Jules, Amelia, Ellie, Matilda, Jemima

What do you want to be when you grow up…

Jules –    Skier (policeman or fireman are too dangerous according to Jules)Amelia – Author or Scientist (my advice – do both together!)Ellie –     Actor or Singer

Wet and Dry Humour

Amelia says my humour is “bad” because she can’t tell when I’m joking. I explained that it is “dry” humour and that in contrast her humour – which comes from her joke book – might probably be called “wet” humour. So we agreed that I’m bad and Amelia is wet.

Poles for Petites

Time for the little ones to have their poles, because they are all skiing quite confidently without them. However the poles aren’t just for pushing along the flats; they serve a specific purpose which would be immediately introduced. No it’s not the mindless “pole plant” at the end of a turn. All would be revealed by learning the “pivot”.  The challenge would be in teaching a group of children something that in reality is formidably technical – without losing them completely along the way. Even the bigger children would be learning this from scratch.

Pivoting (Magic Pull)

Full details of “pivot” teaching are found here: “Pivot” (Tab also at the top of the blog page)Dynamics requires forward speed (like a bicycle) and the ski works by providing lifting power as your centre of mass falls over – and there is no use of the ski poles. In contrast Pivoting is about travelling completely sideways – no forward speed at all – and using the pole solidly downhill from the body to prevent the centre of mass from falling. In both cases the centre of mass operates the skis and drives the entire system but the two mechanisms are completely different: Dynamics – support from the skis and Pivot – support from the poles.

Once the separate skills are learned then they can be blended together in degrees. The pole planting seen here on video is completely spontaneous after being only physically assisted through one single pivot to feel what it is like – and free practice for a few individual pivots.

The main purpose of teaching this so early is to enable “fall line” skiing – the ability to turn tightly in a narrow couloir – without long traverses across the hill. The trick is in making the skier aware that there is no need to start the turns on the inside edge of the uphill ski – so that the uphill ski can slip into the turn (on its uphill edge) by the leg pulling the front of the ski inwards following the centre of mass. The skier must stand on the outside (uphill) edge of the (uphill) ski while being aware of standing on the inside (downhill) edge of the foot. Jules needed a bit of clarification here but still got the idea.

We initially worked on an exercise by lifting a ski and pulling the front against a pole planted in the ground between the two ski tips. When pulling the inside edge of the ski against the pole you look at that ski tail to see if it is twisted outwards or if it falls inwards bringing the heels together. If the ski tail twists outwards the skier is trying torque the ski and using the wrong muscles so this must immediately be corrected to learn the correct muscular sensations. Pulling the tip inwards is the opposite from “stemming” or “plough” where the tail is pushed outwards. It is counter intuitive and needs to be learned – using the opposite muscle coordination from stemming.

The Magic Wall uses the Magic Foot and now also the Magic Pull – all of this directed inwards to the centre of the turn.

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