Sam, Simon day 1

Ben needed a rest and recovery day today so Sam and Simon came out instead. The sky was clear so we went straight up the Grande Motte but not the cable car at the top because the queuing was too long. Instead we skied off piste over on the Leisse below the glacier, followed by another off piste run from the top of the Vanoise chair (Panoramics restaurant) down between the pistes (hidden area) to below the top of the Lanches chair. There was some surprising depth of fresh snow at points and this got everyone properly warmed up and enjoying the day already. Slightly tricky snow like that always gets people to notice areas of their skiing where they are not as in control as they would like to be so this opened the door to starting work of ski technique.We worked on three areas – Dynamics, Pivoting and Angulation…


    1. Part 1 – start of the turn (Magic Wall)

    2. Part 2 – end of the turn (Coming over the lower ski into the perpendicular)

    Sam’s mission for the day was to get over as close to the ground as possible. His photos below show a 6 and a possible 6.5 on the steeper slope (scale of 0 to 10 – 0 being upright). All the information needed to understand dynamics is presented here – or use the menu at the top of the page.Meanwhile Simon managed a 5 and a possible 6 on the steeper slope. Simon however showed the more active rebound from his skis on turn completion – using dynamics to complete the turn.The “End of Turn” dynamics is the single most important aspect of skiing safely in poor snow off piste – and in dealing with skiing fast over bumps and rough terrain or using racing timing where the maximum pressure (apex) of the turn is to the side and not directly across the fall line. Sometimes off piste a racing timing can also be used – and the pattern of dynamics remains the same.Sam initially found that he was on the back of the skis with dynamics until he was shown how getting the body properly downhill before the skis come around places you automatically forwards – without trying to be forwards. This is a geometrical effect. There is more to being “forwards” than this – much of it is linked to correct hip angulation – and we touched on that later on – but in the morning there was plenty of experimentation and fun to have just by playing with raw dynamics and getting used to the ease and flow that it brings.During our static dynamics exercises (pushing against my shoulder etc) I asked Sam to demonstrate how to “weight” his downhill ski with angulation as he would hear in a normal ski school. Standing on his left (downhill) leg Sam leaned over to his left and recognised clearly and correctly that this is exactly the opposite direction from dynamics. It’s important to be very clearly aware of what is both right and wrong in such issues!


      Both Sam and Simon very quickly grasped the principle and coordination of pivoting – with Sam becoming determined to do it properly on one ski in both directions. This fixed page has all the demonstrations and explanations… a ski is in soft snow the entire base loads up with pressure but the ski also pushes the snow away like in a sideslip – so pivoting plays a key role in rapid turning in off piste skiing – if the snow if reasonably good – otherwise dynamics is the tool of choice. I’d mentioned that those skills can be seen as the sliders on the mixing table of a sound engineer and that you blend them according to needs. The pure pivot being an isolated skill. One of the main aims here is actually to develop and promote a consistent coordination pattern of centre of mass use, feet and adductor muscles – always pulling inwards and never pushing away! (Never push the heels out etc.)Skiing works with “centripetal – inwards” force – driving you away from a straight line and by pulling in towards the centre we assist the skis – pushing outwards we work against ourselves and the skis. (Remember “centrifugal- outwards” force does not exist!) Sam got the idea of putting his weight on the pole for this braking type of turn – (braking  – Always on the uphill edges and effectively sideslipping) – but his arm carriage in general needs some work. The left arm has a lot of tension from holding the elbow too high. We worked for a moment on the “ready” or “goalkeeper” poise and when throwing a ski pole to each empty hand his hands moved naturally into the right place.


      Hip angulation was covered rapidly in the middle of a raging storm. Sam was amazingly patient with it all as it was also late in the day by now. This part of the session was mostly aimed towards Simon to protect his hips and also for Sam to protect his back in the future. Load testing was done on each to allow them to experience the reflex of the lower abdomen kicking in when the pelvis/hip is used appropriately. There is a detailed explanation of this in Ben’s post from yesterday. There is a reasonable explanation of how to pull back the hip properly during the turn here… When pulling the hip backwards there is a tendency for the pelvis to be pulled/tilted down at the front so it’s important to actively tilt the pelvis upwards to counteract this. All motion in the body should begin at the centre – close to the core muscles – because this accesses the big muscles first and aligns the main body parts and bone structure. The first thing I move during the moment of relaxation during a turn transition is the pelvis.The fantastic angulation that the counter rotation of the hip/pelvis permits is actually the key to safely using pressure on the fronts of the skis – the issue that Sam mentioned he was struggling with at the very start of the day off- piste. The point is that all the sliders on the mixing table have to be there and used for this to be achieved.

      Leave a Reply

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