• Fusaki Iida

How To Carve On A Snowboard

Updated: Jan 4


Many snowboarders enjoy carving turns. The riding style makes you look much more advanced and the range of snowboard techniques are being expanded. Carving helps you glide through slopes with lots of speed. This technique is also effective while going on jumps or halfpipes.

Here are five-step exercises to help you learn to carve:


・Introducing five step methods to improve carving turns efficiently.

・Proving the fact that anyone can carve regardless of their strength or size.

・What kind of gear should be used.

・What kind of slope you should practice for carving turns.

・In the end, let's introduce a snowboard trick that uses the carving turn!

Let's get started!

5 Step Progression - How To Carve On A Snowboard

There are five simple steps for improving your carving turn.

STEP 1: Balance and Stance

STEP 2: Let's traverse and get a feeling of carving turn

STEP 3: J-turn

STEP 4: Edging on the downhill side

STEP 5: Carving turn completed

If you clear each step, you'll have a nice smooth carving turn!


First of all, let's get started with the basics.

What is a carving turn?

Many people can mistaken this, but the the curve of the carving turn is referred to as "carving", not "curving".

By hearing the word carving, we need to image a snowboard cutting through the snow with it edges. Actively put on your weight. You will also need to bend your ankles and knees and continue edging.

We also say, "Make a mark on the snow that looks like a pencil line."

It looks like a thin turn arc, like a pencil is being drawn through the snow.

What is the difference between carving and sliding ?

How do we know if our turn is “carving” or “sliding” ? The quickest way is to try traversing, which is when you're riding across the slope. From there, look at your track marks, if the slip marks are thin like a line, it's carving. A sliding turn will leave no distinct track in the snow.

Another way to tell which turn you're doing is by the sound, "quiet" or "noisy".

If it's a carving turn, the skidding sound in almost nonexistent.

Sliding turns make a skidding noise.

Another way to tell is by looking at the photos below. By creating a spray with the turn, it's clearly visible that the turn is sliding; however, by looking at the carving turn, notice how no spray is given off.

STEP 1: Balance and Stance

Proper balance and stance is vital for the perfect carving turn. I will be explaining a few steps to help you achieve a smoother and controlled ride.

First, stand right above the board.

Next, turn towards where you want to go, your neck should be twisting to see where you're going.

This image is Yakitori(Chicken Kebab). If you pretend to have your head on the skewer as if you were a part of a chicken skewer, you will have a nice centre of balance. This fixed posture will make your transitions much smoother.

After your body is nicely aligned make sure to go in a deep bend. If you're starting to feel the burn in the thighs, chances are you're doing it right! Eventually you'll become so accustomed to the position that you won't feel the burn anymore after doing it for a while. Keep a note that when you're bending it goes through ankles and knees, don't ruin your upper posture--keep it upright!

After following these steps, we've now come to the neutral position; however, there is still more to add on. Bringing attention to your arms now, try spreading out both arm to line up with your waist. This will help with balance.

If you slightly raise your arms, like in the image above, this will help balance; however, if you raise them too much, it can make you feel more unbalanced so it's important to find that good in-between.

A great balancing practice could be to keep your hands in your pocket while riding. Make sure to be careful if you try this!

Another tip is to turn your upper body slightly facing forward.

There are certain angles your front binding sits at. Most people would think that the binding would be facing directly infant of you; however, the front foot actually sits at a slight angle facing forward. Follow your hips towards where your first foot is angled. This slight motion will further improve your balance.

In the pictures shown above, technically, both positions are correct. However, I recommend to try out the second position as it gives you more balance, especially when you have accumulated a lot of speed. If you try out this position you have to be very careful to not over twist. Using this twist posture in the upper body is super helpful, but also make sure you're maintaining the lower body or else you will end up steering towards you wouldn't want to go.

This basic posture can be practiced in front of the mirror in the comfort of your home. Please give it a try!

Toe side and heel side postures

Carving requires weight to bite the edge of the board into the snow, as well as deep edges to angle the edge. However, unlike skiers, snowboarders ride sideways, so the load and edging methods vary between toe side and heel side.

Toe side is relatively easy to edge. This reason for this is because people can't stand on the heels on the spot, but they can stand on their toes, making it easier to balance. In the case of toe side, you can do some edging just by lying down. However, it is unstable if you just lie down, so bend your knees and ankles firmly. The point is to make it feel like you're pressing the shin against the snow surface.

Look at the posture down below for reference. By maintaining the position, your knees and ankles will naturally bend, and you will be able to obtain strong edging.

When riding on heel side, the main idea is to lift your toes towards your chest, this will stiffen your ankles and give you a strong edge.

A common mistake is to have your hips out. Be aware that these postures are more likely to occur for those who think they have to make a firm and low posture. In the "butt-out" position, your weight escapes to the butt side and you cannot put your weight firmly on the board. The axis is maintained by raising the upper body and not sticking out the buttocks too much. As a result, you can get more weight and load.

In this position, you use your thigh muscles very much. Many beginners lack that strength, which can lead to bulging symptoms. To solve this, it is necessary to improve muscle strength. Get ready for snowboarding by doing squat exercises on a regular basis.

This toe-side and heel-side position can be achieved by using walls and chairs inside the house. Please try it!

STEP 2: Let's traverse and get a feeling of carving turn

By traversing, you can get a nice feel for carving. In other words, it can be seen as the beginning step to carving turns and helps teach the correct edging.

At first, where you take the run-up, riding a little to the valley side to run the board, and then riding across the slope. ?????

(Note: Be sure to check the skiers and snowboarders coming from behind before doing this downhill.)

First, accelerate toward the fall line (valley side)???

②Lift your toes towards your chest to get a smooth heel side edge

Look in the direction you want to go

At the end, aim for the mountain side so as to go up the slope

Let's traverse so that you can feel the carving feeling even on the toe side!

Points to watch out for on the toe side


1) Your body leans inward and easily falls to the slope side, make sure to raise your upper body firmly.

This outward leaning posture (= angulation) stabilizes the turn.

2) Let's push the sneak against the snow surface and make sure bend your ankle well.

By doing this, the knees and ankles will bend firmly, and the edging required for carving will be possible.

STEP 3 J-turn

To be able to perform even higher levels of carving, it is necessary to increase the speed. If you make the run-up part straighter and take a longer line to go to the valley side, you can feel a more carving feeling. In the previous item, Downhill, the theme was edging, but this time, in addition to edging, load operation is required.

Edging+Pressure=J-turn(Improve your carving)

In the end, let's riding down as straight as possible at the start and slide in a "J" shape.

This is called a J-turn.

It's a very good practice as it requires more edging and more pressure for the carving turn.

Gradually riding straight so you can speed up. Ultimately, we aim for a turn arc that allows us to draw a J-shape so that we can run up to the mountain side. The technology required for carving turns will be further strengthened.

Please check the following video, too.

Exercise 1 - Traverse Jump

Let's traverse Jump to enhance the edging and balance required for carving! If you can't jump well, it's possible that you're in a bad posture or you're not edging well.

Traverse Jump heel side

Jumping on the heel side is quite difficult.

Humans are not accustomed to standing on heels.

The key is to keep your back as straight as possible.

The head is also straight up.

Be careful not to get your hips out.

A small jump is OK at first. Or you don't have to jump just by moving up and down.

Once you get used to it, practice so that you can jump higher gradually.

Be careful not to hit someone who riding from above.

Traverse Jump toe side

It is easier to jump on the toe side than on the heel side.

Raise your upper body and keep your head down.

If your upper body is up, you will get strong edging.

This exercise uses more physical strength than you think, but it also develops the muscle strength needed for carving turns.

Let's try it when you go up to the mountain.

Exercise 2 - Jump where you are stopped on the slope

It is quite difficult to practice jumping from a state where you are stopped on a slope.

Especially jumping on the heel side is a good practice because it is difficult to balance.

It will also help strengthen the edging needed on the heel side.

On the toe side, you can feel stronger edging than on the heel side.

Be careful to raise your upper body as your body tends to fall to the mountain side.

STEP 4 The edging downhill side

The edging downhill side is important for a complete carving turn. To do the smooth transition edging work needs required for edging downhill side.

In my instructor experience, many people this transition doesn't work well and they can't make a perfect carving turn.

In other words, transitions are the key to a successful carving turn!

Point of transition edge to edge

The edge transition should be in the middle of the course. Most people tend to change edges slightly too late. Make sure to change it right in the center line.

Transitions between carving turns

If you have a nice carve established--good job! The next step is to make are you are establishing the proper transition between the two edges. Some people tend to slide their board when entering the next turn.

- Clara

There are cases where carving is not well due to positioning problem or not enough edging and pressure, etc., but many snowboarders are reach a plateau with transitions (edge switching) to the initiation of the next turn.

A major cause of poor transitions is the inability to turn edges while the board is moving.

In other words, the carving turn at the valley edge in the initiation turn is not well done.

Downhill edge is when the edge of the board is not on the uphill side but on the valley side. See photo below.

You may be wondering, "Why don't you fall with this?", But it never falls during a carving turn.

Because when carving, the board is running in the direction of travel.

This downhill edge is the key to a complete carving turn.

When we were beginner, the board went to the downhill side. At that time, if the edge on the valley side caught on the snow surface, it fell. We have bad memories.

On the carving turn, the board runs in the direction of travel, so it's okay to turn the edge back to the downhill side.

On the sliding turn, the board is going downwards, so as soon as you get on the downhill edge, you suddenly fall.

If you can make a good transition to the downhill edge, you can make a complete carving turn.

As you get used to it, you will feel more comfortable at the beginning of the turn riding at the downhill edge than at the end of the turn.

It's about to start descending at once, just like a roller coaster.

I find it most enjoyable when carving at the downhill edge after this edge switch.

Carving Turn Key downhill Edge Experience at Garland

Garland is a practice drill for how to quickly learn this valley edge. From traverse, flatten the board at the transition and then enter the downhill edge. If you turn as it is, it will be scary and difficult if you are not used to it, so it is a practice method to switch to the uphill side edge again immediately.

①Uphill edge

②To the flat ③The Downhill edge of fear (!?) In the direction

④Do not C turn, going to flat again

⑤Uphill edge again

In this way, you will practice to experience the valley edge for a while on a zigzag turn (Garland) that crosses the slopes.

Practice the above Garland with both a heel side approach and a toe side approach.

Then you will be able to get a sense of the valley edge.

The valley edge, which I thought was scary until now, will alleviate that fear.

Still, if you're afraid to cut back to the valley edge, we recommend flattening the board first. Let's be able to edging from there to the valley side as much as possible.

If you repeatedly carve with the first half of the turn in mind, the quality of the carving turn will improve steadily.

STEP 5 気持ちE感覚!カービングターン完成






①スピードを恐れず積極的にフォールライン(谷側)へスピードを出し、ヒールサイドからアプローチ。 ②前手でターンをリードするようにボードからこれから進む方向に導く。 ③しっかりと進む方向(※斜面を横切る方向)を見つつ、ボードをフラットに状態に。 ④そこから徐々につま先へ移行し、谷エッジへ。 ⑤トゥサイドでは頭をしっかりと上げて上体げ寝ないように気を付けよう。 ⑥ヒザが雪面にくっつくぐらいの意識で、足首をしっかりと曲げます。 ⑦上体をゆっくりと上げながら抜重、ボードをフラットへ。 ⑧再びヒールサイドに移行し、谷エッジ。カカト側では上半身をまっすぐに。そうすることで、カカトにしっかりと体重が乗りエッジングができます。


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I've been snowboarding since 1985 and have been working on snowboard magazines/videos for over 30 years.  Currently, I am a snowboard instructor in Whistler, B.C., teaching lessons to students from all over the world. Hopefully snowboardtips.net will help you learn to love the sport as much as I do!




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