Carve Skis – Experience The Feeling


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Carve skis, also known as carving skis

Carve skis, also known as carving skis, carvers, parabolic or shaped skis came into being in the early 90’s after the advent of the snowboard. Previously skis were typically long with straight parallel edges that were the same width from end to end. Skiers who took up snowboarding experienced the exhilarating sensation of carving that had been previously unknown to them.

To stay competitive in the marketplace ski manufacturers were forced to radically re design skis with a carve shape similar to that of snowboards so that skiers could also experience the wonderful carving sensation when on the slopes. These new ‘carve’ skis needed to be wide at the tip and tail and narrower at the waist (the middle). This is called the sidecut. They also had to have flexibility to make turning easier combined with tortional stiffness for good edge control whilst carving.

Initially the manufacturers struggled as skis had been traditionally made of wood which wasn’t suitable for the design and qualities needed for carve skis. However, after developing new and complex internal structures and embracing new components and composite materials the carve ski evolved into skis as we know them today. They are easier to learn on and make turning simpler. They are also generally shorter than the earlier skis. A person who would have skied on 190cm skis on the old style may ski on 160 cm carvers today.

When originally developed carve skis were quite basic with a universal design and all had a similar sidecut. Today, however, there is a huge variety of options to suit the different styles of skiers and snow conditions. If you prefer doing shorter turns you would want carvers with a deeper sidecut as the ski will be quicker to turn. If you prefer longer turns, especially at high speeds, a shallower sidecut carve ski would be more suitable.

Carve skis styles

Different shapes and styles are also more suited to different conditions such as powder, ice, groomed runs, bumps etc. These days some dedicated skiers might have what is called a “quiver of skis” which is several pairs, each for a different purpose. Others however don’t ski enough to warrant this or don’t like to bother with changing their skis for different conditions so they go for a pair of “all mountain skis”. These styles of carving skis were not popular initially as they had their limitations. In an effort to make them suit all situations they were often OK at most things but not great at anything. Today, however, there are some excellent all mountain carve skis to suit all skiers.

These days, regardless of the style of carve skis you choose, all skis are actually ‘carve skis’. Skis are, more often than not called by one of the many styles of skis available so the term “carve” is not really necessary anymore.

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