Tricky terrain, we’re coming for you!

By Dave JenkinsSenior Product Manager

March 16, 2023

5 min read

One small step in terrain labelling, one giant leap towards conquering the mountain.

Living up to our name, Carv loves carving. Carv is to groomers like racing is to Ted Ligety, or snow is to Lake Tahoe this March. But whilst we love laying down arced turns - and whilst foundational skills can be built on groomers that will underpin your skiing everywhere else - there is more to skiing than the perfect groomer.

With this update, we are taking a small step towards opening up new terrains. On the face of it, this feature is small and unassuming. But behind the scenes, we’re unlocking the whole mountain…


Go on - tell us! What’s the update?

You will now be able to label the terrain and snow conditions of every segment you ski. Adding this to your scores will help you read every Ski:IQ in its full context, and compare apples to apples when you come to review your recent activity.

For this first release; you’ll be able to label your segments from the recording screen - with the option to add a label for terrain, and another for conditions.

Choose from terrain options such as groomer, moguls, and dense trees, and conditions such as hardpack, ice and powder. If the terrain or condition isn’t perfectly described by our labels, you can add your own.

Why should I label my segments?

At the moment, achieving a Ski:IQ of 120 in dense trees and powder is very different to scoring 120 on a groomer. So, we understand that you’re chomping at the bit to be able to contextualise your scores by distinguishing the conditions you’ve skied on. To start with, we’d suggest labelling scores you are proud of on runs you found challenging. This will jog your memory when you return to them in “recent activity”.

You’ll also see labels next to leaderboard segments, to help you better understand the high-scoring runs of other Carv’ers. In the future there may even be a leaderboard filterable by condition.

But, that’s only one reason to use terrain labelling right now, and we made this feature for two reasons…


The secret excitement of terrain labelling

The most exciting part of terrain labelling (and the part making us most impatient!) is that with every label you add, Ski:IQ will be getting smarter. You’re teaching our algorithm what different terrains and conditions look like, and how your skiing changes in response. Once we know that, we can detect what sort of slopes you are skiing automatically, and tailor our feedback to best suit those conditions - so that you can take Carv to any part of the mountain.


The first step towards terrain detection

To fulfil big dreams, we need big data. We’re aiming for 10,000 segments per label (eg. 10,000 segments labelled as trees, 10,000 as moguls, etc.) to build up a strong database. It sounds like a lot, but 2.5 million segments will be recorded this month! The sooner you help us to reach this, the sooner we can develop the exciting features of the future.

From your data, we’ll build a picture of what skiing in different terrains and conditions looks like with our algorithm. As that takes shape, we’ll think about auto-applying labels - at first asking for your confirmation, and progressing to accurately deciphering it ourselves. Over time, the more data we get the more accurate we can be.

Then, we’ll consider how Ski:IQ can account for terrain and condition changes. So that your score is more reflective of anything you ski, and you don’t experience that disheartening drop when you’re off groomers.

With time comes the potential for scenario-specific coaching. If you’ve just made it down a mogul run, we could give you advice on how to cope with them even better next time. And this could apply to powder, ice, or anything in-between.

The possibilities are endless. Imagine being congratulated when you smash some awesome pow, or survive a sheet of ice - gathering performance badges that testify your progress as you unlock more and more of the mountain. We don’t know exactly how things will look, or test, yet - but we’re stoked to get started.


There are continuous improvements just around the corner

In the coming weeks, we are going to make it even easier to label your coolest segments, and help you to make as many labels as possible! For this first release, you will be able to label your segments from the recording screen. If you’re on the lift having just skied a great run (or a really tricky one), grab your phone whilst still recording to pop a label on it. Next, we’ll be suggesting the best run for you to label at the end of your day. And finally, requiring a bit more work on the backend, we’ll make run labelling possible from within Recent Activity, even after you have saved your day.

This feature may be small in its current form, but it has the potential to be very mighty! With time it will provide us with the tools to open the rest of the mountain for Carv, allowing you to take Carv anywhere whilst knowing you will be provided with accurate technique measurement and advice.

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Written by: Dave Jenkins

Senior Product Manager