Snowboarding is an incredibly difficult sport to get master. Especially the art of carving. To make life easier, I’ve laid out the most common snowboard carving mistakes and how to fix them.
Here are the 7 worst mistakes that snowboarders make when carving:
- Not following-through.
- Not having enough speed.
- Bad posture.
- Not enough lateral movement.
- Not committing to your edge.
- Kicking out the back of the board.
- Not getting the correct snowboard.
In this article, I’ll outline the most common mistakes that newbies (and beyond) make when carving. You’ll be carving like a boss in no time…
1. Not Following-Through.
Perhaps the most prominent aspect of any successful carve is not following through on your turn.
This is a common mistake made throughout snowboarding, not just when carving. Riders often start making the turn, then as the board changes direction, they ease off and lose control of the snowboard.
This doesn’t give your board the time to truly find “the edge”.
Instead, riders should continue with the turn until long after the carve was initiated; this allows the rider’s weight and momentum to carry the board smoothly through to the next turn. Pulling out of the carve too early can also make turning unpredictable, which could lead to accidents or collisions with other riders on the slope.
Practice allowing your turns and carves to continue on longer than you might have previously. Reverting back to long “U” turns back up the hill is a good exercise for this.
2. Not Having Enough Speed.
One of the essential ingredients to a successful carve is speed. You must build up enough momentum to carry you smoothly from carve to carve.
Beginners often attempt to carve slowly. This prevents the board from getting right up onto an edge, preventing you from leaning over enough to hold a carve. You therefore end up “skidding” out your turns and will struggle with the transitions.
Am I saying you need to fly down the hill at super-sonic speeds?
Nope! Just make sure that you’ve accumulated enough speed and momentum to give your board the best chance of railing on edge.
Test this out on a wide, averagely steep slope. Take your time and wait until you’re at reasonable speed before starting your turn.
3. Bad Posture.
Another common snowboard carving mistake is not getting the posture right. Your posture is crucial to your success. If you’re too upright or too slouched, you won’t be able to sustain pressure over your edge. You’ll either come out of the carve early, or end up head over heels.
The correct posture for carving involves getting a sound footing, relaxing your body, and maintaining a slight bend in your knees. Your upper body should remain relatively still throughout.
- Toe-side carves: Bend your knees slightly, keep your back straight, push forwards on your toeside edge and lean into the slope. Some riders stretch their arm out to touch the ground – if you do this, do it via momentum and lean, not by bending your back.
- Heel-side carves: Squat as though sitting in a chair but not quite as low. Back straight. Apply even pressure over your heels. Hold it.
Much like following through, learning how to get your posture right will help you in all aspects of snowboarding – not just when carving up the slope like a turkey.
4. Not Enough Lateral Movement.
Lateral movement, in this instance, refers to whether you lean forwards or backwards on the board when carving.
As a general rule, you should lean towards the slope when carving. If you don’t lean into the turn enough, you’ll likely stop carving. But lean in too enthusiastically, you’ll cross your center of balance and face-plant the slope.
You’ll soon find that you can lean in harder when carrying more momentum. You’ll also find that it’s easier to hold an edge while leaning over. Unfortunately, it takes a little trial and error. But you’ll get there!
5. Not Committing to Your Edge.
When you’re attempting to carve up a slope on your board, you’ll be leveraging the toe-side or heel-side of the board. As you can probably guess, the toe-side of the board is the direction that your toes face while riding, the heel-side is the opposite.
If you ride with your right foot in front, you should lean toeside when carving to the left and heelside when carving to the right. If you have your left foot in front when riding, you lean toe side when carving to the right.
Now that you know which edge to target, commit, commit, commit! It’s impossible to truly carve without committing to riding on one edge. Even slightly “flat-basing” will throw your carve out of wack.
6. Kicking Out the Back on the Board.
This is one of the more common snowboard carving mistakes.
Many riders compensate for poor edge hold or posture by kicking out the back of the board. This doesn’t help when trying to carve. Instead, it stops the carving motion almost instantly!
You should instead shift your weight from your back to your front foot. This pressure is enough to shift from turn to transition to turn. There’s no need for any dramatic leg kicks!
When it comes to carving, less is more. Concentrate on keeping your body lined up in a straight line with the board. Use your front foot to gently steer the board. Never use your back foot as a rudder.
7. Not Getting the Correct Snowboard
There are many forms of snowboarding, including freestyle and free-ride. Freestyle snowboarders tend to use much more flexible snowboards. This helps them with quick tricks, flips, and spins.
On the other hand, carving involves long, smooth turns, often at speed.
If you’re attempting to carve on a short freestyle snowboard, you’ll likely encounter more problems than you would with an appropriate board. As a result, you may want to find an all-mountain board to help you learn.
Obviously there will be a few readers thinking “but you can carve on any snowboard”. Yes, this is true. But why make it harder on yourself when you’re learning?
Those are the most troublesome snowboard carving mistakes!
Do you recognise a few in your own riding? If you’re unsure, I’d recommend asking someone to film you whilst carving. Watch the footage with the above pointers in mind. See which areas you can improve on. Rinse and repeat.
I’ve included a helpful video below if you want a visual representation of the above.
Now get out there and carve up that mountain like a knife through butter!