you did when performing a skidded turn.
Carved turns: the basics
Begin the carved turn by riding down a steeper slope and at a higher rate of speed than when you were learning skidded turn. Bend your knees a little more than you would and for a toe side carved turn, push your hips forward so that they are in line with your knees.
This position will push the snowboard behind you and start to rotate it up onto the toe side edge. As your snowboard rises up you must work to keep a straight line from the pivot point, your knees, up to your shoulders. Ideally, you will want your snowboard to lean far enough that it is at 90′ to the slope as this is when the edge is the most effective.
As you already have noticed, you do not need to flex the snowboard as you did when making a skidded turn. This is because your snowboard is already pointing the direction you want it to go and you are digging the edge in to make it go that way instead of using your weight to make it turn.
Linked carved turns
There is one more important thing to know for when you are trying linked carved turns, raising your snowboard. When going from a toe side to a heel side carved turn you need to roll your snowboard from one side to the other. While doing this you can easily catch your snowboard on the surface of the snow thus causing you to bail. The solution is to sort of jump while turning from one side to the other. This pseudo-jump takes the weight of the board without lifting the snowboard off the snow. This helps reduce some of the weight on your snowboard thus decreasing the odds of catching anything.
Carved turns are the only way to turn effectively at higher rates of speed. As you may already know, skidded turns take longer to make, if it is even possible, as your speed increases. Make sure you know your basic skills well before heading down the slopes at high rates of speed.