Saturday, February 17, 2018

Alex–Bormio 6 & 7


Good effort in the slalom – out of the seven runs I filmed with Alex and his school friends there was only one run completed – by Ben. The courses were deceptively challenging. There is a password protected report including more slalom below the photographs…

Encrypted Tech Report – Slalom

Giant Slalom

First run carving second run stivoting – lets stick to carving from now on! The stivoting looks more dramatic but when you have skis that can actually carve the required radius it’s best to master them and carving together.  The password protected report is at the bottom – with more video…

Encrypted Tech Report – Giant Slalom

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Alex Bormio 2

Giant Slalom Training – working on the same issues as in slalom – making steady progress…

Friday, February 9, 2018

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Derin 8

The weather was due to improve in the afternoon but it didn’t. Our first run on Les Lanches (covered bubble lift) proved to be a bit too unpleasant for Derin so she was given more grace than usual to play in the snow (also taking into consideration that it was her last day).

After Les Lanches then warming up and cleaning off the snow indoors we remained on the Bollin for the rest of the afternoon. For Derin this is heaven because she has a long term affinity for this short piste and I usually refuse to stay there. We worked principally on pivoting and short turns with some skating turns on the flats. When Derin was cold she was asked to take her skis off and run uphill for a bit – to get her temperature back up. I had a lot of clothes on personally – with extra layers today - but could still feel the cold. After that Derin refused to admit that she was cold again – and she refuses consistently to take hot drinks to warm up internally. 

Derin’s pivoting is greatly improving and this is fantastic to see because very few people today are able to do this properly. Carving skis have become all the focus of modern teaching and more important skills are being lost because of this trend.

Derin’s love of the snow and being in direct contact with nature and the elements is impressive – which is why it seems so important to allow her to play – in reality it goes far beyond playing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so in tune with nature. She is a born artist and I hope she never grows out of this quality.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Derin 7

Today we started off by skiing Les Lanches from top to bottom, short turns, without stopping. Derin didn’t even realise that she was supposed to be tired from that – but at least it warmed her up.


Derin was keen to have a run in slalom (her idea not mine!) to compare against her time last year – which she told me had been 49 seconds (Stade de Bonnevie). Off we went to the slalom course and we had one warm up run through the poles and then Derin was filmed racing – though was told to ski safely and wide of the poles – not to try to go too fast or directly at the poles… Her time was 38.27 seconds – a big improvement on last year with no practice at all in the gates. With Derin very happy I suggested we just left it there on a high note.  Derin’s improvement in her stance – being significantly less on the backs of the ski boots  - provides her with much greater control.


After the slalom we went over to the Grand Pré where it is very flat to do some work on carving. Derin clearly remembered some of this from before and was quite good at carving turns at low speed. The importance here is to let the ski “rail” along its edges and completely remove all pivoting. This is the key to going very fast in racing. Like most skills it’s best built up progressively and accurately.


When we came across any steep slopes we worked on side slipping – with pressure on the fronts of the skis and boots. When bumps were present Derin was encouraged to pivot and actively swing the fronts of both skis downhill into the turn from suspending the ski tips in mid air over the bump before the start of the turn.

Pivoting and carving are opposite extremes and most skiing is a blend of the two – but pure pivoting and carving provide the framework and context for all of it. With pure carving the ski has no sideways motion and in pure pivoting the ski has no forward motion across the slope.

Carved tracks

Bird’s head spotted by Derin.

Lenticular wave cloud over Mont Blanc – sign of bad weather arriving!

Much improved stance – good dynamics – skis diverging – all good.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Derin 6

Easy day for Derin today on a family day trip over the Col de Petit St Bernard into Italy (La Rosiere – La Thuile). The main challenge was overcoming her fear of long button lifts – which she managed with a big smile on her face when getting to the top. When we were skiing there was no time for technical input and I didn’t want to spoil her trip by focusing on teaching – so she was just given feedback on-the-go about staying off the backs of the boots. The weather was great and there was no stress – a nice day on the mountain.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Derin 5

Today was a straightforward hard drive to get Derin unlocked from the backs of her ski boots. Most young children do this – because they can! They are light enough to get away with it without completely burning out their leg muscles.

We only did one short exercise – a sideslip while leaning forward (the Supergirl stance again). This seems to be the easiest way to connect the feeling of pressure on the shins against the boots and the grip from ski fronts – without generating anxiety.

I explained how the skis are horizontal when across the slope but when turned down the slope they are no longer horizontal and so this has to be “anticipated” with the move forwards of the body so as to remain perpendicular to the skis. Derin was shown this using my ski poles to illustrate – as the English vocabulary used here is too advanced. She understood well and made some great efforts with a lot of success. She had to be reminded frequently to focus and had to be frequently corrected – which is normal.

In the video she is still a little bit on the backs but has improved enormously. This shows that a clear and direct focus on this highly intractable issue definitely changes things and works.

Derin asked me if she could learn to ski with her feet together – so we spent a moment on that too. I placed my fist between her knees and asked her to squeeze her legs together so that I could feel the power of her adductor muscles working. She also had to roll both feet onto their inside edges inside the ski boots. Derin was asked to stand like this while I supported her and moved her body across the skis downhill and then uphill to simulate how the centre of mass moves and exploits the energy of the turns (skis and gravity). She then followed me using a much closer stance.

Once Derin can stay off the backs of her boots she will be able to do the following…