Thursday, December 29, 2011

Audrey Solo

This morning started off with the sight of a weirdly overturned car in the narrow lane next to where I park in Val d'isère. I suspect that Huw might have done this to vent his frustration at his skiing yesterday. As it happened Huw didn't turn up today and so I had only Audrey to work with.

Our first task in the morning was the daunting prospect of finding suitable new ski boots for Audrey - bunions, wobbly ankles and "women" fitting etc. After measuring the feet I went straight for the Nordica Dobermans and it worked. Unfortunately the boot shells would have to be modified during the day so the boots weren't available for the day's session. Later on, during lunch break we modified Audrey's existing boots so that she could at least stand up without the quads burning. The design of the boot seemed horrifyingly wrong - with a strap pulling the back of the leg forward - very, very wrong!

Turn Apex and Slalom
Today we started out (after a brief jaunt off piste) with a warming up of the legs in slalom. I explained that a more ideal timing for skiing crud corresponds to that of a race course, with the apex of the turn at the side  (where a slalom pole would be) and not directly below the skier. Slalom is an opportunity to develop this perception. In this manner there is a less dramatic need for angulation because you are not trying to hold onto a turn for so long - but the overall speed is a bit higher - ideal for racing of course but also ideal for blasting through crud.

Assorted Off Piste Conditions
After the slalom we did a couple of off-piste runs where Audrey handled it very well despite having no previous experience of such mixed conditions. The only fall was when she was spat out of a turn on some very steep terrain - a classic "rotation" issue.

La Grande Casse - seen from Val d'Isère

Bumps and Pivoting
After lunch we worked on control of rotation by sideslipping down very steep bumps - then moved onto pivoting on the bumps. Audrey then was able to start pivoting with the lower ski (or both skis). One way to develop this skill is to lift the lower ski and swing it off down the hill - diverging the skis. Audrey was being left behind at the turn start though and the ski could not swing without the tip flying up in the air. We then worked back on the piste at keeping the tip down and lifting up the heel instead to centre her better over the support foot. 

This lead to the need to leave the pivot and work for on dynamics with "inside edge" turns instead. It became apparent that Audrey wasn't clear how to get the body though neutral (flat skis across the hill) and move over into the next turn without doing weird things with her shoulders. Eventually she started to understand that simply removing the lower ski was enough to cause a weight transfer to the upper ski and simultaneously  topple into the next turn. 

Up/Down Regression
Returning back to bumps on the Face de Bellevarde it became clear that when it was steep Audrey's timing reverted back to her old "up/ down" turns - and she would shoot off out of control on the steeps. We finished with a skating exercise to try to bring home the difference between timings.

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