Billy, Patrick, Lilly 3

Mont Blanc today – 4810m altitude


  • Working on pivoting skills
  • Lilly’s first black run descent
  • Fastest Slalom runs
  • Patrick 31.39 seconds
  • Billy 31.68 seconds
  • Lilly 48.82 seconds
  • Billy’s spectacular crash – caused by being too far back on the skis and against the backs of the ski boots.

Today we had to begin work on “Pivoting”. The program was initiated by skating with both feet on their inside edges, then side slipping with both feet on their inside edges but both skis on their uphill edges (separating the uphill foot edge from the ski edge) – then we launched into full pivots.The complete teaching procedure is presented here: “Pivot”  and is also reached by a tab at the top of this page.

Although the pivot is a special skill in its own right it also has a critical role in developing slalom and for skiing on steeps.

  • Pulling the uphill ski front “inwards” using the adductor muscles (inside of upper leg – taught so it was felt) – to make the ski follow the CoM
  • Learning that it’s not which edge the ski is on that counts – it’s which edge the foot is on that counts
  • Stop trying to get on the inside edge of the uphill ski to start a turn – unless there is a clear and safe opportunity to accelerate

Lilly later used the turn initiation from the uphill edge of her uphill ski on the steeps to enable good parallel skiing – though she struggled a bit to hold this together in the race course – understandably. Lilly did incredibly well for her level of skiing – taking a deliberately slow line but on a very steep slope.

Billy was taught how to push against the magic wall from the uphill edge of his uphill ski – while remaining on the inside (downhill) edge of his foot – thus getting earlier pressure and grip from the turning ski. He was being taught this to try to provide the pressure beneath his support foot early and use the resultant postural reflexes this induces to get him to stand more centred over his feet instead of hard against the backs of his boots (which caused his earlier fall – and lack of turning power on the steep sections). When on the backs of the skis they go straight – they don’t turn!

Rise Line

Billy’s big improvement came when he understood the “Rise Line”. Until this point Billy was aiming straight for the gate and leaving the turning too late – causing him to actually turn lower and lower beneath the gates until all his speed was blown off. What you do is visualise a line from the gate in front going straight up the hill and you aim to cross this line as high up as you can – instead of aiming at the gate. Then you start the turn as you cross this line – which brings you back just under the gate itself instead of way downhill from the gate. Patrick never quite managed to sort this out – but I don’t think he really understood it – at least with regards to putting it into practise. He seemed a bit tired today and apparently he didn’t sleep much last night. Regardless he did still have the fastest time overall quite early in the session.
Tignes glacier – early morning
The Bellevarde summit – early morning

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