Alex, Daisy 4

Today’s snow was very soft due to the lack of freezing during the night and a layer of fresh snow on top. I decided to give Alex and Daisy a lesson on leg retraction (in preparation for big ruts) – using a method of teaching compression turns (for bump skiing) combined with the pivot. The idea is to use the retraction of the legs to bring the body across the skis at the end of the turn – then to extend the legs down into the next trough. Doing this on the flat is very artificial of course and both Alex and Daisy had trouble discovering the full range of leg movement required. The legs need to bend to 90° at the knees and then extend completely. This only works slowly (as an exercise) when pivoting properly so it requires a combination of skills. Daisy found the range of movement easier to achieve.

Once Alex connected with the retraction in the ruts he discovered that it made skiing ruts really enjoyable! The reason you are retracting the legs and not “coming up” at the end of the turn is because you are going over a bump that is already lifting you up (so you are still coming up) and if you actively tried to come up you would be catapulted into the air. (as seen in the second sequence below)

The second thing Alex was working on was taking a line to the inside of the poles with his centre of mass – regardless of the bumps – and the combination of this and retraction enables him to still hold a tight and fast line instead of being forced to ride the ruts.

Daisy had to learn that slalom is not about just laying the skis over onto their edges – it is about skiing effectively with all of the functionality of the skis. After following me skiing down the steeper section of a course with a pivoting action she began to understand what to do to stay in a course. When dynamics and angulation are improved she will then be able to tighten the line, go faster and still remain in the course.

Mont Blanc (Italian side)

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