As a ski instructor when I think about CARV , I experience a childish joy of never-ending fun provided by a kaleidoscope. I have fun in all my lessons, but even more so when I am teaching with CARV. Ok, so you have mastered the snowplough – your tool to slow down and stop – and you are heading into the land of parallel skiers. To be honest, CARV would work just as well no matter where you are in your journey and help your progress. Let’s face it, we are in the 21st century. We rely on our mobiles for most things, talk to TV’s and have smart homes. It is about time to consider smart skiing!
CARV is the most advanced ski wearable on the market!
Weighing just under 300g and being less than 3 mm thick, each insole packs 36 sensors measuring your skiing. Throw in two trackers using low energy Bluetooth, fully waterproof design, and a three-day battery life, and you are all sorted for an awesome experience.
CARV measures the position of the insert using a motion sensor which tracks the movement of the insert over time. The pressure applied by the skier’s feet is also measured, letting you know how you are shifting your weight as you ski. Your phone GPS is used to measure your speed and track your location.
At the heart of CARV is the Ski:IQ. CARV analyses your technique and provides you with an overall score. It then shows you which areas of your skiing to work on. The Ski:IQ is determined by four metric categories: Balance, Rotary, Edging and Pressure.
In relation to adopting CARV into ski instruction I encountered resistance on two fronts.
First ski instructors crying that technology will put us out of work. To be honest, I am more concerned about global warming and lack of snow putting us out of work. No technology will be able to replace the human and, as awesome as CARV is, it cannot yet teach you to ski. It improves your skiing; it enhances the lesson delivery, and it will certainly make you a better skier, but remains designed by humans for humans.
From both guests and instructors, I heard concerns about the headache of having to have the phone ready, setting up CARV, creating an account, connecting trackers, a headset, etc. A lot of work, right? Well, there is a good chance you will always carry a phone with you. Most likely you are reading this article on a social media channel on your phone, so you are already signed in. If you are like me, your watch is Bluetooth connected to your phone and you may have some headphones connected as well. CARV is not different to any of you other gadgets. The app and trackers work well, and any arising technical issues encountered whilst on the slopes, can be resolved on the fly.
Setting up CARV can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes first time. When testing the product’s feasibility, amongst two people we were able to have them ready to go in about 15 minutes, even when considering delays caused by my clumsiness.
I believe CARV is a powerful tool.
For an instructor it offers data, informing drill selection to improve the guest’s skiing.
From the guest’s point of view, it offers incredible visual and auditory real time cues on their skiing.
Using CARV in lessons, camps and programs allows us to create a friendly competition where everyone is winning. There is no secret we learn better as a group. We can compare, discuss, and share experiences, allowing us to learn better, faster and grow. CARV helps us achieve this. When using it in lessons, we are only limited by our imagination and the team’s ability to sustain a high-performance skiing tempo.
What I love about it most though is its power to level the playing field. Most likely you would have been in a lesson at some point in your life, just to look at your instructor and think “I’ll never ski as good”. I was fortunate enough to train with some of the top ski instructor trainers and I certainly felt that way! Across all our products everyone in the group compares scores. Some are higher, some are lower and at times the participant’s scores are better than the instructors. This brings about it a great sense of achievement and raises the bar for the group. It allows the instructor to explain personal areas of improvement.
At Boomerang on Snow we decided to incorporate CARV in our coaching, because it allows our guests to continue their ski improvement journey long after they leave us. We are all about helping our guests become better, safer skiers. The way we want to achieve it is by providing continuous guest improvement. CARV is one of the tools allowing us to achieve this goal.
CARV provides feedback whilst you are on the lift. Quite often, it reinforces feedback received from the instructor and at times it may add up a different perspective. Above all it is a conversation starter. Most guests will want to know more about the best way to interpret the feedback and how to apply the information received. The opportunity for learning is huge and quite often we discovered it raised valid questions, that helped the collective. Because we use CARV in combination with our in-helmet communication system, once feedback is received, the learning continues during our lift ride. Individual areas of improvement are identified, and plans to achieve improvement are formulated, and implemented once on the slopes.
Whilst the guest has complete freedom in using CARV post lesson as they see fit, we learned, most are keen to continue working on a particular skill or practicing a particular drill after the lesson, to consolidate their knowledge.
One of the greatest benefits is in the increase in kinaesthetic learning. When used in monitor mode you will be able to better understand what a good balanced position feels like, or how a high edge angle should feel. A good instructor can tell when you have a good position of a high edge angle but cannot provide you with information right then and there, when you perform the action. CARV can read out your edge angle, allowing you to feel and then replicate.
Using CARV in lessons and camps puts a bit more pressure on the instructor. There is more data to analyse and quick decisions to be made in relation to drill selection.
CARV is fun. Having your “boots” telling you where you can improve, is rather unique. Skiing with CARV is a fun journey, punctuated by the honest realisation of what needs to change in your skiing.
CARV brought with it the gamification off skiing. It is no longer just who gets down the hill first, but who progresses through training quicker, or with higher scores, who skied most in that day, or improved on a particular focus area the most. It starts a conversation and, although it has a level of competition about it, most conversations I had around measuring performance with CARV were punctuated by laughter, a sense of achievement and take away learnings.
CARV is a great piece of tech! Works well with what Boomerang on Snow aims to achieve: continuous skier development through education. It adapts to existing lesson plans or can be used as an enhancement to any lesson when there is a need to emphasise a particular skill or drill. It works a treat and is in a league of its own.
Skiing is a social activity. Often, we hear how technology is chipping away at social connections. With CARV the best social aspect was how an individual piece of tech, brings people together and starts a conversation.