Luke and Tibo – Big Air Day

Today started out with mini skis – technically not “Snowblades” which is a Salomon brand name – but even more radical parabolic shaped skis about 90cm long. The idea was to free Luke and Tibo from the tendency to lean on the tails of their skis and to develop the feeling of carving with the skis locked on edge. The amplified and immediate feedback from small carving skis helps the body to respond more reflexively and leaves less margin for confused and inappropriate reactions.

Blades – Carving

We began with simply carving on very gentle terrain so that they could feel the effect of a 3m carving radius ski. (I won’t mention Luke dropping his iPhone from the chairlift). Both picked up the idea of smooth carving – letting the skis and dynamics determine the turn radius. Luke struggled a bit completing his turns enough to fully stay in control of speed (angulation and inclination issue). Both were instantly centred and had no “leaning back” problems.  Both Luke and Tibo had a tendency to “break at the waist” by bending forwards to get down into the turn – instead of standing more upright and falling laterally. Later on Luke improved at this by standing up and using the chi-hips so that his core was strong and there was no braking at the waist.  

Blades – Pivoting

The blades are fantastically easy to learn pivoting with so we spent a moment working on this and then went straight into “narrow stance” powder skiing off piste. The improvement in stance and performance for both skiers was remarkable.

Off Piste

Following the blades session we all went for a tour off piste down to Meribel. The snow was in excellent condition and there were few people to be seen so it turned out to be a proper wilderness moment.  Unfortunately, Florence was empowering absolutely everything in sight with the ability to freak her out. Nerves are the result of “suggestion” and the belief that it’s normal to be afraid. It is not normal. People literally program their unconscious minds with fear and then cannot override the unconscious when in the heat of the moment. Just like you cannot physically ski slalom without training, you cannot physically manage fear without training. In both cases you have to replace the ineffective unconscious programs in the mind. “Skill” – a word that doesn’t exist in French – is when a new program is operating at an unconscious level. It’s no coincidence that fear destroys skill. Luke was acutely aware that when back on the long skis he had immediately lost the great stance he had found on the blades and was in the back seat once again – with a tendency to rotate. Tibo reverted to jumping and throwing himself around the turns when he became tired. When this fault was brought to his attention Tibo made a strong effort to correct his dynamics.


In deep snow the skis load up with pressure and release like a spring, giving a trampoline effect. This requires accurate timing and rhythm. If the timing is right then a resonance is found where the bounce takes a life of its own. Although Luke had a rhythm he was not quite finding this resonance although he was closer to it than the others. Inability to build up force through the end of the turn was probably the main reason for Luke missing this. We worked first on jumping while stationary – making sure that the legs were straightened out in the air and the heels were not retracted. This gives a proper jump and a soft landing as the legs bend on landing. Everyone had trouble with this initially. The next stage was to try to do this while moving in a straight line through the deep snow. I noticed that everyone was retracting a bit when trying to bounce and absorbing the energy instead of accurately adding to it. Sometimes it can be useful to retract and absorb – but the two options have to be clarified and separated. We only had a short stretch of powder left to try to bring the bounce into turning – with the turn loading up the skis and the bounce up being the dynamic for coming up and out of the turn.


Leonie was really struggling with angulation off piste, with bad hip rotation making her very unstable and preventing her from staying inside the turn. Luke relied on falling back to stay inside the turn instead of using angulation – so it was time to introduce some more radical exercises to help to improve angulation. First with skis on – carving the outside ski (in a plough) and then with skis off, I showed how the leg travels from behind the upper body to in front with a rotation in the hip socket and no rotation of the pelvis or upper body. Leonie, despite being very flexible found this movement very alien. The key to stopping her hip rotating was when I explained that the leg had to be “pulled inwards” during the entire process – not pushed outwards – this also keeps the hip in. After working on this exercise Luke commented that he had really felt a difference in angulation and pressure control at the end of his turns in tricky off-piste – which we skied in on our final descent into Courchevel.

Flying Kilometre

Luke established a new personal speed record of 72.7 km/hr and we will attempt to improve that at every opportunity from now on!

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