What is the difference between Carving and a Skidded turn?

These are 2 very common questions that often get asked by beginner and intermediate snowboarders when first learning how to carve on the snowboard!

The difference between carving on your snowboard or a skidded turn is that, carving is where you tilt the snowboard more (more snowboard edge pressure) so its grips and cuts through the snow with less skid and a stronger control over pressure through the snowboard edge.

When carving on your snowboard, your side-cut and flex will be more involved with the snowboard’s direction and will help in steering the board though the turn.

It is important to understand that your turn shape and turn size will vary depending on how confident you are with speed and obstacles.

So why learn how to carve on your snowboard?

Carving on your board is the next step in your progression if you have mastered skidded turns as an intermediate or beginner snowboarder.

how to carve on a snowboard

Learning how to carve on your snowboard will not only help increase your confidence when gaining too much speed, but it will also teach you how to become naturally stronger and more in tune with your upper and lower body when making turns on steeper trails on the snowboard in general.

How do you know if you’re ready to start learning how to Carve on a Snowboard?

I would like to offer some advice…

The only time I recommend you start learning how to carve on your snowboard is when you have at least 10 days of solid riding under your belt?

Why you ask…

If you have only just started learning how to snowboard or are fairly new to intermediate snowboarding, you will more than likely have a few major bad habits that need attention before trying to start carving on the board.

Unless you have had a few Intermediate snowboard lessons and fully understand how and why our basic stance keeps us balanced and controlled (It must be strong)

All you’ll do is create more bad habits and end up being frustrated and sore!

how to carve when snowboarding

If you’re in this boat, go and check out our Master the turns snowboard Execution Plan (Intermediate to advanced snowboard tutorials) and fix all of your Bad Habits at once!

That lead us onto our next subject….

Your Basic Snowboard Stance for Carving on a snowboard.

If you’re reading this you really should know what your basic stance is when snowboarding…

If you don’t, Go here and learn how to stand on your snowboard effectively.

Click here to Learn your Basic Snowboard Stance

This is also one of the biggest problems I see in most snowboarders have on the mountain today (even the pros) There basic snowboard stance has some major flaws in it and they wonder why they can’t hold a strong edge or keep falling at edge change when carving…

It all relates back the basic stance….

Go and check out the other post I made about basic stance when carving on your snowboard, it’s not just your standard stance, I show you and tell you how to position your weight when carving…

Your Carving snowboard stance is different to your Basic snowboard stance.

Your Carving Snowboard Stance when Learning how to Carve

Creating Flexion and Extension for Carving Edge Pressure

If you’ve never heard of Flexion and Extension on the snowboard before, this is where you generate pressure and release edge pressure through your body and snowboard edge to steer and control your snowboard in any snow conditions or terrain features.

how to turn on a snowboard

It is (should be) your number one focus when learning how to snowboard in the early stages of beginner and intermediate riding.

If you don’t have Good edge pressure or a Good understanding of flexion and extension when carving, don’t expect to make smooth carving turns any time soon….

But hey… that’s why you’re here right?

…to learn how to carve on the snowboard!

Carving on your snowboard comes down to 3 things:

1) A Strong carving snowboard stance

2) Good Flexion and Extension

3) Perfect timing with pressure control

Without understanding all of the above you will struggle to carve on your snowboard effectively.

It is so important to work on all of the attributes daily when on your snowboard, even when you’re not carving…

After a while, they should all become natural but it takes time to develop the muscle memory required to start fine tuning your carving technique…

how to carve when snowboarding

With that in mind, Lets break down the progression of what it actually takes to start carving on your snowboard like you’re a god on the snowboard!

Here’s what you need to know if you want to improve your Snowboard Carving Technique.

NOTE: Please make sure you have gone through our Carving Execution Plan or have a solid understanding and riding experience before implementing these techniques!

Edge arcs

Edge c turns

Linked edged s turns

At this stage of your snowboard journey, you should be able to make skidded turns down blue and some black trails on the snowboard.

Carving Edge Arcs:

This is where we are Traversing across the hill with minimal skid, whilst balancing on an edge. (The Carve line)

The idea behind this exercise is to help increase edge awareness, effective edging movements (angulation) and develop the feeling of having the snowboard hold an edge for an extended period across a slope.

It is extremely important that you not only remember the safety of yourself but others when trying this exercise.

Be aware of uphill and downhill traffic

Practise both toe and heel-edge traverses and once you have reached the other side, check behind you in the snow to make sure you have a strong carving line from your snowboard edge (Not a skidded line)

For full details of how to perform the Snowboard craving Arc, go and check out our post on exactly how and what to do.

NOTE: If you are not creating a strong edge, it could be because your range of movement with your flexion and extension is weak…

If that’s the case you need to work on timing.

Carving Edge C Turns

Once you have traversing on a carved edge mastered we need to start learning how to create a carving edged C Turn.

Through the edged traverses and edged arcs, we have increased edge angle toward the end of the turn. We now concentrate on a higher edge angle earlier in the turn.

Ultimately we are trying to get you to start changing edges earlier before you enter the fall line of the slope…

By learning how to change your carving edge before the fall line, it will enable you to start controlling the edge pressure before and after the fall line, by doing this it means we will have ultimate control over speed and balance throughout the turn itself!

This technique alone will change the way you start riding your snowboard forever, it not only is useful for learning how to carve on a snowboard but can be utilised in nearly every aspect of advanced snowboard.

For full details of how to perform the Snowboard Carving C Turn Click here

NOTE: Want to learn how to stay balance and controlled when carving on a snowboard? Simply download this CARVING snowboarder roadmap to learn all aspects of learning how to carve. Learn what bad habits snowboarders make so you can AVOID them to progress faster and maintain balance and control easier…check it out now!

Linked Edged S Turns

Our next step when learning how to carve on our snowboard is linked edged S Turns.

The idea here is to combine 2 Carving edged C turns (to complete an S turn) and also add rhythm and speed control using good timing with flexion and extension techniques.

When you use these techniques in the right combination of movements, you quickly start to become a very competent snowboarder who not only carve on the snowboard with style but also has the ability to ride steeper terrain with excellent control and Balance.

One of the beautiful things about carving is that it teaches you how to control your timing techniques when applying and releasing pressure to and from your snowboard.

By having great timing on your snowboard, it essentially means your lower body will always absorb any expected and unexpected terrain features (bumps) in the snow….

It’s at this stage of your snowboarding journey that you stop falling over on your snowboard.

Always use terrain that is well within your ability…

Remember to give way to others and be respectful when you’re snowboarding around the hill

The same terrain that was used for edged C-turns should be suitable. Advance onto slightly steeper groomed trails when you think you’re ready is ready and comfortable riding with more speed.

NOTE: Snow conditions will also play a large role in whether or not you will leave a smooth carving line in the snow behind you!

For full details of how to perform the Snowboard Carving S Turn Click here:

What is Angulation On the Snowboard and how does it affect your balance and control when carving?

As you become more confident and competent within your ability to carve effectively on the snowboard, we now need to start learning about angulation and the different forces that will help us make smoother and stronger turns through.

We now need to start becoming more aware of our rotational movements when snowboarding.

Your carving snowboard stance with correct angulation is now more open towards the direction of travel, the lead shoulder sits over the heel edge of the snowboard while the rear shoulder aligns over the toe edge.

We can use this upper body position to create another point of angulation between the hips and shoulders. The Upper body angulation balances the COM over the contact edge. It is used to drive the pressures and forces of the turn down into the edge. This allows you to hold a stronger edge, rather than having the forces directed down the fall-line creating skid or drift at the completion of the turn.

Angulation when snowboarding

To create upper body angulation the shoulders stay parallel with the pitch of the slope while the hips are more parallel with the tilt of the snowboard.

Get the full video tutorials and instructions of how to do this in our Carving Execution Plan.

Changing Edges across the fall line

Why is it so important to change edges across the fall line instead of down the fall line?

When you first learnt how to snowboard, I’m guessing your snowboard instructor taught you that in order for us to make smooth linked turns, you would steer your snowboard down into the fall line and then change edges….

The only problem with this is that as you become more of an advanced snowboarder, changing your edge down the fall line can greatly improve the chances of you losing control and balance due to increase speeds and steeper terrain

By learning how to change your edges across the fall line you can start applying edge pressure down and through the fall line enabling you to essentially stay in control and balanced through every single turn your make.

This is extremely important for snowboarders wanting to learn how to carve correctly.  Carving can and most likely will involve increased speeds so it is necessary you understand and learn how to changes edges across the fall line instead of down it!

Follow the link and learn how to change edges across the fall line instead of down it when carving.

Looking and steering when Carving

This is another major point that must be mentioned when learning the difference between carving and skidded turns on the snowboard is looking to where you want to go.

Basic Stance on a snowboard

Most snowboarders get this wrong and end up creating bad habits that hinder their success when it comes to carving with a smooth and fluid style.

Everything is about rhythm and flow when carving and that includes where you are looking when riding your snowboard.

98% of riders out there look down at their feet or down the at the snow, in reality, you MUST look up and in the direction of travel, it is alright to look down the slope to spot your turn but make sure you realign your head back to your shoulder and look into the direction of travel.

This not only make a Massive difference in your carving technique but your snowboarding will start to go through the roof, especially on steeper terrain.


Exaggerated movements when learning the Carve technique

What do I mean when I say exaggerated movements when carving?

I’ll start with an analogy:

Imagine you’re driving along in your car and you have no suspension at all, you would have a very bumpy ride from point A to point B.

The same goes for snowboarding, If you imagine your legs acting as suspension (like on the car) and you’re not constantly moving with the snow (using flexion and extension) then you will easily be thrown off balance and lose control…

This is why Flexion and extension (+timing) are so important when carving, by learning the correct technique you will always be able to absorb anything that comes your way.

When you really start to focus on carving, you soon realise the difference between small movements and big movements through not only the lower body but the upper body as well.

Once you know where your maximum range of movement is without losing a strong snowboarding stance, then you can truly get maximum edge pressure and control when carving on your snowboard!

Increased Speed when Carving

This is probably one of the biggest creators of bad habits when craving on the snowboard, Too much speed leads to panic and panic generally leads to slowing down in any way possible…

…and that includes throwing your carving snowboard stance out the window!

When you start going too fast on the snowboard, especially when carving, the general tendency is to lean back from danger (put weight on the back foot) and as soon as you do this, your steering goes out the door.

So we need to learn some of the better strategies for control when going too fast while carving on your snowboard!

It is vital that when you start learning how to carve that you control your speed when first learning,

Less of the snowboard friction is created by carving so it is natural that you will start picking up excess speed.

Finial Tips for Carving on your Snowboard 

Above I have outlaid some very important steps for you to implement if you want to become a confident snowboard who can carve up a storm.

My main advice would be master the basic stance and remember to realign your upper and lower body before moving into the next turn.

It sound’s simple, but most of the bad habits that are created when carving come from a poor snowboard stance and then everything else’s just snowballs’ from there.

Once you have that dialled in, focus on your flexion and extension as well with your range of movements, and really exaggerate the lower body movement to get maximum pressure and edge control.

If you find yourself getting edge chatter, then your timing is out, practice the timing exercises and remember to keep looking and where you want to go, not down at the snow….

This is where most snowboarders go wrong!


And finally, control your speed by using the correct turn shapes turn sizes….

Angulation when snowboarding

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Logan is the founder of Online Snowboard coach and has been coaching people how to snowboard for over 12 years...

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