Alex Glacier 9

Today there was a half hour delay before letting us up the funicular and then another hour before Alex managed to get his lift up to 3500 on the piste machine. I got up in the first wave of trainers and while the others aimed for the nice groomed (but very short) pistes near the T-bar I was able to take the longest snow(ish) covered line at the furthest point away from the T-bar – where it hadn’t been groomed overnight and there were several crevasses to dodge. Finally I figured out what a “banane” turn is for – the perfect elongated turn for avoiding open crevasses. Setting out the course all along I was thinking – this is getting close to the limits of safety and sanity – but a great test for Alex if he can hold it together! Not only did he hold it together – he improved yet again. The goal was to maintain a strong, upright, centred stance – no compression into the back seat – by staying tilted forward at the hip joints – extending the hip/knee for strength – and remaining forward when flexing – whether on ice, slush, rock, dead animals, water, air, broken poles or anything else.

I explained the preemptive “anticipation” dynamic move of the hand/arm – to…

  • stop the inside arm dropping behind the body
  • reduce upper body or shoulder rotation
  • improve the preempted change of direction (anticipation)
  • help keep the upper body tilted forward at the hips
  • help keep the hips forward (not sitting)
  • allow modulation of pressure with the hip and knee without being squashed into the back seat or chronically using leg retraction/compression
  • translate the pressure modulation into a better skating action (foot forward)
  • sense how the strong impulse assists upper body management and places the arm/hand perfectly for the next pole (without “reaching”)

Note: Our current focus on the turn transitions – by means other than “avalement” (compression/retraction) – has reduced or suppressed the level of inclination that was there previously. However the sitting back that this inclination produced in order to change direction was unworkable.
Preempting the next turn (anticipation) inevitably means being more upright – but when snow conditions and course setting permit higher speeds the full inclination will return without the need to sacrifice the new centred and agile stance.

The changes made this week would probably never have been possible to achieve on fast snow.

Today was the last day that 3500 would be open for the summer – closing this evening. Back on the lower but safer slope tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *