Lal, Delfin, Nil Day 3

Today was an opportunity to make practical use of the learning from the two previous days. Visibility was good and there was a fresh covering of light powder in places where introductory off piste was possible and safe.

The key to surviving off piste is the Magic Wall. Dynamics, when used off piste ensures that you don’t fall over. Although the girls only had the first part of dynamics – getting into the turn (we hadn’t managed to work on getting back out of the turn) – this is more than enough to give a basic competence and security. The work on the pivot assists the dynamics and reinforces it.The first run was a bit ropey but the girls understood that the problem was that off-piste requires bigger movements and a greater degree of dynamics. The reason for this is simple. The entire base of the ski loads up due to the deep snow bending the whole ski and creating a lot of pressure. This pressure generates a strong “lifting up” force from the ski which stops you from moving the body into the turn – and tries to spit you out of it. The entire job of a ski is to lift you up – so to overcome this is deep snow you have to move the body more strongly into the turn. You cannot overdo this movement and if you end up on the inside ski by mistake then you are just skating – and yesterday we found out that skating is useful !!!Off Piste is “real skiing” – the way it is meant to be experienced – deep in nature and away from the dangerous crowds on the pistes. All I wanted today was for the girls to understand that this belonged to them too – that there is nothing difficult or mysterious about it when you have this basic technical understanding and skill.Nil was trying hard but on steeper terrain she is currently held back by her persistent snowplough – which impedes dynamics. She could still have easily managed everything but this issue steals her confidence from her. I helped her down the steeper parts and then down a red piste when she was still uncomfortable. We used the fact I was supporting her to drill in the pivoting action – pulling the turning ski inwards instead of pushing it out into a plough – and her efforts greatly helped me to hold on to her properly during the descent.

The girls did really well – all of them. Dynamics gives freedom – but there are other parts to it and we didn’t have time to work on hip angulation and control of body rotation. Just practicing dynamics and reinforcing this with pivoting gives a great base for future development. Skiing is “holistic” so you can develop it one part at a time. When parting company I asked Nil to be determined to focus on the movements that she now knows she needs to make with her body. When your mind is centered like this inside your own body then it can’t be focused on worries or doubts – and that’s exactly how to remove those obstacles. Once you managed to overcome the difficulty deliberately one time then you know you can do it any time and confidence grows  – but you always need to bring your focus back to your body.

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