Tristan Richard Alexa Lottie Vivi Suzi day 5


Today’s goal was to work on areas involving sideways motion – starting from a snowplough and pivoting on the inside ski to sideslipping into a turn by blocking the tails with a pole plant. It’s sideways motion that is the key to versatile and adaptable skiing. Consequently the pivoting is developing naturally without frustration.

  • Feet – Spiral Dynamics and Ankle Flex
  • Snowplough (Centre of Mass)
  • Side Slipping (Centre of Mass)

Feet – Spiral Dynamics and Ankle Flex
For dealing with feet pain make sure you aren’t scrunching your toes up and replace this act of tension by lifting the toes up and holding them up.

To avoid pronation of the foot and apparent “flat arches” it suffices to activate the muscles across the main body of the foot in the following manner…

  • place the foot on the ground on its outside edge (supinated at the subtalar joint)
  • holding the foot on its outside edge stretch the ball of the foot toward the floor
  • this takes practice to increase the range of movement available
  • when stretched as much a possible – while maintaining the stretch lower the ball of the foot to the ground
  • maintain the muscles active to constantly prevent pronation and maintain an active arch
  • you can keep pressure on the outside edge of the foot and the ball of the foot – while it’s the adductor muscles pulling inwards that holds the ski on its inside edge

Ankle Flex: One way to increase pressure on the ski fronts is to flex the ankle inside the ski boot – not by squashing the ankle but by lifting the forefoot toward the shin (still keeping pressure on the balls of the feet) and creating shin pressure on the cuffs of the ski boots. The boots then act as a lever transmitting force to the ski fronts. Gripping on ice requires pressure on the ski fronts and is strongly aided by the flexed ankle.

Snowplough (Centre of Mass)
The braking snowplough requires the adductors of both legs to be relaxed to open up the hip joints.

First turns are made by simply tightening the adductors in one leg only – to turn left it’s in the right leg. With narrower ploughs then the adductors of both legs should be engaged.

Weight is always maintained on whatever ski is furthest down the mountain so that it can act as an effective brake. Changes of pressure on any ski are due to geometrical effects between the skis and the slope angle – not “transfer of weight”.

Starting a turn when traversing the slope in a plough requires only a slight movement of the Centre of Mass toward the downhill ski. This ski then slowly feeds the skier into a controlled turn. When facing directly down the fall line, the body being held constantly toward the inside ski in the turn, ensures the outside ski can takeover the completion of the turn. The pressure changes on the skis are automatic – just move the Centre of Mass toward the centre of the intended turn and keep it there from start to finish.

Side Slipping (Centre of Mass)

The main practical purpose of sideslipping is to get down the mountain without picking up speed. Many learners are deprived of this skill because it is generally undervalued and has become even more neglected due to the complete domination of carving skis. Wider skis are easier for sideslipping in a greater range of conditions. Parabolic skis have some trouble gripping on ice during a sideslip, but modern “double rocker” off-piste skis give a smooth and grippy sideslip in just about every condition, including ice.

The skis are kept on edge by the lateral stiffness of the ski boot shafts. Skis over 100mm wide underfoot begin to create problems on hard snow due to the extra leverage from the edge through the shaft of the boot. Those skis can be very unpleasant on-piste and it’s one limit of how an “all round” ski can be defined. Anything wider than 100mm is not “all round”. In ski teaching the sideslip serves specifically for developing fall-line skiing. Fall-line skiing is where the skier’s body travels directly downhill and not across the hill. This would apply to bumps, steep off-piste such as couloirs and deep powder snow. Slalom is not “fall-line” skiing. The skier should be able to sideslip on either ski or both at the same time. It’s normal to start off with both skis on the snow, skis parallel and with the majority of weight on the lower ski just to get a feel for it. The stance is normally quite narrow to prevent the uphill ski from catching the lower edge. Most beginners have trouble keeping the skis close together.

It should be noticed that only the uphill edges of the skis are in contact with the snow so the downhill edges are in the air. If the fronts of the skis are pushed downhill (Joystick Control – moving the Centre of Mass forward) then there will be no resistance from the downhill edges and so the skier goes into a forward diagonal sideslip. Likewise if the tails are pushed downwards during the sideslip then it turns into a backwards diagonal sideslip. Being able to alternate between straight down the fall-line and the two diagonals is a precursor to the skill necessary for pivoting in the fall-line. Both legs need to squeeze the adductor muscles together – holding the upper legs close together. Pulling both legs together keeps a narrow stance and when the skier practices sideslipping on one leg it ensures the that the geometry of the edge angles to the slope are optimum for pivoting. 

Lottie, Vivi, Alexa, Tristan

Focus was mainly on sideways motion, pivoting, jumping etc.

Jump Turns /Short Swings

Compression Turns
Here’s a useful video showing proper compression turns at an advanced level. (Warning! – The drills used to “teach” in the clip are mainly inappropriate and fail to show the pivoting nature of bump skiing. However the advanced dynamics used by the demonstrators are correct.)

Leg Retraction
“Leg retraction” – the extended downhill leg at the end of a turn is retracted to allow the body to cross over the skis into the next turn the fastest way possible – then the new outside leg extends (independent leg action). The video below shows a top World Cup racer using this movement pattern. It’s easier to learn this pattern first and apply it to “normal” skiing before learning how to retract both legs simultaneously with the feet together to absorb bumps.

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