Carving, although once extremely challenging to learn, has become an integral part in most downhill completion since the introduction of shaped skis. The downhill ski technique of today uses a combo of skidding and carving, changing up the amount of control is needed to complete a turn at high speed. The technique of “pure carving” is super helpful on moderate slopes as well as well-groomed snow. There are specific skis made to use this style. Really, mogul skiing is the purest parallel technique, using the Christie technique still instead of carving.
There are many disciplines of skiing that use carving in their competition and are sanctioned by the FIS (International Ski Federation or Fédération Internationale de Ski).
There are a range of disciplines that are encompassed in alpine skiing, including:
The disciplines under freestyle that use carving techniques are:
- Ski cross
Mogul skiing does fall under the freestyle category, but, as I stated above, is a purist technique and does not use the carving method.
Yes, they even employ carving techniques in cross country! If you are not familiar with cross country skiing, it is moving in a forward trajectory, usually on a flat surface. There are actually a bunch of different formats in cross country skiing including:
- Ski Orienteering
There are a few different kinds of categories that are used in competition:
- Normal hill
- Large hill
- Ski flying hill
Not to be confused with the Alpine combined, this doesn’t involve the slalom ski racing. There a bunch of competitive categories in Nordic skiing, divided between distance and men and women’s competition. I actually never understood the separation between the sexes in skiing. I know that both are naturally physically capable of different things, but I mean, we are all using the same equipment to get the job done. Anyway, here are the Nordic events:
- Men’s ski jump
- Men’s 50 km
- Men’s 18 km
- Men’s 15 km
- Men’s Nordic combined (which includes the 25 km biathlon event)
- Women’s 30 km
- Women’s 10 km
- Women’s 5 km
The nature and methods of competition have changed dramatically through the years as equipment has progressed with advancements in science and technology. Ski geometry is also a thing and has had a profound effect on skiing and the future of skiing.
Of course all competition happens on mountains and at resorts, because you can’t have skiing without snow. I mean there are roller skis, but that is pretty rare and kind of funky. The only reason I could ever think of using them is when you don’t have access to a mountain but need to work on your skills, but usually you should be doing that in the snow. I don’t really know what the purpose of indoor skiing is, whatever, to each their own.
Many of the various disciplines of skiing have their own international competition that is separate from the Winter Olympics. The Olympics really are just a giant group of small competitions where people just battle over their own specialty, so it makes sense that while they happen every four years, the international cups are more of an annual thing and less about individual countries duking it out for the cup, but more of the individual fighting against other individuals to see who has the most physical prowess in their specialty.
If you are thinking of heading into competition, you really need to get a trainer and get some lessons. Even I you’ve been skiing your entire life, you can always work on getting some improvement in your technique. You can also hire a personal trainer to get your body in awesome shape, making you even harder to battle on the mountain. I personally have never had the ability to compete, I’m just not that good, but for the people who are, go to it.