Andrew – Sarah

Crash course in the real fundamentals of skiing. Good weather – pistes a little bit icy but OK. Andrew and Sarah have different amounts of previous experience and different issues to address but due to time constraints there would be minimal opportunity for individual feedback. The goal was to give a broad and comprehensive picture of the building bocks of skiing skill – to impart a different “way of thinking” about skiing that will enable unimpeded learning in the future – and good protection from injury. 

The video consists of “before (without dynamics)” and “after (with dynamics)” parallel skiing, pivoting and “foot forwards” technique exercises.

Outline of stuff we covered…

  • Dynamics – controlling direction with the centre of mass
  • Feet – pressure front of heel – below ankle joint
  • Bending – ankle stiffens – anterior tibialis (shin muscle) tension – shin touches front of boot – bend at knee and hip – not ankle
  • Subtalar joint – rocking the foot on its inside edge – boot/shaft keeping sole from flattening and enabling constant edging of the foot
  • Alignment – boots must be accurately aligned (shaft of boot adapted to leg)
  • Adductor muscles activated when rocking foot on inside edge – limits motion of knee inwards
  • Foot, adductors – centre of mass (global movement) In that order – outside leg of the turn
  • Both legs constantly using adductors  – always on inside edges of the feet – only one leg usually “active”
  • Perpendicularity – no “leaning forwards” – the goal is perpendicularity to the slope (or horizontal traverse)
  • Line – good skiers use the “line” they take to control speed – poorer skiers push their skis outwards to the side to get them below to skid and then brake
  • Pivoting – separating edge of foot from edge of ski – skis always on uphill edges – “fall line skiing”
  • Pole – used to support centre of mass – only in pivoting
  • Side Slipping – skis close together – inside edges of feet  – uphill edges of skis – moving Centre of Mass to control slip
  • Independence of the legs – strong / early push of the Centre of Mass into the new turn with the uphill leg (no need to change edge before the push initiates)
  • Centrifugal force – illusion! Pull everything inwards – foot, adductors, centre of mass – “pulling the string”…
  • Foot Forward technique – to control turn radius on steeps while using dynamics – push forwards for increased grip and rapid turns
  • Upper / Lower body separation – static exercise allowing the femur to rotate in the hip joint and avoid the body rotating
  • Timing – Down / Up – explanation of how the skier moves like an inverted pendulum – down into a turn and back up out (motorcycle)
  • End of Turn Dynamics – for Sarah – project the body over the front of the downhill ski to exit the turn and enter the next one (links to perpendicularity as it changes from traverse to slope) Gets you off the backs of the boots! Stand up more!

Dynamics and Pivoting

Both developments were carried out following my standard methods which can be studied in detail from the fixed tabs/pages at the top of the blog.Andrew found the dynamics made skiing less hard work – which is correct. There was a rapid improvement which was also continued when learning to pivot removed the tyranny of the “inside edge” (snowplough legacy). His biggest change was probably due to the work on the feet giving a secure foundation and removing all the fore/aft confusion. When the stance is solid then reflexes kick in automatically, removing uncertainty and confusion. Initially Andrew had the greater problems so he was the main focus of my attention – and that worked. Meanwhile Sarah was doing fine but was also heading for a crash because her underlying issues hadn’t really been receiving enough attention. This always happens when there are a few people together with different things going on – priority goes to where there is the most struggling. Looking back at the video I can see that Sarah was very stiff in her legs at the start – with almost no movement. The body was tilted forward at the hips – but the legs were against the backs of the ski boots, stiffening the legs. Sarah really needed more time and individual work on this – but did really well regardless. From this point onwards however there’s no point focussing on “correction”. It’s best just to persist with dynamics, pivoting and all the details. Reflexes will start to take over naturally and direct the body.

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