Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Derin, Defne - Day 5

Derin - Morning

Knowing that the "warm up" run today would mean an excursion off piste - I decided to prepare Derin for it.  There had been a good snowfall during the night and it was still coming down with temperatures low enough for the quality to remain excellent.

Unlocking the Legs
Derin was locking her legs out as usual right from the first turn and getting on the back of the ski boots - so persistence with sorting this out would be necessary. Reminding Derin of the "seated stance" and the bending of the knee and hip made no observable difference. I held Derin's skis and placed them in the fall line so she could try to "sit down" when facing downhill without sliding off. This didn't help either as she still ended up with straight legs. I couldn't ask her to move forwards into the perpendicular in the deep and chopped up snow either. 

The key to getting Derin to bend would be in "body sensing" - the same way she managed to balance the bottle on her head yesterday. I told her that she had to listen to her legs. The legs would be saying that they were stiff. Once she actually listened to them and could hear them saying this then they would listen to her telling them to bend and to be soft. Derin said OK and on the next turn I saw her legs bend for the first time.

France is famous for its tarts! (Boulangerie in Tignes Val Claret) 

Today was about experience and off-piste excursions. There wasn't a lot of technical input, but instead there was an opportunity to make use of all the work done on the previous days. We did a little "skating with gravity" but mostly so that Derin wouldn't take too long crossing the flats. Our time was taken up simply skiing. Derin could stay in my tracks so I would set a rhythm with small turns that she could neatly fit into. This is remarkably like training in a slalom course but with the added advantage of varied snow conditions.

Defne and Derin - Afternoon
Defne joined us early so as to not miss out on the fresh snow.

I repeated the instruction for anticipating the turn on the bump - pivoting the moment the tips of the skis are in the air. Defne hadn't heard this before and Derin didn't really understand this yesterday. It was clear that Defne is ready for some proper coaching in the bumps now. Derin came down quite fast and confidently using a good early pivot.

Off Piste
I asked Derin to focus on communicating with her legs and getting them to be bent and soft - in the seated position. For Defne - who hadn't worked on this yet - I asked her to compliment her hip alignment (pulling back) with a strong push forwards of the foot on the same side. She understood this but struggled too much in the deep snow. For this reason I decided to teach her the seated position. This was a struggle. I even created a seat with two skis and a pole, but Defne was having trouble grasping the entire concept. When this sort of thing happens it's just that the brain needs time to process new information. The best thing is to change the subject and come back to it some time later. At this point I went off with Derin and we skied down through the trees together. Derin was a bit worried about the trees but only managed to be grabbed by one of them.

Compression Turns
After lunch I had Defne sit on a bench with her feet on the ground so that she could feel her knee and hip joints bent into a sitting position - and to become aware of this.  I then had everybody on skis bending the knees so that the bottom dropped below the knees. We did this in motion while traversing. From this we then bent low and using the downhill pole for support - fell into a pivoting turn in the low position - standing up towards the end. This in the classic "compression" turn. The low "seated" position keeps the feet and knees ahead and so allows stable pivoting in very difficult and steep snow. The girls caught on to this quickly and were able to ski practically anywhere after that.

We took the compression turns into steep and deep off piste with no problems. The last run finished with a steep sideslip which I wanted the girls to do so that they would understand why they had been practicing sideslipping so much. A lot of noise was made in reaction to the steepness but there were no problems. Defne fell through tiredness at the very bottom and although she twisted her leg a little it was OK.

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