Monday, January 26, 2015

Derin 2015 Day 1

Today was Derin’s first day back on skis for a year – and she remembered everything from the very first run. The first hour was used just to allow her to become comfortable – but it was her insistence to ski unaided during the first descent. I videoed her skiing right at the start and when the slope was gentle her skiing was parallel and very well controlled. This is the first scene in the video posted below.

The slopes are quite hard and icy but this didn’t appear to worry Derin – who is quite comfortable travelling sideways because we have practiced that ever since she started learning to ski. I’m permitting her to be “over-controlled” and even to stem her skis a bit when going slowly (the stem being unintentional) because it’s far more important at this stage that she feels that she knows how to slow down than how to go fast! Speed is controlled by turning – and especially by finishing each turn.

At this stage Derin is not quite able to figure out when to let the skis run a bit more – so she sometimes grinds to a halt. She is a bit unclear about which direction to point the skis too – but those things come quickly with experience. When I ask her to hold onto my ski pole it’s so I can either take her safely through a difficult section, protect her from fast skiers or most often to let her feel the sensations of increased speed when travelling either straight or turning. When turning along with me I’m controlling her centre of mass – and this is what she has picked up on naturally by herself. Increased speed means increased forces so she will become familiar with the correct sensations. Derin was able to sideslip down some quite steep and icy sections with both skis parallel and on the uphill edges – something her body remembers from early training!

The best part of Derin remembering everything was that we could start immediately to work on new things. Her English is much better and she understands much more than a year ago so the time is right to introduce some proper technical elements into her skiing.

Correct Use of Feet

Indoors we pretended our hands were our feet and I showed Derin that the hands are rolled onto their edges  and pushed forwards – not turned. In the video this is shown properly with my feet – demonstrating what happens inside a ski boot. Derin understood this and immediately had more grip on the icy slopes for returning from Val to Tignes.

Foot Forwards

To help to ensure Derin had good control I explained to her to push the outside foot in the turn forwards to tighten up the turn. This is especially useful for narrow passages. She managed to use this to good effect straight away.


Perhaps partly due to pushing the foot forwards and partly due to the steepness of the hills Derin was tending to lean on the backs of her ski boots a little. I explained that it was important to be able to always touch the front of the ski boot with the shin instead. We did a few exercises for this both on the skis and in the restaurant without the skis to make sure that Derin understood.

Patience is necessary at this stage. She still has to become aware of edge control and to work on some basic coordination – but that will be added soon. Her speed will increase naturally when the time is right and the stemming (snowplough) will disappear again. We need to work a little on skating too – but that can be very tiring so there won’t be too much of that! With some fresh snow coming down we will be off piste soon too. Four hours with her seemed a little too short as there is so much to do and she is so much more capable now – however we should still take it easy at this stage.

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