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Notes from a lesson

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I had the pleasure of a lesson with @Eric Brammer aka PSR on Sunday.  He spent a couple of hours working on my technique, developed originally in Switzerland in the 90s. 

Plug for Eric - he is a great teacher, technical and able to focus on fine detail and impart insights and suggestions that are meaningful and helpful.  I would highly recommend him to anyone looking to improve their carving skills.

After the lesson I documented as much of what I could remember from the lesson as possible as working notes and a reference for the future.  At risk of opening a technique debate I thought that I would share here in case anyone else would find this helpful.  Any errors below are mine not Eric's.



  • Initiate turns moving shoulders in a gentle arc left and forward, back and center, right and forward (in practice imagine a tray across the hands with glasses on that should stay stable)
  • Upper body relaxed
  • Moving shoulders across the board pulls the hips across, moving board onto edge
  • In a tight turn if the nose hooks compensate by dropping the shoulder outside of the turn
  • Each turn is divided into 3 arcs: Initiation, compression, transition
  • In transitions lift and lead with the front foot
  • Use 'counting' (or metronome like tempo) to pace your turn’s arcs, so that you can 'play with' the fall-line by how far you arc a turn
  • Body posture: for relaxed riding, body is higher, allowing for easier recovery in times of need; for intense riding body is crouched, less room for error - aim for a point in between.
  • When it's steeper: lower + looser usually wins the day (ie, the more relaxed you can be)


Initiation phase: toeside turn

  • Move shoulders forward and outside the toeside
  • Push down with front toes
  • Move from knee forward and over second toe
  • ·Look over toeside shoulder to check nobody approaching then look to point where you want to end the turn

Compression phase: toeside

  • Push down with back toes
  • Move back knee down towards the snow
  • Move center of weight backwards between feet
  • Push away from the board with both feet evenly
  • To tighten the carve push back knee towards front knee decambering the board (but, by  the time you are coming 'across' the hill, the rear knee should be 'levered' such that it's over the Center toe, so don't 'get stuck' with knees too close to each other)

 Transition phase: toeside

  • Move shoulders back and to center of board
  • Lift front toes and twist foot towards heel
  • Move front knee over little toe
  • Unweight board by lifting both knees towards your body


Initiation phase: heelside turn

  • Move shoulders forward and outside the heelside
  • Lift front toes and push toes towards heelside
  • Move back knee forward and over big toe (but be 'lifting' the toes, too)
  • Look up to check nobody approaching then look to point where you want to end the turn

Compression phase: heelside

  • Push down with front heel
  • Move back knee down towards the snow (front knee may also contribute in this motion, but is a 'soft' move, usually)
  • Move center of weight backwards between feet
  • Push away from the board with both feet evenly
  • To tighten the carve lift toes and push back knee towards front knee decambering the board

Transition phase: heelside

  • Move shoulders back and to center of board
  • Start lifting front foot 
  • Move back knee over little toe (Briefly! Don't get 'behind' the board)
  • Unweight board by lifting both knees towards your body
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Well, the stuff in parentheses is my 'addenda' add-ons to Brian's notes, so, my typo's may apply? Oh, and with the shoulders, I want to clarify; This is the classic 'lift the inside shoulder' Angulation, but, with a focus on it being a relaxed motion. Brian had a 'twist' in the upper torso that, would at times, cause his shoulder to 'dip', or cause some 'torque-scrub' where the 'twist' transferred some rotation down to the feet, and caused a 'fuzzy' edge. In-between the Shoulder/Feet are the hips+knees, and that group of joints needed a 'cadence', a set-time-to-actuate definition.Once that came together, Brian was getting a good deal lower, and his board was tipped deeper into it's edging (especially mid-turn! Nice trenches!). It takes awhile to un-learn old habits, and replace those with 'new' moves. I'm certain that by the end of next Month, Brian will be digging even better arcs in the hill for others to trip over! "PSR"


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1 hour ago, Corey said:

How many days was this lesson? That's a LOT of info! 

Have you ever read PSR's posts? They're not short! :ices_ange:ices_ange

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1 hour ago, Corey said:

How many days was this lesson? That's a LOT of info! 

2.5 hours., including stopping for hydration, and waiting in Lift-line. 10 stopping points 'on the hill'. One Totally Interrupted discussion due to Jon Rutherford's (an Original Madds Rider) chance meeting in the Lift-Line. Brian is studious, and was able to convert discussions into action with aplomb, much like Shaggy or Todd B.. 


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Wow!  Would love a lesson but my mind and  body could only focus/concentrate on 1/10 of that curriculum and remember even less!

Impressive there, Eboot!   Congrats there, Coach!!

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1 hour ago, barryj said:

Hey Eboot or Eric.         What resort were you guys at for this lesson??

Hey Barry.  We were at Wachussett.  First thing Sunday morning, great conditions, freshly groomed snow.

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Yup, and Sunapee or Okemo will expand this. Terrain factors in, certainly (as does snow quality, which, in the East, means the combo of snowmaking and grooming), so, I'm not doing the 'Next' at Pico nor Cannon. We held ECES at Stratton. Sugarloaf, and Stowe for the exact reasons of Terrain Choice, and the 'Other' things all Eastern Resorts have to try and be good at. Wachussetts was close to my student, familiar, and has just enough incline (though, it's Not Tall!), and has decent grooming, usually (though Nightime can be, 'iffy'). It's 'high traffic', so it lasts only-so-long before it degrades into mush-bumps everywhere (it's just outside of Boston! Many, Many Bodies, anywhere!) Being there Early is Key. Night, well, less bodies, but iffy grooming in spots. One has to know the Potential of any hill to 'plan' for Carving Lesson. Luckily, I know my way around these parts, somewhat.


Edited by Eric Brammer aka PSR

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