Thursday, December 15, 2011

Luke Day Two

Olive Morning
Olive's first run today was on the main nursery slope with the chairlift. Instead of traversing across the path at the top steep section we immediately started to work on sideslipping. Olive held onto my ski pole and remained above me on the slope so that I could control her. After a few descents of the steep section she was already quite steady and could be helped to move diagonally forwards or backwards. Her top ski started to diverge uphill slightly without me saying anything and that's a good sign. People who have learned snowplough never do this - they always desperately try to point the uphill ski downhill and this causes endless problems. With Olive never having learned snowplough there was no hint of this type of defensive and inappropriate action. We also practised sidestepping down - so that Olive was aware of this option.

Part of being able to sideslip is keeping the weight mainly on the lower ski and avoiding turning the body to face uphill for safety. To help to develop the right feelings I had olive start to do jump turns - with a swing of the skis in the direction of the turn when airborne. This can't be done if your body is facing uphill. On landing the skis have a tendency to pivot and turn in a way closely resembling the sideslip (spreading butter is a good analogy) - the skis brushing off speed by going partially sideways. Olive continued to improve and was able to pivot successfully on steeper pitches. She was also gaining confidence on the gentler pitches and was happy to glide quite fast.

Olive Afternoon
Right from the start of the afternoon session Olive was able to sideslip from the top by herself. With her renewed energy she was keen to go by herself though she had to be warned that the top part would be too steep and that only sideslipping would work for her at the moment. Everyone else joined in the session and everyone made the mistake of turning the bottom downhill instead of uphill when sideslipping - it was a very revealing moment. Everyone needs to work more on this so I'll be looking at this with greater priority tomorrow.

Luke, Leonie, Ella
We only managed a handful of runs together due to timing and weather issues. Partly due to the challenging snow conditions Luke was bracing against his outside leg and going quite stiff at the hip. I wanted him to try to become aware of all that tension and resistance. Difficult snow requires a stance that resembles being "seated" - but with the seat facing downhill - so that you are not falling backwards when there is no support underneath your bottom. A seated stance facing downhill will still cause your centre of mass to be directly above your feet - relative to gravity. This is necessary in chopped up snow because it gets the feet ahead of the body and the femurs more horizontal - so that if there is a sudden deceleration from a bump or patch of deep snow the legs will push the skis through it - and the knees can be pushed up in front of the body to absorb shock. 

We worked on using the poles to get right over the lower ski to be able to then pivot from there into a new turn. Everyone has been failing to allow the body to come out of the previous turn right over the skis with the support of the pole for pivoting into the next turn - the pole use is very weak in all cases. Conditions are however limiting the time spent on exercises and the variety of exercises we can do.

Leonie seems more comfortable at having a go at offpiste - the Zag skis are no doubt helping a lot. 

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