Miscellaneous Carving info

Why Carving?
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As a carver, you must become a groomer gourmet. Your job is to seek out the time and place of the best grooming before everyone else tracks it up, and to maximize your time on the best groomers. There is a 3 hour window of premium carving time that starts the moment the lifts open, and you don't want to waste it. You should try to minimize the time that you spend fiddling with your gear, such as the time spent swapping bindings. Rather than swap bindings, invest in a second set of bindings or at least a "2nd board kit" that makes swapping easier. Also try to do as much tweaking and adjusting as possible the night before, rather than on the hill. Bear in mind some strategic information:

Grooming strategy

The need for proper grooming:

Spring carving


Originally, snowmaking machines required temperatures below 23º F to operate. However, newer machinery can produce snow in temperatures as high as 29º F, according to Charles Santry, president of Snow Economics in Natick, Mass. Resorts add a powder called SnowMax to the water fed to snowmaking machines. SnowMax provides the "seed" necessary to accelerate snow crystal formation. As it turns out, SnowMax is a protein extracted from the excrement of bacteria. So, when you are carving on man-made snow, you are carving on bacteria poop. Every once in a while, someone brings up the inevitable health concerns, but nobody really cares.


Carving is a fair-weather sport, so it helps to fine-tune your skills in meteorology.


When checking a board bag on a flight, protect the edges of your boards with pipe insulation, available at Home Depot. If you use tape, it's ideal to use gaffer's tape, which does not leave a residue. Don't use duct tape, since it will leave a nasty adhesive on your topsheet or base, and/or pull out wax from the pores in your base, just like a facial. Make sure you have pipe insulation on the tip and tail, since that's where most boards get dropped. Pipe insulation also protects the inside of your bag from the board edges. A board bag with wheels will save your shoulders from getting thrashed.

The bad news is that airlines are enforcing oversize bag rules and excess bag rules. For 2003, airlines raked in $259M in excess baggage fees. The rules vary widely from airline to airline and are often not posted on the airline's web sites. Ticket counter people may or may not enforce them. You may want to try using curbside check-in along with a generous tip. Here is a summary of the rules:

Here are the airline baggage policies for '06, according to the "head managers" at the phone reservation centers. All airlines allow up to 2 checked items, and one of those items can be a board + boot bag. For most airlines, no limit has been spelled out for the size or weight of the "boot bag," which means that theoretically, it can be as large as a regular checked bag. But don't count on it - if it looks like the bag has more than boots, you might get hit with a surcharge.

Airline Board Bag Length limit Boot Bag limit
United / Ted 184 cm Can only contain boots
JetBlue no limit Can only contain boots
American no limit Can only contain boots
US Air 182 cm Can only contain boots
Southwest no limit Can only contain boots
Continental no limit 14"x18"x13" max
Alaska Air 203 cm 14"x17"x10" max
America West no limit Can only contain boots
Northwest no limit (up to 2 boards) Can only contain boots
Air Canada no limit Can only contain boots
Delta no limit Can only contain boots

Travel Info

You cannot get a hex wrench through security. And do not wear Bomber swag at the airport.

New travel restrictions will go into effect from Canada to the US: you will need a passport, rather than just a driver's license. In addition, Canada is likely to impose the same restrictions on travel from the US to Canada:

International flights:

Carving for kids

Women carvers

DeeLuxe/Raichle previously made the Spa Lady boot, a 3-buckle boot with a low cuff. However, there is no reason to go with a lower cuff boot - it's better to go with a 4-buckle boot with softer plastic. Much of the difference between men's and women's boots is the liner, so if you can't find women's boots in stock, go with the Raichle AF600 boots with a heat moldable liner.

The Burton Ice was designed specifically for ladies.

For 2004, the percentage of snowboarders who are female dipped to 26.6%, down from 34.3% in 2003. The percentage of carvers who are women is much smaller, and no one knows why. Women make up about 10% of people who carve at least once during the season, and most of these women attend the larger carving sessions - you will see maybe 10 women out of 100 carvers in attendance. But during the season, women carvers put in far fewer days of carving, and sightings are quite rare. Women generally have more flexibility, which definitely provides an advantage.

Summer Cross training

Street carving

There's a new longboard maker in town: Original Skateboards. They are a small company with hands-on customer service. Check out the the "Custom 45 Complete Longboard"

Three summer carving toys stand out:

Other summer carving devices:

Dry land snowboard simulator

A company in Japan has come up with the Carving Master, a dry-land carving simulator for your snowboard. See the product specs.

Weight Training

Weight lifting helps dramatically, especially free weights that build muscle stabilization. Check out the snowboard workout page. If you start weight lifting in July you will be ready for the winter. During the season, you can decrease the chance of getting muscle injuries by exercising on a regular basis.

Certain muscles are part of balanced pairs: if you work one muscle in the pair, you should work the opposing (antagonist) muscle. In addition, you can alternate between exercise sets of opposing pairs without resting, which speeds the workout. Here is a general regimen for carving:

Then, before the cardio workout, give your legs muscles a rest by doing some mid and upper body exercises:

Then, do a cardio workout, such as the stationary bike, the stairmaster, the treadmill, or the elliptical cross-trainer cycle. On the elliptical, pedal forward to work the glutes and hamstrings, and pedal backwards to work the quads and calves. Don't do more than 20 minutes on any one machine, and try to do at least two different machines. Give each muscle 48 hours of rest between weight lifting workouts.

More training options

How to speak SwitzerDütsch

Carving is popular in Europe, where carvers converse across language barriers using an international dialect of English known as SwitzerDütsch. Over time, advanced carvers have been known to develop a SwitzerDütsch-speaking alter ego; a kind of split-personality - Ja! Sprechen sie SwitzerDütsch! Zie Esperanto auf carving! These carvers always make the pilgrimage to sessions with great terrain, like Aspen - Ja! Dat vas like "licensed driver on closed road!" Vee still dream about dat! They have an impressive carving style that turns heads. As a result, they tend to attract groupies, who are not always in the optimal demographic, especially at Aspen - Ach! Vee talking middle-aged, mit faux leopard skin! Ach! Since their technique is so precise, they are often seen at the side of a run micro-adjusting their stance - Ja. Vee twiddle mit die sprockets! Yet they are always seeking more carving knowledge, which is why they attend lots of carve camps - Ja. vee need vun of doz carve tune-ups - vee vant more of dat alpin Fahrvergnügen! You might see these folks carving down steep ice on a longer board, like maybe a Sims Burner 197 - Ja! Vee go mach schnell! The only time they aren't seen carving is on a powder day, when it's too dangerous to carve because of the chance of pearling into the snow - und breaken sie tib und fib! Ach! But when it dumps, they are pros at surfing in powder, often cranking the angles on soft bindings up toward 45 - Ja! vee really pushing doz softies! In addition to advanced carving skill, the SwitzerDütsch split-personality develops one other trait: a taste for bavarian cooking - Ja! vee love dat hot sausagevurst! ... Ach! vee don't mean it like dat! Dis is familie almanac! ... Only Matinée! ... no evening show!

It's rare to find SwitzerDütsch spoken on the net, but there are a few places to look:

Jean Nerva / Peter Bauer profile

Speaking of SwitzerDütsch: The April 1991 issue of Transworld Snowboarding contains an interview / profile of Peter Bauer and Jean Nerva. The stats on each:

They placed well in snowboard races: In 1990, Jean placed first, and Peter placed second in the World Cup Slalom. In the interview, they discuss the Eurocarve fashion style: Peter Bauer says "It's so funny for us that the Americans think we're faggy ... It started in Stratton. We arrived in full print pants. The Americans from the East Coast were all conservative ... We were sitting in this lodge, eating burgers, and one guy came up to me and said, 'are you guys fags, or are you Europeans?'"


Carving Gifts

We got an email from a gal wanting gift suggestions for a carving husband. Look no further than a base repair pistol (also called a P-Tex gun). It is just expensive enough to make it a frivolous luxury. So carvers don't buy it for themselves. But they want one, because:


Having trouble explaining to Aunt Edna the difference between carving and freeriding? Make a HelmetCam video. The HelmetCam cottage industry has sprung up with a few systems integrators:

Also Check eBay, and Pete Fagerlin's home page.


Kitesnowboarding is an offshoot of kitesurfing. It's easier than kitesurfing but potentially more dangerous. Check out:

For Kite snowboarding, you should use a twin-tip snowboard with a large sidecut radius. The board should be wide enough to allow 0º binding angles without overhang. You should also use boots that are softer than typical race boots. You need a smaller kite than you would for kitesurfing, because snow has less resistance than water. However, you need a larger kite for powder than for hardpack. Bruce Varsava is a kiteboarder, so ask him to make you a board.

Also check out:

Carving with freeride buddies

Actually, this can be a bit difficult, especially when you explain that you would like to:

Snowboard Outreach Society

The Snowboard Outreach Society is a non-profit organization that attempts to cure society's ills by teaching snowboarding skills to at-risk youth. The main idea: If kids are busy snowboarding, they're not robbing convenience stores. If you have old boards that you plan to get rid of, consider donating them to the SOS.

What does carving feel like? The short answer is that it feels exactly the way it looks. Carving has a similar feel to some other sports:

Fun facts:

Industry info

Because carving is rare and exotic, it is susceptible to myths:

Myth Reality
It's impossible to find gear Between Bomber and eBay, you're set.
It's expensive eBay is your friend.
It's dangerous Hard boots protect your ankles.
The boots are uncomfortable Not with a Thermoflex liner and a bootfitter.
It's good for ice But requires exponentially more skill.
It's difficult Carving on a freeride board is harder.
Carvers are young, extreme riders Carvers are old, extreme riders.
You go fast More advanced riders go slow using tighter turns.

Fin's patents

5,895,068 Hard Binding for a snowboard

Jeff's patents

5,577,756 Snowboard binding system

6,189,911 Snow board binding system

6,315,318 Boot binding system

Resources for building your own snowboard:

Why carving

Carving is totally different from freeriding, because carvers strive to never skid the board. Carving is different from racing because the intent is to decamber the board into its natural turn radius when it is high on edge, not the turn radius needed to pass a gate. As a result, carving has its own unique feeling of efficiency and perfection:

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