Ski carving is a relatively new skiing type, and was really only created because of the evolution of ski shapes. Parabolic skis, also known as shaped skis, made the carve turn possible at a slower speed with a much shorter turn radius, changing the sport and creating a new way to race.
Jurij Franko and Pavel Skofic
Elan is a Slovenian sporting goods company located in BegunjenaGroenjskem in Slovenia (bonus points to anyone who can pronounce the town’s name!). While they do a variety of products, they are best-known for their skis and snowboards. Elan employee Jurji Franko and Pavel Skofic developed a new type of ski in 1988. It was a calculated flex pattern for a new kind of ski. The project was called SideCut Extreme (SCX) and focused on producing prototypes of their new skis.
At the time, Elan SCX had no idea they were about to change the world of skiing and winter sports with their new sidecut skis. There had never before been a ski that allowed for such precise carves with a low-turn radius. The product was initially introduced in 1993 and while the competition initially criticized the innovative design, other companies set to work making similar designs and shapes, making the shaped skis commonplace by the mid-1990s.
Logic behind Design
Since shaped skis was an unknown product until Elan released their prototype in the early 1990s, skiers were initially reluctant to get on board. But skiers gradually began observingpositivebenefits to the new and deeper sidecuts that came off snowboards, alpine snowboards in particular, and the innovative way that carving was possible all due to the unique shape instead of the traditional ski. Of course, since then, the parabolic skis are the norm and sometimes the only kind available to rent.
The reason behind the design was the designers looking at skidding another way. They thought that the ski would naturally bend when edged up to the point that the center of the ski touched the surface of the snow. But, the ski could not skid when the entire edge touched the snow surface. So if the radius in the turn could be controlled by cutting a specific angle in the ski, the sidecut would be a breeze. What was the result? The parabolic sidecut.
What is a Sidecut
So think of the basics of what a really ski is. It’s a narrow board made of a variety of possible materials that your foot is strapped into the glide smoothly over the snow. The side of the ski is either straight or curved, depending on the type of skiing you are up to. Some things require more straight skis, while others do not. So a sidecut is the curve in the side of the ski that controls how the ski or snowboard turns in the snow. Depending on how the curve is cut into it, the ski will be able to turn quicker and in a shorter radius, or a longer turn. In some instances, the intent is to keep the ski straight.
In terms of skiing, the term is relatively new. While people have been skiing and snowshoeing as long as people have been trekking through snow, people have not always approached the sport of skiing the same way. With the competition increase in skiing and the desire to create a more competitive design, the sidecut was invented and became a standard. As the skis are typically easier to control, especially for less experienced skiers, the sidecut skis dominate all of ski sales, allowing skiers of all leverls control how well they are able to turn.