Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rowdy Session 2

Today's session with Rowdy turned out to be interesting. I've not been getting a lot of feedback so far from people regarding the "chi stance" so the fact that Rowdy was working on that for himself and it was protecting his back made the session more valuable.

Rowdy was slightly confused about the overall stance so we first of all looked into that. The issue was that he was finding it necessary to pull back the inside hip - but this directly negated the advantage of pulling back the outside hip and reduced the twist in the spine and the activation of the tendons and ligaments throughout the midsection. Rowdy had been making this correction to try to achieve a stronger alignment - but hadn't realised that the strongest alignment of the outside comes from just pulling back the outside hip. 

Magic Chi Spots
There is always a question about which part of the foot to stand on. Stand on the heel and keep your weight there and the ankle will go strong. Stand raised up on the ball of the foot and the ankle will go strong but rocking the foot is harder.  Danny Dryer asserts that a point just in front of the heel activates the core muscles - so that is a tempting option. Trying this option several weeks ago I found that the foot could still be rocked, but that to keep the ankle strong the foot muscles had to be active and working. Perhaps lots of barefoot running has made me much more aware of my feet muscles - but they seem to work very easily now and this option is much more attractive than any of the others. The chi stance (twisting of the spine in the direction of the turn and hips countered) seems to work in conjunction with this magic spot under the foot and keeps the shin in contact with the front of the ski boot - a second magic spot that you aim to feel all the time. In the first part of the video clip above Rowdy is applying all of the above successfully. The only problem is that he still has a glitch in the turn transitions sometimes so we next had a look at that issue.

Flowing Transition
When a motorbike comes out of a turn it can be helped with a burst of accelerator to get it upright. Likewise in skiing the push up from the leg at the end of the turn should only be to assist the skis bringing the skier up and there should be a resonance in the action - it shouldn't be a separate glitch. Rowdy had to feel the ski bringing him up and then use the power of the leg in harmony with it. In addition he had to avoid the lower arm and shoulder lurching forwards at the end of the turn because in reality the shoulders and arms should be  starting to move back in the direction of the next turn and only the future outside hip should be engaging in such a "countering" action. This gives the impression that the shoulders are fixed facing almost downhill and that the upper body is still - but it's a very false impression. the upper body is very active - especially in the core. Rowdy manages to flow better in the second part of the video and makes better turn transitions.

Seated Stance, Turn Apex, Early Pressure
Standing on a steep pitch with the skis off and facing downhill I showed Rowdy that I could sit down without my weight going backwards. This placed my feet and knees in front of my body and below the centre of mass on the mountain. Maintaining this stance when skiing and aiming to maximise turn pressure (apex) at the side (instead of below) would allow much stronger skiing. Aiming to use momentum to make the turn apex over to the side means that there is no overload of pressure at the end of the turn when lined up against gravity. The stance keeping the feet permanently lower down the hill than the body means that a pivot can always be included in the start of a turn if required. The knees and feet ahead add to security and stability. The chi stance permits the hip to drop down into the turn early and securely so as to generate pressure from both dropping low and angulation both causing greater edge angles - helping to bring the turn apex earlier in the turn. Rowdy did a good job of using this while descending Santons - the slush and ice not affecting him as a result.

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