Anthony, Suzanne, Olivia

Anthony and Suzanne had not skied at all this year so far and only had a few weeks of experience altogether – so there was a short warm up and some time allocated to get used to sliding again. This is useful time for me to spend observing also. Despite having a clear overall goal to aim for, each individual may have their own ongoing issues to be accounted for within the teaching approach. Both skiers were a little bit rigid and on the backs of the ski boots – something very normal for inexperienced skiers, mainly as they are unconsciously keeping the body vertical to gravity. Learning any new skill requires time, even with accurate information. It takes time to build awareness and separate out body parts – even individual muscle actions. The main goal today was to make sure correct basic mechanics, biomechanics and concepts were put in place – a prerequisite to any real development.

The video clips show Before / After learning basic Dynamics.


Anthony and Suzanne received my standard teaching progression for dynamics. It takes time to assimilate and iron out any confusion that might arise when learning this. There is a tab at the top of the blog named “Dynamics” which takes you to a fixed describing the teaching and principles behind it.

The most important point to remember is that “You have one job; to fall over. The ski has one job; to lift you back up”. Dynamic Range is the goal in skiing – increasing how much you can move your centre of mass. In contrast “balance” is simply a HUGE MISTAKE. You feel “stability” derived from organising accelerations – not from “balance”. 


  • Stand on the front of the heel – directly below the ankle joint
  • When flexing use the hip and knee – the ankle stiffens reflexively if weight is kept on the heel
  • Shin muscle “anterior tibialis” tenses up – ankle only bends to around 12° – same rake as the boot shaft
  • Shin touches the front of the boot
  • Use the subtalar joint beneath the ankle to rock the foot onto its inside edge
  • Forefoot turned outwards – away from the turn
  • Feel this activating the adductor muscles – inside of upper leg
  • Feel the knee pull laterally inwards but stop at its limit (instead of wobbly and twisting inwards as happens when the ankle collapses)

Turning – In this order: Foot / Adductors / Centre of Mass – this is what you say to yourself when moving the centre of mass into a turn. The outside leg is all you have to be concerned with. Meanwhile both feet actually remain on their inside edges all the time – feeling like squeezing a tennis ball between the legs. The main issue is to ensure that the ankle does not collapse and leave the boot holding you up instead of your leg. Instability generated by this issue contributes to the skier ending up being thrown to the back of the boots again – compounding problems. Creating a solid stance from the foot upwards, then using this as the support for good dynamics – provides the basis for accurate feedback and auto-correction to develop naturally.

Centripetal Force

The turning ski drives you “inwards”, away from a straight line. This why it is called a “centripetal” force. With the strong stance on the outside ski and by rocking the foot on its inside edge (forefoot turned outwards) and holding the adductors taught – driving the centre of mass inwards – you develop the turn. Everything “pulls” inwards. 

In the final part of the turn you still hold the foot and leg the same way but you allow the ski to lift you up – effectively taking you out of the turn as it keeps on turning but your body doesn’t! We didn’t have time to get into the dynamics for finishing a turn – but teaching the “pivot” would later help to sidestep any issues that might have developed. In the future it is however critical to learn how to exploit the dynamics to finish the turn.

Don’t push the ski out

The skis are always trying to flatten – which is how the actually lift you up if you work properly with them. When stuck on the backs of the boots then the skis can manage often to flatten (without lifting you) and so flatten the foot and twist the heel outwards. This was happening a bit with Olivia on both sides and with Suzanne on her left leg. With Suzanne it was happening more at the turn initiation and with Olivia it was near the end of the turns. Fight to get the entire turn with the foot rocked onto its inside edge and the forefoot twisted outwards.


Your basic stance on skis should not be “leaning forwards”. Just stand on the horizontal across a hill and feel what it’s like to be “vertical to gravity”. This should be the same feeling when sliding straight downhill – the body perpendicular to the slope now. In mechanics the component of gravity pulling you into the ground is perpendicular to the ground – the other component pulls you downhill.

When you begin a turn you launch the centre of mass downhill so that as the skis come around from the horizontal traverse you find yourself perpendicular and sliding downhill. Often there is a small “forwards” projection too – anticipating the acceleration – so you launch the body into the turn with dynamics and a slight forward projection. This is actually how skilful it is staying off the backs of the ski boots!  Work on this and experience will accumulate. Only experience will provide you with the ability to get this right in all situations.


The timing for the turn is “down into the turn” and “up out of the turn” – exactly like a motorbike going through a corner.  There is no need for pole use here. Follow the skis and don’t complicate matters by trying to “face downhill” – unless done correctly that can be dangerous for the lower back.

Anthony – holding your hands down low by your sides is what gives you the “bent over” appearance. Just imagine you have a hula-hoop in front of you and you are holding the outside rims – “goalkeeper” or “ready” position. Keep the hands up at this height – but some work is needed on your posture too. Protect yourself meanwhile by avoiding trying to “face downhill”. Just move laterally to the skis for dynamics. 


Standard progression was used here. There is a detailed page with full demonstrations accessed from the tab at the top of the page: “Pivot”Everyone understood this well and started to feel the effect. You have to work on this diligently – but only in small chunks at a time as it can be frustrating.

The main reason for brining this into the picture is to remove the dogma that obliges people to try to always start their turns on the “inside edge “. The only important thing is how we move and control the Centre of Mass! (for the moment this smooths out the turn transitions without being full experts with dynamics)


Skating is fundamental to skiing – providing timing and muscular impulses compatible with the “inverted pendulum “ of the motorbike cornering. We had a moment on the flats where we did a little bit of skating – diverging the skis and rocking both the feet on their inside edges. This is the same sensation that I was referring to earlier when I wrote that both feet  remain on their inside edges all the time when skiing!

The trick when skating on the flat is to fall forward – using gravity – and just lift the legs from behind and step/place them underneath the body. Propulsion then comes from gravity itself. Anthony and Suzanne struggled here – showing that work in the direction would be a valuable asset.


Racing is all about “rhythm” and “breaking rhythm”. Courses are set to strict regulations regarding both – in slalom 6 turns max of the same rhythm and 3 turns min – with various pole configurations for breaking rhythm. Our idea of rhythm today was just to show how dynamics generates flow and continuity between turns – when you avoid killing the energy by sticking a traverse between each turn.

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