Eurocarves

A “eurocarve” is really a trick performed on a carving board, a turn in which the rider slides the upper body across the snow on toeside and at least the hips on heelside. Such turns usually require good conditions to execute because they depart from what is generally considered “good technique.”

Normally, in order to hold an edge and not skid or fall, the body’s mass must be directed over the inside edge. This is achieved by forming angles with your body. The hips and knees are directed inward, toward the snow and in the direction of the turn in order to put the board on edge. At the same time, the shoulders are directed outward, downhill and away from the snow and parallel to the slope, toward to outside of the turn. The hips and shoulders are twisted forward and aligned perpendicular to the board on toeside, and with the stance angles on heelside. Finally,  the knees and ankles flex deeply as the turn progresses. All of these movements help to create a steep edge angle and to maintain pressure on the edge at the same time, so it won’t skid or pop out of the snow.

“Euro-carves” are what we call banked turns, where the legs remain straight and extended, with the body’s center of mass positioned away from the board edge. Clearly, the steeper the slope and the harder the snow, the more difficult it will be to hold an edge with such an extreme position. But in the right conditions (smooth, soft, groomed corduroy on a fairly steep pitch), a skilled rider can execute a perfect carve with the side or chest, and one or both arms and hands, sliding across the snow, on both toe and heelside.

When performing such maneuvers, it is important to approximate sound technique as much as possible. Moves such as reaching down to touch the snow with the inside hand don’t cut it. By doing that, edge angle is reduced and/or pressure is released and the board tends to skid or pop out. I visualize the “euro” turn as exaggerating good technique to the maximum extreme. With both hands, elbows and arms on the snow, the shoulders remain parallel to the slope; indeed, they are ON the slope. So even in such an extreme position, enough edge pressure can be maintained in to execute a perfect carve,  so long as the snow is forgiving. A good (but not extreme) pitch helps, too; you don’t have to lean over so far before you touch the ground.