Caroline Session 2

Warm up / Revision / Mindfulness

Our warm up run over into Val d’Isère was used to focus on yesterday’s dynamics and work with the feet and adductor muscles. When you are focused on the global motion and the action of the parts of the body then you ingrain those actions, progressively moulding them into skills. This conscious activity also steadily increases awareness but more importantly it centres the mind and pushes aside distractions and anxieties.

When the pressure cycle and movement pattern are correct then reflexes function to stabilise and centre the body – so many apparent difficulties just vanish and higher levels of performance are automatically realised. We will look at how pressure under the feet activates reflexes later – but also at how the body has to be aligned correctly for this to happen. The video shows

  • Turn completion dynamics
  • Side Slip
  • Pivot
  • Dynamics with facing the pelvis facing downhill (angulation)


When you stand on flat, level ground in ski boots and on skis you can feel quite relaxed. You feel gravity and you stand vertically, with the body slightly flexed. When on a slope and sliding you need to stand perpendicular to the slope and this achieves exactly the same feeling – part of the gravity converting into an acceleration. The component of force coming up through the snow (under your feet) is also perpendicular to the slope and is called the “Normal “ force. The point is that you are oriented to the perpendicular – not to the vertical now – but the feeling is the same and you do not “lean forwards” – it feels “Normal”. The “lean forwards” mantra comes from trying to correct people who slide on a slope and insist of keeping their body vertical – but it’s a misleading instruction. We do use fore/aft adjustments for various functions – but those are “additional “ actions – not fundamental basics.

Dynamics – Turn Completion

The turn dynamics consist of  three parts – we began by learning how to accelerate into a turn and next we look at how to complete a turn. Completing the turn requires the body travelling across the hill being lifted up  and so “out” of the turn – all the way beyond vertical and into the perpendicular until the skis are flat on the snow pointing across the hill – and this is called “Neutral”. We did a few static – assisted – exercises to communicate the feeling and then Caroline was able to achieve this in her dynamics – linking the turns more fluidly and hence improving her stance.

Dynamics – Developing the Turn

Towards the end of the session Caroline was struggling a little on a steeper and bumpy/icy slope. The main problem at this stage was that we had not yet worked on “developing” the turn and the fact that in the second half of a turn the forces on the ski are much greater so it lifts you up and takes over. Awareness of this issue (and experience) teaches you to drive the body harder inside the turn as it progresses and hold it until you actually need to start to come out of the turn and complete it. The rest of the dynamics have to be in place before this issue becomes evident.

Side Slip

Due to years of snowplough or stemming Caroline finds travelling sideways a bit too alien – so it needs practice. The uphill leg needs to be brought down close to the lower leg and although the uphill ski is on its outer edge that foot must be on its inner edge. The downhill foot is also on its inner edge but this corresponds to the inner edge of this ski. Both feet are on inner edges – but both skis are on uphill edges. The slipping is controlled only by moving the centre of mass. (Likewise pivoting is only controlled by moving the centre of mass – assisted with support from the planted ski pole!)


Use the “Pivot” tab at the top of the page to see the demonstrations and full explanations. Caroline managed this very well for a first attempt. Practice this in small chunks only.Later when we were skiing to the Tovière lift and using foot forwards technique and the pelvis on steeper ground I saw Caroline blending the pivot with her dynamics turns – specifically because (from pivoting a few times) she was now aware that it doesn’t matter what edge of the ski you are on to start your turns!

Angulation (pelvis)

Use the “ChiSkiing” tab at the top of the page for detailed discussion.

The key here is that you do NOT turn your shoulders to face downhill because the ski will bring your lower hip around in front of your rib cage and deactivate your postural reflexes – making the spine totally vulnerable to disk damage. We did the “loading “ test with Caroline trying to lift me up while facing her shoulders downhill and feeling the strain on her lower back. The test was repeated with only the pelvis (belly button) turned to face downhill (effectively  turning the base of the spine counter clockwise to the direction of the turn and opposite to the previous situation with the shoulders facing downhill). This time the lower abdomen contracted (by reflex) and the distributed the load – protecting the spine. The loaded hip should always be behind the the rib cage and never in front. Starting movement from the body centre – near the pelvis – aligns the femur – and leg – in the same way that we had until now been doing starting from the foot and working upwards.  So – right side of body (turning left) – pass through neutral (dynamics – skis flat) pulling right hip backwards, pulling adductors inwards, roll the foot onto the inside edge at the subtalar joint – maintain this for the entire left turn.

In the video clip the use of the pelvis makes Caroline’s turn transitions more lively. In the future this should be developed into effective “hip angulation” allowing very efficient upper/lower body separation.

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