Most people do not know what Extreme Carving is. Yet for its adept, carving procures grand and unique sensations of defying gravity that can be difficultly explained.
To understand what carving is, one needs to understand its history. Extreme Carving takes its roots from snowboard, which itself is a mix of two sports. One is skiing, which has been a mean of transport for at least 4300 years and became a sport the mid 19’ century. The other is surfing which originated in Hawaii at least in the 15 hundreds.
The snowboard was invented in the early 20th Century in the form of a straight asymmetrical board with hard boots attached to two bindings placed one in front of the other, with an angle slightly towards one of the sides of the board depending on the pivot foot of the rider. Thanks to stronger and lighter materials, the evolution of snowboard led to the Alpine Snowboarding which was created in Europe in the eighties. It was the first board to have a carved shape. This means Alpine Snowboarders could turn without drifting. They could draw their turning lines into the snow and enjoy the angles of leaning and turning.
Carving became so important that in the 2000’ the skiing industry saw the potential of carving and introduced the carved shape to the skis. The new generations of skiers have probably never skied with straight skis and probably never will. They will never know that before that time, you had to drift to turn. Bending the knees one side or the other didn’t make the ski carve and turn alone. The Sport grew in popularity everywhere in the world and it is an olympic sport since 1998.
The grand sensation of speed and leaning close to the snow became an obsession in the Alpine snowboarders community and Extreme Carving was born.
The evolution of Carving didn’t stop there.
In 1992, at the same time Carving Skis were appearing, two french ski teachers, Patrick Balmain and Manuel Jammes wanted to give a different sensation from either Alpine Snowboard or ski, and invented the Skwal. Imagine a unique ski slightly larger then the one people use normally. Install two bindings perfectly parallel to this large ski one in front of each other and you have a Skwal. Unlike Alpine Snowboarding where the rider is facing one side of the slope, the Skwal rider is facing front. The position is very much like a Water Monoski.
To put it simply the skwal is the most pure of the extreme carving snowboards, a real carving machine.