How To Carve On Your Snowboard The Best Way!

How To Carve On A Snowboard | 5 Quick Tips

by Fraser

Addicted to snowboarding yet?

Of course you are!

You’ve mastered the basics and are riding smoother and faster than ever. 

But now you’re probably finding yourself ready to take the next step… carving! The ability to carve opens up a whole new realm of speed and possibility. So let’s discuss how to carve on a snowboard. 

Carving on a snowboard is when the rider turns whilst entirely on one edge of the snowboard. There is no skidding or flat-basing. Carving requires good edge control, with your weight balanced evenly across the entire length of the board. 

Let’s take a look at how to carve on your snowboard, and why it’s one of the best “tricks” you can do!

Why You Need To Learn To Carve!

Skidded turns are fun. But they’re no match for a smooth carve turn.

Carving is essentially turning your snowboard on its edge and cutting your board through the snow, without skidding or slipping.

Carving can be super fun if you get it right. You can also increase your speed and improve your skills, ready for freestyle. That’s right… when you start throwing 360’s and 540’s in the park, you’ll need your carving skills to initiate the trick. 

Carving is therefore essential across all snowboard disciplines. So let’s learn how to do it right!

How To Carve On A Snowboard: The Basics

Despite what many believe, most snowboarders will carve instinctively. It’s a natural movement. Your feet remain flat and you’re going down an especially slippery hill. You’ll then naturally lean towards the slope, cutting your edge into the snow, causing you to carve.

If only it was that easy!.

You will notice that during a skidded turn, the board will slide right over the snow and you will see a track. However, when you carve – this track changes into a narrow curved arc.

But, as carves don’t do much to reduce your speed, the temptation is to kick your leg out at the end… skidding the turn and slowing you down. It’s hard to fight this urge!

All you need to remember when it comes to carving is that there are three main elements:

  1. Tip the board on its edge
  2. Add pressure
  3. Speed is your friend!

So, now let’s examine how to carve a snowboard… with a few more detailed steps.

Step One: Tipping Practice

To start practicing, you will need to get yourself down to the bottom of a hill… Or at least somewhere flat.

Look for something sturdy like a tree or wall so you can begin. You can also prop yourself up on a (willing) friend, relative or skier. Now, tilt the board on its edge.

On your toe-side edge, you will need to bend your knees in order to tip the board. You’ll need to keep even pressure across the full snowboard edge with both legs. You’ll be leaning forward into the slope. 

how to carve on a snowboard

Carving the other way is slightly different. With your heels, send your bodyweight downwards like you’re about to settle into a very low seat (or toilet). 

These are the positions you’ll need to be in to hold a carve. There will be dynamic changes up and down, so ingrain them into your muscle memory. These are the very basics when it comes to positioning yourself in a carve.

Step Two: Carved Traverse

You don’t want to go too deep when you’re practicing, so head to an average hill so you can practice carving using a traverse.

Because you’re going to do this across the hill, you’ll need to make sure you’re consistently looking up and in front of you, as there can be many things (people) to collide with!

Let’s look at heel traverse first.

  1. Using the previous step that we talked about, you will position yourself as if you’re going into a low seat and add significant weight and pressure onto your heels.
  2. Gradually reduce the pressure until you find the right balance of weight distribution so you can carve right through the snow in the best possible way.

Now for the toeside traverse.  

  1. You’ll want to keep your knees and your ankles bent and then tilt the board onto its edge (by sending your knees into the hill). 
  2. Initially, there will be more weight on the front foot. But you’ll want to even this out across the toeside edge to avoid the back of the board washing out. 
  3. Hold the long traverse for as long as you can. 

As with the heel traverse, you will need to test out the right amount of pressure that works for you in order to get the best possible results. It’s all a case of practice.

Step Three: Carved Garlands

As we said, practice will be your best friend when it comes to learning to carve. Once you’re nailing some traverses, the next step is carved garlands

This is basically just doing the first portion of the carved turn, then straightening off, then repeat. You’ll stay on one snowboard edge through. 

All you’ll need to do is shift your weight from a traverse over to your front leg. Once you’ve picked up some speed, you can then tilt the board upwards and get ready to power your edge. Try this on both edges.

This will give you a sense of how to gain speed and power whilst staying up on your edge. 

Step Four: Carved Single Turn

This is a little more tricky to master. Get yourself onto an averagely-inclined hill and start with toe carves.

Speed will be your friend here. Pick up as much speed as you can and then distribute your weight to your toe.

This will begin your turn. Now you want to tilt the board to its edge. As before, if you’re doing this toe-side, you will drive your knees into the hill. 

Add pressure to both of your feet and let the snowboard do the work. You will then turn uphill and eventually come to a stop.

You can do the same thing heelside, but you have to remember to squat that butt down and lift up your toes. 

Step Five: Linking

As with any form of training, you will eventually want to link everything you’ve learned together. 

Remember though, you will want to master each step one by one before you try this.

Proper carving will involve a lot of time and effort, so ensure you stick at it!

The Bottom Line

Hopefully you now know how to carve on a snowboard. Follow our step by step process and I’m sure you’ll soon master it pretty soon.

But before you start hurtling the mountain at speed, check out the worst snowboard carving mistake. Avoid it at all costs!

Happy riding carving!

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