Monday, February 2, 2015

Derin 2015 Day 6

Off-Piste was tough today as the snow was wind-packed. Fortunately Derin likes the snow so much that burying her head in it is pretty much her idea of fun!

Note the sparkles in the snow and in the air above her head. We decided that they are fairies – useful fairies that will help us to ski. Derin says her dad says that fairies don’t exist. I explained that’s what everybody who can’t see them says. Derin figured out that she could see them because they liked her – which is obviously right. However – the lesson here is “do not take off your gloves when you fall in deep snow!”.

Straight Running – Speed

Derin is managing to increase her straight running speed considerably. She is now able to judge quite well how fast she needs to go to get up the next hill or across a flat section. This one thing makes her much more independent.

Side Slipping – Edge Control

Derin doesn’t yet feel comfortable bringing her feet close together – and that’s because she feels security, stability and turning effectiveness from the inside edges of her skis. It’s important to have her practice side slipping with the feet close together so that she builds familiarity with the outside edge of the uphill ski – and keeping the skis parallel. She already knows that the ski “pivots” directly from the outside edge – but she forgets that when confronted with steep slopes – and that’s where pivoting from a side-slipping, uphill edge is important!

Heavy Off Piste Snow

Off Piste the snow wasn’t ideal being heavy due to the wind having compacted it. Derin was quite easily flipped over in this snow – but in a day or two she will completely adapt to this. The great thing with Derin here is that she giggles and laughs when she falls where most kids scream and cry – usually due to the shock of the cold snow against the face. Derin is getting pretty competent at sorting herself out now when she falls over.


Back on the piste it was time to begin to explain “dynamics” to Derin. Until now I’d taught her this naturally – encouraging the movements but not giving her a full understanding of what she is aiming for. Dynamics is about trying to fall over – instead of balancing. By trying to fall over (sideways) the skis begin to work – and their job is to bring you back up. This is where the fairies come in! I explained that the fairies in the air all around us (a temperature inversion was filling the air with crystals) would build her a magical invisible wall that she could push against during a turn (to the inside of the turn). She practiced pushing against me. The invisible wall can’t be felt – but it holds you up by magic when you have forward speed and fall over against it (either side). The more you believe in its power the better it works.

Eventually I abandoned this explanation and resorted to the “belly button” explanation. You move your belly button to the right to go right and left to go left. Something was working because she managed to turn much more strongly. After that we could pick up speed and start working on steeper runs and narrow sections with tight turning.  Keeping the feet apart helps while working specifically on dynamics – so this is able to constructively exploit her tendency to keep the skis far apart.

The beauty of La Grande Motte

The majesty of La Grande Casse (3855m)

The two peaks together…

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