Monday, February 18, 2013

Alex & Daisy 1

Alex and Daisy were back on skis for the first time in almost a year. Naturally the first few runs were aimed at getting used to sliding again. The perfect weather and snow conditions certainly makes this process much easier and more enjoyable. I’ve not skied with Alex or Daisy before so was a bit surprised with what I saw. Alex was trying to lean over – but not by using dynamics! He would simply stand on his inside leg to facilitate leaning over more and jamming the outside ski on its edge – a recipe for out-of-control disaster and high speed wipe-outs. He could also force his skis out into a sort of abrupt hockey stop which he seemed to use at random to slow himself. Daisy was pretty much blocked in a snowplough with no dynamics and again standing on the inside ski but with the plough leading to skis crossing and various other issues. I could see it was not a good idea to work on dynamics here because it could be tricky to untangle the current movement patterns – so I decided to work on pivoting.


A basic summary of pivoting can be found at this link here.

The exercises started with simple sideslipping on a steep slope. Daisy was struggling because her top ski would point downhill in a snowplough automatically – so this was a key thing to correct. With both skis pointing across the hill and on their uphill edges then she would have a lot more security. Sideslipping takes practice. Alex was already comfortable with this but we soon added forward and backward diagonal sideslipping – by swinging either the ski tips or the tails downhill.

After demonstrating the pivot from the uphill edge of the uphill ski both Daisy and Alex made brave attempts at it. To make this easier I worked with each individually so that they could feel it as I supported them through a pivot. Following this I skied with each of them holding onto my pole and helped them pivot through the turns. This worked quite well and produced a visible difference. I explained with a brief exercise of pulling the ski tip against a pole stuck in the ground that the muscles on the inside of the leg needed to be used to pull the ski into a pivot. This is not strictly true but the coordination is correct and the main aim was to prevent them from “pushing out” with the ski as they had been doing until now. When it wasn’t too steep Daisy was managing to get rid of her defensive snowplough quite well because she was getting speed control from sideslipping the skis into the new turn.

To help Daisy further I asked her to lift the lower ski at the start of the turn and swing the tip off downhill (diverging the ski tips) and at the same time the uphill ski tip would be pulled inwards into the new turn. Both Daisy and Alex did well with this.

Short swings (rhythmic jump turns) were done as an exercise for coordination – so that both skis could be swung simultaneously in the air. Alex was much stronger at this and managed to control his speed very well for such a difficult exercise. Daisy was tending to twist her feet rather than swing her skis so we need to take a look at the feet and how they work in ski boots tomorrow .

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