Stephen day 1

  • Skating
  • Dynamics
  • Body Management / Hip Angulation
  • Pivot

Skiing is just disguised skating. The main difference is the skis are wide and have two edges. When diverging the skis outwards at the tips into a skating stance the skis want to flatten on the snow and the stiff shaft of the ski boots will pull the knees outward. The adductor muscles need to be engaged to hold the skis on their inside edges. This is a pattern of muscle use – the adductors of both legs contracting – that should be maintained when skiing parallel. This is partly dependent on the skier’s morphology. If the femurs are naturally directed inwards less adductor use might be appropriate but if slightly bow legged there may be a need to consciously work the adductors.

Only when snowplough braking should the adductors be released to widen the spreading of the tails of the skis from the hip joints.

The other difference between skis and skates: – it’s just that skis bend and scribe arcs on the ground and are generally used on slopes not flat lakes. Skating actions are fundamental for a skier’s development because they involve independent leg action where only one leg at a time is really used. Although skiers can stand on two feet the body is oriented specifically on one hip joint at a time (when turning) and has to function as if standing on one leg. Skating exercises such as skating step turns are helpful in developing basic skills. Skating turns use diverging skis (opposite from snowplough) and incremental stepping of the centre of mass inward toward the turn centre. This is ideally the first sort of turning that any complete beginner should experience – on flat terrain.

Basic Dynamics (skis parallel)

  • Skis must be travelling forward – like a bicycle
  • This is mainly about using the outside leg (start of new turn) to push the centre of mass into the centre of the new turn – for the whole duration of the turn
  • There is no “balance” when skiing – dynamics is the physics of disequilibrium
  • You are looking for stability from organised accelerations (ski technology!)
  • Notice in the photos below the outside leg is essentially straight in a skating action (flexion for absorption and other purposes is primarily at the hip joint)
  • The centre of mass goes down toward the snow – and to complete the turn it comes back up – like a motorbike in a turn
  • There is no “Centrifugal Force” acting on the skier – only a deflection inward away from a straight line. This deflection is used to lift the skier up at the end of the turn – which involves “finishing” the turn – I.E. turning almost back up the hill.
  • Remain square to the skis (follow the skis around the turn with your body) until you are really comfortable with movement of the centre of mass and clearly aware of moving it.

Body Management (Hip Angulation)
Take a look at the two Olympic champion skiers in the photograph below.
Killy’s image from the 1960s has his chest facing downhill whereas Noel’s image from 2022 has his chest facing forward. What Killy is doing destroys your lower back and is probably why he never went on skis again after he stopped racing.

Protecting the Spine

  • Hold the front of the pelvis up – aiming for “neutral pelvis”
  • During the turn pull the outer hip backwards so that the ski doesn’t pull it in front of your ribs
  • Look for a stretch between the ribs and hip joint
  • Look for a reflex contraction of the lower abdominals – the postural reflex
  • Keep the shoulders/chest following the skis (to some degree)
  • Always “counter turn” the pelvis more than the chest/shoulders (It’s only the pelvis that should “face downhill”)
  • Pulling the hip backwards also prevents both hip rotation and full upper body rotation

Source of Hip Angulation

The upper body needs to tilt forward over one hip joint – then rotate around it. This is in addition to pulling back the outside hip etc.

The body shape produced alters the location of the centre of mass enabling pressure on the ski fronts and also greater agility both into and out of turns – and pole planting if the skis are swinging laterally.

The hip angulation also provides flexion of the hip joint that gives absorption of shocks. Increased angulation also increases the edge angle of the skis to the snow and may alter the turn radius and grip.

Angulation when upright and pivoting has another function – when ANTICIPATING the next turn it is used to get the Centre of Mass out of the existing turn (by tilting the torso forward at the hip ) and letting the Centre of Mass move over the skis to plant the ski pole downhill for a strong, clear and definite support.

When the entire body inclines into the turn with hip angulation present this below is what it looks like.

Pivot (Skis sliding Sideways)
Pivoting is derived from the skis sliding sideways and can be developed from side slipping (It’s a braking form of turning). With a “pure pivot” as an exercise there is no forward travelling of the ski across the hill. Support for the centre of mass is now provided by support from a downhill pole plant. This is the real reason why we have ski poles! There is a full dedicated explanation of pivoting at the following link: “PIVOT

Leave a Reply

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