Introducing: Active Coach

By Team Carv

January 25, 2024

8 min read

Imagine you're gliding down a perfectly groomed slope, your balance: spot-on, finally cracking that metric that's been puzzling you for weeks. That sensation, of being in harmony with your skis and the mountain, is what we call the 'flow state'. It's an exhilarating feeling, almost like you're flying, and it's what makes skiing so addictive.

However, skiing can be unpredictable. You're at the mercy of the weather, and conditions like flat light or bumpy runs can throw off your game. But, these challenges also bring opportunities. They push you to adapt, refine your technique, and find joy in every twist and turn of the mountain.

That's where our new 'Active Coach' mode comes in. It's not just another training tool; it's your personal motivator, designed to adapt to both perfect groomer days and tougher conditions.

Why we made it

When we developed Active Coach, we had two main goals in mind. We know that real-time feedback “pings” in Train with an Olympian, or Carving Training are really powerful learning tools. They shorten that feedback loop for you as a skier. However, selecting the right mode can be a challenge, especially when you're on the go and need to make a quick decision.

Our second goal was to ensure this fast feedback and ‘leveling up’ experience was attainable in all weather conditions. We can’t choose the conditions, but we can certainly learn to adapt to them - so we needed a training mode that helps you do that.

Active Coaching Mode is a new iteration of real-time feedback that helps you find that groove of continuous improvement, even as the terrain or your goals change.

Achieving flow state

When we were designing Active Coach, our goal was to maximize the feeling of flow. The concept of 'flow', first introduced by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in 1975, refers to a state of complete immersion and optimal engagement in an activity. A balance between challenge and achievement.

Too much challenge and we get frustrated. Too easy and we get bored. The thing is - as we get better, we need just the right amount of extra challenge.

In skiing, experiencing 'flow' feels like being utterly absorbed in the moment, often compared to the sensation of flying.

We try to design our real-time modes to get close to this. You’ll hear “pings” on every turn, level up, and feel things get a little bit harder as you get better. So Active Coach was an exciting project to try and push this feeling one stage further.

This approach in Active Coach is designed to enhance your skiing by providing a personalized challenge that evolves with you, so each run is not just practice, but a step towards better skiing.

What is Active Coach

Aiming for Flow: How the gameplay works

Active Coach can be launched from the Ski menu - right next to Free Ski Mode.

Active Coach uses your recent skiing to assign you a metric focus area.

N.B. We don't have every metric in Active Coach at this stage, but there’s enough available to make a big dent on your technique.

How it works:

  • You start it up when you are at the top of a run.

  • The first thing you’ll notice with Active Coach is the calibration period. Ski 10 turns to allow your Carv app to set your level for Active Coach. It’s looking to understand what level to set as your baseline. This will be just below your current level of skiing.

Then you ski, just like the normal training mode. You’ll get a ping on each turn, but that’s where the similarities end.

Active Coach is a gamified experience that won’t see you leveling out when you hit peak performance. Instead, it sets you an adaptive target that adjusts to your skiing as you complete each turn. Your adaptive target is based on the conditions and terrain you ski. It will adjust every 10 turns to help you find the perfect flow zone and keep you challenged.

So the simple way to think about Active Coach is that it’s pushing you always to ski a little bit better than you just did.

We've also added another exciting new feature... In Active Coach, if you get into a groove of excellent form, you’ll notice sounds telling you you’ve hit a ‘hot streak’, earning you double or triple points. If you hear this then KEEP GOING! You’re nailing it and earning XP. This can be a pretty addictive experience and it's kept our team chasing streaks until last lift.

Which metric will it choose?

Active Coach tailors focus areas to your current skiing needs. It suggests a specific metric for improvement based on your performance and advises you when it's time to switch it up. You’ll also have the freedom to choose your own focus area. For example, if you're navigating bumpy trails, improving balance might be recommended. Tackling a steep slope? Working on Outside Ski Pressure could be your target. And if you want to maintain focus on your edge angles despite challenging conditions, that's entirely up to you.

For the most part, you’ll want to use Carv’s recommendations, these are the areas that are weaker than others. Remember it’s using recent data to calculate these, ensuring the mode is responsive and continuously keeps you improving.

Improved tip structure

Improving is challenging, so we thought quite hard about how to deliver tips.

Coaching, tips and more personable audio are sprinkled throughout the experience.

When you begin receiving tips, Active Coach will initially focus on providing you with concepts. Our goal is to help you understand why the metric is important and what the movement pattern looks like.

Conceptual tip

Imagine your inside ski is made of glass. When you turn, keep the inside ski light as though you were trying to keep it from shattering on the snow. This will help you get more pressure on your outside ski.

When we’re learning new skills, we learn faster when we build a cognitive understanding of what that movement pattern is and why it’s important.

Cognitive tip

Aim to balance more on your outside ski. Your outside ski should have more pressure under your foot, right from the start of the turn.

As you ski more, Active Coach will notice how you are performing, giving you more specific and tactical tips, with a level of complexity that’s tailored to your abiltiy.

Advanced tip

At the apex of the turn, get your outside elbow as close to your outside boot as possible

The blend of pings when you ski, streaks, and tips when you get stuck are designed to counter balance the ‘low touch’ feedback of Free Ski mode.

Let us know how you get on with this new tips structure in the Carv Skiers Community on facebook - or by emailing our team, we’re really interested to know if this structure helps you improve faster or not!

What happens if I start to get stuck?

Active Coach mode focuses on your ability to stay motivated for continuous improvement, rather than merely assessing your skill level. We can’t always ski at our best Ski:IQ.

There are two new features in Active Coach that were important to keep the game playable for a long time.

  1. Dynamic leveling down. If you start to struggle - often because the conditions have changed, or the slopes are busier - Active Coach drops your target to a carefully calculated level (based on your recent skiing) that allows you to start building things back up again. Remember, we designed this mode to help you ski a little bit better from segment to segment.

  1. Dynamic leveling up. But don’t think you can simply game it by skiing in snowplough to drop it down and earn those pings for free. It also levels up quickly - it’s not always stepwise. Its goal is to keep you at or just above your current level of ability.

XP, measuring progress not absolute performance

Active Coach focuses on your ability to stay motivated for continuous improvement, rather than simply assessing your skill level. To measure your performance, we've implemented an XP system that mirrors the effort you invest. Earn 1 XP for every turn that exceeds your set target. Create streaks by linking successful turns and enhance your scores with power-ups when you achieve 10, 20, 30, or even 40 turns that continuously beat target - even as your dynamic adjustment pulls up that difficulty.

Alongside the new XP system, we’re introducing a couple of new leaderboards, so you’ve got a new way to compete with your Carv buddies. The XP leaderboard showcases who's pushing their limits. Additionally, there's a leaderboard for streaks, letting you see who's maintaining the most consistent performance and which of your friends are finding that flow state.

Designed to adapt to both your abilities and varied slope conditions, Active Coach ensures you make the most of every run. We built it to select the right focus area for your recent skiing and help you stay in that flow zone with dynamic leveling, pings, streaks, and the XP system.

Active Coach is not just about peak performance - and to be honest, neither is Carv in general. There are lots of places to champion elite skiing, but our ethos has always been to create a tool that helps you ski just that little bit better every time you go onto the hill; whatever your level, wherever you ski.

The Carv Community are finding their flow with Active Coach.

Active Coach is free to all Carv members. Update your app, and you’ll find it in your Ski Tab.

Want to know what else is new this year?


Written by: Team Carv