Alex Slalom Day 3

Overnight rain, wind and electrical storms meant the mountain was late opening – but fortunately not too late to be unbearable. No cafés of shops were open – including the one at the top of the lift. I find it hard to criticise Tignes these days – but this needs criticism. In addition the reason given for the delays was “high winds at altitude”. There was no wind – it was a total BS excuse. Both Mike and I were tired as both had slept poorly – so that made a slightly rough start to the day. The weather cleared up rapidly as I had expected and soon all was back to normal.

Start of Turn Dynamics

last night I’d already decided to work on getting Alex more dynamic at the start of his turns. There is a good blog entry for “start of turn dynamics” here:

We began with some static exercises Where I had Alex stand uphill from me with skis across the hill. He had to turn his upper body and pelvis to face me and then plunge towards me as if diving into a pool – grabbing a ski pole I was holding across in front of me. Initially he would drop his hips inwards towards me but this was modified so that he came to me chest first and facing me with his head – bottom still facing uphill. This is quite a scary thing to do on skis and takes a lot of confidence – until you realise that it works.

In the slalom this immediately allowed Alex to get quicker out of one turn and into the next. It makes him appear to be much more aggressive and faster. This was basically all we worked on today because it was improving his skiing and is obviously a key aspect.

Alex dodged some of the big poles because they are a bit heavy for him – but this is quite acceptable for him to do.

Alex is still pivoting his right ski at the start of his turns to the left – but the issue is diminishing with his steady progress.

Mountain Biking Intro

On day one Alex had a lesson from a French mountain bike instructor – and after two bad falls it almost put him off. The idiot instructor took him on a “blue” run even though he had never been on a mountain bike in his life! French ski instructors tend to be utter morons at that best of times – but this is equally as bad and unacceptable. Today I joined Mike and Alex with my own bike – having finally repaired a dodgy brake. To encourage Alex we stayed strictly on green runs.

Alex was given zero explanation from the French moron and I could see he was confused about how to deal with the banked tracks – so I decided to help him and relate it all specifically to his morning lesson in slalom.

When going into a banked track turning left you stand on the right pedal – then as you approach the banking – when going not too fast (light use of the brakes) – lean the bike into the turn beneath the body and facing into the turn move the centre of mass inwards – exactly like “start of turn dynamics” in skiing.

I explained to Alex that when born the brain comes with a supply of apps – built in software – that tell you how to respond to any situation. The problem is that all of those apps are crap! You have to replace them with new ones through learning. When a new app is installed and running then this is called a “skill”. We can enjoy learning new skills all through our lives. 
This was the first time  I’d used my own bike on prepared trails. In the past I’d always gone “savage”. Finishing up on a blue run by myself I was impressed by how much fun it was. I’m particularly impressed at the engine power – which perhaps should be called a “gravity drive”. Pedals are just for standing on!

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