Quality, not quantity

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Stuart Bilodeau
Juvenile GS champ Stuart Bilodeau shows how bracing firmly against a quality-oriented carved turn can look so natural.

Who doesn’t like watching skiers descend while they ascend comfortably perched up in a chairlift seat. Because of my interest in ski technique, I can’t help but notice a few of the most common faults made by the general skiing public. One of the most obvious has to do with edging.

Carving is the big thing these days. Edging is a big part of carving, but remember, it’s the quality of edging, not the quantity, that matters. Race-type turns on hard snow demand a different form of edging than a surfing-style turn down a slope of fresh powder.

Not surprisingly, two of my favourite skiers I enjoy watching are my 15-year-old son, Stuart, and my spouse and partner, Heather. Stuart’s edging and carving skills have recently trans-formed from being quantity-oriented to quality-oriented. He certainly proved it to me by winning the GS at the Canadian Juvenile Championships last spring. Heather’s specialty has always been angelic turns through any powder, slush or crud.

The key to winning any GS race or piloting your skis through ungroomed snow is the quality of edging and carving, not quantity. On hard snow surfaces at moderate to fast speeds, carving is a fantastic thrill. Focus on subtle movements. Keep all your joints semi-flexed and roll your skis onto their edges progressively through the turn. Feel the pressure build and brace firmly against it with both legs. Feel your butt toward the slope uphill, not down toward the tails of your skis. Look how strong Stuart’s carving turn appears in this photo because he’s balanced so well to the inside of his turn. There’s not only quantity of edging here, but quality with no apparent slippage sideways.

Stuart and Heather
In powder, Stuart and Heather edge as little as possible while focusing on smooth, round turn shapes.

Conversely, edging in powder is less important as steering becomes more prevalent. What this means is that your focus needs to be more on round, smooth turn shapes in order to flow down the slope without abrupt, jamming-type turns that send most powder neophytes for a loop–literally. Do not, I repeat, do not rush your turns in deep snow. Be patient and allow your skis to come around the arc, which will control your speed sufficiently. Less quantity, more quality.

Heather and Don Bilodeau own and operate the School of Skiing and Snowboarding at Panorama Mountain Village near Invermere, B.C. (888/767-7799, www.skischool.com)

Heather & Don Bilodeau
To top