Chantelle’s concerns from her free skiing yesterday were that she had trouble negotiating narrow passages and bumpy areas. I watched her skiing for a moment to get a feel for where things were going and decided that she was ready to learn more about dynamics and that this would probably deal with the issues that were troubling her.
Dynamics Part 2
On the fixed “Dynamics” page in the blog this is called “Turn Exit Dynamics”. The coming up and out of the turn at the turn completion has to be managed in a particular way. The goal is to get into “neutral”, standing up, skis flat, going across the hill with the body perpendicular to the hill. Imagine a motorbike upright between two turns and now place this across a slope. Chantelle understood the analogy with ease and then after watching my “hanger” turns demonstration was able to complete her turns this way from the first attempt. When someone has already developed the ability to ski with dynamics – moving the body – and being strong on one leg – then this additional step is quite easy to get and it can be quite liberating. Chantelle immediately began to flow in her skiing – connecting her turns and eliminating the traversing. She immediately found that starting the next turn was easier. This permits the quicker linking of turns. Cleaner dynamics – with the skis running forwards – makes it easy to let the skis run over bumps and just about any obstacle.
The off piste was now out of bounds with the heat so we went into the slalom area to work on steep terrain. Other than feeling a little nervous Chantelle had no trouble adapting and using dynamics to stay in my line. Her instruction was to move over the downhill ski into the new turn and immediately push the outside ski forwards. This is effectively a “black” category run. Chantelle managed to stay in my tracks the first time down even though my turns were linked and tight on the steep. When skiing on her own for me to film she had to get used to making her own rhythm.
Working on the pivot we used small bumps until Chantelle began to develop a feel for the mechanics. The key is to get on the inside edge of the uphill foot and remain on the outside edge of the ski at the same time. This allows the adductor muscles to be used to swing the ski tips inwards as the body moves off downhill. It is also a good counter against hip rotation and this helped Chantelle gain control over her tendency to rotate – especially the left hip. Good pole support is necessary and this starts to lead us onto dissociation between the upper and lower body – which necessitates an explanation of “chi” mechanics to protect the back. I also wanted to explain this so as to provide a mechanism to counter the hip rotation in all skiing – not just pivoting.
There is a fixed page on “Chi Skiing” here: “Chi Skiing Page”
We went through walking exercises to see the difference in the mechanics then I explained how skiing is unnatural for the hip positioning and how the strong and deliberate pulling back of the hip on the support leg is necessary to allow the core to function the same way as in running or walking. The change of hip should be made when going through the “neutral” phase between two turns and the hip held back all the way through the turn. Managing to do this successfully would not only protect Chantelle’s back but it would prevent her rotation and help her skiing in general.
We discussed the direction in which the base of the spine was twisting so that when we eventually get onto more advanced aspects with the upper and lower body facing different ways (anticipation and angulation) she would be already aware of how to work to protect the spine from potential dangers.
We made a brief detour into some rotten snow off piste to introduce the Kick Turn. Chantelle being an accomplished ballerina made easy work of her first kick turns – doing them so well that she even looked like a ballerina on skis.