Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tignes - Grande Motte

1st December 2010

Today Savoie ground to a halt - there was so much snow that all heavy goods vehicles were stopped from circulating by the police and airports - including Geneva were closed. That's pretty unusual for the first day of December. I celebrated however with a great day's skiing:

This morning Haluk and I were alone in the cable car up to 3500m on the Grand Motte - no wind, no people and great fresh snow.  We were both still getting our skiing legs back and both getting more comfortable with each run. The light was quite bad though and most of the time we were skiing semi-blind with regards to the surface and snow. This is a little bit uncomfortable when you have still not regained your full coordination - but it's certainly an interesting challenge. By the end of the day that had transformed into really good fun.

Haluk was skiing well but he was still a bit unstable and rotating. He's been working steadily on this over the past few seasons - usually picking up ideas and practising while I'm teaching his young daughters. Having been stuck at a certain level for a long time this indirect approach was a reasonable way to work though technical issues and avoid frustration. We can't always get directly to where we want to be.

Perhaps it's just the long summer break but somehow I could see Haluk's technical issues differently and realised that his rotation was not the problem but just a symptom. The fact was he was ALWAYS trying to get onto his inside edge of the outside ski as soon as possible and then work it round the turn. That might be ideal in racing but it's not ideal for all skiing. I think that people get such powerful feedback from modern carving skis that they do this automatically. What Haluk had to try to do was to avoid getting on to the inside edge until the turn was well underway. Fortunatley he had worked on this already with his daughters but had never applied this to deep snow - where ironically it is most appropriate. Today Haluk did just that and it worked. When I hear someone saying that they are not so tired anymore, they feel much safer in the bad light, they feel they have jumped up a level - then I know it has worked. Next time Haluk goes Heliskiing in Turkey he's going to have a lot of fun! He also managed to keep he feet further ahead, and flex more at the knees and hips instead of the ankles - and was much more agile. Not a bad start to the season.

Haluk looking good!
Towards the end of the day Haluk and I found ourselves once again alone but this time in Funival heading up to the top of the Belevard:

Could write a book on just the ski technique issues that were running though my head today - but there isn't enough time. I did take particular notice however of the fact that in the poor visibility and changing snow it really helped to make sure to use the adductor muscles to pull the lower leg and foot over into the turn prior to any great movement of body mass. This gave a very clear consistent feedback and pressure through the feet. When taking a hairpin bend on a mountainbike descent at high speed you must throw the bike over first into the turn before your body goes over  - and it's the same thing here in skiing - but instead of the bike it's your lower leg and foot. What most people won't understand though is that this doesn't change the edge of the ski - it's actually best NOT to get onto the inside edge right at the start of the turn in direct fall line skiing - and it's also best to keep the skis below you on the mountain. That all changes in racing though.

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