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Olympic champion Ted Ligety takes the Carv digital ski coach to new heights

Olympic champion Ted Ligety takes the Carv digital ski coach to new heights

Ted Ligety sounds immediately familiar when he answers the phone. We haven’t spoken before, and have never met, but the two-time Olympic champion has been a constant voice in my head for three days, and I owe him a debt of gratitude for shaping up my own, far less heroic, efforts on the slopes.

Ligety is speaking from his base in Park City, the resort in the Wasatch Mountains where he grew up. The boy who learnt to ski in the heart of the Rockies became the dominant giant slalom talent of his generation, with 25 World Cup victories and five World Championships, in addition to those gold medals from Turin in 2006 and Sochi in 2014.

Now, 20 months since he retired from elite racing, he is pushing at different boundaries, as an advisor to, and investor in, the wearable ski-coaching tech start-up, Carv. And this explains the uncanny sense of familiarity.

Olympic champion Ted Ligety

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When you first try Carv, it all seems obvious, the kind of innovation that was waiting for someone to find it. A thin footbed – packed with pressure sensors and an accelerometer – fits into each boot and measures every detail of your skiing. Connect it to the smartphone app and, thanks to years of data-crunching and machine learning, Carv knows when you nail the perfect turn, and when you don’t, it knows exactly what you have to do to improve.

Every turn is measured and scored, challenging you to improve your technique, with real-time feedback coming through your headphones, training modes personalised to your particular strengths and weaknesses, video coaching so you can see what you looked like when you nailed your high score, and tutorials on everything from pre-season yoga to buying the right equipment. Now, you even get those tips from Ligety himself.

Olympic champion Ted Ligety attaching Carv to his ski boot

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I haven’t skied without Carv since I first tried it, two years ago. And no one is taking it off me now. But if this digital coach has an incredibly devoted following among the converted, you would not be alone if you’re thinking this doesn’t initially sound right for you.

“Being the skier I am, I was very sceptical at first. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of techy pieces come and go,” say Ligety. “I first heard about Carv on social media, seeing videos on YouTube, and I met the founder,…

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