How to Fix your A-frame to achieve better carving
You know how to carve and feel pretty confident gliding your way down any mountain, but there is a common stance mistake that many of us make that can hinder your carving technique- The A-Frame. In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to elevate your carving technique by focusing specifically on getting rid of the A-Frame. If you’re a ski nerd like us, you will be interested to learn not just how to improve but also the underlying causes of the A-Frame, so you can identify and understand it better. We will of course then share the tips and tricks that can help eradicate this mistake and have you carving not just with confidence, but with an experienced style.
What is the A-frame and why is it bad?
The A-Frame is the angle which your legs make when making a carving turn, where the bottom half of the legs essentially resemble a capital ‘A’. This happens when leaning into the turn and the outside leg ends up at a higher edge angle than the inside leg, causing your knees to be pushed together.
This is a poor technique because the skis end up at different edge angles, which can cause the skis to go in different directions. You may have experienced your outside ski doing a sharper turn than the inside ski, which means you have to put more edge angle on outside ski than the inside.
What is the overall cause of the A-frame?
There can be many reasons why people revert to an A-Frame when carving and will most likely be something that is a natural response to overcompensate for a deeper issue. Therefore, it makes more sense to identify the underlying issue and how to fix this which in turn will remedy the pesky A-Frame.
What is causing the A-Frame: Blunt Edges
(2:29) A common cause of A-Frame is having blunt edges on your skis. This can be because of the style of skis you have, lack of ski maintenance or the type of skiing you do (e.g. you may be a freestyle skier blunting those edges each time you do a rail slide). The blunt edges can lead to overcompensating when carving to try maintain grip, naturally, this would mean you take a wider stance in your turns and put too much weight on the inside ski leading to that pesky A-Frame.
How to fix it
(2:37) Tip 1: To fix this common issue, is quite simple… sharpen your edges. Get your skis professionally serviced regularly. Once you learn to trust the edges of your skis to do the hard work, you will find the leg stance in your turns improve and feel more confident placing pressure on the outside leg.
(2:58) Tip 2: Another great tip to fix the distrust in your skis is by pole dragging to angulate, which means lightly dragging your outside pole across the snow whilst in the turn. This is a small but effective technique to remind you to keep your body upright and naturally trust the outside ski to grip.
What is causing the A-Frame: Lazy feet
(3:56) People will often find it easier and less effort when carving, to rotate their knees inwards or just rotate one leg closer to the other, but this can cause poor technique and, ultimately the A-Frame.
How to fix it
(4:04) Tip 1: You can easily remedy lazy feet and legs, firstly by standing in your ski boots in front of a mirror and lean side to side so both feet follow each other in unison. Also, try to see how it feels lifting one foot up off the ground and leaning side to side whilst rotating the knee on the standing foot, proving how much pressure there is on your knees with an A-Frame. ´
(4:57) Tip 2: When back on your skis and on the slopes, activate your muscles by skiing with one leg off the ground. You can feel where all the muscles are engaging as your knee rotates inwards and outwards during each turn. This should allow you to understand where you need to activate the muscles at each point during a turn to keep the right posture.
What is causing the A-Frame: Hip Dump
5:44 Often an A-Frame is caused by poor positioning of the hips, instead of bending with your knees to one side, people may rotate their hips out from the turn, causing the legs to twist outward into that A-frame again.
How to fix
6:23 Tip 1: Firstly to fix a hip dump you need to build hip awareness, so you can be cognisant of the angle of your hips during each turn. A nifty trick, if your poles will allow, is to hook one strap with the bottom of the other pole and do the same on the other side, and get into the middle gap of the two poles. Ski down an easy run, with the pole strapping you in and forcing making you feel where your hips are pointing. Try to make the hip point straight forward, following the skis during carved turns.
8:38 Now it's time to put it all together, with your new trustworthy edges, active muscles and hip awareness. Head onto a slope and practice your carving whilst being very mindful of the inside leg, pinching your toe down and rolling onto the side of that inside foot on every turn.
There you have it, all you need to know about that pesky A-Frame, a common mistake that many skiers make when carving that either, you didn’t even know you did or always seemed challenging to remove. Understanding the A-Frame and its causes will help you identify which areas you need to improve. And improve you shall, as skiers should always strive to improve and develop our techniques as perfection doesn’t exist… now hit the slopes and give it your best shot!
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Written by: Stomp It Tutorials
Ski technique and freestyle camps
Stomp It Tutorials lead in-person technique camps in Zermatt and Laax, Switzerland, where they combine Carv's objective analysis with in-person coaching to push your skiing technique to the next level.