Alex Day 3

Today was firstly about consolidating the pressure on the fronts of the skis, then secondly adding a skating extension of the uphill leg to both bring the legs back to life and to maximise pressure against the outside ski very early in the turn – hopefully on the FRONT!

We are now working on Improving the Line! The first thing to notice is that the body takes a route more directly down the fall line – but this is a consequence – an “effect” – of having both the skis and body working well. (Fronts of skis active and legs using their full range of movement). The body is not being passively held steady in the middle of the course and just the legs working – that’s an illusion!

Improving the line further requires that the skis pass closer to the poles… Only having solid control (fronts of skis working) and the legs/body fully active (not in the back seat and blocked with static legs) will the ideal line be possible. The habit of skidding the tails around a turn with the ski tips pivoting inwards towards the pole forces the skier to take a wide line to ensure the tips don’t catch the pole. With the ski gripping and turning from the front it’s as if it was on a banked track and the tips are very unlikely to catch the pole with painful consequences.

Upright skiing requires the outside leg to bend at the start of a turn to generate the correct pressure cycle with the centre of mass (down and then up to finish). Dynamic skiing (with inclination and sometimes strong angulation) generally uses a strong extension of the outside leg to push the centre of mass down into the new turn – this might lead to a retraction of the leg/s towards the end of the turn – or an active up movement particularly by extending the powerful hip joint. Those two uses of the legs are effectively opposites – but the common outcome is the pressure cycle with the down/up motion of the centre of mass. The first resembles skating at the end of a turn and the second resembles skating at the start of the turn.

Alex is making solid progress in a short time – and also handling frustrations in a mature manner. There have been some considerable achievements in progress in just a few days (after 17 months of not skiing on snow). While goals and objectives must always be kept in sight it’s even more important to enjoy and appreciate each little step of the journey – each new sensation and understanding. You learn best when playing and to be successful in the long run there must be enjoyment. The goals and self pressure for “success” mustn’t blot out the fun. Here’s a superb video of a world class athlete who forgot to enjoy himself …

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