Derin, Defne day 1

Today’s objective was to get the girls back into skiing, have fun and build confidence. Both were keen to have a go at slalom so we used it to set benchmark times to try to improve on in the days to come. I deliberately avoided working on much technical stuff today so as to get some mileage and feeling into the legs.

Defne likes carving and skiing off-piste on ski-pisted snow. She doesn’t like ice or when it is very steep. She has been doing exercises to strengthen her legs in preparation this year – though at age 10 it’s really still a bit too young for strength training. Her skiing is quite close to the level where we left off last year so tomorrow we will start to develop it a bit more. She seemed to retain a few important things from last year such as a stronger posture, use of the adductor muscles, good arm carriage and perpendicularity to the skis. Her fall-line pivoting was a bit ropey, but that’s a tricky thing to develop anyway. The single biggest change for the next time in the slalom will simply be to ski closer to the gates. I pointed out that when she feels uncomfortable with her speed in slalom we have to stop and work on technique instead. You don’t eat food when you are not hungry and it’s the same for this – if you don’t feel hungry for it you leave it until you do. On the piste we just worked on turn completion – finishing off the turns. Most people don’t finish turns properly and so have only limited control. They may ski fast on an open piste but would not be able to keep high speed in a race course because they have much less control than they realise. Derin likes everything about skiing. When pushed she admits to liking off-piste, bumps and slalom best – with off-piste in the crud best of all. Her reason for this is because it’s scary! Today when she joined me she was back to skiing on the back of her ski boots again – but we quickly started to sort that out. She reckoned it was impossible to remember the word “perpendicular” but she did – and she managed to stay perpendicular to her skis most of the time once she was aware of the issue once again. We went into the slalom early and despite a rutted course she did fine, close to her best time last year. After that we did the Tommeuse bumps from top to bottom twice, working on pivoting and sideslipping. The bumps were about twice the size of her so she did well. Then we skied the black bumps run “Campanules” back down to Tignes. Before that we also went off-piste in real crud and worked on the dynamics for the end of the turn – which although scary she coped with very well. The idea was to use the lower ski to bring the body out of the turn perpendicular to the hill – making the start of the next turn easy in the crud. We also worked on kick turns and jump turns on steep wind packed snow off-piste. Tomorrow we will concentrate more specifically on technique.

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