Rodion 5 – Rodion’s Secret

Only two days left on his own and Rodion’s skiing was looking weird again. He was two footed, moving his upper body only into the turn and with a rotation, falling off his outside leg, arms held in close to the body, turns rushed at the start, dropping his hips into the turn at the end and being caught too far back on the skis. It seems like nothing will work to keep Rodion just standing properly on his skis.  


I explained how to be centred on the skis by adjusting fore/aft to the changing gradient through a turn, to relate to the perpendicular to the mountain and not the vertical. Rodion did learn to use the fronts of his skis better but it didn’t cure his problems. Liliana in contrast discovered that she had been falling back at the start of the turns and being squashed forwards at the end – so she needed to completely reverse this. Rodion tends to look better when working on exercises but then doesn’t fully  retain the benefits afterwards. He never really managed to use the front of his skis and still showed a strong tendency to be too far back even when trying to be forwards. We tried skiing each turn on one leg right from the start of the turn  – and with several different exercises – such as padding the inside ski up and down on the snow – but even if this might have encouraged a better centering – due to being forced into it by not having the support from the other leg – it didn’t remove any of Rodion’s other issues.  Meantime Liliana’s problem was partly caused by her permanent issue of reaching forward and downwards with her downhill arm to try to make a pole plant – when she should be coming up instead. She then worked hard to avoid this parasitic movement of her arms and body.    

I had Rodion stand and ski in a bent over “tuck” position for carving on a wide slope. This was to make sure he knew how to pull back his support hip (outside ski) and keep his shoulders facing the direction of travel of the skis. It had appeared that his problems might be linked to just trying to “face downhill” with his shoulders – but this approach didn’t change much either. I asked Rodion to avoid rushing his turns and to take longer during the initiation so as to be patient and just wait for the ski to work. We went through an explanation and attempt at using “neutral” in dynamic racing turns so that there would be less of a need to rush and so that the turns would be initiated from perpendicular across the hill instead of his tendency to be vertical. This made no significant difference either. Rodion’s problem is not a postural one because he would stand strongly on his ski. Most of the body’s reflexes are activated by pressure against the feet and Rodion had that pressure. It looked like he was not able to stand on his support leg properly because something else was causing him to fall off it.  

Weather and visibility

Timothy appeared in the afternoon and the bad weather and visibility were making him lean hard back against his boots. I tried to get him to bend at the knees and hips and relax the legs, touching the fronts of the boots with the shins – so that this mechanism protects the body and deals with any invisible surprises – but he just remained glued to the back of his boots. I explained to Liliana to deal with the poor visibility by focussing on feeling with the feet and maintaining a flexed “feet and knees” forward stance and to avoid staring at the snow. We have to consciously shift to other senses when visibility is bad and avoid confusing ourselves by staring into the snow or cloud.  


On the final run Rodion said two things that were very important. He said that sometimes in his turns he feels tension in the legs and thinks that he is turning his feet. He notices the absence of this tension when doing some of my exercises. Then out came the real classic! He asked me if he was supposed to move over his skis sideways and said “But if I do that I’ll fall over!” Somehow it has never been clear to him that this is exactly what he needs to do. This confirmed for me that his real problems are caused by rotating the feet and the upper body into the turn as soon as he is not involved in an exercise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *