Mike hasn’t skied for a year but he appeared to be comfortable immediately on his skis. This is a strong sign that appropriate movement patterns have become more natural. It should only take an hour or so to completely re-accustom the body to accelerating on the feet if basic ski technique is correct. The pistes were in perfect shape for the start of the Parisian holidays (it’s the only time of year they make the effort!) and visibility was good so I just skied in front of Mike, giving him an active rhythm and letting him warm up and enjoy his skiing for a while. 
Leg Alignment and Core Use
The only technical thing I attempted to introduce at this stage was the pulling back of the hip – counter rotating the shoulders and pelvis against each other. Mike has a certain level of stiffness that has always characterised his skiing and this time I would really like to change that. Re-aligning the legs appears to be a sensible place to begin with this task. Normally in skiing the shoulders and hips are both in counter rotation in the same direction (against the feet and skis) – so if the skis are turning to the left the hips turn to the right and the shoulders even more – twisting the spine slightly in a clockwise manner (looking from above). Here I wanted Mike to pull back only the right hip (turning to the left and not the shoulder – generating an internal counter rotation between the shoulders and hips in the anti-clockwise direction (the direction of the turn). To the untrained eye the two look remarkably similar – even indistinguishable. Only the second stance activates the core muscles around the spine. Mike was able to feel that the right leg (turning left) lined up differently in the ski boot – pulling more onto its inside edge and taking the load off the main quadriceps. 
Since making this change in my own skiing I’ve found that my legs just don’t get tired any more. The difference is enormous!
Carving Introduction
After a break I started to introduce carving technique (through two edged traverses) to Mike prior to going to the Bonnevie Slalom Stade to introduce the rules of the race course. I pointed out that the weight could be moved over the “inside” ski because it was a static situation and once speed was introduced the turning effect of the skis would place all the weight on the outside ski automatically. Initially Mike had a lot of trouble holding the inside ski on its (outside) edge but he soon sorted this out. On the flat ground we tried some edge changes but Mike had a tendency to allow the skis to skid. The correct feeling wasn’t yet properly established.
Dense clouds came in when we arrived at the Stade and visibility was terrible so we didn’t stay there for long, making our way up to the Borsat instead. 
Pivot Revision
At the top of the Borsat, on the bumps I checked Mike’s pivot and although he could remember the theory it just wasn’t really happening so we left it for the moment and just skied down to the wide flats where Mike could continue with his carving development. 
Contact Points
Prior to carving I asked Mike to try to place his weight on a point just in front of the heel and also to touch the boot front with the shin. The idea would be to ski with awareness of both standing over this point of the foot and always keeping contact with the boot front – or at least trying always to return to this position. This was stage two of tackling the “stiffness” issue which largely comes from Mike’s tendency to place pressure on the back of his ski boots. Initially I could see that he wasn’t managing but half way down this run the stance in the boots started to look better.
Carving continued…
When attempting full carved turns Mike was overturning instead of just railing and picking up speed – until he understood that this was desirable. I explained that once he had some speed he could then lean in more with his dynamics and start to feel the powerful carving turning effect of the skis. Later on once there is more confidence this process can return to being a bit more proactive with dynamics being generated actively once again and the skis still carving.
Core Power – Skiing
We had to get down the mountain as we were becoming late for Mike’s rendezvous. For this reason I just tried to provide a steady but active rhythm going down Santons. Mike struggled with the tight turns so this is something we will have to sort out soon. Meantime I focused on the core and managed to link my turns very effectively using the powerful core muscles and the tendons and ligaments around the spine to drive the outside ski forwards through the start of the turns. The Rhythm helped to strengthen the sensation. I could feel how natural and strong this was for the lower back and how mobilising it was for the spine – all the way up to the rib cage. It’s quite hard to visualise the movement because it is abstracted straight from running technique despite the foot being displaced forwards instead of behind the body. Ironically at the bottom of the descent I came across Chris Harrop who was really not looking very well. He told me that last week his back “went” and that he had to cancel all of his bookings. He was now skiing very defensively and slowly off-piste and not looking too happy. I guess that underlines the need to address the “core” with some respect. 
Core Power – Running
After returning home I pushed myself out the door for a run despite having no desire or motivation – other than a belly that is starting to grow again. I focused completely on the core muscles and trying to tire my hip flexors (psoas) and abdomen instead of the leg muscles and looked for the twist of the spine the same as it had felt in skiing – so that the tendons and ligaments would generate a strong recoil mechanism. Basically the power felt literally like it was coming from the spine. After the 1000ft ascent there was the harsh descent on tarmac. Sometimes this gives me a little bit of sciatica, but this time I clicked with another aspect of the spinal activity. The lower abdomen do have to pull up and inwards at the front because this allows the entire spine to twist strongly all the way up to the ribs. Normally my spine is too flat so I prefer not to pull up at the front – but with the rotation of the spine it became clear that this “pulling up” fits – and there was no hint of sciatic pain. The “pelvic tilt” has to be part of a dynamic process. This is a remarkable sensation and absolutely not comprehensible when static. The previous best time of 39’06” was reduced to 37’49” yet the run felt like it was less effort than when the previous time had been set and I wasn’t so active with the core muscles or spine.

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